By Jeremy Vega
The excitement has been building all around the SFL over the last two weeks and it’s about to reach fever pitch. In the SFL Beat Writing Room, we want to crank the anticipation levels up to 1000 (that’s the value given to ultimate anticipation). What follows are the fruits of a week’s worth of planning and groundwork by Jeremy Vega, one of our most experienced writers. Give it a read, and get hyped for the SFL Championship!
‘What we do in life, will echo in eternity’
A sit down the with Tallahassee Pride Offensive Stars
With the Season 10 Championship just one day away, the SFL community has been going crazy with anticipation over the last two weeks. Everyone is ready to see the two best teams & the two best offenses clash. Everyone is ready to see one of these franchises hoist the trophy for the first time in their history. I managed to get a sit down with one of these teams and a few of their players.The Tallahassee Pride stars, Duke Wilson, Kenny G – and the man himself – Christian Christiansen. The Pride have had an astronomical season as they have shattered records, expectations, and now have found themselves competing for the first perfect season as they sit 14-0. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed getting to hang out with these guys and interview them.
Jeremy Vega: Did your expectations for this season involve being 14-0 and not only playing for a perfect season but playing for the championship?
Christian Christiansen: I’m not going to anger the football gods now. They’ve blessed us.
Duke Wison: My expectations as a rookie were to play well and contribute to the team in a meaningful way. As for the team, making the playoffs were a big one, but I’m sure for guys already on the team making it to the championship was the more ambitious, but attainable goal. I didn’t care about going 14-0 until we got close to it, otherwise it wouldn’t have mattered.
KG: An undefeated season was something I didn’t really think about during the offseason, despite Christian constantly insisting it would happen. My personal expectation was actually getting to the title game, something that this franchise has never done. I believed it was time for our fans to be repaid for their continued support despite a pile of playoff heartbreaks over the years.
JV: How has the locker room been all season? Win after win, and even after close games like that of the Aztecs and Red Devils?
DW: The locker room has been great; we are close as a group. We’re always looking to support Frank and Alex in any way that we can (me mostly waving my pom poms). Those close games kept us on the edge of our seats and we were hyped up during those big wins.
KG: The locker room has been absolutely outstanding all year. It’s really remarkable how far the team has evolved in the time that I’ve been here. There’s always been a sense of confidence and passion whenever you enter it, even going back to last season. Everyone’s been very supportive of each other, even when things on the field don’t always work out perfectly, like in some close games that might not have been close on another night.
CC: I’d like to add the Swarm in there as well. That was probably the game of the season. As for the locker room itself, it has been very clear to me from what I’ve experienced in seasons nine and ten and based on conversation I’ve had around the league, that the culture we’ve created here is special. This is a group that started off close and got closer as the season went along. We held over three core veterans (the current offensive coordinator and strong safety Alex Bond, star wide receiver Ken Gossett, and yours truly) and then brought in the nine best rookies to fill out the team (all of whom have a realistic case at claiming their respective rookie of the year awards). We are the only franchise to have created a sustained rowdy fan and player base and I think that’s a good thing. Not only are we the scariest team on the field, but we’re the scariest one off of it too. We have the Tallahassee Pride trains from the preseason and what has basically become our war-cry with the TAL TAL TAL. We are the only team that can say that. U hate it and we love that.
JV: What has Owner Frank and Offensive Coordinator Alex Bond meant to you guys as far as helping you three maximize your potential & chemistry in this offence?
DW: Frank and Alex are some of the best coaches in the league. I’m glad I signed with the team as they have put me in a position to succeed as they look to utilize their star players as much as possible while at the same time fine tuning the game plan to exploit our opponents.
CC: They changed the game. Frank Goodin is one of the most respected coaches in the league and showed that this season. He revolutionized the defensive side of the ball with his four man front, applying an insane amount of pressure on opposing QBs and bottling up the best RBs in the SFL (see: Ray Bentley twice, Warren Murray, and friends). Alex and Frank combined (along with Mighty) to make the vertical passing attack a consistently effectively strategy. They brought the most unique and dominating approach to the game this season, as well as the most effectively specialized gameplans, and guided the entire team on our progression. Without them, we wouldn’t have started or finished as the best team.
KG: Alex has been a godsend for this team from the moment he walked into the building. Nothing against Coach Goodin, but Alex added a fresh perspective on our game planning that has helped take this team to new heights. Christian and I have that cliché “childhood friend” type relationship, and normally are on the same page, but as the season’s progressed, I’ve also gained a sense of what Duke’s tendencies are and how he likes to play. In the end, it all comes together and we’ve been able to put on quite the show this season as a result.
JV: With this being the Last game you three will play together, what emotions are going through you guys leading up to the championship game and maybe even during the game?
CC: We’ll see when we get there really. I’ve already gone full circle on how I feel about the game, but at the end of the day all we can really do is put together our playbook and play. I’m sure the game itself will be a rollercoaster regardless of how it ends up. But as Kenny said, this isn’t just another game. This is for all the marbles.
KG: The trite response would be to say that’s it’s just like any other game, but for me that’s a blatant lie. My usual stoic appearance on Tuesday will only be suppressing my emotionally unstable psyche.
DW: I’m dead on the inside so I feel nothing.
JV: What sometimes seems like the entire community cheering for the Alaska Storm, is there a message y’all have for them before the big game?
DW:I know my teammates will give the safe answer to this, but I’m pretty confident that we will win. Alaska has been a strong team all year long and have played well in the playoffs to reach the championship game. No disrespect to them, but we are going to win this game as it’s our time. I’m guaranteeing a victory Tuesday night. Sometimes you gotta call your shot to be a legend, so I’m calling mine now. I can accept the fact that losing is a good possibility, but who really cares? I hope everyone enjoys the game and the show that both teams will put on.
KG: The rest of the league can support whomever they like. We’ve had the target on our backs almost all season. So boo me all you want, just don’t get your hopes up. Unless you support the Tallahassee Pride. TAL TAL TAL!!!!!!!!
CC: TAL TAL TAL!!!!!!!
Fellow Beat writer and Rookie player, Mathew Lee, came in clutch as he was able to get a quick word from owner Frank Goodwin & OC Alex Bond.
FW: I believe the pride will win it all this Tuesday. It feels great to be in the championship game for the first time & we need to make the most of this opportunity. I have a lot of respect for owner Mighty and the Alaska Storm. They are all around a great team with a very smart coach. This is going to he tough game and a great one to watch for the sfl fans.
AB: The game is going to come down to who can win the turnover battle. If the Pride don’t turn the ball over I don’t think anyone can keep up with us.
A special thank you to everyone involved in this article as well as anyone who reads this. Thank you for your support of the Beat writers and your SFL. Enjoy the SFL Season 10 Championship Game this Tuesday.