Category Archives: National Arena League

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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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NAL Week 4: A Miraculous Cobras Victory

Week Four of the National Arena League (NAL) wrapped up last Saturday night as three games went on all night. There was a close game and some not-so-close games.
NAL Week 4: A Miraculous Cobras Victory
The game that everyone was waiting for was the battle of the two remaining undefeated teams. The Carolina Cobras hosted the New York Streets and did not disappoint.
New York @ Carolina
Coming into this week, both teams were undefeated, but the Cobras had one major concern hanging over themselves.

Quarterback Charles McCullum was suspended a game because of him being ejected from a game.

Thankfully for Carolina, they had plenty of time to find a quarterback since they were entering their Bye Week.

The team ended up trading for Quarterback Patrick McCain, who eventually refused to report. After that, they traded McCain back to Orlando and picked up Adrian McPherson, bringing him out of retirement.

Both quarterbacks refused to report for Carolina on game week, leaving the team in a little bit of a panic to find a quarterback.

Just days before the game, they signed former Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Quarterback Matt Foltz, who had a solid game, but didn’t play good enough to finish.

With Foltz unable to finish the game, this put Jordan Jolly as the remaining starter. He did a solid job, throwing 9-of-17 (52.94%) for 98 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

The Streets, on the other hand, had Quarterback EJ Nemeth throw 25-of-44 for 251 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.

The Cobras ended up winning that game with a 48-33 score. If Nemeth wouldn’t have thrown those four interceptions, the game likely would’ve had a much different outcome.
Orlando Predators @ Columbus Lions
The Jungle Wars continued last weekend, but this time was in Columbus, GA.

The Lions showed no mercy against the Predators, racking up the score to ensure the victory 63-22.

Quarterback Luke Collis for Columbus played lights out, completing 15 passes on 25 attempts for 169 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception. BJ Hall, the Predators starter ended up not finishing the game due to a lack of performance.

He was 15-of-26 for 153 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. His stats are very similar to Collis’ stats, except for those three interceptions. Garry Chouloute finished 5-of-8 for 25 yards.

The Lions were the only winless team, but they crawled out of that hole after a dominating victory over the Predators to show who really owns The Jungle.

Now the only determining factor is who will win on the road? The winner of that game should take the rights of “The Jungle”.
Jacksonville Sharks @ Massachusetts Pirates
The Jacksonville Sharks left the Bye Week with a promising victory over the Columbus Lions to advance to a 1-1 record. The Pirates also won their first game against the Orlando Predators.

The Pirates looked like their 2018 selves against the Pirates but failed to look the same way against the Sharks… unless you take into consideration that Jacksonville beat Massachusetts two out of three times last season.

Quarterback Jonathan Bane ended up winning the Week Four Player of the Week, completing 24 passes on 34 attempts for 223 yards and six touchdowns. Bane also rushed for one additional touchdown.

The Sharks advanced to a 2-1 record and will host the undefeated Carolina Cobras, who are now 3-0 this Saturday in Jacksonville, FL.The post NAL Week 4: A Miraculous Cobras Victory appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: Pirates Tame Predators

In the lone Week Three National Arena League (NAL) matchup, the Massachusetts Pirates (1-2) tamed the Orlando Predators (1-2) with a 45-12 score. This brings the Predators losing streak to two while the Pirates found their first win of the 2019 season. This shakes up the NAL standings tremendously, as the Columbus Lions are the only winless team and this brings the Jacksonville Sharks to third place with a 1-1 record.
NAL: Pirates Tame Predators
Things statistically worked out well for the Predators, but didn’t have quite the outcome they wanted.
Pirates Stats
The Pirates showed up all game, and the stats showed just that. Quarterback Sean Brackett was 14-of-24 for 107 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He rushed three times for three yards and two touchdowns. Massachusetts spread the ball all night long, as Wide Receiver Thomas Owens caught seven passes for 62 yards. Lavon Pearson had two receptions for 14 yards. Ishmael Zamora had two receptions for nine yards and one touchdown. Mardy Gilyard had quite the night, having 26 yards and one touchdown on three attempts as well as 44 return yards on two kickoff returns. Fullback Quayvon Hicks rushed five times for 16 yards and one touchdown. Kicker Tyler Rausa likely earned himself Special Teams Player of the Week, converting on five PAT’s out of six. He also made two deuces.

On the defensive side of the ball for the Pirates, they were all over the quarterback, having multiple quarterback rushes but only coming away with one sack, which was by J.D. Griggs. Linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga had an incredible night, having multiple pass breakups and coming away with an interception.
Predators Stats
For Orlando, they evened out the receivers and their receptions for the most part. Quarterback Kyle Israel was 21-of-44 for 198 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and had one fumble of which was recovered by the Predators. In the second quarter, the Preds decided to go with backup quarterback Garry Chouloute, who threw an interception on his very first throw. Israel returned to the field on the next play. Wide Receiver Prechae Rodriguez returned to the Predators for the first time since the Arena Football (AFL) days. He totaled nine receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. Keith DeVeaux finished with four receptions for 51 yards. Fullback Desmond Maxwell had three rushes for five yards, one reception for 14 yards and one touchdown. Wide Receiver Edward Victorian had a decent night, have 34 yards off of four catches.

For the Predators defense, Defensive Linemen John Brown and Cory Henry had one sack.

Pirates First Quarter Dominance

Things started off very slow for the Predators, as they started the game with the ball and threw an interception in the first four and a half minutes in the game. The Pirates weren’t all that quick to score, but they did find the end zone with just over six minutes to go in the first quarter. A missed PAT from Rausa made it a 6-0 lead for Massachusetts. Fortunately for the Pirates, Rausa was able to redeem himself after a successful deuce attempt, putting the score at 8-0. To close the first quarter, the Pirates were able to score a touchdown, as Zamora was able to catch a high pass in the end zone for his first ever arena touchdown. A successful PAT made things 15-0 in favor of the Pirates.
Turnover Galore Second Quarter
Nothing major happened in the second quarter except for turnovers. Israel for the Predators threw one interception while Chouloute entered the game and threw an interception on his first attempt. That interception on Chouloute’s first attempt ended up going all the way to the Orlando one yard line before DeVeaux was able to smack the ball out of the DB’s hands and recover the ball in the end zone for an Orlando touchback. Lots of empty possession drives killed the clock, but not before Brackett ran for his second rushing touchdown of the night. This put the Pirates up 22-0 with just 13 seconds to play in the first half. Orlando got the ball after the Massachusetts touchdown, but instantly threw his second interception with seven seconds to go. The Pirates ran two plays to kill the clock to go to halftime.
Third Quarter
The Pirates got things going real quick to start the second half, as they took over and almost instantly scored. This gave Massachusetts a 29-0 lead. The Predators looked to strike back, as their first touchdown of the night was from Israel to Rodriguez from 15 yards out. After a missed Jakelsky PAT, the Predators were still struggling with a 6-29 score. Thankfully for the Predators, Brackett went down the field all the way and was intercepted to give them another chance to find the end zone. On fourth and goal from inside the Pirates one yard line, Israel rushed for no gain, giving the Pirates First and 10 from inside their one yard line and no Predators score.
Game-Securing Fourth Quarter
To start the final quarter of the game, the Predators were down 6-29, needing 23 points to tie things up. After a missed 58-yard field goal from Rousa, this gave the Predators yet another opportunity to put up points on the board, which they did just that. On a 14-yard play from Israel to Maxwell, the Pirates found the end zone but failed to convert on the two-point conversion. This put the score at 12-29 with the Predators in desperation mode with 9:38 to play. The Pirates just about sealed the after scoring a touchdown, forcing a turnover on downs, and scoring yet another touchdown. The game was 45-12 for Massachusetts with just one minute to go. Orlando failed to do anything with the ball with that one minute to go, which ended the game. The Pirates found themselves victorious for the first time since August 4, 2018.The post NAL: Pirates Tame Predators appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: Bad vs. Worst; Only One Wins

Two of the worst teams in the National Arena League (NAL) are ready to kick off Week 3 of the NAL season.

The Massachusetts Pirates (0-2) host the Orlando Predators (1-1), who had the worst game in the NAL this season. What can they do to bounce back? What must be done for the Pirates to seal their first victory of the season?
NAL: Bad vs. Worst; Only One Wins
Who: Orlando Predators @ Massachusetts Pirates

When: Saturday, April 27 at 7:00 pm (E.T.)

Where: DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts

The worst-ranked team in the league hosts a struggling 1-1 team this week. The Massachusetts Pirates look to get their first win of the season while the Orlando Predators need to dig themselves out of a hole after a Week Two embarrassment.
Pirates Sketchy Offense
2018 NAL MVP, Sean Brackett enters Week Three with a huge monkey on his back, as the Pirates have been held to a franchise low of 22 points in their first two weeks, having an 0-2 record, and throwing 32-of-68 for 288 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions. Those aren’t exactly MVP numbers, so what is going on with this offense?

First off, the Pirates lost their top receiver, Bones Bagaunte, to the Columbus Lions. Bagaunte shredded the league last season with 54 receptions for 524 yards and an impressive 14 touchdowns. Lavon Pearson, Mardy Gilyard, and Devonn Brown all have returned from last season, and were the top three receivers for the Pirates last year, but they aren’t seeing nearly the numbers they are used to. There is only one group of people to blame for this: The Offensive Line. Before getting into how bad the Pirates O-Line has been so far this season, we must remember that O-Linemen Cornelius Lewis and Fred Ruff have left for the Arena Football League (AFL). All of this happened well before the season kicked off, so the team knew what they needed to do and who to get for this season, but have still failed to do so.

Not only is the Pirates O-Line playing sub-par, they have starting lineman Mitch Bell suspended during this game for multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on him against the Carolina Cobras last week. With a struggling line and a suspension, this has “DANGER” written all over it. Don’t be surprised if the Pirates give up the game simply because Brackett doesn’t have enough time to throw the ball.
Unsure Defense
Allowing 54 and 50 points respectively is not necessarily a bad thing in arena football. That is typically an average score for most arena leagues. This means that the Pirates defense is doing what they need to do in order to give their offense some sort of chance. They have forced only two turnovers, which is their main area of concern. Their defensive line hasn’t touched the quarterback a single time this season, which is another area of concern.

If the Pirates don’t want to be looked at as a team like the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Corpus Christi Rage, or even Dayton Wolfpack, they have to get their stuff together, and it all starts now, when it should’ve started two weeks ago. Not a single team in the NAL has made the playoffs after an 0-2 start to the season. Some have become close, such as the Maine Mammoths last year, but close and almost doesn’t mean anything in football.
Sticky Quarterback Situation
The Predators look solid on offense. They don’t look great, but they definitely don’t look bad. They have great receivers who find ways to get open, but can’t seem to do anything. Both quarterbacks looked strong, yet sloppy at the same time last week in New York. Starting QB Kyle Israel was 16-of-27 for 245 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions before getting benched by QB Gary Chouloute. He ended the night 4-of-9 for 51 yards and one touchdown. Neither quarterback looked impressive, but those numbers look pretty good, except they don’t matter when you can’t put points up on the board. The run game was not existent for the Preds until Chouloute entered the game and rushed for 27 yards, the most rushing yards a player had in the entire NAL last week. Nevertheless, the Preds have a sticky situation at the QB position.
Unpredictable Defense
The Predators looked like they missed the flight from Orlando to New York. It was all non-existent, allowing 70 points, the most of any team this year. They forced no interceptions last week and only got to the quarterback twice. This will not win a single game in arena football.
Conclusion and “Winner”
Both teams look like the worst teams in the league right now. The Columbus Lions may be 0-2 right now, but at least they somewhat put up a fight last week and stayed in the game, unlike the Pirates and Predators last week.

Both teams have no defense and can’t do much on offense. If it comes down to an offensive battle, the experience that Massachusetts has will win them the game. If it comes down to which defense will step it up, there is no telling who would win that one, which is why the Pirates should be able to travel the length of the field on numerous occasions this week and bring home their first win of the season.The post NAL: Bad vs. Worst; Only One Wins 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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NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action

Week Two of the National Arena League (NAL) concluded on Saturday night. The New York Streets (2-0) defeated the Orlando Predators (1-1) 70-31 and the Carolina Cobras (2-0) defeated the Massachusetts Pirates (0-2) 50-22.

The night before, the Jacksonville Sharks (1-1) also moved past the Columbus Lions (0-2) 48-24 in the standings. Things got chippy all over the league, which resulted in multiple ejections.
NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action
Friday Night Lights
The Sharks controlled just about every 60 minutes of the game with some minor mistakes that would allow the Lions to come back and make it a game.

However, the Lions never came within one score of the Sharks after the second half started. This caused some heated moments, as the Sharks and Lions already have a big rivalry going on.

With 2:50 to go in the game, Defensive Back Seth Ellis intercepted a pass and returned it to the Columbus one-yard line. A Jacksonville Pass Interference would wipe away the turnover, giving the Lions the ball back.

After the play,  Lions Wide Receiver Bones Bagaunte allowed tempers to flare and charged at Sharks DB Robert Brown. This ultimately led to Bagaunte being ejected from the game, letting any hopes of the Lions comeback down the drain.

Bagaunte’s suspension hurts the Lions tremendously. He averages 12 receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns per game this season.
Cobras and Pirates get Chippy All Night
The Cobras dominated all game and showed no signs of slowing down in their 50-22 victory over the Pirates.

Just like the first game of the week, tempers flared in this one. Down 9-34 with just over five minutes left in the game, Offensive Lineman Mitch Bell for Massachusetts was penalized three times in a span of 12 seconds, leading to his ejection.

Shoving three players and getting in their faces surely doesn’t look good on him, nor the Pirates organization.

The already struggling O-Line for Massachusetts was hurting even more without Bell’s presence.

Not only were they struggling before his ejection, visiting teams don’t take the whole roster on away games, which likely meant that the Pirates needed to put someone outside of O-Line as an O-Lineman for the remainder of the game.

Bell’s ejection was not the only ejection of the night, as Cobras Quarterback Charles McCullum got mouthy with officials.

His first penalty was with 23.9 seconds to go in the game. It is unclear as to what he said, but he broke the huddle with his helmet off and started chirping at the officials.

Just seconds after that penalty, he picked up the ball, handed it to the ref, and pointed at the field, instructing the official as to where the ball should go and seemed like he was telling them how to do their job.
End Result of These Ejections?
According to sources, there is a new rule in the NAL this season when it comes to ejections; that rule states that if a player gets ejected or disqualified from a game, they must serve a suspension the following game.

This incident originally took place last season, as former Lions Wide Receiver Jarmon Fortson was ejected and suspended a game. The league reviewed the situation and lifted the suspension.

The Pirates host the Orlando Predators this week and then host the Sharks the following week. According to this rule, Bell would not be allowed to play against Orlando, but would be allowed to return against Jacksonville.

Unfortunately for Bagaunte and McCullum, they both have a Bye this week.

The Lions host the Predators in Week Four, but Bagaunte won’t be able to return to the field until their Week Five matchup against the Pirates.

The Cobras host the Streets in a huge Week Four game, except McCullum wouldn’t be allowed to play. The Cobras travel to Jacksonville, FL for a Week Five game against the Sharks. That game, McCullum can return to the field.

There is no telling as to whether there will be fines associated with these ejections, but a small fine should be implemented if the league wants to be serious about the rules and how games should be played. Regardless, something should be done or else the players won’t take it seriously and will start drama again.The post NAL: Suspensions and Fines to Follow Week 2 Action appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams

In our third Week Two matchup, we have a clash between two expansion teams as the Orlando Predators (1-0) take on the New York Streets (1-0).

The Streets are on fire, defeating the Jacksonville Sharks in Week One with a 52-41 score; a score of which hardly anybody expected.
NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams
Both teams have won their very first game in franchise history in the NAL. Both were closer games, but were still victories at the end of the day. Which one will come up victorious this weekend?
League-Leading Streets Offense
The Streets are the home team this week and have that New York fanbase behind them. After a victory in their first week against the Sharks, who are celebrating their 10th season as a franchise, the Streets climbed from dead last to the top two in the NAL leaderboard. They dominated everything last week, which will help them stay on track this week instead of having the blues after a week one loss.

Sure, it may only be week two, but the Streets have the league-leader in receiving yards. Wide Receiver Rob Jones had eight receptions for 155 yards and one touchdown.

Starting Quarterback Dave Legree was inactive, but that didn’t stop New York, as backup QB EJ Nemeth was 15-of-26 (57.69%) for 208 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.

If Nemeth is the starter this week, the Streets have absolutely nothing to worry about. If Legree ends up becoming the starter, it will be interesting to see what he can do on the field and who the Streets will end up rolling with for the rest of the season.
Pass-Rush Defense
The Streets may have only sacked the quarterback one time last week, but their Defensive Line did a great job of getting close to the QB and forcing him to overthrow his receivers or even throw the ball into the crowd.

The D-Line statistically didn’t have a great game, but that doesn’t matter when they are “doing their job” by forcing the quarterback to make a split-second decision that he may or may not regret.

For the Defensive Backs, they had a slow start, but eventually got into a rhythm, shutting down just about every receiver as the game went on.

To start the game, they left every single receiver open, which is why the Streets were down 9-14 at the end of the first quarter. After adjusting their defensive backs a little bit, they limited WR Jarmon Fortson’s catches to almost nothing as well as Chris Gilchrist and Cody Saul. The only receiver they had an issue with was Devin Wilson, as they allowed him to make 11 catches for 140 yards as well as a touchdown.

If the DB’s do their job this week and shut down the receivers like they did last week, they will be golden against Orlando, who doesn’t have nearly as many talented receivers as Jacksonville.
Fast-Paced Orlando Offense
Last week against the Lions, the Predators had a slow start, but finished the game at rapid fire. After halftime, the game was score after score after score.

They ended up defeating the Lions by two points and showing them who the real jungle belonged to. Will that same offense show up to New York against the Streets scary defense?

With Quarterback Kyle Israel throwing to Wide Receivers Rob Brown and Keith DeVeaux, both with NAL experience, it will be interesting to see what kind of day New York’s DB’s will have this weekend. Playing one good wide receiver is tough, but managable; but playing two good receivers makes it just that much tougher.
Closing Prediction
The Streets are on their A-Game right now and are on top of the world, but they can’t keep that mindset because there is tons of football to play. Even though they defeated one of the oldest teams in the NAL, they can’t think they are the best because they beat the “best”. That is exactly what Jacksonville thought last week because they are completely stacked on offense. We all know how that game ended up.

On the other hand, the Predators must keep fighting. Their win was a quiet one in the league since their YouTube stream was taken down for copyright reasons as well as no stats for their game yet. The Predators must force turnovers on defense, especially with their DB’s, such as Dallas Jackson and Robert Brown, who both killed the league last year.

When it comes down to who will win, the Streets should be able to kick Orlando out and show that the Streets are worthy of being 2-0. This should definitely not get to them, like mentioned before because that will destroy this game. A team’s season is not decided by just one game.The post NAL: The First Clash of Expansion Teams appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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NAL: Massachusetts Pirates to Redeem Themselves in Week Two

The National Arena League (NAL) is just about set for Week Two action in the 2019 season tomorrow with the Jacksonville Sharks (0-1) and the Columbus Lions (0-1) going head-to-head on Friday night. The following night, the Massachusetts Pirates (0-1) look to redeem themselves against the Carolina Cobras (1-0). Last week wasn’t all sunshine for the Pirates, putting up 22 points on the Cobras and allowing 54 points.
NAL: Pirates to Redeem Themselves in Week Two
It is not very common that there are back-to-back games where the same two teams play each other without a Bye Week in between.

The NAL this season has a handful of these matchups throughout the course of the season, so this won’t be a rare sight this year.

This time, the game is in Greensboro, NC. This could turn very ugly for the Massachusetts Pirates because the home team is typically the one who has the advantage.

Last week, the Pirates already got their “home field advantage”, but didn’t capitolize on it. Could the tables turn this week or will this game have the same result?
Pirates Nightmare
The Massachusetts Pirates offense looked really slow and seemed bothered by the Cobras defense last week, only tossing the ball for 138 yards in the air.

The running game was fairly okay, especially for the Pirates, who are pass-heavy to begin with, but nothing really impressed anybody. It could just be a Week One slump and they could quickly get over that speedbump, but it is extremely tough to turn everything around in just a week.

The Pirates defense didn’t put many good statistics on the board either. Just a slow day in the office. If they continue to play like this, they will find themselves on thin ice before we know it and could be in jeopardy of not making the playoffs here early, especially with the league having talent all over.

For the Pirates to win, they must throw the Cobras off guard and pull out just about every hat trick they have in store. Perhaps they were saving their best plays or styles for this week. Only time will tell.
Cobras Domination
The Cobras seemed to sneak back up at the very top of the leaderboard after last week’s dominating performance against the Pirates. Putting up 54 points, throwing for 248 yards, and forcing turnovers and sacks will almost guarantee a victory. We say “almost” because nothing is guaranteed in arena football, as we learned last week in Jacksonville.

Obviously, to win games, teams must start real strong and be able to finish. This Cobras team last week looked like they could’ve gone a full 120 minutes before showing signs of slowing down.

They were moving the ball with ease and had almost no mistakes last week. The great news is that they are facing the same team again, which means they are able to put up the same beating if Massachusetts allows it.

The only downfall to this Cobras team is the kicking situation. Last year, the Cobras had Craig Peterson, who was picked up by the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League (AFL).

This left Carolina in a scramble to find a kicker with just days before kickoff. They found South Carolina Native Nick Belcher to take over the kicking duties. Belcher nailed a drop-kick and a deuce last week, but missed five of six PAT’s, an All-Time NAL record. If this continues, the Cobras might be making a business decision to let Belcher go.

Thankfully for the Cobras, one or two points wasn’t the determining factor of who won the game last week, and likely won’t be how this game will be decided as well. They should be able to handle the Pirates this weekend.

For all updates on arena football and indoor football, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.The post NAL: Massachusetts Pirates to Redeem Themselves in Week Two appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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