By Tonya Swim
Amarillo, Texas-Every jigsaw puzzle needs all of it's pieces to become whole. When going into a playoff game, the same is needed for a team to be able to compete at the level necessary to move to the next round. Unfortunately, the Amarillo Venom did not have all their pieces out of the box and ready to be put in place.
Key players Jer'yl Christian, Louvan Green and Steve Fluker were noticeably absent throughout the game, especially when Bernard Flores and Richard Mitchell both left the game with injuries that kept them from returning.
The Texas Revolution received the ball first and Joe Adams took the kickoff out to their own 20 yard line before being stopped by Terrious Triplett.
Andrew Jackson starts the game off with a running play, handing off to Jordan Brown for a gain of two. His next three passes are incomplete and the Venom get to take over the ball on the Revs 22.
Nate Davis finds Xavier Amey for a gain of 19, putting the ball on the Revs three yard line then finds Alex Watson in the end zone for the touchdown. A flag for illegal defense on was declined and Jacob Felton's point after was good. 11:41 in the first quarter, Revolution 0 Venom 7.
The short kick off was taken out by Frankie Solomon Jr. out the the Venom 20.
Jackson handed off to Brown for a gain of four, and two incomplete passes brought up third and six. An off side on Desmond Raiford got a replay of the down and the ball moved up five yards to the Venom 11. Another hand off to Brown and the Revolution went on the board. Brad Dunavant came out for the one and at 9:36 in the first quarter, Revolution 7 Venom 7.
Raymond Johnson Jr. took the kick off out to the the Venom 10.
Davis started with an incomplete pass before finding R. Johnson Jr. to get out the the Venom 19. Davis found Amey and an offside on Meshak Williams got the ball up to the Revolution 17 giving the first and 10. After another incomplete pass, Davis found Amey to bring up the first and goal with the ball on the Revolution six. Next play, Davis threw the ball away under pressure, then his next pass attempt to Jordan DeCorte was tipped by Tre Harlan to bring up third and goal with the ball on the three. A hand off to Jah'son Patterson would complete the possession with the touchdown but a high left snap threw the timing off for Felton and his extra point missed the mark. 3:43 left in the first, Revolution 7 Venom 13.
Kick off was taken out by Adams, but was stopped by Richard Mitchell on their own 17.
Jackson handed off to Brown and was stopped by Mitchell for no gain then Jackson was pressured and taken down by Eric Banford pushed the ball back to their own 15 bringing up third and 12. A complete pass to LaDon Hudson gave them the first and 10 on the Venom 20.
Time out Revolution. Jackson throws deep, but couldn't connect then a hand off to Brown is stopped by Raiford for a gain of two and ending the first quarter.
Jackson threw a pass to Adams, but the coverage by Jeff Branch negated that one bringing up fourth and eight on the Venom 18. A deep pass to Clinton Solomon into the end zone. The extra point was no good and with 14:12 left in the half, Revolution 13 Venom 13.
Cashmin Thomas took the kick off out to the Venom 17.
Davis used Patterson twice to get the ball up to the Revolution 18 and get the first and 10. A fake hand off didn't get the desired complete pass nor did the next two pass attempts. Felton came out for the 33 yard field goal attempt and added the three to the board. Revolution 13 Venom 16.
Felton's kickoff was out of bounds giving the Revolution the ball on their own five yard line.
Jackson was under pressure by Nashawn Lewis disallowing a complete pass, but found Adams with his next pass that put them on the board with a touchdown. Dunavant put the ball through the uprights and with 8:50 left in the half, Revolution 20 Venom 16.
Patterson took the kickoff down to the Revolution 17.
Davis' pass to Amey bought up the first and goal with the ball on the Revolution four. Next pass was batted down by Harlan, then a hand off to Patterson lost two yards. Pressure put on Davis caused him to use a shovel pass to R. Johnson Jr, who was in the end zone, and with Felton's extra point, the Venom go up again with 6:18 left in the half Revolution 20 Venom 23.
Harlan took off with the next kickoff, but with the holding call against the Revolution, the Revs are backed up to their own 21.
Jackson came out and used two plays to find Travarres Williams for a 10 yard gain then fakes a hand off, but Demario Donnell was there to make sure it didn't find the intended target. The defense pass rushed Jackson the next play causing him to scramble and throw away the ball creating a turnover on downs and giving the Venom the ball on the own 21.
Davis found Amey for an 11 yard gain then a touchdown pass. The PAT from Felton was good and with 2:18 left in the half, Revolution 20 Venom 30.
Adams took the kickoff out to their own 19 then Jackson handed off to Brown for a two yard gain. An incomplete pass heard the one minute warning and then an incomplete pass followed that, but a pass interference call on Triplett gave the Revolution the first and 10 on the Venom 14. Jackson passed to Brown, who was stopped by Mitchell for a loss of two then a pass to Brown was complete, but Jeff Branch put a huge hit on him only allowing a one yard gain. The Refs reset the clock to 23 seconds then Jackson threw another incomplete pass bringing up fourth and eight. With 18.7 seconds left in the half, Jackson found Hudson for the touchdown. The extra point was good making the score Revolution 27 Venom 30.
Thomas took the kickoff, but an illegal block in the put the Venom back to their own seven.
Davis' pass was intercepted by Jerico Nelson and the Revolution get the ball on their own 13.
Jackson finished up the half with an incomplete pass and a score of Revolution 27 Venom 30.
The third quarter saw the kickoff go out of bounds and the Venom start on their own five yard line. An incomplete then a pass to R. Johnson Jr. got the ball out to the Venom 12 but another incomplete pass brought up fourth and three. Davis tried to run, but was short the first down and the Revolution get the ball on the Venom 13.
Jackson faked a hand off and the pass to Hudson found it's mark for a two yard gain. A hand off to Brown got the ball on the Venom 10, but the Venom's Mitchell was down and would not return to the game. Jackson's next pass was picked off by Thomas, the an illegal defense on Banford gave the ball back to the Revolution on the Venom five. Jackson handed off to Brown for a gain of one then used a keeper to get the first down. A hand off to Brown would put more points on the board, but only six as the PAT was no good. 9:19 in the third, Revolution 33 Venom 30.
Next kickoff was taken by Patterson out to the Revolution 15.
Davis handed off to Patterson for a gain of three, but Venom player Bernard Flores went down and did not return to the game. Davis' pass was incomplete, the the next one was tipped then knocked down by Hudson bringing up fourth and seven along with the field goal team for a 27 yard attempt. Good. 7:02 in the third Revolution 33 Venom 33.
Felton's kickoff hops over the wall and the Revolution start out on their own five.
Jackson fakes a hand off then throws deep but doesn't complete. The defense had him scrambling next play, but he finds Brett Reece Jr. for the completion and the first and 10 on their own 16. Two more incomplete passes, then a flag for delay of game will back the Revolution to their own 11. Jackson finds C. Solomon and an illegal defense on Raiford would put the ball on the Venom 24. Jackson completes the next pass, but two holding flags move them back to their own 16. Banford and Raiford sack Jackson for a loss of one but he finds Hudson again for a touchdown. Flags flew for interference on the Revolution voiding the touchdown and taking the ball to the Revolution seven bringing up second and 28. Jackson's pass was incomplete then his deep pass was intercepted by Donnell. Flags flew for an unsportsmanlike on Lewis and Raiford, but it was after the play so Venom got to keep the ball, half the distance to the goal on their own six.
Davis completed a pass to Watson that brings up the first and 10 and ends the third quarter.
Fourth quarter started out with a Revolution time out, but Coach didn't call it.
Davis tried twice to find Amey before hitting his target bringing up forth and two on their own 24. Another incomplete pass will give the Revolution the ball on downs 12:36 in the forth quarter.
Jackson pitched to Brown, but was stopped with a one yard gain by Bryce Cross. A keeper will move them to the Venom 19 then a pitch to Brown will give them a touchdown. The extra point drew flags for an illegal snap and moved the Revolution out to the seven, but is didn't distract Dunavant and he adds his one at 11:01 in the fourth. Revolution 40 Venom 33.
Kickoff was taken by Ricardo Johnson out to the Venom 23 yard line.
Two handoffs to Patterson will move them to the Revolution 22, then a pass to Watson but the Venom in the end zone. A high snap caused Felton to try and get a pass off, but was tipped and was recovered by the Revolution as Felton tackles. 9:18 left in the game, Revolution 40 Venom 39.
A onside kick was picked up by F. Solomon Jr. and ran in for a touchdown. Flags came out, but the offside was declined. The two point conversion attempt was thwarted by Lewis bringing out the challenge flag by the Revolution coach. The ruling on the field stands, Revs lose a time out and with 9:16 left in the game, Revolution 46 Venom 39.
R. Johnson takes the kickoff out to the Venom 23. Flags, offside Revolution and the ball is moved up to the Revolution eight.
Davis hands off to Patterson to get the ball up to the Revolution two then another hand off to Patterson didn't gain any yards. Davis kept the ball and ran in for the touchdown. Felton's PAT was blocked by Malik Jenkins and with 7:48 left in the game, Revolution 46 Venom 45.
Kickoff taken by Adams but was stopped by R. Johnson on the Revolution 20.
Jackson pitched to Brown for a four yard gain then passed to C. Solomon to bring up the first and 10 and the ball on the Venom 15. Another hand off to Brown and a two point conversion and the Revolution increase their lead to 54, Venom 45 with 5:05 left in the game.
Thomas took the kickoff, but an illegal block in the back by Triplett put the ball half the distance to the goal on their own four yard line.
A bad snap had Davis scrambling and recover, but it was in the end zone giving the Revolution a safety. Revolution 56 Venom 45.
Felton's kick was taken out by Adams, but he was stopped by Donnell. A late hit penalty from DeWayne Autrey on the safety put the ball half the distance to the goal on their own five.
Jackson pitched to Brown for a gain of six then fumbled the next hand off, but Brown recovers on the Revolution 21. Time out Venom.
Jackson hands off to Brown for no gain then another hand off to Brown was stopped for a one yard gain by DeCorte. An incomplete pass brings up fourth and 10 and the Venom call another time out.
Jackson had to scramble to get the ball off but it fell short and the Venom take over on downs with two minutes left in the game on the Revolution 22.
Davis found R. Johnson Jr. to get the ball up to the Revolution one yard line. The next play, the snap went way out, Davis covered but it popped out, F. Solomon Jr. recovered and made a touchdown. The Venom challenge flag comes out. The ruling on the field took the touchdown away, but gave the Revolution the ball on their own 20 and the one minute warning sounds.
Jackson hands the ball to Brown for a two yard gain. Time out Venom. Another hand off puts the ball midfield, then to end the game, Jackson used Brown again and the buzzer sounded.
Texas Revolution 56 Amarillo Venom 45.
The season for the Venom has ended, but the Revolution will travel to Albuquerque to play Duke City in the second round on Monday, June 25.
Photo by Scott Adamson
By Tonya Swim
Albuquerque, New Mexico-The Wichita Force(4-8) came into the home of the Gladiators(10-2) with the determination to move on to the next round, and until the last three and a half minutes in the game, it seemed that they would walk away with the win.
The Force received the ball first.
Edward Smith Jr takes the ball out and up to the Duke City 19.
Rocky Hinds steps up but the play starts out with an offside against Duke City and the Force get the ball on the Duke City 14. Hinds finds D.A. Allen with a pass putting the ball on the Duke City 11 then an incomplete pass brings up third and one and a half yards. A false start on the Force puts the ball back to the Duke City 16 and another incomplete pass brings up the forth and seven along with the field goal team. Brett Mathis attempts the 36 yarder and is successful. The Force strike first, 11:52 in the first quarter, Force 3 Duke City 0.
Mathis kickoff taken by Dello Davis and out to their own 15 before being taken down by Marcus Carter.
Caleb Holbrook passes to Juwan Lewis putting the ball on their own 21 then a pass to Davis gave them first and 10 and the ball midfield. Holbrook tried a reverse to Sedrick Johnson, but brought up a loss of two. An incomplete pass brought up third and long, but then a penalty against the Force gave them the ball on the Force 23. Two more incomplete passes and the Force took over on down on their own 23.
Hinds first pass was tipped, batted, tipped again then batted down by Charles Johnson. A pass to C. Johnson then Jarrell Kelley got the ball up to the Duke City 14. Finding C. Johnson again, brought up first and goal with the ball on the eight. Hinds took off and with Allen blocking ran into the end zone. Mathis' extra point was good and the Force went up 10 Duke City 0 with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
Kickoff was taken by Davis up to the Force 22. Holbrook handed off to Clifton Rhodes for a three yard gain than a pass to Rhodes was complete for the touchdown. Duke City was on the board 4:07 in the first. James Nachu point after was good. Force 10 Duke City 7.
The kickoff was touched by Joe Hubener and the Force start out on their own 20.
Hinds' pass was tipped by Matt Moss then he handed off but flags flew for a holding against the Force pushing them back to their own 10. Hinds finds Allen for a gain of eight then C. Johnson for the 32 yard pass and run touchdown combo. Mathis hit the uprights for the one, flags on the play, against Duke City. Declined and with 1:57 left in the first quarter, Force 17 Duke City 7.
Rhodes took the kickoff, fumbled then recovered the ball.
Holbrook found Rhodes to get the ball up to midfield. A pass to Jared Elmore then to Lewis brought Duke City within three points. Holbrook called a timeout before the PAT, but Nachu put the ball up and through. Force 17 Duke City 14 with seconds left in the first quarter.
Nachu's kickoff was taken by Kelley up to the Wichita nine yard line.
Hinds pass was incomplete due to coverage by Fred Griggs. Pass to C. Johnson gained three then a pass to Maurice Young brought up the fourth and two with the ball on the Force 17. Mathis attempted a 45 yard field goal, but it went way left and Duke City got the ball on their own five.
Holbrook starts with a deep pass but it misses Davis. Holbrook had another incomplete pass then used a pump fake to run with the ball. Evan Ray was there for the coverage of another pass and the Force get the turnover on downs on the Duke City 12 with 10:51 left in the half.
First play of the possession and Hinds called a timeout. First pass was intercepted by Griggs and Duke City starts on their own nine.
Holbrook is sacked by Keenan Gibbs for a loss of nine, a pass to Elmore gained one and a hand off to Lewis put the ball on the Duke City 21 for the first and 10. A pass to Davis and hand off to Rhodes put the ball on the Force 14. An incomplete pass brought up second and 10, and a scramble forced the keeper for a gain of two. A pass to S. Johnson got the ball up to the Force seven, bringing up fourth and second. As Holbrook scrambled looking for a receiver, he was grabbed by Marcus Carter, but fires it off to S. Johnson in the end zone for the touchdown. Nachu added the one and Duke City goes up 21, Force 17 with 4:46 left in the half.
Kickoff skimmed the sideline, but was touched by Kelley. A false start on the Force backs them up to their own five. Hinds finds C. Johnson twice but an incomplete pass brought up second and 10. Two passes to Allen and the Force was back to first and 10 with the ball on the Duke City 18. An incomplete pass then a pass to Smith Jr. gained nine. Time out, Wichita. Hinds found C. Johnson then Young and got the ball to the Duke City one. Hinds then uses his 335 pound man, James McCartney to bowl through the Duke City defense for a touchdown. The extra point was no good and with 18 seconds left in the first quarter, Force 23 Duke City 21.
Lewis took the kickoff up to the Force 20.
Holbrook's first pass was intercepted by Kendrick Harper and the Force start on their own 15.
Hinds nearly mirrored Holbrook when his pass slipped through the hands of Paul Robinson. A false start pushed them back to the 10 then to end the half, Hinds fumbled the ball, but also recovered it.
Starting the second half, Rhodes took the kickoff up to the Force 20.
Holbrook had an incomplete pass then a run was stopped on the Force 15 by Gibbs bringing up the third and six. Time out Duke City.
Pass is incomplete, but flags for illegal defense moved the ball to the Force 11, a run didn't gain, but another flag for illegal defense moved the ball five more to the Force six. Two incomplete passes and a pass batted down by Carter brought up fourth and goal and the field goal team. Nachu made the 19 yard field goal and at 10:19 in the third, Force 23 Duke City 24.
Nachu's kick goes right out of the field of play giving the Force the ball midfield.
Hinds found Allen for a six yard gain then a pass to C. Johnson got the ball on the Duke City 15. Duke City put the pressure to Hinds as he scrambles but finds Smith Jr. for a 12 yard pickup to the Duke City four.
The next play was nearly comical. Hinds handed off to McCarty, but flags came out and the defense thought the play was called dead. McCarty walked into the end zone for the touchdown and because the flag was for illegal defense, it was declined in lieu of the six. Mathis added the one and with 7:32 left, Force 30 Duke City 24.
Kickoff was taken out, but Davis fumbled and it was recovered by Elmore. A dead ball foul against the Force gave Duke City the ball on the Force 19.
Holbrook found Lewis and Davis to get the ball up to the Force four, but the next hand off to Lewis was stopped on the one yard line by Evan Ray. Holbrook again handed off to Lewis, Lewis fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Dontrell Johnson keeping the ball with Duke City. Holbrook snuck into the end zone and after a late call it was confirmed a touchdown. Nachu remained perfect and Duke City went ahead 31, Force 30 at 4:41 in the third.
Kickoff flies out of the field of play giving the Force the ball midfield.
Hinds passes to Joe Hubener for a five yard gain, then three incomplete passes brings out Mathis for a 33 yard field goal attempt. The kick was good and at 2:05 left in the third quarter, Force 33 Duke City 31.
Davis took off with the next kickoff up to the Duke City 21.
Holbrook handed off to Davis for a 13 yard gain then a fumbled hand off was recovered by Force's Evan Ray and the Force start on their own 15.
Hinds' first pass was incomplete, but a pass interference call and an unsportsmanlike on the Duke City coach put the ball on the Duke City eight. Another incomplete pass, but another flag put the ball half the distance to the goal on the Duke City 5 when the third quarter ended.
Hinds hands off to McCartney, but he's tripped up at the Duke City two. McCartney again for the hand off, but was stopped for no gain. Coverage by Elmore created an incomplete pass bringing out Mathis for a field goal attempt. 12:49 left in the game, Force 36 Duke City 31.
The next kickoff went off of a Duke City player putting the ball back to their own five.
Holbrook starts out with an incomplete pass then a pass to Elmore, who was stopped by Ray on the Force 23. A fake then hand off to Lewis for for a small gain thanks to Chris Hemphill then an incomplete pass brought up third and seven. Another pass, but tipped by Carter and another incomplete pass gave the Force the ball on downs on their own 20 with 9:01 left in the forth quarter.
Hinds finds Allen for a gain of nine then keeps the ball for the one gain and the first and 10 on the Duke City 20. Hinds spiked the ball on the next play as flags came out on the Brett Bowers off sides. C. Johnson took the next pass and got the ball to the Duke City nine. Bowers connected with Hinds for a sack and loss of six. Time out Duke City. Hinds scrambles then tries a shovel pass, but it was incomplete and nearly intercepted by Jayson Serda. Hinds finds Smith Jr. but doesn't get the first down bringing out Mathis for a 20 yard field goal attempt. 4:30 left in the fourth and the Force 39 Duke City 31.
Davis takes the kickoff out to the Duke City 10 yard line.
Holbrook has an incomplete pass then a long, deep pass to Davis for a 40 yard touchdown pass.
Duke City attempts the two point conversion, but it was incomplete, penalty for roughing the passer put the ball half the distance to the goal and a replay of the conversion. Holbrook hands off to Lewis but he's stopped on the one yard line. 3:29 left in the game, Force 39 Duke City 37.
Nachu does an onside kick, Elmore gets the ball and Duke City start again on their own 13.
Holbrook hands off to Davis for a one yard gain then a deep pass to Elmore is complete for the touchdown. The extra point is good and with 2:30 left in the game, Force 39 Duke City 44.
C. Johnson takes the kickoff up to the Duke City 23.
Hinds passes to Allen for a gain of nine then a pump fake runs the ball for a loss of one. Hinds finds Hubener to the the ball to the Duke City 10. Two incomplete passes bring up third and goal, A false start on Darren Marquez pushes them back five then the next pass was tipped by Serda then Little before landing in the hands of Donnie Duncan giving Duke City a chance with the ball with 23 seconds left in the game and the ball on the Duke City 16.
Time out Duke City.
Holbrook kept the ball to get it up to their own 17. Time out Force. Two more keepers brings up fourth and nine, but a sideline warning on Duke City puts the ball back to their own 12. Nachu comes out, but essentially needs to kick the ball over the wall, not through the uprights to give the Force the ball on their own five. He misses the field goal, as per decided and with 3.4 seconds left, the Force comes out for one last chance. Force 39 Duke City 44.
The Force fumbles the snap, Terrale Johnson recovers it then hops rolls into the end zone for a touchdown to end the game. Force 39 Duke City 50.
"It was a tough loss.The way we lost made it worse." said Force player D.A. Allen. "I'm proud of the fellas. We went out and battled from beginning to the end. Duke City's a good team, hats off to them.
Duke City will host the winner of the Monday night game between the Amarillo Venom and the Texas Revolution.
The 0-7 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks went to Portland to play the 1-7 Maine Mammoths in a battle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The opening kick was returned by Maine to the Lehigh Valley six. On first and goal Jonathan Bane hit Devin Wilson for the Maine touchdown. Raining NAL special teams player of the week Henry Neil nailed the extra point making the score 7-0.
The Steelhawks opening drive started on their own nineteen. Lehigh Valley methodically worked their way down the field capping the drive off with a Caleb Walton to Seth Higgins. Spencer Hotaling nailed the extra point, tying the game at seven.
The Mammoths offense worked it way inside the Steelhawks five before sputtering out where they failed to punch the ball in from one yard out on fourth and goal. The next play turned the tide of the game where botched snap lead to a safety giving the Mammoths the lead 9-7.
Lehigh Valley’s next drive was well executed as they worked their way down the field as but had to settle for a field goal making the score 10-9 Steelhawks. The next drive for Maine lasted a short two plays as that was all Bane needed to find Devin Wilson for an easy touchdown. Henry Neil’s extra point went through the uprights making the score 16-10 Maine.
On the Steelhawks next drive, they attempted to fix something that wasn’t broken when they brought out Matt Foltz to take over at quarterback. On a second and six, Foltz could handle the snap and the Mammoths recovered. Walton would later come back into the game but by the end of the first half it was clear that the Steelhawks couldn’t keep up with Maine’s high powered offense as they trailed 30-16.
The Steelhawks began the third quarter how they left off, making constant mistakes as they botched another snap on an extra point attempt that they got to re-attempt due to a roughing the passer call on the play. The Steelhawks were able to kick the extra point on the second attempt where the Steelhawks converted, closing the gap to seven. The score now read 23-30 with the Mammoths still clinging to the lead.
Maine, realizing their lead had been cut to seven responded in a one play strike from Jonathan Bane to Devin Wilson and Henry Neil hit another easy extra point making the score 37-23 Maine. On the next drive the Steelhawks once again, a center-quarterback exchange lead to another turnover.
From then on out the Steelhawks were only able to put up thirteen more points as the Mammoths continued to run up the scoreboard up until the final seconds of the contest. By the time the final whistle sounded the Mammoths had score the most points they had all season with sixty-two. Lehigh Valley was only able to muster up thirty-six. The game didn't reflect its final score of 62-36. Maine definitely played their best game and gave the crowd a great first home victory, but many of the points they got were off of Steelhawks miscues.
Lehigh Valley needs to fix their quarterback-center exchange if they are to have a shot at the NAL Playoffs, and the Mammoths have to show up like they did last night if they want to be taken as a top three team. The only positives the Steelhawks can take away from last night is that they found out they need a new center and the massacre in Maine is over.
WORCESTER, MA- Fans in the DCU Center could feel the animosity between the Lions and Pirates last night in a barn-burner battle! Players from both teams shared words not suitable for this publication along with several side scuffles between plays.
Making matters worse, the yellow tinker tape flew quite often as both teams were victims of bad calls! But the first half ended with a Sean Brackett first down boom! touchdown to Devon Brown tying the score tied at 34.
Pirates special teams did their job by starting the second half with a fumble recovery, run-back touchdown. A bad hand off transition from Espinoza forces the ball loose and Pirates Defensive Back Cheatham Norrils scoops it up and runs it into the no-no zone!
Late in third, Pirates fumble during a kickoff return giving Columbus great field position. That brings up the start of the fourth quarter with Columbus on the 16 yard line down by a touchdown. Pirate defense fights hard but after three plays Espinoza goes to Johnson (and an extra point) to tie the score at 48.
Brackett and company respond by driving the ball down field with catches by Mardy Gilyard and Bones Bagaunte. Pirate Quarterback Darron Thomas comes in for several unsuccessful QB-sneak attempts. Brackett returns, but fails to convert after a 4th down, over-the-boards incomplete pass intended for Bones Bagaunte (score still tied at 48).
After a big defensive stand by the Pirates, stopping Espinoza from converting a 4th, Brackett gets the ball back with just under four minutes to play. Bracket throws a deep intersection to Columbus’ Chris Pickett who runs back twenty yards to set Espinoza and his Lions offense a first and goal with three minutes left. One play later, Durran Neal catches a blown coverage, TD for Columbus (Lions up 55-48).
Sean Bracket and Devonn Brown tie the score with a combination pass-play with a minute left in the game (55 all). Columbus does some clock-wasting on the following drive, but Pirate defense comes up big with an unbelievable fumble recovery. In a poor choice of play calling, Columbus attempts a poorly executed spotpass-thrown behind the line of scrimmage.
Bracket drives down field yet again. With a Lions pass interference call, Pirates claim four chances from the two yard line for a chance to pound one in for the game winner. Brackett decides to go to Lavonn Pearson for a one yard pass-n-dive finishing the game with a big Massachusetts Pirates win, 62-55.
These teams meet again in two weeks in Columbus, Georgia for what’s sure to be another beat-down, drag-out, barn burner! Next week, however the Lions travel to Greensboro, North Carolina for a matinee face off against the Cobras at 12:00pm. The Massachusetts Pirates stay home next Saturday when their visited by the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. Tune into NAL Youtube channel at 7pm for all the action!
By Tonya Swim
The Texas Revolution (5-7) will travel to Amarillo (8-4) for a matchup against the Venom for the second time in as many weeks, but this time in the first round of the playoffs. Don't let the win/loss stat make your decision before hand though.
The Revolution struggled in the first part of the season, but as coaching changes were made, the Revolution began coming on strong when it really mattered as shown in their 2 wins and 1 loss against Amarillo alone.
Stats show a lot, like the mistakes Amarillo had made when playing the Revs, but most don't realize is that there have been key players missing in each of the games against the Revolution. “We finally have our full team. We've never played the Revolution with every piece. Another factor is we're at home and we don't plan on losing at home. We've beat ourselves every time we've lost to them and I believe we have every thing covered with Raymond (Johnson Jr.), Xavier (Amey), and Jordan (DeCorte) back, I don't see us losing.” stated Venom Center Bernard Flores.
The game takes place on the unconventional night of Monday, June 18th with a start time of 7pm CST. Tickets start at $7 and Curious George, courtesy of Panhandle PBS will be on hand for the kids to visit. The game will be broadcast on Pluto TV.
By Tonya Swim
The Wichita Force (4-8) will travel to meet the Duke City Gladiators (10-2) for the fourth time this season, in the first round of the playoffs.
The Force have not had a lot of luck against the Gladiators during the regular season averaging a loss by 14 points, but gradually improving against them.
The Gladiators have dominated the South Division for much of the entire season, running neck and neck with the Amarillo Venom before eventually getting the wins that put them alone at the top first in the Southern division than the league.
The Force has a nine and a half hour bus ride to Albuquerque, but that is not deterring their determination nor enthusiasm for the upcoming game. “We traveled there earlier in the season, so we have an idea of what to expect and how to deal with the bus ride and their home field advantage. We have a great attitude knowing in the locker room, everyone is upbeat and ready to make the record 1-3 against Duke City.” stated Force Wide Receiver D.A. Allen.
The Force and Gladiators will play in Tingley Coliseum at 6pm MST on Saturday June 16th. The game will be broadcast on Pluto Tv.
Coach Ameer and his gang of swashbucklers are coming off their bye week with high aspirations. Taking a week off after a win over the Maine Mammoths the Massachusetts Pirates need another to keep the momentum to finish out the season. Amazingly, the Massachusetts Pirates went nine weeks of hard fought battles before their first rest, most of which were on the road. Nevertheless, they need more than a weekend on the couch to get refreshed for the number two team in the National Arena League.
When these two teams last met in week five, the Lions were the best team in the league and coming off a big win over the Jacksonville Sharks. Skip Seda and the Lions front office put together a stronger offensive than the inaugural 2017 NAL season. However, with home field advantage and four weeks of experience the Pirates came out on top 37-44 in spectacular fashion.
According to a press release from Team Pirates, written by Mick Moninghoff:
Head Coach Ameer Ismail say’s the key is to keep up the cardio. “Coming off a bye week some teams tend to get winded,” the coach said. “You do lose a percentage of your lung capacity. During the off week we watched film, studied and stayed in shape but we’ll start this week with a purpose and focus on extra conditioning.”
This is very reassuring for Pirate Nation that hopes to witness another home win against a strong Lion’s team. During the game the Pirates will be honoring “Hometown Heroes: Military, Police Fire, Medical, and Teachers” with a flag football game between the Worcester Police Officers and Firefighters! The Pirates/Lions game will air on Youtube live at 7pm or on NESNPlus on June 19th at 7pm!
By Tonya Swim
Frisco, Texas-The failure to finish at the beginning of the season put the Texas Revolation in a precarious position for the last game of the regular season.
The 4-7 Revs hosted the 8-3, second seed in the Southern Conference Amarillo Venom. Coming off of a two game loss, the Revs got the win in the last meeting of these two teams giving them high hopes of sneaking into the playoff spot.
The Venom fans were given a pleasant surprise when former Venom kicker Jacob Felton stepped onto the field for the kickoff.
The Revs Marcel Brooks took the first kickoff and got the ball out to their own 24 yard line.
Quarterback Andrew Jackson came out after two weeks on injured reserve and handed off to Darius Fudge for a two yard gain. Jackson passed to Brett Reece Jr then another hand off to Fudge to bring up second and nine with the ball on the Venom 14. An incomplete pass and then a pass knocked down by Venom Cashmin Thomas brought up fourth and nine. Jackson found Clinton Solomon for a first down then a hand off to Fudge for a loss of one put the ball on the Venom five.
Timeout Revolution 9:57 in the first quarter.
Jackson found C. Solomon in the end zone for the first touchdown in the game. Jarod Haynes' point after is blocked. At 9:32 in the first quarter, Venom 0 Revolution 6.
Haynes' kickoff taken out by another former Venom, Craig Fulton Jr and the Venom start their first possession on their own five yard line.
Quarterback Nate Davis passes to Alex Watson Sr. and the flags come out. Offsides on Tre Harlan of the Revolution. Venom are moved up to their own 19. Davis passes to Terrell Smith putting the ball on the Revs 21 and giving the first and ten. A handoff to a reactivated Jah'son Patterson and a holding call on the Revolution, which was declined, put the ball on the Revs 24 and a repeat of the down. The next pass was incomplete then another pass was knocked down by Frankie Solomon Jr bringing out Felton and the Field goal team.
Felton's attempt was blocked and the ball rolls into the end zone where Reece recovers it giving the Revs six more points. Haynes PAT is good and 6:33 left in the first, Venom 0 Revs 13.
Haynes kick off is taken by Thomas out the the Venom 22.
Davis found Fulton for a five yard gain, then an incomplete pass and pass to Watson brought up the first and goal with the ball on the Revs 10 yard line. Davis' next pass was incomplete then a bad snap had Davis scrambling when he found Fulton placing the ball on the Revolution three yard line. A pass to Watson finally got the Venom on the board, but the flags came out. Face mask on Revs Travonti Johnson, declined, Venom take the six. The extra point by Felton is good, 2:58 in the first, Venom 7 Revs 13.
Felton's onside kick touched a teammate on the knee before it went 10 yards, so the Revolution took possession of the ball on the Venom nine.
Now, here's the controversy. The face mask penalty was declined giving the Venom the six points, but then the Revolution was penalized for the same face mask putting the ball on the Venom 24.
Jackson passes to Clinton Solomon but only for a gain of four thanks to Thomas, then the next pass was incomplete placing the ball on the Venom 20. Jackson's next pass to C. Solomon was complete for a touchdown and Haynes hit the uprights bringing the score Venom 7, Revs 19 with 1:41 left in the first.
Thomas takes the kickoff out to the Venom 20. Flag, holding on the Venom put the ball back onto the Venom 11.
Davis' was pass incomplete then a pass to Ricardo Johnson put the ball on the Venom 18 for a gain of seven and third and three. Davis passed to Patterson was incomplete and that ended the first quarter.
The second quarter started with the Venom on the Revolution 18 bringing up the forth and three. Davis passed to Watson for a one yard gain. Another pass to Watson brought up first and goal putting the ball on the Revolution five. An incomplete pass brought up to second and goal then a pump fake and a pass to Watson was a touchdown. Felton added the one and with 12:14 left in the half, Venom 14 Revolution 20.
Felton's kickoff was taken by Brooks out to the Revolution 18.
Jackson pass complete to Tavarres Williams put the ball on their own 22 then another pass and a obsticle run through three Venom defenders and Williams added six more for the Revolution. Haynes' PAT was good, 11:53 left in the half the Venom 14 Revolution 26.
Kickoff taken out by Thomas, who was put out of bounds at the Revolution 23.
Davis had an incomplete pass then found Patterson with a touchdown pass. Felton remained perfect on his PAT's and 10:22 left in the second quarter, Venom 21 Revolution 27.
Felton's kickoff bounced then went out at the Revs eight yard line.
Jackson's first pass was incomplete then a pass to Reece was complete but stopped by new addition to the Venom Mark Sterling on the Revolution 18.
Jackson pitched to Williams was complete, but a personal foul on Revs was declined but the loss of yards pushed them back to their own 15. Jackson found Williams with a pass, but more flags, this time on both teams, holding on the offense and roughing the passer. They offset, so the Revs got their six yard gain and a repeat of the down. Jackson passed again to Williams who was brought down midfield by NaShawn Lewis and a hoard of other Venom. The next pass was incomplete, but then Jackson fired a shot of a pass to LaDon Hudson and touchdown, Revolution. Haynes again added the one and 7:32 in the second quarter, Venom 21 Revolution 34.
Kickoff was taken out by Thomas to their own eight yard line, but a flag on Ricardo Johnson moved the ball back half the distance to the goal on the four yard line
Davis passed to Watson for a gain of 9 bringing up second and one then a pass to Smith put the ball on the Venom 23. An incomplete pass with a flag of offside on the defense moved the ball to the Revolution 22 and the first and five. Another incomplete pass will have the Venom call timeout at 4:43 in the second. Davis fakes a hand off then passes to Watson for the first and 10 and the ball on the Revs 11. A hand off to Patterson will put the ball on the Revs six, then a pump fake and pass to Smith will close out for the touchdown. Point after was good and with 2:54 left in the half, the Venom 28 Revolution 34.
Kickoff taken by F. Solomon out to the Venom 23.
Jackson's pass was incomplete, then a pass to Robbie Rhodes put the Revs on the Venom 19 and a time out was called. 54 seconds left in the half, and at forth and seven, Jackson tried a pass, but it was knocked away by Thomas and the ball changes possession on downs on the Venom 19.
Davis starts out with a pass tipped back into his hands, then passes again, but brings out the flags for an illegal forward pass and the Venom are backed up to their own 12 and a loss of a down. The next play was an incomplete pass, then a bad snap was recovered by Harlan who ran it in for a touchdown. The snap for the two point conversion was taken by F. Solomon, Haynes faked a kick, but the conversion was no good. 32 seconds left in the half, Venom 28 Revolution 40.
Haynes kickoff went out of the end zone for a touch back and the Venom start on their own five yard line with 25 seconds left in the half.
Davis passes to Smith for a four yard gain, then Davis ran but was blocked and brought down for a gain of one. Third and five, flags, on the Venom backs the ball up to their own five. Davis found Patterson with a pass getting them out to the Venom 19 but the next pass was blocked by Malik Jenkins bringing out the field goal team. Time out, Venom.
Felton FG attempt from the V12, timeout Revolution. Trying again, field goal attempt, flags on the Venom moves the ball out to the Revolution 22. Felton's attempt was good to end the half. Venom 28 Revolution 40.
Haynes kicked off to start the second half and Thomas took it out but was stopped with a huge hit from F. Solomon on the Venom 24. Davis found R. Johnson with a pass for a seven yard gain, an incomplete pass then a hand off to Patterson put the ball on the Revs 16. Davis' next pass was tipped again my Jenkins, but his pass to Watson put them on the Revs 7. Another bad snap had Davis scrambling, and he recovered, but was now on the Revolution 23. Felton again brings out the field goal team, but his first attempt was met with flags on the Venom and they were backed up five. His next attempt was good, so 10:31 in the third quarter, Venom 34 Revolution 40.
Kickoff was taken by F. Solomon, fumbled and picked up by Terrious Triplett giving the Venom the start on the Revolution 11. Davis hands off to Patterson for the touchdown, then with the good PAT, the Venom take the lead 41 Revolution 40 with 9:44 left in the third quarter.
Kickoff is taken by Harlan, but a holding call gave them a 10 yard penalty and the Revs will start on their own 14. Jackson first pass was intercepted by Demario Donnell, and a holding call on Robert Griffin put the Venom on their own 13.
Davis hands off to Patterson puts the ball midfield, then a fake hand off and pass to Watson puts the Venom on the Revs 18. An incomplete pass then a pitch to Patterson got the Venom in the end zone and a good two point conversion tacked on an additional two. 6:21 left in the third quarter, Venom 49 Revolution 40.
F. Solomon takes the next kickoff up to midfield, then Jackson handed off to Fudge for a three yard gain bringing up second and seven. A hand off for no gain then an incomplete pass brought up fourth and seven. Jackson ran the next play getting up to the Venom 14, and an incomplete pass and pass interference on Thomas put the ball on the Venom 10. Jackson's next pass was nearly intercepted by Jeff Branch and the Revs call a time out with 1:59 left in the third. Jackson's next two passes was incomplete, but an illegal use of hands put the ball on the Venom five, and Venom Desmond Railford ejected from the game. Jackson's hand off went no where, but his pass to Williams resulted in a touchdown. Haynes hit the uprights and with 57 seconds left in the third, Venom 49 Revolution 47.
The first kickoff was whistled dead, but the second was taken out by Thomas down to the Revolution 12. Venom start out with a false start on Bernard Flores, backing them to the Revs 17. A hand off to Patterson will put the ball on the Revs eight and end the third quarter.
Davis again handed off to Patterson for a one yard gain, time out, Venom. Davis recovers a fumble in the next play, but the ball is back on the Revs 19. Felton comes out and punches the ball through the uprights for a field goal. 12:43 in the fourth, Venom 52 Revolution 47.
Felton kick off taken by F. Solomon out to their own 23. A block in the back will push them back to their own eight yard line.
Jackson's pass is incomplete, then a pass to Williams moves them up to their own 16. Finding Williams again puts the ball on their own 24, then to Fudge to get them into the Venom territory on the 22. Next pass was incomplete bringing up third and six. Jackson runs, but is stopped at the Venom 17, just short of the first down. Jackson with the quarterback sneak plows in for the first down, putting the ball on the Venom 14. Jackson's next pass was to C. Solomon, and he was wrapped up by Thomas on the Venom seven. An incomplete pass then another pass to C. Solomon put the Revs in the end zone, but the two point conversion was no good. 6:17 left in the game, Venom 52 Revolution 53.
The Revs kickoff taken by Thomas out to the Venom eight.
Davis fumbles the hand off to Patterson and the Revs recover getting the ball on the Venom eight.
Jackson hands of to Harlan for no gain, then a pass was incomplete. Third and goal, Jackson's pass was again incomplete then a run and a pitch to Harlan and the Revolution again added some points to the board. Haynes continues his one point streak and with 3:53 left in the game, the Venom 52 Revolution 60.
Thomas again with the kickoff and he gets the ball to the Venom seven. Davis finds Watson for a gain of eight, an incomplete pass. a pass to Patterson then another incomplete pass and an offside call on the Revs put the ball on the Revolution 19. Davis finds Fulton and DeWayne Autrey body slams Fulton creating a litany of yellow to fly for the personal foul giving the Venom the automatic first down and the ball on the Revolution six yard line.
One minute warning.
Davis with an incomplete pass, then a scramble up to the one. Flags, Venom, ball on the Revs 16. Davis' pass was tipped by Hudson bringing up the third down. Davis fumbles the next play and the Revolution recovers on their own 14.
Jackson hands off to Fudge for a seven yard gain, then hands off to Fudge again for a gain of nine putting the ball on the Venom 20. Time out, Venom, last of the game. With seconds left, Jackson uses two plays taking a knee, then an incomplete pass will end the game.
Venom 52 Revolution 60.
Venom Jer'yl Christian reflects on the game. “We beat ourselves. We started out slow and went back on top then we let the lead get away. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities.”
The Revolution will travel to Amarillo for the first round of the playoffs on June 18.
Well, the 2018 season has finally concluded. The season started with 11 teams competing for a spot in the CIF postseason. Now, only eight teams remain. Four teams from the north conference and four teams from the south conference. These teams will go head to head in two playoff games. The last team from each conference will move on to the Champions Bowl.
Shortly after the Duke City Gladiators defeated the Wichita Force, the playoff teams and matchups were finally set. Here are your north conference playoff teams and schedule
June 16, 2018 #4 Bismarck Bucks at #1 Salina Liberty - 6:35pm CT
June 16, 2018 #3 seed at #2 Sioux City Bandits - 7:00pm CST
Two of these four teams will advance to the conference title game. The other two will be eliminated from the playoffs.
As for the south conference, here are the four teams advancing to the postseason and the south conference playoff schedule:
June 16, 2018 #4 seed at #1 (overall) Duke City Gladiators - 6:00pm MST
June 18, 2018 #3 Texas Revolution at #2 Amarillo Venom - 7:00pm CT
This year, the fourth Champions Bowl has a sponsor. Baymont by Wyndham. During the title game, representatives will be on hand to watch the game and to award the trophy to the winning team.
Super heros were out in force last night to watch the matchup between the Carolina Cobras(7-2) and the Jacksonville Sharks(5-3). What started as a close matchup, the Cobras defense found the kryptonite needed to shut down the Sharks offense in the second half.
The Sharks would win the coin toss and elect to defer to the second half, giving the Cobras the ball to start the game. Charles McCullum and the offense would strike quickly, finding Jordan Jolly on a 30 yard touchdown pass. Craig Peterson would make the PAT. On the Sharks opening drive, the Cobras defense stod tall and forced a turn over on downs. I would be short lived, with Marvin Ross intercepting McCullum in the endzone. On the next play, Adrain McPherson would fumble the snap and Dwayne Beckford would recover in the endzone for a defensive touchdown. Peterson's PAT would be block and returned by Dallas Jackson for 2 points. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, McPherson would find Chris Gilchrist for a 30 yard touchdown and with Brandon Behr adding the PAT, the score was 13-9 in favor of the Cobras.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Sharks defense would break through and sack McCullum for a safety. Peterson, would get those two points back by hitting the deuce. The Cobras defense would make another stand, forcing another turn over on downs on the 2 yard line. McCullum would find Phillip Barnett for an easy touchdown and Peterson would hit another PAT. The Sharks next drive would end with Ken Walton picking off McPherson in the endzone, giving the offense the ball on the 4 yard line. Ross would pick off McCullum again on a deep pass to Jolly, that set up McPherson to find Gilchrist again and Behr would connect on the PAT and the deuce. The next drive, the fans would see the Cobras turn the ball over on downs but the defense would hold the Sharks to just a field goal with less than two minutes left in the half. The Sharks tried to catch the Cobras sleeping by attempting an onside kick to no avail. McCullum took advantage of the good field position, finding Fabian Gurrea for a 14 yard touchdown. Peterson out of character missed the PAT. Michael Green would close out the half by going up for an interception in the endzone, protecting the Cobras 28-23 lead at the half.
Whatever Coach Schmidt said to his defense at halftime proved to be what they needed to hear. The Sharks drive to open the 3rd quarter would result in another turn over on downs and McCullum would find Jolly again for an 11 yard touchdown and Peterson's PAT split the uprights. Cedric Poole kept the Sharks from scoring whenever he broke up a pass in the endzone on 4th down to give the Cobras offense the ball back. Barnett would make a leaping catch while double covered for a 30 yard bomb and Peterson would show how he earned the nickname "the leg" by making the PAT and the deuce on the kickoff. The Sharks made a change at quarterback during the 3rd quarter, opting to let Patrick McCain handle the snaps. This would be futile, with Green getting his second pick of the game in the endzone to stop another Sharks drive. Carolina was up at the end of the 3rd 44-23.
The 4th quarter would be the Charles McCullum quarter, connecting to Gurrea on an 11 yard touchdown and another Michael Gren int would set him up to find Barnett for a 21 yard catch and run touchdown. Jacksonville would have yet another turn over on downs and this time Jolly would take advantage of the field position on a 13 run after catch. McCain and the Sharks didn't roll over and play dead, connecting with Cody Saul on a 30 yard touchdown and then going for and getting the two-point conversion. They would try another onside kick and this time Green was ready, grabbing it off the field and taking back for a special teams touchdown. Peterson would go three out of four on PATs in the 4th quarter the last one being blocked and Ross returning for two points. That would be a wash, with Peterson ending the game with a deuce.
The Cobras are riding a lot of momentum going into their second bye week before the Columbus Lions come to town on June 23, which could be the NAL championship game this season. The Sharks will have to wait till next week to see if they can find that 100 franchise victory.