Dynamite hand Team No Name their First Loss of the Season

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Captains Damon Powell (Yellow/Team No Name) and Josh Salada (Red/Dynamite) shake hands prior to their game. Picture by Sean Goodwin

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Another fantastic night of Monday football went into the books this past week. One team put up 74 points while the Braves lost another tough game, and have yet to pick up a win this season.  The game that really caught my eye was the closing game at 11 o’clock.  Dynamite brought a 2-1 record in to face undefeated 3-0 Team No Name.  Dynamite was looking to bounce back from their narrow loss to Hellagoods in the week before.  Their quarterback Bobby has played well all year, and last week he had over 300 yards with 4 touchdowns.  This week also marked the return of star receiver Ed Starr who had not played since week one where he had two touchdowns.  Team No Name looked to add to their three-game win streak.  Their quarterback Tito has had a terrific season as well.  Tito has proven to be a very tough QB to defend primarily because of his running ability.  He has had 60+ rushing yards in all three of his games this season.  His primary weapons, Yusef B. and Tony Rivera were also ready to go against their toughest matchup of the season.

Team No Name began with the ball, but it was tough sledding for the entirety of the first half for their offense. Tito was finding it very difficult to complete passes especially on third and fourth down.  The edge defenders of Dynamite was playing terrific contain defense.  Ed Starr and Ed Harof were the primary contributors to the strong defense played by Dynamite early on.  Bobby and his offense were able to convert on the terrific field position given to them by Team No Name, and their inability to convert fourth downs.  Jeff Farr caught the first touchdown of the game on a great play by Bobby to buy a bunch of time in the pocket.  This was Farr’s fourth touchdown of the season, and also put him just three touchdowns behind the league leader.  Another turnover on downs from Team No Name on their next drive led to another touchdown by Bobby and Dynamite’s offense.  This time it was Ed Starr with his third touchdown in just his second game played.  Team No Name was able to catch some momentum and score before the halftime buzzer. Yusef B. made a great play on an errant pass from Bobby and brought in his fourth interception of the season.  Tito then capped off a terrific drive from Team No Name with a rushing touchdown from twenty yards out.  The score at halftime was 19-7 in favor of Dynamite.

Dynamite was able to score on their opening drive in the second half, and this increased their lead to 18 points. Tito and co. did not look like they were going to throw in the towel by any means but a comeback from 18 points with just twenty minutes left in the game is extremely difficult.  Damon Powell came alive in the second half for Team No Name, as he hauled in two touchdowns on five catches.  Unfortunately for Team No Name these were the only touchdowns they scored the rest of the game.  A key play of the game came on fourth down with Team No Name down just four points.  Tito threw a ball to Yusef B. who ran a great out route to get open and caught the ball on the goal line.  It looked like Yusef made the catch in the end zone, and then was pushed back out. However, the ref called him short claiming he did not have possession of the ball until he was pushed out of the end zone.  This led to a strong argument from Yusef, as well as the rest of Team No Name.  The call stood and Team No Name had to give the ball back to Dynamite with just two minutes on the clock.  The game ended in a 25-21 score in favor of Dynamite.  I decided to give the player of the game to Ed Starr.  He finished the game with 4 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, but his contributions on defense went beyond the stat book.  He showed how valuable he is to this Dynamite team especially when it comes to their defensive scheme.  It gets no easier for Dynamite as they get another undefeated team Mega Chargers in their next game this Monday.  Team No Name gets to face the only other undefeated team in the league this year, Hellagoods, in their next game here at Epic Center

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Game of the Week: Shamrocks move atop standings with win

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Shamrocks (white) vs Mad Lads United (orange). Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – This past Tuesday, two of my favorite teams to watch went head to head. The Shamrocks defeated Mads Lads United by a score of 3-2. It was the closest game of the session to date. With the win, the Shamrocks are now first in the Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper standings, a game ahead of Mad Lads United and the Shamrocks’ parent team, Buffalo Celtic.

The goalies for both teams came up big in the first half, as they were tasked with making some tough saves to keep the game scoreless. It wasn’t until Mad Lads United’s leading scorer Lucas Metzger broke the scoreless draw with the 12:22 mark of the first half. Over the course of the first half the Shamrocks couldn’t get their shots on target, even though they dominated possession.

With 3:21 left, Shamrocks leading scorer and Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper leading scorer Mike O’Connor scored to tie the score at one. Neither team could add another goal before the first half ended. Shots at halftime were 8-6 in favor of the Shamrocks. But as Mad Lads United player James Keysa noted, it could’ve been more.

“They [the Shamrocks] were the better team in the first half,” James K. said. “We’ve gotten lucky that they haven’t put more shots on net and finished their chances.”

Chances came far and few between for both teams to start the second half. Both teams combined for only one shot on goal through the first six minutes. With 18:08 left, O’ Connor seized an errand pass from the Mad Lads United goalkeeper and put it in the back of the net to make it 2-1 Shamrocks.

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Shamrocks goalkeeper Nick Kurtz lining up for a goal kick. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

With 12:53 left, Shamrocks goalkeeper Nick Kurtz went full extension to make a diving save, which was a turning point in the game. It was made to the furious applause of the Shamrocks bench, including applause from Chris Voigt, the president of the BDSL club Buffalo Celtic (who owns the Buffalo Celtic in Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper).

With 7:35 left Oliver, forward for the Shamrocks, scored a header to earn his first goal of the session. It gave his team a 3-1 lead. The Shamrocks’ possession domination led to this goal as well. Mad Lads United’ Shane Green scored after beating a Shamrocks defender one-on-one, then shooting it perfectly in the top corner.

The Shamrocks’ possession hoarding depleted any chances of a Mad Lads United comeback, even when the entire team pressed forward in the last two minutes of the game.

Final Score: Shamrocks 3 Mad Lads United 2

Shots on Goal: Shamrocks 16 Mad Lads United 14

Next Tuesday, Mad Lads United take on D’Youvillage at 9 P.M., and the Shamrocks take on Buffalo Celtic, their parent club, at 6 P.M.

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

 To see standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

Mike Scibilia has a Mega Night to Help the Mega Chargers Defeat the Buffalo Braves

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(Dean Thompson (ball) tries to get around Ryan Stevens (24) and the Braves defense.) (Pictures by Sean Goodwin.)

 

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.- Mondays flag football games came and went, and it left me with a very tough dilemma. I had to choose just one game to cover when I could have honestly wrote about all four of the games.  There was Dynamite against Hellagoods, which was tight all game until the last minute when Hellagoods secured their victory.  Southside picked up their first win against Vengeance, in a game that was decided on the final play of the game.  There was also the two point win by Team No Name over No Fly Zone to end the night.  However, none of these games had quite the story lines that the first game of the night had.  It was Mega Chargers versus the Buffalo Braves.  The teams were at completely opposite sides of my flag football power ranking as well as the standing of our flag football league.  Mega Chargers are a new team playing at Epic Center this session.  They were 2-0 and had won those games with a combined score of 117-12.  Led by the Scibilia brothers (Nicholas at QB Mike at WR Joe on DEF) they demolished the two weak teams of the league by two insane score lines.  Then there were the Braves who actually brought in a 0-2 record to the matchup.  The Braves have been playing here every session since I started last year, and they were one of the top teams to play here at Epic Center for a long time.  Recently I just have not seen any of that type of top level play from the Braves.  Their quarterback Chris Lonzi was not having a terrific start to the season.  Damon Powell was playing a lot more effectively when he played for his second team Team No Name.  Big play receivers like John Helbringer and Yusef B. were just not on the same page with Lonzi this early in the season.  It only continued against the Mega Chargers.

If the Braves were going to have any chance at beating the Mega Chargers they were going to have to take great care of the ball, while being productive on offense. None of this came to be for the Braves as Lonzi was not able to get time in the pocket early on, and threw two interceptions on their first two drives.  Following the second interception, Nick Scibilia hit his brother Mike on a deep pass to end zone from 38 yards out.  Mike was turning out to be the early favorite for touchdown leader as his production was sky high from the first two games, and it continued with more this past Monday.  Nick S. made his first mistake of the season on Mega Chargers next drive.  While rolling right he decided to throw across his body to the left of the field, and waiting for him was Yusef who walked in the end zone for a short pick six.  At this point the score was 7-7, but on the Mega Chargers next play, Dean Thompson decided to run past the entire Braves defense for a 50 yard score.  The Braves again could not answer the score from the Mega Chargers, and were forced to punt after a drive of only negative plays.  Nicholas hooked up with brother Mike once again on a 40 yard bomb on first down, and it was 20-13 at the end of the first half.

The Mega Chargers looked at their seven point halftime lead and immediately realized this was not good enough. So they went on to play a second half of perfection in which they scored 28 points without giving up one to the Braves.  Mike Scibilia got his third touchdown of the day, and the other brother Joe Scibilia went deep as well for a 60 yard touchdown.  The final score was 48-13, and their was little to no doubt who the team to beat in this years session was.  It was some-what difficult to not give the player of the game to the Mega Chargers defense for that tumultuous second half of lock down pressure they put on Lonzi and the Braves.  However It was impossible for me to look past what Mike Scibilia did during the game.  He caught 4 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns.  Mike also had an interception returned for a TD to go with one flag pull on the defensive side. Honorable mentions were given out to Tom (4 sacks) and the QB Nicholas Scibilia (13-22 325 6 TDs).  Expect another great stat line from these boys again when they take on Southside next Monday, who they recently defeated 65-0.  As for the Braves they will have another shot at defeating Hellagoods who they recently lost to on PAT as time expired.

Game of the Week: Helltwigs beat Team Wheels in a shootout

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Jeromy Heckler scores to give Helltwigs (black) a 7-5 lead over Team Wheels (red) in the second half. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – This past Tuesday, a battle of the undefeated took place. Helltwigs took on Team Wheels in what ended up being the best game of the night. This Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed matchup truly lived up to the Game of the Week standards.

Just 8 seconds into the game, Team Wheels struck first. Jake Schiffman scored, then set up Team Wheels #9 on a two on one to give Team Wheels a 2-0 lead with 18:52 left in the game. This served as a wakeup call for Helltwigs as they went on a 4-0 run in the following three minutes. Two goals were scored by Matt Heckler, the others by Brandon Reynolds and Jeromy Heckler.

Team Wheels didn’t go down fighting. Goalie Evan Crage, rocking purple and black pads (Go Purple Eagles), made some crucial saves as throughout the rest of the first half. It’s what propelled Schiffman to score two more goals, and #9 to add another before halftime.

At halftime the score was 5-4 Team Wheels, with the shot totals favoring Helltwigs, 20-15. Both teams were visibly frustrated and tired after such a high-scoring, fast paced first half. Both teams pride themselves on defense first, and scoring on with a strong counter attack to get pucks on net.

As a result, only two goals amongst both teams in the first ten minutes of the first half; both scored by Matt Heckler and Reynolds to give Helltwigs a 6-5 lead. There were only a combined six shots amongst the two teams as well.

Helltwigs tried to pull away when Jeromy Heckler scored to make it 7-5 with 13:45 left (as seen in the top picture, but Schiffman pulled his team back to within one just 95 seconds later. With 9:57 left in regulation, Helltwigs earned their first powerplay of the night, and scored off the ensuing faceoff to make it 8-6. With 5:34 left, Matt Heckler scored on a nearly impossible angle to give Helltwigs a 9-6 lead.

Normally that’s a game sealing goal, but as previously mentioned, Team Wheels doesn’t go down fighting. They scored three goals in the last five minutes to tie the game. The game tying goal was scored by Jay Miller on a slapshot from outside the circle. It was quite the time for him to get his first and only goal of the season.

At the end of regulation with the scored tied at nine, shot totals still favored Helltwigs, 29-28. Each team was held scoreless in overtime, but each team had a prime scoring chance that was foiled by the goalie play of Crage and Helltwigs’ goalie, and Epic Center employee, Roger Collins Jr.

Tensions were high and stamina was low as the game headed into a three- round shootout. Both teams scored in the first round of the shootout. Helltwigs scored in the second round of the shootout, while Team Wheels didn’t convert, making the shootout score 2-1. Helltwigs missed in the third round of the shootout, but luckily Team Wheels had one more chance as they elected to shoot second before the shootout started.

It was score or go home, and the Team Wheels forward was unable to score as Collins Jr. made a highlight-worthy glove save. After he made that save, he celebrated with Helltwigs, shook hands with players form Team Wheels, then commented on his performance.

“I played like absolute crap,” Collins Jr. exasperated. “This victory is all on the team, they kept me in it for sure.”

When asked just how Helltwigs kept Collins Jr. in the game, he uttered two words:

“Pucks deep.”

 Final Score: Helltwigs 10 Team Wheels 9  

 Shots On Goal: Helltwigs 35 Team Wheels 33

Next Tuesday, Team Wheels takes on Knee Hockey Heroes at 10 P.M. and Helltwigs plays Don Bombs to open Tuesday’s slate of games at 6 P.M.

To see standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

 

 

Hail Mary answered in Hellagoods narrow victory over the Braves

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Braves defense following the winning touchdown by Hellagoods. Picture by Sean Goodwin.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – At the beginning of this past Mondays flag football action, I did not expect to be writing about another Hellagoods game. However, their game against the Braves ended in such a fashion I could not help but dive into this games stats and tell the story as I saw it.  The game was the first matchup between the two teams who have played each other a lot here at Epic sports center over the past couple months.  Monday’s game was the first Hellagoods game I can remember where their quarterback Mike Ford could not make it on the field due to injury.  Hellagoods brought in a former college quarterback Sam Castronova in to take his place.  Braves QB Chris Lonzi was looking to defeat Hellagoods for the first time in his four past tries.

Hellagoods offense did not look like it was missing Ford early on, as Castronova led the team down for a 28 yard score in just four plays. Sam was able to hit Derek Mcgee twice before capping off the drive with a strike to Alex Seifert for a 6-0 lead.  After a quick three and out from the Braves, Castronova would give them their first points from a dropped snap in the end zone.  This bonus score seemed to jump start the Braves offense as well as the plays came out very fluidly on their next drive.  Lonzi was able to find time in the pocket for a big completion the Mohammed Saleh down the middle of the field.  Damon Powell then finished off the drive with a great goal line out route to catch the TD from Lonzi.  The Braves offense was clicking, and Lonzi was a big reason why.  Hellagoods tough pass rush was not getting to him in time, and the Braves receivers were running terrific route combos to get open. John Helbringer and Ryan Stevens caught their first touchdonws of the season, and the Braves went into the halftime break leading by a score of 20-12

The Hellagoods offense deserved more points then it had in the first half. Sam Castronova was showing off his true talent with the ball in his hand.  The dropped snaps are what costed him early as he still did not have a fluid connection with center Adam Huard.  Sam was able to start the second half well as he led his new squad down for a quick score to Alex Seifert to cut the lead to 20-18.  The Braves offense looked strong out of the break as well scoring on their first drive.  Lonzi was having a terrific day throwing the ball to John Helbringer.  He seemed to complete every pass he threw Johns way including a big 40 yard precision pass in the back corner of the end zone.  On the extra point of that touchdown, Lonzi made a key mistake throwing a ball up for grabs which was brought down for a interception and one point for Hellagoods.  This made the score a manageable 26-19, but with such few time left a comeback seemed unlikely from Hellagoods.  It then ended up being fourth down and goal from fifty yards out for Sam Castronova and company.  In Aaron Rodgers like fashion, Castronova heaved a deep ball after scrambling around for time and after a couple tips Eric Flynn brought down the pass for a touchdown.  Now down one point with only a minute to play, Ford yelled “go for two” from the sideline, and it was clear Hellagoods was going for the win.  Sam C. drew up a great play, and Robert Malave hauled in the winning two point conversion.  Hellagoods had came back and won 27-26.  The player of the game was easily the new guy at QB for Hellagoods, Sam Castronova.  He finished the game 24-32 373 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first game playing at the Epic Center.   There were three stand outs at receivers, Alex Seifert (5-149 3 TDs) Eric Flynn (5-106 1 GWTD) and Derek Mcgee who had a game high seven catches in some very clutch moments.  It only gets tougher for both of these teams.  Hellagoods has to play Mega Chargers (2-0) next week who look like the early favorite for the League title.  Braves will look to rebound from this tough loss against Dynamite (2-0) who are also having a terrific season so far after two games.

Game of the Week: D’Youvillage destroys Santos FC

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Action from Santos FC (black) vs D’Youvillage. Photo by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – This past Tuesday, D’Youvillage defeated Santos FC by a score of 8-1. D’Youvillage, a team comprised of players from the D’Youville College Men’s Soccer team, opened up the session in convincing fashion and positioned themselves in first place in the Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper standings on goal differential, while Santos FC has plenty of games ahead of them to recover from this loss.

The first half was competitive. AJ W. opened up the scoring with 20:16 left a low driven shot from just outside the 18-yard box, and Alf Egse followed it up with a free kick (as seen here^) just under five minutes later to make it 2-0 D’Youvillage

Santos scored their only goal of the game thanks to the speed of their strikers, Monte and Jack. It was Jack who scored just 32 seconds after D’Youvillage’s second goal. The rest of the first half was intense with each team giving it their all. D’Youvillage’s Matt Davis closed out the half by scoring two to make it 4-1 at the end of the first half, shots on target were 9-6 in favor of D’Youvillage

The second half started out oddly to say the least. Just moments after kickoff, the ball got lost in the rafters of Open Field 1, and disappeared (probably forever). So with a new ball, D’Youvillage stepped on the throats of Santos FC. They scored four goals in the first nine minutes of the second half. Jason Wilson scored three, while AJ W. scored the other.

After the 16 minute mark had passed, both teams eased up a bit. There was only a total of six shots by both teams combined in the last 16 minutes of the game. The one highlight after all the goals were scored was when Santos FC’s Marcio Vieira flawlessly pulled of a rainbow kick on an unsuspecting D’Youvillage defender. 

Final Score: D’Youvillage 8 Santos FC 1

Shots On Goal: D’Youvillage 20 Santos FC 12

Santos FC plays the Shamrocks next Tuesday, while D’Youvillage has the week off.

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

To see complete standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

Hellagoods defense holds off Celtics for second straight Epic Center Championship

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QB Terrell runs the Celtics offense. Picture by Sean Goodwin.
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Hellagoods Team Photo following their victory. Picture by Sean Goodwin

 

The first session of Winter here at Epic Center finally came to a close this past Monday night. Flag footballs top division champion still needed to be crowned.  Hellagoods and Buffalo Celtics were the top two teams by far in this past sessions football blue division.  The game came so late due to most of the players being away for a national tournament in Florida.  The matchup I was watching for during this game was the leagues top offense in Hellagoods going up against the top defense of the Celtics.  League MVP Jaleel Harris was playing against former League MVP Mike Ford (QB Hellagoods) for the first time since week 2.

Celtics won the coin toss, and threw their outstanding defense on the field to start the game. Ford, and wide receiver Noah Huard were on fire early connecting on their first three targets of the game.  The Celtics almost held Hellagoods to a fourth down incompletion, but a late flag from the official penalized Robert Malave for pass interference.  The call was questionable, but it did not slow down Hellagoods momentum.  Ford and Huard connected for the games first score from three yards out, and Hellagoods took their lead that they would never relinquish.  The Celtics quarterback status had been questionable all season long.  They used 4 different quarterbacks in just six games, and this came back to bite them in the end.  Terrell made the start for them on Monday, but was unable to really find his groove in the pocket.  Celtics had a total of four possessions in the first half, and they were all turnovers including an interception by Dean Thompson to end the half. A dropped snap in the end zone from Ford was all the Celtics were able to put on the board in the first half.  12-2 was the score at the break in favor of Hellagoods.

Celtics knew they had to show some sort of offensive prowess on their first drive coming out of halftime. A dropped pass by Ronnie on second down followed by a terrific rush from Kyle Roy to force a throw away from Terrell led to another punt from the Celtics offense.  Dean Thompson lead the league in touchdowns for Hellagoods this past season, and was actually held in check by Harris, and Daryl Rose in the first half.  However, on Hellagoods first drive of the second half he broke free catching three passes including an 8 yard touchdown pass from Derek Mcgee.  The score was then 18-2, and there was very little hope of a comeback from the Celtics bench.  It was too little too late when Celtics finally scored touchdowns on their final two drives.  Hellagoods had taken their foot off the gas, and their prevent defense led them to their second straight Epic Center flag football championship.  The final score was 18-16.

The entire team of Hellagoods gets my nod for player of the game, and championship MVP. The team defense was outstanding from Noah Huard and Eric Flynn in the secondary to Adam Huard and Kyle Roy rushing off the line of scrimmage.  Mike Ford played another solid game while nursing a leg injury (19-23 186 YDS 1 TD 1 INT) and Derek Mcgee led the team in flag grabs (5) while throwing two touchdowns from Hellagoods double QB formation.  Both teams will return to the field in our extended flag football session that started this past Monday.