Category Archives: NAL

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Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach

The search for the Iowa Barnstormers newest head coach is over, the team announced on Thursday, as they have hired Ameer Ismail to take the reins in Des Moines.

Ismail becomes the eighth head coach in Iowa Barnstormers history and will follow the most successful coaching stint the team has seen in Dixie Wooten.
Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach
The former NFL and arena league player brings experience from all over the place, including stints with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars as well as the AFL’s Jacksonville Sharks (Pre-NAL) and a plethora of IFL teams.

“It is such an amazing honor to be named the new Head Coach of the Iowa Barnstormers, the most prestigious and historic team in all of indoor or arena football,” Ismail said in a press release from the team. “[Barnstormers Vice President and COO] John Pettit and I have known each other and maintained a great relationship over the years despite being on different teams or even in different leagues.”

Ismail started off his coaching career with assistant roles in the IFL in 2014. He spent time with the Cedar Rapids Titans, Tri-Cities Fever, and Spokane Empire.

In 2017, Ismail took his first head coaching job with the Champion Indoor Football league’s Bloomington Edge, where he would lead his team to a 7-6 record and a berth in the CIF Playoffs.

The next year, Ismail packed up shop and accepted the head coaching position for the newly formed Massachusetts Pirates in the east coast’s National Arena League.

There, Ismail led his team to an 11-6 record and another berth in the playoffs. He was also named NAL Coach of the Year during that time.

In 2019 Ismail took a break from head coaching in the arena league to take a spot coaching the outside linebackers at Albion College.

Now, he’ll return to the indoor ranks carrying an 18-12 record as a head coach and a resume that includes two playoff appearances in as many seasons.

“To be able to work with someone of his expertise and experience is another major reason why I wanted to be here,” Ismail said in the release. “We will continue the winning ways with tremendous positive culture for our community and fans. I am very grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to bring another championship to Des Moines.”

Expect the Barnstormers as well as other teams in the Indoor Football League to start announcing player signings soon as well as an announcement regarding Iowa’s assistant coaching staff.The post Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Carolina Cobras, Billy Back part ways

The National Arena League has been home to the Carolina Cobras and head coach Billy Back for each of the past two indoor football seasons – one of which that saw the expansion team go from rags to riches and win a title in their first year.

Today, the Cobras announced that Back has submitted his resignation from the head coaching position in Carolina, making him available as one of the top available coaches in an off-season that has been filled with moves.

Team owner Rob Storm released a statement that has been posted on the team’s website. The full release can be found here.

“On behalf of the entire Cobras organization, we thank Billy Back for everything he has done for us over our first two seasons, and know that wherever he lands, that team will be getting one heck of a good coach. He will definitely be missed by many,” Storm said in the release. “We wish Billy, Stacie and the entire Back family the best of luck! We know he will be successful wherever his path may lead. You will always be part of the Cobras family.”

Now, Back will take his championship experience to a new home so long as he continues coaching football, and the Indoor Football League could be a spot for a reunion.

Back got his big break coaching for the Wichita Falls Nighthawks when the team was in the IFL and was even originally signed to lead the Cedar Rapids Titans in 2018 before being bought out by Carolina.

I mentioned his name in my column a week ago on where the Iowa Barnstormers – a championship program that just lost their coach as well – will look to next.

Back could be a great fit for the franchise, and no matter where he goes, he’ll bring a barrage of talented players with him.The post Carolina Cobras, Billy Back part ways appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Top 5 Reasons the Jacksonville Sharks will Win the 2019 NAL Championship

Previously, we released our five reasons why the Cobras would win the 2019 NAL Championship game. With the big game getting closer and closer as each second passes, it is time to reveal our five reasons why the Jacksonville Sharks will win the 2019 NAL Championship game.
Top 5 Reasons the Jacksonville Sharks will Win the 2019 NAL Championship
5. Quarterback Toss-up
This one may sound a bit confusing when first seeing it. Like what in the world does a “Quarterback Toss-up” mean? Right now, there is no confirmed starter for the Jacksonville Sharks when it comes to the Quarterback position. In our 2019 NAL Championship Preview, we broke down the numbers for the two quarterbacks combined. Jonathan Bane this season is 160-of-290 (55.17%) for 1,844 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Mike Fafaul is 123-of-183 (67.21%) for 1,319 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. With no confirmed starter, the Cobras don’t know who to primarily focus on. Last playoff game against the Lions, Fafaul was the starter and went down with an injury. Bane went in and lit up the Lions defense. It was almost as if the Lions didn’t prepare for Bane at all. If the Cobras focus on one quarterback more than the other, then there could be issues for the Cobras.
4. League-Leading Defensive Line
The Sharks have the best defensive line in the league, based off of the statistics. Together, their line has forced 31.5 sacks (average of 2.25 per game), nine pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one blocked kick, and one safety. If the Sharks defensive line can force pressure on Cobras Quarterback Chalres McCullum, then McCullum will make mistakes to benefit the Sharks.
3. Best Receivers in the NAL
The Sharks starting three receivers are also statistically the best in the league. Combined, they have 231 receptions for 2,536 yards and 61 touchdowns. No team in the league this season has been able to shut down all three receivers on the field at the same time. There were some games where they shut down a receiver to slow down the Sharks offense, but there has not been a single occasion where all of the Sharks receivers were stopped.
2. Coaching Staff
This season is Head Coach Siaha Burley’s third season with the Jacksonville Sharks. He led the team to the championship in 2017, a game that he ultimately won. In 2018, his 10-6 record gave his team a trip to the playoffs. Finally, this season’s 13-1 regular season record and 1-0 post-season record sent him and his team to the 2019 NAL Championship game. Burley doesn’t do it all on his own. He also has a great group of coaches along-side of him. Defensive Coordinator James Fuller and Offensive/Defensive Line’s Coach Lee Johnson also help control this team. This coaching staff is a team of Head Coaches, meaning that all three coaches on this team have either been or will be great head coaches in arena football. Last season, Fuller was the Maine Mammoths HC and led his team to one of the largest win-streaks in NAL history. In their final seven games, they managed to win six of them.
1. Home Field Advantage
This one sounds very cliché, but it is very true for Jacksonville. In their 10 seasons, the Sharks have hosted nine playoff games and won seven of them (77.78%). The fanbase that averages over 9,000 per game in 10 years has been known to get rowdy, especially in the playoffs. The arena gets loud during regular season games, but it gets even louder in playoff games. With crazy fans like The Sideline Bullies, The Painted One, and many more, there is no running away from Shark fans, no matter where the players are on the field.

The Jacksonville Sharks host the Carolina Cobras this Saturday, August 17, 2019 in the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:00 pm for the third NAL Championship. The winner of this game will earn their second NAL title.
Follow Us for More Information
The LWOS Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages is the best place to go for news on anything that happens in the NAL and other indoor and arena leagues. Our website is also a great place to go for more information.The post Top 5 Reasons the Jacksonville Sharks will Win the 2019 NAL Championship appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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2019 LWOS NAL Honorable Mentions

The 2019 LWOS National Arena League (NAL) awards have come to a conclusion as we announced all of our NAL selections for each award. There were multiple players who stood out this season that don’t deserve to go unnoticed. All players and coaches fought until the end for the 2019 season and it all showed. Michael Green, Chris Sanders-McCollom, and Jason Gibson are going down as our LWOS Honorable Mentions for the 2019 season.
2019 LWOS NAL Honorable Mentions
Defensive Back Michael Green, Carolina Cobras
Up there with our Defensive Player of the Year was Green. All season long, Green served to be one of the best defensive backs in the league, and proved that he is worthy of being in the top two or three. This season, Green finished with an incredible 10 interceptions for 81 yards and one touchdown. He also had 62 tackles, just two shy of the league-leader in 2019. Green also broke up 34 passes, forced two fumbles, and recovered two fumbles on the year.
Wide Receiver Chris Sanders-McCollom, Columbus Lions
Sanders-McCollom was on his way to become the best Lions receiver in 2019 until a late-season injury popped up and took him down until the playoffs. In his 10 games with the Lions, Sanders-McCollom totaled 59 receptions for 654 yards and 17 touchdowns. In the same amount of games, Paris Mack was able to have nine less receptions for 871 yards and 14 touchdowns (217 more yards).
Head Coach Jason Gibson, Columbus Lions
Gibson entered the 2019 season going back-to-back in NAL Championship appearances. In 2019, Gibson looked to make a third consecutive visit to the game. Having a 2-5 start to the season, Gibson was able to get things rolling and finish with a 6-8 record. Things started to click with the Lions late in the season as they had a healthy team for the first week all season. But then, Center AJ Harmon went down with a season-ending injury. Gibson had to figure something out quick before the playoffs started. Every game against Jacksonville, no matter where it’s played, is always a close game. The Lions just needed that one piece to the puzzle to defeat Jacksonville. Entering the playoffs with a fully-healthy receiving group, the Lions were in high-hopes that their O-Line could keep the Sharks D-Line off the quarterback. Falling short in the playoffs, Gibson’s season came to a close. Finishing the season with a three-game win streak is definitely something to look back on.
LWOS NAL First and Second Team All-NAL Up Next!
The NAL Honorable Mentions is a wrap for all of the individual LWOS awards for the 2019 season. Later today, we will announce our First and Second Team All-NAL awards. The league will release all of their awards during Media Day on Friday, August 16.The post 2019 LWOS NAL Honorable Mentions appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: The Massachusetts Pirates signed McCluster and then said ‘Go’

The Massachusetts Pirates signed former NFL Pro Bowler Dexter McCluster in the middle of week 6 of the National Arena League (NAL) season. May 14 to be exact.

Massachusetts was in the middle of a bye week after they got off to a 1-4 start.

They were at the bottom of the NAL standings.

Since then, however, all things were a go.
NAL: The Massachusetts Pirates signed McCluster and then said ‘Go’
The Pirates were faced with a daunting task as they came off the bye week and moved on to Week 7.

They would travel to New York to face the Streets – the new team on the block that had been tied for first place in the league with a 3-1 record.

The Streets opened the season by beating the 2017 champion Jacksonville Sharks, making a statement that just because they were a new team, they wouldn’t be taken lightly.

It was a tall task to ask for the struggling Pirates to go into New York and come out with a W.

After McCluster signed, though, it seems like the direction that the Pirates were going in took a complete 180.

Massachusetts rolled.

The Pirates put up 70 points on a New York defense that hadn’t given up more than 53 points in a game.

McCluster didn’t lead the team to the victory. He finished with three receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown.

The thing is – he didn’t need to lead the team to the win. Mardy Gilyard and Devonn Brown combined for 13 of the team’s touchdowns. They scored five touchdowns and corralled 168 yards.

It was like McCluster’s presence just made the team better.

The same happened on Saturday in a rematch between the two teams back in Worcester at the Pirates’ home DCU Center.

The game was tied early in the third quarter, but thanks to a Brown touchdown and an interception by linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga, the Pirates flipped the scoring and kept the Streets at bay to earn their second straight victory.

The mojo on this team has flipped and after the pair of wins, the Pirates hold the final spot to qualify for the 2019 NAL Playoffs.

Massachusetts will return to the field after another bye week on June 15 when they take on Orlando to see if they can win a third straight game and improve to .500 on the season.

For more Indoor Football news and updates, consider following Last Word On Sports’ Indoor Football department on Twitter and Instagram at @LWOS_IndoorFB.

NAL Standings

Position
Team
Record
Games behind

1
Jacksonville
5-1

2
Carolina
5-2
0.5

3
New York
3-3
2.0

4
Massachusetts
3-4
2.5

Playoff Cutoff

5
Columbus
2-4
3.0

6
Orlando
2-6
4.0

The post NAL: The Massachusetts Pirates signed McCluster and then said ‘Go’ appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Norling: IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close

Playoff races are coming to a close all over indoor football – and as usual, Ashle Norling has the wrapup on everything you need to know for this weekend.
IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close
Games (Home Team in Bold)
Champions Indoor Football:
Salina Liberty 57, Sioux City Bandits 54
Omaha Beef 71, Oklahoma Flying Aces 51
Duke City Gladiators 123, North Texas Savages 6

Three games, well two real ones, took place this past week in Champions Indoor Football as teams hunt for a playoff spot. If the CIF had decent streaming or archival services I would definitely say to watch the Salina/Sioux City game, but they don’t. With a first quarter that saw a combined 36 points the next two combined only saw the teams manage a total of 40. The final frame saw Salina complete the comeback win at home to push them into 2nd in the North. If the season ended today Sioux City would miss the playoffs for the first time in CIF history and their first time overall since 2010, the last season they played in the IFL.

Omaha was, minus for one quarter, a car wreck for Oklahoma. Outside of the Flying Aces scoring 24 points in the 2nd Quarter they were outscored 54-27. The end result is the only thing that mattered as the Omaha win sealed Oklahoma’s fate on missing the playoffs. Amarillo and Duke City have officially made the playoffs in the Southern Division and will just battle to decide who plays at home. Speaking of Duke City they took a giant dukey on their replacement opponent the North Texas Savages. In the end the game doesn’t matter as they were officially given a forfeit win over the now defunct Texas Revs and only played to make sure they had a home game for their fans.

Indoor Football League:
Iowa Barnstormers 65, Bismarck Bucks 35
Quad City Steamwheelers 43, Nebraska Danger 37
Arizona Rattlers 62, Tucson Sugar Skulls 47

Two of the three games really weren’t surprises. Iowa kicked the living s*** out of Bismarck for most of the game in Des Moines on Friday night. Though Bismarck did actually hold a lead for part of the game. On Saturday Arizona did the same to Tucson, with the Sugar Skulls only putting up a fight in the final quarter. I would not be surprised if we see Arizona host Iowa in the United Bowl this July.

On the other hand the Nebraska/Quad City game was a fight to the death. Every quarter, every play, every second was a f*****g battle. The game itself was a war from the opening kick to the final whistle. Do yourself a favor and watch the damn game! I absolutely can’t do it justice and as of now this is far and away the Indoor Football Game of the Year.

National Arena League:
Orlando Predators 74, Carolina Cobras 69
Massachusetts Pirates 70, New York Streets 51

When the schedule came out for the season only one game (Carolina/Orlando) was scheduled for this week. Well after the Streets were unsurprisingly not able to play at MSG they moved their game to Memorial Day in Westchester. Both games were a what in the f*** just happened as two of the best teams in the league hosted the two worst. Orlando was coming in off a 60-7 ass kicking by Jacksonville the previous week while the Pirates just suck. Well they shut me up by winning on the road in one of the toughest (Carolina) and dumbest (NY) arenas in the NAL.
News
Holy sh*t there is actual news for the first time in a few weeks to report! OMFG! As a background, last week, an um “altercation” (according to the CIF) took place during the Omaha-Oklahoma game which resulted in play being stopped for an extended period of time.

The end result was a blanket unsportsmanlike conduct penalty being placed on both teams, which resulted in three Beef players being disqualified for their second penalty. Needless to say fans were not happy about the debacle.

Yesterday the CIF released a statement (which you can read here) that said the players who were ejected will not be suspended and just adds to the clusterf*ck.

I don’t see a reason for the blanket penalties being issued and this just makes the CIF looks more unprofessional. Especially waiting until damn near game day to issue a statement on the ensuing week.The post Norling: IFW – Playoff Races are Coming to a close appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Norling: IFW – The Hunt for the Playoffs really begins

The Games (Home Team in Bold)
Champions Indoor Football:
Omaha Beef 70, Wichita Force 33
Sioux City Bandits 79, Amarillo Venom 71

Only two actual games took place this week since the Texas Revs folded earlier this month, that resulted in Oklahoma taking their first win in franchise history via forfeit. Odd way to take a W but they’ll take, even though they have no shot at the playoffs.

Wichita was shocked by the Beef at home this past weekend. Omaha came out with a hot start scoring 22 unanswered points before Wichita could even manage a score. While the second quarter was a bit closer the 3rd would see more of the same from the first with Omaha leading 63-20 after 3 frames. Both teams slowed down in the 4th which had Omaha finish the beating with a 70-33 win on the road to move to 6-1.

On the other hand the Bandits/Venom game was an old school, high scoring, fight to the finish kind of game. The teams quite literally traded scores almost the entire game with each team getting a single stop in each half of play along with Sioux City holding Amarillo to a FG on a drive in the first half and the reverse happening in the second. The end result was Sioux City taking a 79-71 win at home over the Southern Division leading Venom.

Indoor Football League:
Quad City Steamwheelers 48, Cedar Rapids River Kings 29
Tucson Sugar Skulls 52, Bismarck Bucks 40
Sioux Falls Storm 57, Nebraska Danger 56
Iowa Barnstomers 56, Green Bay Blizzard 49
Arizona Rattlers 84, San Diego Strike Force 63

A battle between Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois opened the weekend as Quad City hosted the Cedar Rapids River Kings. The ‘Wheelers managed a nice 27-9 halftime lead but Cedar Rapids would score two unanswered touchdowns to make it a respectable game in the third. E.J. Hillard would lead the Steamwheelers on a scoring spree in the final quarter, leading the team with a passing TD and rushing TD himself to finish out the game.

Bismarck would host Tucson in the second game of the weekend, the visiting Sugar Skulls would kick off the game with a 14-3 lead after 15’. Between the second and third quarter Tucson attempted to give away the game to Bismarck being outscored 34-26 by 4 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Sugar Skulls barely managed to come back and win, holding off the Bucks to keep them out of the playoff hunt.

Sioux Falls/Nebraska is a game where I’d recommend to go and re-watch (which you can catch here) as a recap doesn’t do this game justice. After swapping scores for pretty much the entire game Nebraska was called for pass interference with no time left on the clock. Since the penalty was in the endzone the ball was placed on the 2 yard line which allowed Brandon Sheperd to run the ball in for a Storm TD to end the game.

Green Bay/Iowa was another game with teams swapping scores for practically the entire game, and another I’d recommend to re-watch (which you can watch here). Iowa just like Sioux Falls would win with little time remaining when Daquan Neal hit Jazeric Peterson on a 26 yard pass with 30 seconds left for the Barnstormers to sneak out of Green Bay with a win. Arizona that night was not as nice as they pounded the hosting San Diego Strike Force all night long. This one ended with Jabre Lolley running in an unnecessary touchdown for the Rattlers to take an 84-63 win on the road.

National Arena League:
Carolina Cobras 60, Columbus Lions 32
Jacksonville Sharks 61, Orlando Predators 7

Both games in the NAL last week were absolute and complete slaughters. On Friday in Greensboro “The Snake Pit” was lethal for the Lions as Carolina led 21-6 after one quarter and never looked back. “The Shark Tank” in Jacksonville was even more deadly for the Predators as their only score of the game came on a 27 yard pass from Bryan Hicks to Rob Brown in the middle of the second quarter.
The Hunt for the Playoffs really begins
The CIF will have, technically speaking, three games this weekend though one of them is in name only. Salina takes on Sioux City in what is a huge game for the second place in the Northern Division, the winner of this game will take the lead in the standings for a shot against Omaha in the playoffs. Also in the North, the division and league leading Beef host the hapless Oklahoma Flying Aces. Oklahoma absolutely has to win this game or they will be effectively eliminated from playoff contention on the back of a tiebreaker with Duke City. Duke City on the other hand in name only will host the North Texas Savages as a replacement for the Texas Revolution, though they will officially be awarded a forfeit win over the Revs for standings purposes.

6 teams are in action this weekend in the Indoor Football League as on Friday night Iowa hosts Bismarck and Nebraska hosts Quad City. Saturday night sees Tucson host Arizona. While all three have playoff implications (as Bismarck has not been mathematically eliminated) only the Danger/Steamwheelers game holds major significance. Iowa and Arizona have both clinched their playoff spots and are expected to win their games handily. Grand Island plays host to two teams on the edge of the playoff race. Our own Connor Ferguson has done a great look in on the IFL playoff races, which you can check out here for more detail.

Carolina hosts Orlando in the only National Arena League game this weekend. The Cobras and Predators are coming in off opposite sides of two different blowout games last weekend. The Preds look to win in Greensboro in an attempt to right the ship while the Cobras look to continue their dominance in the NAL.The post Norling: IFW – The Hunt for the Playoffs really begins appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Norling: IFW – Teams on the move, possibly to the Graveyard

This week in indoor football saw the news of a pair of teams on the move, spanning multiple leagues.
The Games (Home Team in Bold)
Champions Indoor Football:
Sioux City Bandits 70, Wichita Force 30
Salina Liberty 29, Duke City Gladiators 22
Omaha Beef 42, Oklahoma Flying Aces 23

Champions Indoor Football is in quite a fix right now, but we’ll touch on that a little later.The league did surprise us on field as well in two separate games. In Sioux City the hometown Bandits took the ball out of the air and ran with it against Wichita. The Bandit defense allowed no more than 10 points in a quarter and scored two pick sixes two rouges. The offense also had a great night scoring double digits in three of four frames.

In Salina with the Liberty hosting the Gladiators, Duke City came out hot and had a 22-7 lead over the Liberty with 10 minutes left in the third. After holding Salina scoreless for 28:54 the Liberty would go on a roll for the rest of the game scoring 22 unanswered points to win at home.

The Oklahoma/Omaha game was very similar as the Beef started the game with 5 unanswered points and kept that into halftime. In the second half they fell flat and allowed the Flying Aces to take off with 23 unanswered point, Omaha would score once more to end the game and hang on to a 42-23 win.

Indoor Football League:
Arizona Rattlers 56, Nebraska Danger 46
Green Bay Blizzard 48, Bismarck Bucks 39
Iowa Barnstormers 43, Cedar Rapids River Kings 18
Sioux Falls Storm 59, Quad City Steamwheelers 46
Tucson Sugar Skulls 54, San Diego Strike Force 34

After a scoreless first quarter the Rattlers offense went into high gear taking a lead of 42-26 over Nebraska after 45 minutes of play. The Danger attempted a comeback but fell just short losing by 10 in Phoenix.

At Green Bay’s Resch Center another game was closer than expected as the Blizzard hosted the Bucks. Bismarck held a 20-13 lead in the 2nd Quarter before giving up 28 unanswered point to Green Bay. The Bucks stopped that streak and scored 19 straight of their own before Green Bay scored a final TD to cap off the game.

My words deceived me again this past week. Last week, I touted the close games that Iowa and Cedar Rapids have played this year. Well that was not the case this past Saturday night.

The Barnstormers struggled to start losing the ball on the opening kick return but held Cedar Rapids and then proceeded to pummel the River Kings.

Daquan Neal led the Barnstormers offensive attack with 186 passing yards, 43 rushing yards, and 5 touchdown’s (4 passing, 1 rushing). Ben Wilkerson struggled against the Barnstomers defense going 8-20 with 93 yards throwing 1 TD and 3 INT’s.

The $2 Beers weren’t needed as much as I thought they would be as the Steamwheelers played a tight game against Sioux Falls. Quad City’s defense never really was able to stop the Lorenzo Brown led offense as he went 20-26 with 294 yards passing.

Quad City’s offense was no slouch either as QB E.J. Hillard went 13-24 with 186 yards and five players combined for 58 rushing yards. The lack of defense is what kept tQC from winning and pushing them up in the playoff hunt.

Tucson hosted San Diego in another closer game with a really unsurprising result. The Sugar Skulls dominated most of the game against the Strike Force. San Diego had some spurts but weren’t able to pull off the W, In fact I doubt they win again this year.

Columbus Lions 63, Orlando Predators 22
Jacksonville Sharks 55, Massachusetts Pirates 36
Carolina Cobras 48, New York Streets 33

On the NAL side our own Brandon Russell did a great recap of this weekends games you can check out here.
The “News” – Teams on the move
On a lighter note as we reported earlier this week that the Arizona Rattlers will be moving for the next two seasons due to arena renovations.

It’s about time they renovate that place, hopefully it’ll be better for Indoor Football when they’re done with it but I doubt it. Besides, only the New York Streets absolutely need a new arena.

On more of a dark side the Texas Revolution have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel. As we reported here yesterday the Revs are no longer playing at the Ford Center and are likely to either fold or become a travel only team.

This is the second straight year this has happened in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the CIF. At this point the CIF is on f****** life support and probably won’t make it into next year unless they pull a miracle out of their ass like the IFL.

Duke City has had ownership controversy and may have issues financially based on what was reported before the season. Oklahoma is awful on field and plays in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma so who knows if they’ll be back.

Salina always seems to be a coin flip if they’ll come back, while their Kansas rival Wichita also has been reported to have financial issues.

Sioux City, last year, was also said to be folding if Omaha went to the IFL. My understanding is there is still a personal rivalry between the Sioux Falls and Sioux City ownership.

That really only leaves Amarillo and Omaha as stable franchises both of which, if possible, should join the IFL. Omaha would be natural with the Midwestern teams in the league while Amarillo would be a good fit in the IFL’s Southern/Western expansion.

So, CIF fans man the lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship or be ready to pull of a miracle like we’ve never seen.The post Norling: IFW – Teams on the move, possibly to the Graveyard appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Norling: IFW – A full week ahead

There’s a full week ahead when it comes to indoor football across the four leagues that we cover. Ashle Norling has it taken care of in another edition of Indoor Football Weekly.
The Games (Home Team in Bold)
Champions Indoor Football
Amarillo Venom 88, Duke City Gladiators 62
Omaha Beef 48, Texas Revolution 34
Wichita Force 61, Oklahoma Flying Aces 34
Salina Liberty 51, Sioux City Bandits 49

Indoor Football League
Nebraska Danger 66, Cedar Rapids River Kings 42
Arizona Rattlers 63, Sioux Falls Storm 50
Iowa Barnstormers 61, Tucson Sugar Skulls 58
Bismarck Bucks 51, Quad City Steamwheelers 48

National Arena League
Massachusetts Pirates 45, Orlando Predators 12

My words betrayed me this week, a few weeks ago I touted the competitiveness of most CIF games and that really wasn’t the case this past week. Starting in the second quarter the Venom manhandled the defending champion Duke City Gladiators ending with a 26 point victory for Amarillo.

Omaha had a slightly more competitive game with Texas only winning by 14 but had defensive dominance shutting out the Revs in the 1st and 4th quarters. Wichita took the biggest win of the night, 27 points, against the hapless Oklahoma Flying Aces.

Last up in the CIF was Sioux City/Salina, a game that ended in weird fashion when the Liberty QB Andrew Jackson threw a pass that the Bandits Henry Livingston picked off but lost the ball before he hit the ground. Easy call that should have been an incompletion but was called intercepted by the officials with 11 seconds remaining. The oddities didn’t stop there as Bandits QB Dillon Turner was sacked by Salina’s Travis Taylor with 6 seconds left on the clock to give the Liberty a W.

The IFL on the other hand had two and a half fairly competitive games that started out with Nebraska owning Cedar Rapids the entire first half en route to a 24 point win. Arizona would outscore Sioux Falls 37-21 before having a dogfight in the second half leading to a 13 point Rattlers win.

In Tucson the Sugar Skulls held the defending Champion Barnstormers down for three quarters, leading 31-20 at the half and 37-20 in the middle of the third quarter. Tucson couldn’t hold on and gave up 34 points in the fourth to the high powered Iowa offense who took the game by 3 points.

Last up in the IFL was a game that I personally thought was a safe bet as the Steamwheelers traveled to Bismarck to take on the Bucks. The Bucks kept the game close the entire night and with 6 seconds left (seems to be a good time to win a game last week) Bismarck QB John Gibbs hit Eric Lauderdale with a 25 yard TD pass to not only win but put the Bucks on a 2 game winning streak.

On the NAL front our own Brandon Russell did a great recap of the Pirates/Predators game that you can check out here.
Quick Hits
In the CIF kicking off on Friday Night it’ll be the battle of the bottom (of the North) as Sioux City (1-3) looks to break a two game losing streak against Wichita (2-4). Saturday sees three games in the CIF starting with Salina (3-2) looking to extend their winning streak to three games hosting defending Champion Duke City (3-2) who also looks to break a two game skid.

Omaha (3-1) travels to Enid, OK to take on the Flying Aces (0-4) in an attempt to keep themselves at the top of the Northern Division, while Oklahoma will look to gain it’s first win in franchise history over a very good Omaha Beef team.

In the Indoor Football League all 10 teams will be in action this week and all will kick off around the same time. Arizona (8-0) hosts Nebraska (5-4) at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. The Danger are pushing for a playoff spot in the last half of the season and a win would much help while the Rattlers will defend their unbeaten record and the Snake Pit.

The Green Bay Blizzard (5-3) host the Bismarck Bucks (2-6) at the Resch Center on Saturday night. Bismarck will head into GB looking for a third straight win for a team that two weeks ago was 0-6. Green Bay on the other side looks for win number six, which will tie the most wins they’ve had (2015) since they went 11-3 back in the 2012 season.

The third and final game of the 2019 Iowa Bowl series finishes up in Des Moines on Saturday night as the hometown Barnstormers (7-1) take on their arch rival in the Cedar Rapids River Kings (1-8). In the two earlier games the River Kings gave the Barnstormers a scare in almost beating them before dropping the game in the 4th quarter each time. This time they look to get over the hump in Des Moines. The Barnstormers haven’t been the most polished team this year but always come out with a strong second half and look to keep winning at home where they play 5 of their final 6 games.

In Moline, IL the Quad City Steamwheelers (3-5) host the Sioux Falls Storm (6-2) on $2 Beer night. The ‘Wheelers look to give the QCA something to cheer about as massive flooding has wreaked havoc on Downtown Davenport, IA across the river. Knowing the how the Storm are, especially after losing, the Quad City fans will probably need a lot of those $2 beers.

Last up is an 8PM kickoff between the Tucson Sugar Skulls (3-5) and the San Diego Strike Force (1-7) in Tucson, AZ. Sugar Skulls fans are not happy with a no call on the play that Iowa won the game on last weekend and the team will attempt to redeem themselves from that. San Diego on the other hand, well head coach Burt Grossman probably doesn’t give a f*** about what happens.

The CIF games can be caught on Pluto TV while the IFL and NAL games are available on YouTube.The post Norling: IFW – A full week ahead appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Norling: IFW – What in the Streets is going on in the NAL!?

The Games (Home Team in Bold)

Champions Indoor Football:
Amarillo Venom 70, Sioux City Bandits 69
Salina Liberty 50, Wichita Force 22
Texas Revolution 60, Duke City Gladiators 55

Indoor Football League:
Bismarck Bucks 40, Cedar Rapids River Kings 25
Nebraska Danger 47, Green Bay Blizzard 40
Sioux Falls Storm 36, Iowa Barnstormers 32
Quad City Steamwheelers 72, Tucson Sugar Skulls 54
Arizona Rattlers 52, San Diego Strike Force 14

National Arena League:
Jacksonville Sharks 48, Columbus Lions 24
New York Streets 70, Orlando Predators 31
Carolina Cobras 50, Massachusetts Pirates 22

Kicking off in the CIF, the week was highlighted by the home team winning all three games for the second straight week this season.

Amarillo and Sioux City took things down to the wire. The Bandits held a five-point lead after a FG with under a minute left but the Venom managed to sneak in a touchdown with 13 seconds to play to finish out the game and send the Bandits back to Sioux City without much to show for it except a long bus ride home.

In Salina after a close first half, the Liberty blew the door opened and never looked back en route to a nice 28 point win over fellow Kansas team, the Wichita Force.

Lastly in Frisco at the hideous setup inside The Star at Ford Center the Revs tried, who led by as much as 29, tried to give the game to Duke City but ended up scraping out a win at home to keep them on top in the South.

In the IFL, the football gods decided to strike me thrice this week, first in Cedar Rapids where the Bucks managed to pick up a win after I said last week it would take a miracle. I guess a sh*tty River Kings team also works. Green Bay then fell to Nebraska in a tough game breaking the Blizzard’s four game winning streak.

The biggest game of the week took place in Sioux Falls with the Storm hosting the defending champion Iowa Barnstormers. The Storm used some of that ole’ Sioux Falls magic to come away with the win over Iowa.

Quad City also managed to break a three game losing streak with a fantastic home win over Tucson, the ‘Wheelers will look to keep that going next week in Bismarck.

Wrapping up the IFL was an unsurprising beat down of the Strike Force by the soon to be 14-0 Arizona Rattlers. The most surprising thing about the game was the night it was played and that’s it.

The NAL on the other hand has been surprising so far. Columbus is now 0-2 after a loss at home to the Sharks. Carolina has started 2-0 with two very convincing wins over the Pirates, and the New York Streets seem to be (so far) in contention for an NAL Championship with wins on the road over Jacksonville and a blowout home win over Orlando.
The “News”
Speaking of the New York Streets it would probably be better if they played on a street than their home “arena” in White Plains.

The field is marked for 50 yards plus 8 yard end zones but any comparison shows that’s not even close to true. I’ve been told that the field is actually 38 yards long plus end zones, though my estimate is 33, either way that puts the actual field size end-wall-to-end-wall somewhere between 44 and 50 yards. That’s a ways shorter than the required 66 yards the field is in that same span.

This is a joke as are some things I’ve been hearing such as the Streets renovating the Westchester County Center (their home arena) to hold a full field or moving into the Madison Square Garden for next year.

First off renovating the Westchester County Center is absurd, the building already only seats 3,000 fans for football (according to the team) and 5,000 for basketball (it’s primary sports use). I

n order to make the field usable they would need to demolish all or part of the balcony seats (as it’s also too narrow) which would reduce it’s football capacity to approximately 2,000 and basketball to 3,500-4,000.

Considering how much of an impact it would have on the arenas main tenants (the New York Liberty and Westchester Knicks) and how long it would take this won’t be happening.

Option number two which has had many more people say it will happen is the Streets going to play in the Garden which is batsh*t crazy.

First the Garden, not including potential Knicks or Rangers playoff games will already be booked solid as it is a highly in demand arena.

Second the costs to book that building are even more crazy, a trusted source has stated that one game at MSG would cost the same as the Columbus Lions rent for the teams entire history and the second game would pay for their rent for another 13 years.

The owner has stated he refuses to lose money. Well, playing at MSG guarantees you’ll lose money as you’ll never sell enough tickets at a high enough price to break even. There are reasons why the AFL never lasted at MSG.

The NAL needs to force the Streets to play in a larger building with a regulation field. Every year it has had something to make it look bush league.

Year One was the Corpus Christi Rage and Georgia Firebirds, last year was the uneven schedule, and this year is the Streets arena situation.

You want to be taken seriously? Put you’re f*cking foot down. And New York, go play at Nassau where the only viable arena/indoor team, the New York Dragons, played or just fold.The post Norling: IFW – What in the Streets is going on in the NAL!? appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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