Category Archives: National Arena League

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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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Top 5 Reasons the Carolina Cobras will Win the 2019 NAL Championship

The National Arena League (NAL) championship game is just over 48 hours away. The players are doing everything they can possibly do to stay healthy and not injure themselves. The Jacksonville Sharks (14-1) host the Carolina Cobras (10-5) this Saturday night at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:00 pm in the third NAL Championship. The Carolina Cobras are just about ready for battle, which is why we are revealing five reasons why the Carolina Cobras will win the 2019 NAL Championship.
Top 5 Reasons the Carolina Cobras will Win the 2019 NAL Championship
5. Abscence of Cody Saul (Possibly)
Jacksonville Sharks Jack Linebacker Cody Saul is currently suspended by the NAL for running onto the field into an altercation after the Columbus Lions @ Jacksonville Sharks playoff game on August 6. It is unclear as to whether he will play this weekend or not. As of right now, he leads the league in the most tackles this season at 64. In the last four games, Saul has been able to intercept five passes and take three to the house for a touchdown. His efforts not only help the Sharks defense, as he also plays Wide Receiver on the offense. While that wasn’t his primary position this season, Saul still managed to catch 11 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. His dual-threat ability will definitely help the Cobras figure out how they can take down the Sharks. This isn’t really anything that the Cobras can do to change the outcome of the game, but it’s definitely something that they can take advantage of.
4. Late Season Motivation
The Cobras won the championship last year and it seemed to carry over to this season as well since they dominated teams late in the season. They performed two complete shutout games. While it was against the Orlando Predators (2-12) both times, it is still almost impossible to completely shut out a team in football, let alone, arena football. Against the New York Streets, they put on a 46-0 shut out before they had to forfeit the game due to a security breach. This ball that they have rolling definitely transferred into the playoffs as they got by the Pirates with hardly any issues in the second half of the game.
3. Clicking Offense
Charles McCullum and Co. had a rough start to the season, losing their main receiving group. The only receiver to stay from last season is Jordan Jolly. This year, Jolly put up record-breaking numbers. He caught 104 passes for 1,210 yards and 31 touchdowns (all three of which are either tied or broken records). Thankfully for the Cobras, they were able to trade for a deadly receiver in Lavon Pearson with the Massachusetts Pirates. Pearson helped the Pirates go to the playoffs last season and did a great job with the Cobras this season. He caught 45 passes for 586 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Cobras lost one of their best Offensive Lineman earlier this season. Joe Harris was a key part in the Cobras success, but the Cobras were able to make the necessary changes to make everything work. It all went as planned since they made it to the championship game.
2. Last Year’s Dominance Transferring to This Year
The Cobras had the best team last season even though their record didn’t really show it. In the playoffs, they were a completely different team than they were in the post-season. They smacked the Jacksonville Sharks and won by almost 30 points and put a beating on the Columbus Lions with a 66-8 score, which is probably going to be the worst NAL championship game ever when it comes to point differential. Knowing that the players and coaches have the ability to do this, they are going to follow through with it. During the first playoff game this season, the Cobras had a slow start, but eventually held the Massachusetts Pirates to not a single touchdown in the second half. Obviously the Cobras won as they put up a 30-26 close game.
1. Defense Wins Championships
The Carolina Cobras have the best defense in the NAL at the moment. They beat the Sharks in just about every defensive category. They don’t have as many turnovers as the Sharks, they don’t allow as many yards, first downs, points, or even wins, but they sure do know how to stop their opponents. This top-defense will have their chance to hush the doubters this Saturday and prove that they can carry this Cobras team to their second consecutive title. This Cobras 2019 NAL Championship game could be one of the best games that the league has seen.
More Exciting News to Come!
Later today, we will reveal the Top Five Reasons why the Jacksonville Sharks will win the 2019 NAL Championship. Tomorrow, we will reveal the Official NAL awards shortly after they come out. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our Indoor Football website to stay up to date on everything.The post Top 5 Reasons the Carolina Cobras will Win the 2019 NAL Championship appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Cobras visit Jacksonville for 2019 NAL Championship

The third National Arena League (NAL) Championship is almost underway as the number one Jacksonville Sharks (14-1) host the number two Carolina Cobras (10-5). The winner of this game will win the 2019 NAL championship, The winner of this game will also win their second NAL Championship since the Sharks won in 2017 and the Cobras won last year in 2018. Last season, the first playoff game between the two was a blowout in the Cobras favor. They won 73-48 to advance to the 2018 NAL Championship. This year, the league and both teams hope for a closer game.
Cobras visit Jacksonville for 2019 NAL Championship
On paper, these two teams are very close to each other, which means that this game should go down to who has the ball last. Both offenses are top-notch in the league as well as the defenses. This 2019 Championship game could be the closest final game that the NAL will have in a very long time.
Offensive Matchup
While it is unclear as to who is the starting quarterback for the Sharks is, there is no doubt that both of their quarterbacks have great talent in arena football. Together, both Jonathan Bane and Mike Fafaul had a combined 283-of-473 (59.83%) for 3,163 yards, 74 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions in the regular season. Charles McCullum, on the other hand, is 232-of-394 (58.88%) for 2,883 yards, 66 touchdowns, and 15 touchdowns.

The Sharks top the Cobras in Scoring Offense (57.5-51.4), Total Offense (244.4-230.8 ypg), Total Offensive Touchdowns (99-89), Rushing Offense (21.3-17.9 ypg), Rushing Touchdowns (25-20), Pass Efficiency (104.2-103.3), Passing Offense (223.1-212.9 ypg), Passing Touchdowns (74-69), Interceptions Thrown (17-18), First Down Rushing (34-26), First Down Passing (169-167), Third Down Conversions (46%-40.3%). Fourth Down Conversions (38.2%-27.3%), Allowed Sacks (11-24).

The Cobras have the Sharks beat in the following Offensive Categories: Average Yards Per Play (6.2-5.8), Yards Per Completion (11.8-11), First Downs (239-237), and Red Zone Offense (84.3%-82%).
Defensive Matchup
The Sharks and Cobras have very similar defenses and are very close on the stats in just about every category. The Sharks defense has the Cobras beat in the number of interceptions (36-28), Interception Return Yards (288-173), Interceptions Returned for a Touchdown (6-3), fumble recoveries (14-13), Opponent Third Down Conversions (26.7%-27.7%), Opponent Fourth Down Conversions (32.7%-39.6%), and Sacks (40-36).

The Cobras defense has the Sharks beat in a lot of categories, which is very interesting because the Sharks have the Cobras beat in the majority of the offensive categories. The high-powered offense will go up against the high-powered defense, and the same thing goes for the Cobras offense versus the Sharks defense.

The Cobras have the Sharks beat in Scoring Defense (31.1-33.9 ppg), Total Defense (181.6-190.1 ypg), Rushing Defense (15.9-19.3 ypg), Defensive Pass Efficiency (95.4-95.9), Pass Defense (165.6-170.9), Fumble Return Average (20.2-4), and Fumbles Returned for a Touchdown (4-2).
Special Teams Matchup
If the game went down to the final kick of the game, whether it was a PAT or Deuce, it is looking like the Sharks would be able to win in that case. The Sharks have the Cobras topped in PAT percentage. Sharks Kicker Brandon Behr is 94-of-107 on PAT’s (87.85%). Cobras Kicker Brandon Rutherford is 39-of-46 on PAT’s (84.78%). Both numbers are really great and are the highest in the league.

Where the Cobras barely get the Sharks is the Field Goal percentages. Behr, this season, is 1-of-6 on Field Goals (16.67%) whereas Rutherford is 1-of-5 (20%). Both percentages are really low, but it is also uncommon to find a kicker in arena football to nail every field goal through the nine foot wide goalpost.

The deuces is where the Sharks change the game. Behr has made a total of 25 this season, counting post-season (23 in the regular season). Rutherford had a shorter season than Behr, but still managed to make six.

Behr averages almost two deuces a game and about seven PAT’s a game, which puts up an average of almost 11 points per game, which makes a major difference between a winner and a loser in arena football.
Final Conclusion
The Sharks offense has proven that they are the best in the league, as they are statistically better than the Cobras in just about every category. The Cobras defense, to counter that, is statistically the better defense between the two teams. Like mentioned earlier, the top offense going against the top defense will be one worth watching.

On the other side of things, the Cobras offense is still a great group. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t play in this game. The only issue that the Cobras could have is turnovers. The Sharks defense may allow more yards and a higher percentage on third and fourth down, but the turnovers that the Sharks force is much more significant than the Cobras. Forcing eight more interceptions and receiving one more fumble than the Cobras all season could be the difference in the game between who wins this game.

Of course, we can’t forget about the kickers. Later in the season, the Sharks have been able to score more touchdowns, which means that Behr’s PAT percentage is boosted. If the game is back and fourth and could be determined by who misses the game-winning PAT, there is no telling who is going to miss that game-winner because both kickers have over an 80% PAT average.
More Exciting Pieces to Come
Since the championship game is getting closer, we are bringing more content to NAL fans and indoor football fans. Tomorrow, we will reveal our Top Five Reasons why the Cobras will win the Championship as well as the Top Five Reasons why the Jacksonville Sharks will win the Championship game.

After that, we will release the official 2019 NAL Awards as they are released to the public. Be sure to check out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our Indoor Football website to stay updated on what is to come.The post Cobras visit Jacksonville for 2019 NAL Championship appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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2019 LWOS NAL First and Second Team All-NAL Announced

The National Arena League (NAL) Championship is just days away. This means that the First and Second Team All-NAL awards are going to be released within the next day or so. Up first, we are announcing our 2019 LWOS NAL First and Second Team All-NAL players.
2019 LWOS NAL First and Second Team All-NAL Announced
First Team All-NAL Offense
Quarterback: Charles McCullum, Carolina Cobras – 232-of-394 (58.89%) for 2,883 yards, 66 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions
Wide Receiver: Devin Wilson, Jacksonville Sharks – 102 receptions for 1,179 yards and 29 touchdowns
Wide Receiver: Jordan Jolly, Carolina Cobras – 104 receptions for 1,210 yards and 31 touchdowns
Wide Receiver: Bones Bagaunte, Columbus Lions – 99 receptions, 995 yards, 29 touchdowns
Fullback: Alstevis Squirewell, Jacksonville Sharks – 51 rushes, 163 yards, 9 touchdowns
Offensive Lineman: Chad Kolumber, Carolina Cobras
Center: Derrick Zeigler, Jacksonville Sharks
Offensive Lineman: Jabari Buckley, Jacksonville Sharks
First Team All-NAL Defense:
Defensive End: Nick Woodman, Jacksonville Sharks – 39 tackles (15 TFL), 12.5 sacks, 7 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Nose Tackle: Toby Johnson, Massachusetts Pirates – 13.5 tackles (8.5 TFL), 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups
Defensive End: JD Griggs, Massachusetts Pirates – 26.5 tackles, (12 TFL), 9.5 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Mac Linebacker: Zack Brown, Jacksonville Sharks – 31 tackles (13 TFL), 7.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 forced safety
Jack Linebacker: Cody Saul, Jacksonville Sharks – 64 tackles, (3.5 TFL), 8 interceptions (3 returned for touchdowns), 4 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries
Defensive Back: Seth Ellis, Jacksonville Sharks – 44.5 tackles (1 TFL), 13 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown), 25 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
Defensive Back: Michael Green, Carolina Cobras – 62 tackles (3 TFL), 1.5 sacks, 10 interceptions, 34 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Defensive Back: Laurence Austin, Massachusetts Pirates – 63 tackles, (0.5 TFL), 10 interceptions, 23 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
First Team All-NAL Special Teams:
Kicker: Brandon Behr, Jacksonville Sharks – 94-of-107 PAT (87.85%), 1-of-6 FG (16.67%), 23 deuces
Kick Returner: Tony Goodman, Jacksonville Sharks – 15 kick returns, 401 yards, 2 touchdowns
Second Team All-NAL Offense:
Quarterback: Sean Brackett, Massachusetts Pirates – 244-of-396 (61.62%) for 2,523 yards, 57 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions
Fullback: Quayvon Hicks, Massachusetts Pirates – 39 rushes, 155 yards, 6 touchdowns
Wide Receiver: Mardy Gilyard, Massachusetts Pirates – 84 receptions, 950 yards, 29 touchdowns
Wide Receiver: Rob Jones, New York Streets – 65 receptions, 859 yards, 20 touchdowns
Wide Receiver: Paris Mack, Columbus Lions – 50 receptions, 871 yards, 14 touchdowns
Offensive Lineman: Aundrey Walker, Columbus Lions
Center: Thomas Claiborne, Massachusetts Pirates
Offensive Lineman: Mike Williams, Jacksonville Sharks
Second Team All-NAL Defense:
Defensive Lineman: Steve Miller, Carolina Cobras – 36 tackles (13 TFL), 9 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 forced safeties
Nose Tackle: Bill Vavau, Carolina Cobras – 10 tackles (6.5 TFL), 1.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 3 blocked kicks
Defensive Lineman: Jonathan Taylor, Jacksonville Sharks – 15 tackles (8 TFL), 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced safety
Mac Linebacker: Shawn Loiseau, Massachusetts Pirates – 13.5 tackles (4 TFL), 3 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble
Jack Linebacker: Kavika Luafatasaga, Massachusetts Pirates – 39 tackles, (2.5 TFL), 5 interceptions, 7 pass breakups
Defensive Back: Chucky Williams, Massachusetts Pirates – 51.5 tackles (2 TFL), 11 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery
Defensive Back: Markus Smith, Jacksonville Sharks – 50 tackles (1 TFL), 8 interceptions (2 returned for touchdowns), 14 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Defensive Back: Dallas Jackson, Orlando Predators – 38 tackles (1 TFL), 3 interceptions, 19 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries
Second Team All-NAL Special Teams:
Kicker: Mike Weaver, Massachusetts Pirates – 54-of-65 PAT (83.08%), 5-of-11 FG (45.45%), 11 deuces
Kick Returner: Cedric Poole, Carolina Cobras – 17 kick returns, 311 yards, 1 touchdown
Follow Us on Social Media!
Now that we have released our First and Second All-NAL Teams, up next is the NAL Championship Preview tomorrow. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and out Indoor Football website to stay up-to-date on everything that is happening.The post 2019 LWOS NAL First and Second Team All-NAL Announced 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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Jawad Yatim Named LWOS Executive of the Year

As the LWOS National Arena League (NAL) awards are nearing to an end, we previously mentioned that the Jacksonville Sharks won multiple awards. Now we are diving right into the Executive of the Year Award, which is a tough one to choose from because all executives in the NAL have helped the league grow in the 2019 season. The 2019 LWOS NAL Executive of the Year award winner is Jawad Yatim of the Massachusetts Pirates.
Jawad Yatim Named LWOS Executive of the Year
To start the season, the Pirates brought back the base of their offense and defense from the 2018 season. The 2018 MVP, Quarterback Sean Brackett. Wide Receivers Mardy Gilyard, Thomas Owens, Devonn Brown, and Lavon Pearson also returned to the team to help the Pirates to a successful season. On the defense, Lawrence Austin, Chucky Williams, Kavika Luafatasaga, John Griggs, Shawn Loiseau, and many more were able to return to the team. Surely this team would be the best team in the league to start, right?
Rough Start for Pirates
The Pirates had to face the Cobras in the first two weeks of the NAL season. This meant that it either was going to be a great start or a horrible start to the season. Unfortunately for the Pirates, things took a turn for the worst, being outscored by 58 points in both weeks combined. The Pirates would ultimately have a 1-4 start, which knocked them to last place in the league at one point.
Win-Streaks to Send Pirates to Playoffs
This is where Yatim and Co. got the ball rolling. They signed multiple players from the National Football League (NFL), including Wide Receiver Dexter McCluster. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Tennessee Titans. The signings that Yatim made helped the team to a six-game win streak. The win-streak was the second-longest win streak in the NAL this past season. To keep their streak alive, the Pirates had to face the Jacksonville Sharks. Unfortunately, they lost to the Sharks to end their streak, then lost to the Sharks the following week. Thankfully for the Pirates, they were able to finish strong against a struggling New York Streets team. That gave the Pirates an 8-6 record after the horrid 1-4 start.

Not only did Yatim turn the team around, he was also able to get the Pirates and the NAL on the map. A Tweet from Ian Rapoport was sent out stating that McCluster was signed by the Pirates. Doing things like this will get teams and the league on the map, which would translate to more people attending games. More people going to games would lead to more merchandise being sold and more revenue to the team.
More Awards to Come
The LWOS team can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We have one more award, which is the Best Mascot before we move to the First and Second All-NAL teams.The post Jawad Yatim Named LWOS Executive of the Year 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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Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators

Rivalries are meant to last forever, or at least a very long time. That is why the Orlando Predators have returned to the arena football business. Them and the Jacksonville Sharks look to hook back up this weekend and continue their great rivalry. Things were started in the Arena Football League (AFL) and are continuing in the National Arena League (NAL).
Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators
The Sharks enter this week with a 3-1 record and are tied with the Carolina Cobras and New York Streets for first place. The Predators are in fifth place with a 1-4 record, but had a very close, but good game against the Streets last week, falling short 53-54 with just seconds on the clock.

Brandon Russell and Connor Ferguson collaborated to remember a pair of Jacksonville-Orlando matchups from their lifetimes to remember what was once and what could be again a great rivalry.
Brandon’s Flashback
One of the most memorable games between these two is, quite ironically, the final meeting between the two. The Sharks made the quick trip to Orlando to take on the Predators in the first playoff game of the year. The Sharks came into this week as underdogs with a 7-9 record and an interim head coach while the Predators were looking strong at 12 wins and only four losses.

In the course of the game, the Sharks never saw the lead until 10:53 to go in the third quarter. From there, it was a back and forth scoring battle. In the fourth quarter, the Sharks were up 61-55 with just seconds to go in regulation. The Predators pulled a quick one and scored right as time ran out. Before the PAT, everything was all tied up at 61. Orlando felt good about their odds, sending out a victory tweet on Twitter. They missed the PAT, which sent this dramatic game into overtime.

Orlando received the ball to start OT and scored in less than five minutes. In arena football, both teams get the chance to score. This gave Jacksonville the chance to score and keep their playoff hopes alive. In a time of three minutes and 18 seconds, the Sharks scored a touchdown on a goal-line run from Fullback Derrick Ross. Interim Head Coach Bob Landsee had a difficult decision to make: Point After Touchdown or 2-Point Conversion Attempt? The city of Jacksonville is known as “The Bold City”, so Landsee decided to go for two. A very gutsy call was made to run the ball, even though Orlando knew what was going to happen. Ross got the ball and gave it his all, bulldozing right through the offensive and defensive lines to convert on the 2-point attempt.
Connor’s Flashback
I remember coming home from a hockey game when I was a young kid to turn on the TV and see an Arena Football League game. I was about 12 years old so the memory of it is a bit blurry, but I remember watching Aaron Garcia and the Predators take on Jacksonville in the 2010 playoffs.

It was the Barnstormers first year back in the league, but Garcia and that Predators team was one of – if not – my favorite to watch.

The pair of teams scored 60 points combined in the fourth quarter including 31 from the Predators as they escaped with a 73-69 win in Jacksonville.

Like I said, I don’t remember a ton from the game, but my family and I watched it in our living room. The only reason my Mom let me keep it on the TV was because of how great of a game it was and because she could tell neither of the teams liked each other all that much.

Hopefully, this Saturday when the teams match up for the first time as NAL franchises, we will get half as good of games as we’ve seen in this series in the past. That game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be live streamed on YouTube. As always, we’ll have updates on twitter at @LWOS_IndoorFB.The post Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators 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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