Written by Jack Brown, Baylee O’Shaughnessy, Josh Farnzy, Rachelle Colston and Matthew Slinn

Images by Tyler Falk and Axel Raven

SFL Quarter Finals

Three nail-biters and a blow out

Vultures Prey on Glory
By Baylee O’Shaughnessy
In his second SFL season, Baltimore QB Jack Wigmore just had the game of his career, and in the postseason: 25 of 31 for 498 yards, 7 TDs, a Completion % of 80.65, a QBR of 131.5, and Player of the Game honors. In an offensive onslaught through the air, the Baltimore Vultures didn’t need a running game to end the postseason for the Lone Star Glory. The end score was an untamed 40-66. Lone Star seemed ready to put up a fight early on, going up 9-7 in the 1st,but any doubt of the kind of day this was going to be was silenced by halftime as the Vultures quickly took back the lead and showed they were not going to back down, up 28-16 going into the 3rd. With under 2 minutes remaining, Wigmore and the offense drove the dagger in deeper with yet another TD pass, after being set up by an onside kick returned to the 5. This wasn’t even close, folks.
After a humble outing against the Glory in Week 10, though still a win, Baltimore came out in the QFs to make a statement that they will not be going away quietly this season. Big plays were everywhere for the Vultures in this one. WR Mac Chimah ended the day with 6 for 216, a long of 69, and 4 TDs, WR Ivory Ervin 6 for 116, a long of 29, and 2 TDs, WR Daley Holder 4 for 106, a long of 66, and a TD. RB T-Roy Gaines had a rough day on the ground, 8 runs for only 12 yards, but had 6 receptions for 37, and a long of 24. Not to be outdone, the defense racked up 4 interceptions and SS Troy Loshaw took one for 6.

Florida’s winds blow out the Fury’s flame

By Matthew Slinn

When the Florida Storm play, especially at home, the result is almost a foregone conclusion – the Storm are going to take victory, that’s that. But, leading up to this contest, things didn’t seem so certain. The Storm were hosting the Las Vegas Fury – a team on one of the hottest streaks in the SFL (despite a close loss to Denver in Week 12) and one that looked like they could cause some problems for Florida. Problems that may even result in a road victory.

Alas, the tale went the way of the home team, but it wasn’t a game without drama. Both teams got off to a good start, with the Las Vegas Fury coming out of the gates the stronger. An exciting first quarter came to an end with a 9-3 scoreline, both teams trading a field goal before resurgent running back, Scott Johnson, ran into the end zone for 6. And, it remained at 6…the Storm got a real boost when they shot of the line during the extra point play and essentially tackled the holder, not allowing Otis Boudreaux to even have a chance of getting his kick off. It’s strange what can change the momentum of a game, but this play certainly appeared to have that effect. The second and third quarters were all about the Florida Storm. The defense hunkered down, not allowing Vegas a sniff at points. Meanwhile, methodically, with the odd huge play peppered in, the Storms offense gathered points, the most exciting of which coming in the form of a Jeff Comeau touchdown, two pays into the second half. Cockren found his receiver down field and he just held off the speedy Tom Creeg to crash in the endzone for a 80 yard score. Cockren had been finding occasional big plays all day, another to Steven Bush for 71 yards is one that sticks in the mind.

With the 4th quarter looming and the score at 9-20, the Fury showed some fight. A Scott Johnson led drive finally bested the Florida defence and he shimmied in for his second touchdown of the day. It’s worth noting how good of a day Johnson had with 159 yards on 28 carries. If he keeps this form at the start of S17, Vegas will be dangerous. Vegas were on a high, soon to be brought back down to earth with a bump by the clutch play of Ron Cockren – yes, Riverboat did throw a couple of picks to Max Jackson and Chuck Warsaw, but when it mattered, he showed up. Flordia marched down the field to make the score 27-16, soon to become 30-16. The Fury were no playing for pride. Pride is something that they showed down the stretch, getting into the endzone with time nearly done, a Colin Pierce pass to Mason Kirby (Florida’s worst nightmare) boosting their score to 23-30 and adding respectability to the scoreline.

This game was a close one, but as they so often do, when it mattered, the Storm extinguished their opponents flames. It will take a mighty effort to best these boys in blue. 

Legion offense overcomes top-ranked Toro defense in 31-26 win
By Josh Farnzy
It was top-ranked O vs. top-ranked D, but it was the “other D” that made the key plays for Vancouver in a quarterfinal nail biter up in Canada Field. The elite Legion offense facing off against the No. 1 ranked defense had some top shelf moments. A strong second quarter burst of Vancouver offense got them a manageable lead and their defense made it stand up, as the Legion punched their ticket to Denver with a 31-26 win over Fort Worth. Down a pair of scores at halftime, the Fort Worth offense would kick a field goal and connect on a touchdown to cut the Vancouver lead to two after a failed two-point conversion. The Legion defense, however stood tall, stopping one final drive with 38 seconds remaining with the Toros at their own 40-yard-line. The Toros looked strong early. Shortly after taking a 10-7 advantage, Ben Stone stepped in front of a Tom Pepper pass and took it 41 yards for a touchdown to stake Fort Worth to an early 17-7 edge.
Robert Redford would get to work on the next drive – spinning his way on several touches down to setup a touchdown to pull the Legion within three. A Pepper-to-Hall bomb on the next possession would give Vancouver the lead and then a Brett Killian catch in triple coverage just before halftime made it 28-17 at the break. Defensively, Delaney Nash (2 INTs) and rookie Adam Leach (13 tackles) slowed the Legion offense down in the second half and caused five turnovers. The Legion defense behind a strong performance from Gerald Giudicessi (2.5 sacks) and rookie Achilles Paptonis (1.5 sacks) wreaked havoc on the Fort Worth offense and contributed to shutting down talented tailback Jason Williams (18 touches, 51 yards). First-year quarterback Cameron Curtis was valiant in defeat – posting 228 passing yards and two touchdowns against only one INT. Curtis helped close the gap in the second half and gave the Toros solid production all season. The Vancouver win set the Legion up with a showdown last  Saturday in Denver against the top-seeded Nightwings. The two squads did not play each other during the regular season, but lots of fireworks ensued on May Day.

How could anyone have seen this coming?

By Jack Brown

Like, seriously, while the winner/loser many could have seen from a mile and a half away, but how we got there was a windy and chaotic path not too dissimilar to a rollercoaster where the belts randomly fly off every so often. Arizona came to win, they did not care that Denver was number one versus them being number 11. May have seen it as double ones, I don’t know. They got out on to the board relatively early on with Ashley Jackson throwing a laser to Jacob McCall to put themselves up six to nothing, followed promptly with DJ Moses living up to his name and parting the defense for a second touchdown to pull ahead as the quarter concluded by two scores. Trends held up in the second half for the Scorpions as the Nightwings were finally able to establish themselves and score a touchdown and a field goal in the second term, as Arizona added a touchdown of their own to make the score at the half 20-10. Now at the home locker room, Denver probably did not expect to be down by so much at that point of the game, possibly expecting smooth sailing to the semi-finals. But at that low point in the locker room, Vega must have said something to his players that whipped them into a fervor to win, not seen since the last sports movie you have watched, and the Nightwings soared back into form. With The offense finally jogging into rhythm and the defense, oh that defense, suffocating the Scorpions to just 9 points in the second half. Alas, Arizona was still in it at the end, positioned for a game winning drive, only for Denver to pick off Ashley Jackson and end the season for Arizona. Stinging salt in the wound opened up by Riley Quintero’s clutch kick return with mere minutes left to play. Still for Arizona, it was an effort and a half and they should be a team to fear for S17. As for Denver? A championship berth awaits with victory at home to Vancouver.

SFL Semi-Finals

The Top 2 do what they do best

 

 

The Vultures couldn’t fly through the Storm

By Rachelle Colston

The Baltimore Vultures travelled to Florida to play the Storm in this semi-final matchup.  Would the Vultures advance to defend their title, or would Florida get a shot at another championship?

The first half of the game was a great defensive battle.  Baltimore had the lead until late in the second quarter when Florida would finally find the end zone with about 5 minutes left in the half.  The teams would head to their locker rooms with the Storm ahead 10-6.

The second half of this game was a different tale.  The Storm’s offense would finally find their rhythm.  QB Ron Cockren would go 28 for 35 on the day with 301 passing yards, one interception and one touchdown.  The passing attack included every receiver, the tight end and both backs.  Biletsky and Doyle combined had 21 carries for 54 yards and each had a touchdown. Florida’s defense also stepped up and held the Vultures to two field goals until WR Mac Chimah would finally find the end zone with 51 seconds left in the game.

Baltimore’s offensive approach was like the Florida attack.  QB Jack Wigmore completed 30 of his 40 passes for 271 yards with 2 interceptions and one passing touchdown.  This passing attack included every wide receiver, one tight end and the running back.  Troy Gaines had 18 carries for 75 yards, but he just could not find the end zone.  The Vultures defense just did not have an answer for the Storm’s balanced offensive attack in the second half of the game.  The Vultures would head back to Baltimore with the loss 27-13.

The Storm will travel to Denver this week to paly the #1 ranked Nightwings for the Ship.  I believe that the key for Florida to win this game is the Storm’s defense.  They will need to find a way to shut down league MVP hopeful RB Jarrod McChesney while forcing QB Josh Miller to pass the ball more frequently.

Nightwings a Nightmare for Legion
By Baylee O’Shaughnessy
Who can throw 3 interceptions and STILL win a game walking away with a 76% completion rate? Denver QB Josh Miller. Who just runs until you can’t stop him anymore? Denver RB Jarrod McChesney. Who won the game this week? I’ll give you one guess…
Vancouver, you had a great season, but when you come up against a squad as complete on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as the Nightwings, you will likely do what happened in 12 other matchups this season: You lose. Denver is just that good. QB Josh Miller was 2nd in Completion Percentage, 1st in Interceptions, and 2nd in QBR. RB Jarrod McChesney leads in yards rushing… and it isn’t even close. The defense has played really well. They are not the best, but you could argue that they are the most balanced at each level. This is what the SFL has been up against. Do I have an awkward man-crush on this team? Possibly…