Hellagoods look to win back-to-back titles against Celtics next week

It is championship week, and I have decided to write about each championship game from both leagues.  This week it is the blue championship between No Fly Zone and Drip Squad.  I will be writing my review for this game tomorrow for my weekly Tuesday article.  The green championship game will be played next week Monday between the Celtics and Hellagoods.  The game was pushed back a week due to most players being away for a tournament in Florida.  It should end up as a very memorable championship game for our top league.

Hellagoods finished the regular season with a good amount of impressive wins, but they were only able to post a 4-2 record.  The team that handed them the two losses was none other than the Celtics.  In two games against the Celtics this season, Hellagoods managed just 13 combined points.  The Celtics defense was other-worldly this season.  They had just 93 points scored against them in seven games which is almost 50 points less than the next best defensive team.  They have talent all across their defense.  Coming after the quarterback, they have the league leader in sacks, Tim Rosati, who missed two games during the season and still managed to clear the second place sack leader by three total sacks.  Then there is their lockdown secondary.  They have the league MVP Juice Harris at one corner, and the league leader in interceptions Daryl Rose on the other side. With ten interceptions between them it will be a very tough task for Mike Ford and co. from Hellagoods to overcome.  The matchup of the game is going to have to be the secondary of Celtics against the receivers of Hellagoods.  While Celtics clearly have the best defense in the league, an argument could be made in favor of Hellagoods having the best offense in the league.  Every one of their receivers is capable of making big plays.  They have the TD leader from this season Dean Thompson, as well as the TD leader from last season Noah Huard.  Derek McGee and Eric Flynn round out the receiving core, and both are by far more than formidable.  However, I see Mike Ford having the biggest outcome of the game.  If he can stay turnover-free Hellagoods can get a big win.  In the past two sessions Hellagoods is 5-0 when Ford has no interceptions. This might be the best stat I have found between these two teams, and the possible impact it will have on the outcome.

The Celtics QB situation is still up in question on who will be playing for them.  In six games this season, the Celtics have used five different quarterbacks.  Robert Malave had the best game out of all the five when he threw for three touchdowns and just two incompletions in their week 7 win against No Limit.  However, Darmel had a fantastic game against Hellagoods when the teams met in week six.  Malave is also very productive from the receiving position so my bets are on Darmel getting the nod at quarterback for the championship game.  It should be a higher scoring game then their two games during the regular season, but I still believe the Celtics defense will be too much for Ford and Hellagoods.

Sean’s Prediction:

Hellagoods-29

Celtics-35

Advertisements

Championship matches are Set after Wild Semifinal Monday

img_0263
Quarterback Marcus (Drip Squad) takes the snap before a 20 yard run.  Picture by Sean Goodwin

It was the first week of the playoffs for the first winter session of flag football. And there were some fantastic games played across the board this past Monday.  I have decided to cover a little bit of all the three games that were played in this weeks article.  There happened to be only three games, because Celtics opponent No Limit was forced to forfeit just hours before the first game time.  The three games that were played were Hellagoods versus Braves, No Fly Zone versus Warkron, and Drip Squad versus Southside as the night cap.

 

Buffalo  Braves: 6

Hellagoods: 16

It was the teams eighth matchup against each other in the 16 games the teams had played here in the past two sessions.  The teams knew each other well, and both defenses were playing great all night.  It was by far the lowest scoring game of the night, but Hellagoods pass rush got to Lonzi at will.  They totaled seven sacks against the Braves QB, and the secondary consisting of Eric Flynn, Noah Huard, and Mike Austin was not letting anything by them.  Quarterback Ford finished 16-24 for 193 and two touchdowns while Lonzi had similar stats but with two killer interceptions to Eric Flynn.

Offensive POG: Noah Huard 4 Catches 89 yard 1 TD

Defensive POG: Adam Huard 3 sacks/Eric Flynn 2 INTs 2 Tackles

 

No Fly Zone: 60

Warkron: 6

This game was no surprise in terms of winner and loser, but the way No Fly Zone scored again and again was something to behold.  The score was  32-0 at the half, and at that point there was not much of a contest going on.  James Celltotto, who was recently awarded league MVP, had a near flawless first half with 12 completions on 13 attempts and four touchdowns.  The league leader in touchdowns was at it again on deep balls.  John Caie only caught three balls on the day but every one of them was almost half the length of the field.  I calculated he finished with 173 yards on three catches and one touchdown.  The QB at the start of the game for Warkron was Harry but after two bad INTs a couple other players took over but the game was already out of hand and out of sight.  This led to some horrific Interceptions being thrown everywhere, and No Fly Zones Eric Kleckler collected three of them.

Offensive POG: James Cellotto 16-22 301 YDS 4 TD

Defensive POG: Eric Kleckler 3 INTs 4 tackles

 

 

 

 

Southside: 28

Drip Squad: 37

In what was the toughest matchup to call of the night, Southside who was red hot winning 2 out of their last three and Drip Squad who hadn’t had a game in a couple weeks.  Southside’s quarterback Aaron Shaw was able to run at will in the beginning of the game, and finished the game with 114 rushing yards.  But Marcus, Drip Squad QB, was playing on another level.  He finished the game with 5 touchdown passes, and was able to truly display his accurate passing that night.  He completed three or more passes to three different receivers, and two of them went for over 100 yards receiving.  Joe P, and Jesse Meyer did have a drop in them all night.  Shaw was not able to keep up with Marcus, and just like in Southsides losses in the regular season, it was interceptions that put the game out of reach.  He ended the game with five of them, and a couple were in the red zone.

OVERALL POGs: QB/DB Marcus 13-22 267 YDS 5 TDS/ 1 INT

WR/DB Jesse Meyer 3 REC 101 YDS/ 2 INTs

Southside Sneaks into the Playoffs on the Final Night of the Season

img_0254
Members of Southside (Blue) and Shimmey Shimmey (Black) meet prior to game.                             Picture by Sean Goodwin

The last game of the regular season had big playoff implications for one of the teams.  Southside came into the game with a 1-4 record, and Warkron had just lost in the previous game to end their season at 2-4.  If Southside ended their season with a win they go 2-4, and advance to the playoffs over Warkron with a tie breaker.  The team that stood in their way on the last game of the season was 1-4 Shimmey Shimmey. Shimmey Shimmey was coming off of their first win of the season last week, but were barely able to fill a full team on the field.  They ended up having to use two players from Warkron, and No Fly Zone just so they could have enough players on the field.

The game started after a lengthy delay from who Shimmey Shimmey was allowed to play with.  When the game finally got going they ended up having No Fly Zones John Caie who led the league in touchdowns.  Andre Olivas is the quarterback for Shimmey Shimmey, but had still not fully recovered from an ankle injury.  Aaron Shaw is the quarterback for Southside, and he was coming off a big game against Warkron where he threw for six touchdowns.  Dre Olivas would not get off to a good start to the game.  He had two interceptions on his first two drives, and was unable to perform as well as he could on defense due to his injury.  Both of the interceptions were made by Tyler Ciemny, who also lead his team in tackles on the day as well.  Shaw got off to another great start throwing a touchdown to Jordan Kulesz on their second drive.  Shaw was able to maneuver around the pocket with ease, and even had a couple good runs in the first half.  Southside was up 14-2 at the half.

Shimmey Shimmey’s offense woke up in a big way in the second half.  They were able to trim the lead to 22-20 due to fantastic play from Dre Olivas, and Don Christopher.  They were able to work the short passing game to a “T” and finished off two straight drives with touchdown to John Caie.  The defense stepped up for a bit due to great end pressure from Donny.  He finished the night with two sacks, and it was obvious what he was doing to Aaron Shaw’s confidence in the pocket.  However, It was Southside who kept the scoring consistent for the whole game.  Aaron Shaw finished the day with three touchdowns, and it was Nick P who won the game on a pick six when the game was tied and with only three minutes to go.   Tyler Ciemny also took the title of Interception leader for the league with his two interceptions on the final night of the season. The final score was 28-22 and Southside had officially made the playoffs in their first year playing at Epic Center.  What awaits them is undefeated No Fly Zone who dominated Warkron 40-8 in their last game of the season.  Shimmey Shimmey ends their year at 1-5, and it is unlikely they will return for the Winter B session.

Mike Ford has Perfect Passer Rating in Hellagoods win against Braves

IMG_0174
QB Ford (right) waits for the snap during a TD drive. Picture by Sean Goodwin

Number one versus number two. There is no better matchup then this in all of sports, and this past Monday I covered the second matchup of the year between the Buffalo Braves and Hellagoods.  The rivalry between these two is as storied as any at the Epic Center this year, and we all remember Hellagoods overtime walk off win over Braves for the championship last session.  This season is an entire new campaign however, as one of Hellagoods best players from that championship session Leseaon Washington now plays for the Braves.  Meanwhile Hellagoods, added one of the best players from Pup N’ Suds team last session in Dean Thompson.  Dean just so happens to lead the league in touchdowns this year with six, followed closely behind by Leseaon who has five.  Both players scored in the teams matchup during week one when Hellagoods won 32-29, and this past Monday gave us another great game from these two teams.

Braves deferred the coin toss, and decided to put the ball in the hands of Mike Ford and the top scoring Hellagoods offense.  This was the first mistake made by captain, and quarterback of the Braves Chris Lonzi.  Hellagoods offense went down the field, and scored in just a little over three minutes of playing time.  Ford capped off the drive with a touchdown to the TD league leader Dean Thompson.  Dean was lined up one on one with cornerback Darryl Rocha, and made a great move to create some space for Ford to fit the ball in to Dean in the back corner of the end zone.  It was obvious early on that this would be a shootout, and Braves offense needed to match Hellagoods scoring output to stay in the game.  They were unable to do this, especially in the first half totaling just 6 points from a Dave Wilbern TD catch from Lonzi.  Hellagoods ended up scoring on every drive they had in that first half except the drive ended early by the halftime buzzer.  The Braves offense could not sustain drives, and did not receive much help from the refs either.  On their second drive on fourth down, Yusef made a terrific break to the back left corner and the end zone and brought in a tremendous catch with what looked a great toe tap before he was pushed out of the end zone.  However, the end zone official immediately waived incomplete claiming Yusef did not establish possession before he went out of bounds.  Halftime score ended up 20-6 in favor of Hellagoods.

The Hellagoods offense kept the train rolling to start the second half.  Following a Dean Thompson interception in the end zone on Braves first drive, Ford led the team down the field and found Warren for his second touchdown of the game.  Braves offense scored some late touchdowns, but were unable to recover from their 6 point first half total.  The final score was 32-21.  Leseaon was not able to play very much, as he was hobbled with a knee injury, and Hellagoods held him to just two catches.  The Hellagoods defense also received tremendous performance from every player on their defense.  Kyle Roy and Warren finished the game with two sacks each while the team totaled six sacks on Lonzi.  This was the highest team sack total I have seen in Flag football game here at Epic Center.  Noah Huard led the team in total flag grabs with five, and every player on defense recorded at least one grab.  Ford finished with a terrific line of 20-23 for 317 yards and five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3, while Warren grabbed his first player of the game award with two sacks and two touchdown grabs.  Hellagoods will have to move on from this game quickly as they have to play again on this Thursday.  They face the Celtics who are the only team to beat them this year.  Braves will get a big rest as they will not play again till after the Christmas Break when they take on winless Straight Flags.

Braves Overcome Turnovers to Beat Celtics 18-7

IMG_0170
Braves (orange) line up in a four wide formation. Picture by: Sean Goodwin

Back to the Blue division I went for this weeks flag football article.  There were two matchups that caught my eye looking at the schedule for this past Monday. Hellagoods were playing Straight Flags, and the Braves were going against the Celtics.  After an easy blowout win from Hellagoods I knew Celtics and Braves would be my game to cover.  The Buffalo Celtics brought a 2-0 record, and a week off due to a bye they had last week.  The Buffalo Braves had a 2-1 record, and were coming off a tight 11 point victory against No Limit last week.

The Celtics and the Braves were number one and number two in points allowed coming into the game.  However the Braves were able to get off to a quick start on offense.  Braves quarterback Chris Lonzi was able to complete four of his first five throws on the first drive.  His last pass was a short dump off to Dame Powell who dodged several defenders before scampering to the end zone for the games first score.  After a miscue between Leseaon and Lonzi on the PAT the score was 6-0 Braves.  The Celtics came into the game without their regular QB Terrell, and instead went with the big 6’ 6’’ Ace under center for the game.  Their first drive got off to a good start, but they failed to score from just outside the end zone on fourth and goal.  However, the Celtics defense made their first great play of the night on the Braves first play following the turnover on downs.  Daryl Rose made a fantastic leaping play on the ball and picked off Lonzi who rushed the throw.  Ace lead the offense back on the field for another try at scoring from short yardage on the goal line.  However, they just went backwards as their first three plays of the drive went sack, sack, and an interception by Brian Stevens in the end zone.  Dame was calling out for the sacks lead as he had both of those two sacks off great individual speed rushes.  The interception fest continued as the next two plays went for interceptions.  Rich Anderson made unbelievable diving catch on throw away from Lonzi.  It had me thinking off Troy Polamalu against the Chargers many years ago.  Lonzi made up for the mistake immediately by picking off Ace on the Celtics first play of their drive.  The score at halftime ended up at 6-0 Braves in the lead.

Celtics did not play great offense in the first half, and I could tell offense was the topic of improvement in their halftime huddle.  They had the ball at the start of the second half, and took just three plays to get their first touchdown of the game.  Robert Malave finally made a play in the game and got wide open on a great route for a 38 yard touchdown.  Celtics bench erupted in cheer as they finally found a crack in the Braves defense.  Things got even better for the Celtics when Daryl Rose picked off Lonzi again on the next drive.  The Celtics offense, again, could not capitalize off their interception.  Braves brought relentless pressure to Ace who looked exactly like a last minute fill in at quarterback.  The Braves on the other hand got the tie breaking touchdown on a deep 51 yard touchdown from Lonzi to Leseaon.  Leseaon ran a fantastic post route, and the Celtics safety was nowhere to be found as Leseaon walked across the end line.  Yusef would add a pick six on the final play and the Braves had upset undefeated Celtics 18-7.

The player of the game was pretty much decided at halftime as Dame Powell was the best player on both sides of the ball for the Braves.  He had 4 receptions for 82 yards and a score, and had two straight plays of sacks when Celtics had a first and goal at the one.  Leseaon added continued to score touchdowns as he has had at least one in three straight games for the Braves.  Lonzi also was able to shake off four interceptions, and make the big time throw in the clutch to Leseaon for the winning score.  The Celtics will try to rebound against winless Straight Flags next week while Braves get a rematch with Hellagoods, who handed the Braves their only loss this season back in week one.

Drip Squad Hands Warkron their First Loss

IMG_0022
Open Field 1 before Mondays action. Photo by: Sean Goodwin

For my second article of the winter session I decided to cover a game from our green division. It is the recreational league, but I still was able to pick a pretty good game.  Warkron vs Drip Squad was the second game of the night.  Warkron was undefeated coming into the game with a 2-0 record.  Drip Squad was coming off a double header where they split and went 1-1.  Leading the way for Drip Squad was their quarterback Marcus who threw a total of eight touchdowns in the two games last week.  They also had Leseaon who usually plays for the Braves in the green division. He caught three touchdowns last week.  Warkron was lead by their quarterback Harry, and their stout defense lead by Dunn, and Max Brady.

Drip Squad wanted the ball first, and they got it for QB Marcus who was on fire early on completing five of his first six passes.  However, they ended up turning the ball over to Warkron due to a crucial miss throw on fourth down from Marcus.  Harry then lead his offense on to the field and started his day off with 26 yard completion to Dunn. Their ended up being an illegal substitution call on Matt, and the play came back as well as backed up Warkron to their goal line.  On the very next play Joe P picked off a short throw from Harry and took it to the house untouched.  Then after a quick four and out from Warkron, Joe P scored again taking a deep pass from Marcus thirty yards to put Drip Squad up 14-0. Things just got worse for Harry and Warkron.  They went four and out on their next drive, and then preceded to give up a touchdown and then a safety on consecutive plays.  22-0 was the halftime score.

Warkron was able to play better defense in the second half.  They held Drip Squad to only one touchdown, and they scored themselves when Max Brady picked off Leseaon and took it all the way. Leseaon came in for Marcus when the game was 28-0. After a fumble in the end zone from Marcus the game ended 28-8.  Drip Squad always looked the better side on the night, and played fantastic defense on Warkron.  Players of the game for Drip Squad were both fantastic on defense and offense.  Marcus lead the offense to the big lead, and had a rushing touchdown and a throwing touchdown.  Joe P, in his first start for the team, had a pick six and caught that touchdown thrown by Marcus.  Warkron will have to improve next week if they want to have any shot of beating 3-0 No Fly Zone.  Drip Squad will play 0-2 Shimmey Shimmey next week.

Buffalo Braves throttles Straight Flags 35-6 for their first win of the season

IMG_0095
Braves (orange) huddle before a play.  Picture by: Sean Goodwin

It is the second week of the new session for flag football here at the Epic Center.  I decided to wait to write an article till the second week, and that came this past Monday night.  Runner up champions, Buffalo Braves, played their second game of the season against a new team this year in Straight Flags.  Braves had a 0-1 record following their championship rematch last week versus Hellagoods.  Quarterback Chris Lonzi had an okay game for him as he rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, but had three costly interceptions down the stretch.  Meanwhile for Straight Flags, this was their second game of a double header having lost to No Limit by thirty points in the prior game. Their quarterback Messina was excited to get that loss back with an upset of the Braves to cap off the night.

The Braves had the first possession of the night, and proceeded to go three and out.  Lonzi looked off target with his receivers on three straight plays, and only managed to get one completion to Mohammed Saleh.   However, this was before the Braves newest player was able to suit up for offense for the first time of the season.  Leseaon Washington has taken his talents to Buffalo Braves team this season.  He was runner up in interceptions last sessions.  He caught the first touchdown of the game on a nice corner route from five yards out, following a terrific back shoulder throw from Lonzi.  Then it was the other new player for Braves who took over, and his name was Sean 2.0.  He finished the game with three touchdown catches in his first game playing at the Epic Center.  You can imagine how much his chemistry will improve with Lonzi as the season goes on.

Straight Flags played exactly as they looked before the game.  A team with not a lot of experience who is  playing their second game of a back to back with only one sub.  Even with some good rushes from Messina, and the other numerous players who tried QB, they were not able to sustain drives together and only scored six points the entire game. The final score ended up being 35-6 in favor of the Braves.  I have to mention how much credit needs to be given to the Braves defense on the day.  All four of their players who played on the defensive line got a sack in the game.  Lonzi played terrific at Line Backer and lead the team in flag grabs with seven.  The Buffalo Braves will face off against another 1-1 team next week in No Limit.  Straight Flags will have to take their 0-2 record against 1-1 Hellagoods who narrowly lost to Buffalo Celtics on the same day.