Indoor Football Update (6/27/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders will host the Atlanta Havoc this weekend for the AAL championship.  The Roughriders won the Arena Pro Football title last year over the Florida Tarpons.  For more information:  American Arena League

Arena Football League (AFL) –  The Albany Empire defeated Baltimore Brigade 56-49 on Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore’s regular-season home finale. The Brigade dropped to 7-3 with only their second loss in the past seven games. Baltimore leads the Empire and Philadelphia Soul , both 6-4, by a half game in the AFL with two games remaining in the regular season. It was the Brigade’s first loss at home this season. Brigade wide receiver Brandon Collins finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Randy Hippeard was 24-for-41 passing for 292 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Quarterback Tommy Grady completed 14 of 20 passes for 199 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Empire. The Brigade will take on the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday followed by a game against the Washington Valor on July 7.  For more information:  Arena Football League

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – The Duke City Gladiators broke open a close game in their semifinal playoff game against the Texas Revolution.  With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, it appeared the Gladiators were on the way to a comfortable victory with a 35-21 lead and had the ball at the Texas 5 with a first down. QB Caleb Holbrook then threw toward receiver Dello Davis but Davis lost a tug-of-war for the ball, the Revs defender Frankie Solomon II who  wrestled it from Davis and returned the ball to the Gladiators’ 12. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Texas failed to execute an onside kick and the Gladiators took over at the Revs’ 21 and kept possession until the late score, a 20-yard pass from Holbrook to Juwan Lewis for a 41-28 win.   The Sioux City Bandits edged the Salina Liberty, 45-39, in their semifinal game to advance to the Champions Bowl this weekend in Albuquerque.  For more information:  Champions Indoor Football

storm

Sioux Falls Storm Advances To 9th Straight United Bowl

Indoor Football League (IFL) – In the IFL semifinals, the Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Arizona Rattlers by a score of 69-68 in front of 16,479 fans in Phoenix.  A blocked extra point following a Rattlers touchdown became the difference, as the Storm were able to score and convert the point after to escape with a one-point win. At the start of the fourth quarter, Sioux Falls regained the lead with a two-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs, bringing the score to 59-55.  A two-yard run by Verlon Reed put the Arizona back in the lead 62-59.  Sioux Falls tied the game at 62 with a 30-yard field goal with 3:30 remaining.  The Rattlers took over in Storm territory after a late hit penalty by Sioux Falls. With eight-seconds remaining, kicker Sawyer Petre missed the potential go-ahead field goal to force overtime.  Arizona started overtime with the ball, and Reed connected with Dezmon Epps for a 16-yard touchdown on fourth down. The point-after attempt was blocked by Sioux Falls, keeping the Rattlers lead at six.  The Storm scored on their first play, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Damien Ford. The point-after attempt was good, giving the Storm the win.  The Storm will play the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend in the United Bowl in Des Moines.  The Barnstormers defeated the Nebraska Danger 48-17 in the other semifinal game.

A new ownership group has taken over the IFL’s Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans franchise and plans to keep the team in the city for the 2019 season. The Titans joined the IFL as a 2012 expansion team. The team’s previous ownership also owned the Cedar Rapids Rampage of the Major Arena Soccer League. That Rampage’s future in the city is over if a new owner does not come forward, since its ownership will be operating a new Orlando-based MASL expansion team for the 2018-19 season.

For more information:  Indoor Football League

National Arena League (NAL) – A three touchdown night from fullback Derrick Ross helped the Jacksonville Sharks reach the franchise’s 100th win.  Ross and the Sharks broke the game open with 37 unanswered points and routed the Maine Mammoths 51-21 to earn the team’s 100th all-time victory Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks (7-4) have reached 90 regular-season victories combined in the National Arena League and its former home, the Arena Football League, to go with 10 postseason wins.  Ross, who had devastated the Mammoths (2-8) in two previous matchups this season, brought his touchdown total against Maine to eight on the year.  Quarterback Adrian McPherson rebounded from his previous loss to Carolina, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Gilchrist. Former University Christian standout Jenson Stoshak led the Sharks with eight receptions for 56 yards.  For more information:  National Arena League

National Gridiron League (NGL) – The NGL is a proposed new spring indoor football league that plans to start play in 2019 with 12 teams aligned in 2 divisions. The NGL currently lists an Eastern Division with the Virginia Redbirds (Roanoke) and five teams called the Destroyers, Blue Bombers, Pioneers, Stampede and Firebirds with no assigned markets. The Western Division has the Kansas Kapitals (Topeka) and five teams called the Bighorns, Twisters, Mudcats, Outlaws and Redsticks with no assigned markets.  For more information:  National Gridiron League

Rattlers Strike For Indoor Football League Title

unitedbowl2017_rattlers_003

In their 25th Anniversary season, the Arizona Rattlers rewarded their fans with their first title in the Indoor Football League (IFL).

The Rattlers moved from the Arena Football League (AFL) where they had lived for the previous 24 seasons to the IFL.  The Rattlers defeated the Sioux Falls Storm 50-41 to win the United Bowl championship and denied the Storm of a seventh straight title.

Arizona looked like they would runaway with a total domination of the title game as they put up a 34-7 lead at halftime but held on and an interception in the final minute preserved the win.

The Rattlers defense did not allow a first half touchdown with the only score by the Storm coming on special teams.  Justin Shirk (#30) had 1.5 sacks, a tipped ball, and was in Storm QB Lorenzo Brown’s face all night.  His efforts earned him the United Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP). Defensive back Arkeith Brown also had a big night, breaking up two passes and grabbing the game winning interception, returning it 46 yards.

The Storm climbed back into the game in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points. WR Judd Harold pulled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brown.  Shortly after Robbie Rouse ran seven yards for another score.  The final score came from DL Brandon Peguese who picked off Sokol and returned it two yards for the touchdown.

The Rattlers finally got back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a seven-yard run by Monroe.  Arizona was also able to follow that up with a 23-yard field goal by Sawyer Petre.  Sioux Falls responded with a five-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Harold, pulling the Storm to within ten.  The Rattlers then extended their lead, again off the foot of Petre, this time a 23-yarder.  The Storm would again close the gap on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Mike Tatum. Petre came up big again for the Rattlers with 47-seconds left, kicking a 28-yard field goal to put the team up by nine.  The Storm drove down the field one last time, but was picked off by DB Arkeith Brown, who returned it 46-yards.

The Rattlers started the season at 4-4 but went on a 10-game winning streak on their way to the title.    It was the first championship for the Rattlers since winning the ArenaBowl in 2015.

The question now is will the Rattlers stay in the IFL or will they return to the AFL if there is stability in the league?  There has been no word of it to this point.  As indoor leagues continue to evolve, it would seem that the IFL is a more stable organization at this time.