By Various Writers
Mexico City Aztecs @ Baltimore Vultures
By Hiapo Kinloha
The Season 11 Playoff game between Baltimore Vultures at Mexico City Aztecs was a close game throughout. The first quarter, both teams scored 7 points. Then, going into the second quarter, the Aztecs scored 14 points and the Vultures only scored 7. The third quarter Aztecs got only a field goal but the Vultures came up short on offense completely. But in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs could only get a field goal and the Vultures never gave up and dug in, scoring 13 points to put the game into overtime. In overtime, the Aztecs ended up scoring a touchdown to end the game with a final score of Mexico City 33 and Baltimore with 27.
The Aztecs had a total of 484 yards with 313 coming from passing yards and 171 coming from rushing. They went 41%, 7/17 on third down conversions. They also had 2 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing touchdowns. The Vultures had a total of 359 yards with 280 coming from passing yards and only 79 yards rushing. They went 33%, 5/15 on third down conversions. They had 3 passing touchdowns with no rushing touchdowns.
Chicago Wildcats @ Houston Hyenas
By Chris Colon
The game got going and moved slowly through the first quarter. Not much happened. At the 3:41 mark of the first, Chicago knocked in a 40+ yd field goal. In the 2nd quarter, the Hyenas scored early on through a touchdown run by Houston’s Warren Murray. The action slowed down a bit, until Houston forced a 3 and out and forced a field goal. That brought the game to 7-6, Houston leading the Wildcats with just under 4 minutes left in the first half.
Houston seemed fired up and was prepared for battle, completing passes and gaining decent yardage on the ground. Chicago, on the other hand, were a bit flat footed and struggled in the first half. Before the half could come to a close, the Hyenas scored on a touchdown pass just before the 2 minute warning. The score put the Hyenas up 14-6. The second half starts as Houston received the kickoff. Houston marched up field controlling the clock, bringing the ball all the way up to the Chicago 8 yd line before Murray could capture his second rushing TD of the game. Houston extended the lead to 21-6. The Wildcats wouldn’t score again until 3:45 ticks left in the third. Houston’s lead trickled down to 21-9.
Houston’s Warren Murray was having himself a huge day as he ran for his 3rd TD of the game as the third qtr came to a close. This brought the lead to 28-9. The Hyenas’ defense was playing well, forcing stops. Early in the fourth, the Hyenas’ D forced another field goal. The Wildcats, after struggling all game, were able to bring the score to 28-12. Needing to get going, the Wildcats D was in need of big stops. With less than 2 minutes left, Chicago forced a field goal. The Hyenas were up 31-12. The game was nearing the end and you could feel the pain of the seconds ticking by. Chicago knew their season was over. Still, with mixed feelings; smiles with tears. The Wildcats have nothing to be ashamed of. They had an impressive season, fighting hard to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. The Hyenas move on to challenge the Alaska Storm and head to Alaska. Will they end the defending champions hopes of a repeat? Or will the Storm continue their two year dominance? Should be a good one, see ya folks.
Queen City Corsairs @ Tallahassee Pride
By Christian Pundt
After a hard-hitting 45-42 preseason matchup, the 9-4 Queen Corsairs, fresh off a rout of the Carolina Skyhawks, were set for their rematch with the 10-2 Tallahassee Pride at the Lions’ Den, renewing an old Eastern Conference rivalry in the process. Entering the game, the wildcard Queen City carried the third-ranked scoring offense and the top-ranked scoring defense, while the second-seeded Pride were the second-ranked scoring offense and the ninth-ranked scoring defense, where the nexus point was the Corsairs top-ranked rushing defense being matched up against the Pride’s top-ranked rushing offense.
The game began, continued on, and finished virtually the same way – with a Jaye Eniola pounding. The Pride rode their All-World running back to an opening drive touchdown, after which he would get 38 carries for 229 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns en route to Player of the Game honors. The factor at running backs likely wound up being the difference, as both teams pride themselves on their top team running game. While one back went off, his Queen City counterpart Ash Odom was largely bottled up with 12 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. Those two players largely resemble the final scoreline of 34-14 in favor of Tallahassee.
The entirety of the Tallahassee operation seemed to be clicking in this one. At the head, Christian Christiansen had an efficient day at 12/19 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown, without a turnover. Five of those catches and 80 of those yards went to rookie receiver Greyson Willis, while three of those catches and a touchdown went to the elite Ken Gossett. The defensive line, in particular, was dominant. Kevin Bane (7.5/2.0), EJ DeCue (4.0/2.5), Hunter Norwood (2.5/2.0) and Taqwuan Hale (4.5/3.5) all recorded amazing days, terrorizing the Queen City offensive line (for a total of ten sacks). The Sprous twins had solid days (although Chris Curtis, as will be noted, had an excellent day) at corner with a combined 8.5 tackles, with a pick for the elder Michael. Meanwhile, the backend safeties combined for 14.5 tackles with a pick for Alex Bond.
For the Buffalo side, AJ Caswell went 21/34 for 282 passing yards, a touchdown, and a pair of picks. The aforementioned Chris Curtis really put on a show, with a 10/157/0 statline, and his compliment Dupree Hudson went 3/64/0. Defensively, the Corsairs had solid numbers across the board. Their pass rusher Jeff Duffy recorded 2.5 tackles and the man in charge of keeping Eniola in check, Avry King, put together 9.5 tackles and a pass deflection. The secondary of Leroy Jenkins, Oskar Dunklee, Zane Doty, Achilles Frank, and Nacho Sicario combined for 27.0 tackles and a tackle for loss.
All in all, the game was a clash of titans in which the Tallahassee Pride defeated the four-time champions emphatically. Other notable stats from this game that show the sway of this game was the Pride’s thirteen tackles for a loss (and ten sacks), 57 return yards, and 24:49 of possession versus the Corsairs’ two tackles for a loss (and no sacks), no return yards, and 19:11 of possession. In what was clearly the quarterfinals matchup with the biggest names, this result sends the Pride to now face the 8-5 Season 9 Champion Mexico City Aztecs.
Sioux Falls Sparrows @ Alaska Storm
By Rob Roby
The 12-0 Alaska Storm clashed with the Sioux Falls Sparrows in the Quarterfinals during last week’s Playoff Weekend. The Storm jumped out to a 7-0 lead off of a pass completion to wide receiver Robert Merrill. The Sparrows then scored 10 unanswered points, with 7 of those points coming off a 45-yard scamper by halfback Colin Hart, at the midway point of the 2nd quarter, making it a 10-7 game through the midway point of the 3rd quarter.
With the game tied at 10-10, SXF put together an impressive drive downfield, led by quarterback Julian Tyree. A deep 40-yard touchdown reception by Shaun Harrelson put SXF up 17-10. The Storm battled back, going downfield in 8 plays to tie the ballgame up at 17-17 late in the 3rd, on a touchdown pass from Ron Cockren to Jason Williams. The Storm found their usual stride in the 4th quarter. They extended their lead to 24-17 on a touchdown reception by Optimus Cline. SXF had a promising drive late in the 4th quarter, but could not complete a key 4th down conversion with 2:15 left on the clock. The Storm looked to put the game away but was stopped by the SXF defense in just 5 plays. SXF had one last chance at evening out the score. They regained control of the ball with 1:39 seconds left on the clock at their own 11-yard line. SXF ultimately drove down the field and met their demise on a 4th and 1 play with only 9 seconds left to go in regulation. Down 17-24, SXF attempted an unsuccessful Hail Mary play and lost to the now 13-0 Alaska Storm.