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A Congratulations goes out to the new league Champions, the MANCHESTER RAGE.
Made up of a solid group of crafty veterans, they combined their will to win with upper echelon talent, topnotch effort and above all…their distinguished applicability of teamwork. They define a Team. Not one player won the championship for them and not one player carried the team. Game in and game out, they played off of each other’s talents and weaknesses to perfection. In just their 4th season of existence, the Manchester Rage can call themselves; CHAMPIONS
The All-Star teams have been selected for the Spring Season. Each team gets one representative who was active for at least 6 of their 7 games. Each All-Star not only shines with his play on the field, but his attitude, commitment and passion for the good of not only his team, but the good of the league. This Season’s All-Star game will take place shortly after the conclusion of the CHAMPIONSHIP game this Saturday.
Week six was the halfway point for the divisional matchups..the same matchups that would determine playoff seedings and playoff futures. Those who will make the A’s and those who will make the B’s. The early morning game pitted a pair of Original 6 franchises as the Gate City Goats went on the road to take on the Livin Legends. Since starting 0 and 2 the Goats defense has really caught fire and has become a force to reckon with. With Adam Lafrance at safety, former MVP Jerry Brown at corner, and former 4 time defensive player of the year, Erik Johnson, blitzing, they have been a beast to move the ball against. The first drive of the game saw the Goats Eric Rosario pick off a pass at the 25 and take it to the endzone for 6. Two drives later, Brown did the same thing to put the Goats defense up 13-0. It wasn’t all the defense in this one though, as Luis Andino punched in his team leading 6th TD of the season with just 20 seconds left to end the half 26 zip. The second half was a bit lackidazikal for both teams as the Goats were only able to score second half TD. The Goats D was solid and were looking for a shutout until the Legends bright spot of the day, Brad DeGeatano took a handoff in the backfield and took 60 yards to the house as the clock expired. Legends lose their mojo and fall to the Goats 32-6.
The next game saw a pair of former champions matchup as the Battletoads took on the Scoregasms. The Scoregasms..well..scoregasm’ed all over the Toads early and often in this one. The Toads in their defense was without their team Captain who coincidentally is their QB and Safety. He decided to leave the team this weekend to head to a taping of Maury Povich in which he was told he was NOT the father on this Father’s day weekend. He will immediately be able to resume football activities this coming week. The Scoregasms Dan Walkley had his way with the Toads minus the putative father. Walkley ended the day with 8 catches for 124 yards and 3 highlight reel TD’s. The Scoregasms explode all over the Toads, 37-16.
At 10:30 ‘twas a matchup of winless teams. The Sons of Flagarchy and Bangarang matched up in a divisional battle of epic proportions. By epic we mean…apathetic…at least for the Sons of Flagarchy anyways. The Sons with a squad left of 6 men had no desire to change the way they have been playing all season. Championships aren’t made on paper, they are made on the field and Bangarang continued to shut down the Sons high aspirations. The first play of the game saw Bangarang’s all-star vote leader, Jovany Santos get open in space and take it 60 yards up the sideline for the score. The Sons responded instantly. Shawn Morin ran a skinny post up the sideline on their second play from scrimmage to tie it up at 7. That’s when things got chippy. On the second drive of the game for Bangarang, the Sons safety speared the receiver out of bounds which led to officials and league security escorting a player from each team off of the field. That was all the fight the Sons had left. Bangarang went on to score 30 unanswered points in a battle of the Black Sea. Santos ended the day with 7 catches and 5 touchdowns. Bangarang gets their first W of the season, 37-7.
The next game on paper was the matchup of the year in the North division. But then some guys didn’t show up, and some others guys got hurt and some other guys did some stuff and some other guys did some other stuff too, so we had just another ol’ fashion beatdown. The Rage led by Jimmy Sanford took on America’s Children at 11:30. Rob Keddie flexed his muscles early as he scored 2 TD’s on two catches in the first two drives for a two score lead for the Rage. Brian Bebyn who is making a case for Offensive Player of the year then decided to get involved scoring back to back TD’s to close out the half, 26-6. The American Children cried for their mommies and rummaged perilously for their binkies in the second half as it got even more out of hand. So out of hand in fact that an American Children fan decided to go streaking onto the field in hopes to put an end to the child laboring taking place. Rage spank America’s Children 41-6.
For the second straight week, the men of the Blue Balls Dynasty took on an undefeated squad. This time they were at home and faced off against former teammates who now play for Catalina Wine Mixer. The fans filled the stands and the bands sat in the grands while cheerleaders danced for the chance to see the game of the week on Blitz sands. Catalina came out swinging in this one and silenced the rowdy Blue Balls fans early (we’re done with rhyming now). The Blue Balls got on the board first when Dave Martel found Johnny Nadeau in the back of the endzone for a 6 nil lead. After that; Catalina started crushing grapes (making wine..anyone? No?). Well anyways, Catalina QB Danny Connolly quoted before the game, “I told you all, Ryan Rule in the best player in this league,” and Connolly made it to point to prove that to the world. Connolly connected with Rule on two consecutive scores to take a one TD lead. The Blue Balls couldn’t get it going offensively because of the David Lee like forgotten talent of Mike Dion. Dion stopped two Blue Ball drives with INT’s to kill the Dynasty’s momentum. Then, on Catalina’s final drive, Vinnie Frasco went in motion and caught a TD deep as the first half clock expired; nailing a dagger into the hearts of the Blue Ball fan base. Catalina had what seemed like an insurmountable 20-6 lead at the break. After an inspirational pep talk in the lockerroom by Jay Vance, he came out with a fire in the second half. Vance scored the first TD of the second half and while on D, deflected pass after pass. Despite Vance’s effort though, the Blue Balls still trailed by a TD. Catalina’s Connolly and Frasco worked the ball all the way down to the 5 yard line with just two minutes to play and could not punch in the game clincher. Blue Balls made them pay. Dave Martel connected with Kiel Canada 4 times on the immediate drive that eventually led to a game tying Vance TD. This game seemed destined for OT as Catalina hadn’t scored since the first half. Connolly had his Wine Mixers marching with under a minute to play. On fourth and inches from their own 29, Connolly took a shot at Martel at corner. Martel jumped the route, bobbled the ball and ripped it from the offense and took it straight up the sideline, Forrest Gump style and ran into the tunnel to win it. Blue Balls send their fans home happy and Catalina loses their first of the season, 26-20.
At 1:30 The Looney Goons went on the road to face off against the early season surprise team, the Force. The Looney Goons were seeking revenge for last weeks embarrassment, and the Force fell onto the schedule at the wrong time. If you have ever followed the story of a man named Dubois, the legend says that he is the metaphorical Tortilla that holds together the spicy bean burrito known as the Looney Goons. The legend of the Tortilla man also claims that he rolls (he’s a tortilla, get it), best with a sidekick. A sidekick known as…Valcarel. Valcarel goes by the street name of Beans. He gives the burrito the protein to make the enzymes to destroy the weak sauce that stands in their way. The story of Tortilla and Beans is a simple one…they score touchdowns and pick off passes. In this one they combined for 5 offensive touchdowns along with 3 interceptions and a pick six. Tortilla and Beans rolled to victory, 61-28. Perhaps next week, they will gain another hero..a long grain of white who can add texture and chuck to the burrito. His name…Rice..his birth name..Dalton. To see how the three combine next week, tune in for another action packed adventure at 10:30 while they take on Catalina Wine Mixer for a chance at a division title. We all know, Wine and Burritos don’t go well together….
The final game of the day was a defensive battle as the T-Money Tigers and the Nashua Vikings renewed their rivalry. The rivalry of this one dates back to last season when the Tigers were undefeated and were dethroned and beheaded by the eventual champion Vikings. The Tigers came into this one with a few cubs left at home in the cage, but they they came out growling. Anthony Williams broke the zeroes with his third TD of the season just 5 minutes into the game to put the Tigers up 7. Down after down and failed conversion after failed conversion the Vikings with 4 minutes left finally got on the board via Mike Lamonday TD. The score would sit at 7-6 Tigers at halftime. If you were expecting to hear that the second half was different and the teams got off their butts and started scoring, you my friendly readers, would be wrong. The second half was riddled with interceptions…5 to be exact and all 5 were thrown by the Vikings. Luckily for them, they had reigning defensive player of the year, John Colon. He wreaked havoc in the first half with 3 recorded sacks, and despite not getting an official sack in the second, he pressured and rushed his way into multiple turnovers on downs for the Tigers. Vikings Tight End Matt Arpin had a slow first half, but he caught one in the second that mattered. He caught a high slant going over the middle to take a 5 point lead with 7 minutes to play. Despite 2 more Viking picks, Colon halted all the Tiger second half drives. Even with 5 turnovers on the day and only 12 points to show for themselves, the pesky Vikings found yet another new way to win, 12-7.
To kick off week five the field crew was there nice and early in the drizzly rain to set up the field for the day. Magically just 15 minutes before kickoff, the sky cleared and the sun made it’s appearance. The first game of the day featured the Livin Legends taking a short trip up route 3 North to face off against the Manchester Rage. The Legends without their marquee players and big three did their best to compete against a crafty and skilled Rage squad. Within three minutes of this thing starting off, it was all but over. Rage’s Brian Bebyn scored on the second play of the game on a deep post for the first of his three TD’s on the day. The Legends without their QB had no answer for RIcky Torres. Torres wreaked havoc from the first drive on. On third down he forced the Legends QB to run for his life, straight out of bounds that led to a safety. He did that two more times on the day to lead the Rage to an easy 39-12 victory.
The 9:30 game wasn’t much better as a pair of divisional rivals took the field. The division leading Xtreme went into the hostile territory of the Sons of Flagarchy. Xtreme controlled this game from the get go. They had the ball first and they scored first. They ate up most of the first half clock matriculating their way down the field play after play. The Xtreme were able to open up a 26 point lead at the half which featured a circus one-handed behind the back interception and pick 6 by Justic Wallace as time expired. The second half, either the Xtreme pumped the brakes on the blowout or the Sons figured it out. The Sons of Flagarchy came out of the lockerroom and scored on their first two drives of the second half. Despite a second half equalization, the 26 point first half still existed. Xtreme go on to win in impressive clock eating fashion, 38-14.
At 10:30 a pair of winless teams matched up against each other, so one of them had to win right? Bangarang looked to gain a high seed in the already clinched B-division playoffs against Flaggravated Assault. David Zocco was the star of the game in this one hauling in 6 catches, 3 of which went for endzone celebrations. Flaggravated Assault led 18-0 at halftime looking for a shutout. The Bangarang D lead by Eric Sullivan, found a way to shutdown Zocco in the second half as they held them to just a single score by James Harvey. If Bangarang could get their offense rolling a tad bit earlier, they might have had a chance. Steve Sullivan grabbed a TD catch with just under two minutes to play after a methodical drive to avoid the shutout. With just 10 seconds left to play, Eric Sullivan picked off a pass at the one and stepped into the endzone to make this closer than it appeared. Flaggravated hang on and pick up their first W of the season, 24-12.
The game of the week took place at 11:30. The stands filled up and the hot dog vendors sold out for the Blue Balls and the Looney Goons divisional matchup of undefeated teams. The Looney Goons are putting up insane numbers and the Blue Balls have been right there behind them all season playing catch up. In this one though, the Blue Balls showed that they are the premier point scorers in the league. The soon to be, hands down, no doubt about it league MVP (maybe), started the scoring off in this one. Jay Vance caught two of his three receiving TD’s on the day in the first half to provide the only two scores for the the Blue Balls in the first half. Looney Goons, Bryant Bettez got a TD in the final 30 secons to make it a 6 point game at the break. The second half was all Vance once again. He and zone mate, Kevin Langevin made it a second half pick party. Both caught a pair of second half INT’s, one of which, Vance took to the house for his 4th total TD of the day. Looney Goons shut down and waited for the clock to expire in this one as the fall for the first time this season, 40-18.
In the waning minutes of the previous game, the crowd shuffled out so they could get back to their cars and avoid traffic, but little did they know, they would be missing the surprising best game of the day. The 12:30 game featured the shorthanded Battletoads versus the shorthanded Tigers. The first half was a close one at 12-6, here’s how it unfolded. The Tigers got on the board first with a beauty of a pass by Joe Sheehan to Keith Lebrecque from the 10 yard line. After the a turnover on downs by both teams, the Battletoads answered back. Nick Kepka Calvetti who caught a total of 9 balls on the day, ate up an entire drive with 4 catches in the slot that led to a TD to tie it up. The lead didn’t last long though as Danny Lebrecque found the endzone to give the Tigers a one score lead at the half. Kepka Calvetti came out again sunglasses a-blazing. In the first drive he caught 3 more catches and caught his second TD of the day to tie it up and give them the lead with the extra point conversion. Both teams stalled on offense pretty much the rest of the half thanks to Keith Lebrecque and his pair of picks. With the 2 minute warning looming, the Tigers took one of Keith’s INT’s and took it all the way down the field for the game winning Touchdown right into the hands of Danny Lebrecque. The Tigers win a big one to hold onto their hopes of an A division playoff birth as they win 20-13.
Another big divisional matchup took place at 1:30 at both the Goats and America’s Children were fighting for their playoff lives in this one. The first half, the mercury was rising because both teams were too concerned about what the other team was doing to them physically than what was happening on the field. America’s Children playing with just 5 guys was able to punch in the first TD of the game and actually had control of this game in the first half. But not so fast said the Goats Luis Andino. The man who catches TD’s and that’s it. With 10 seconds left in the first half he caught a deep ball and then caught the conversion to put the Goats up by one at halftime. The second half was all Erik Johnson. He finally broke out of his mini sack slump. He tied his single game sack record with 4. One of which resulted in safety as the gameclock was winding down. Goats win in defensive minded fashion once again, 28-6.
ICYMI the 2:30 was finished in a flash, just like the uniforms of Catalina Wine Mixer on the back of a leopard at midnight under the aurora borealis. The days’ finale was the undefeated Catalina Wine Mixer taking on the Forceful Force. Danny Connolly and his Wine MIxers didn’t have it in the first half as both teams played out to a zero zero tie at the half. Catalina made tremendous lockerroom adjustments that led to 28 second half points. Chris Connolly who scored one of the team’s 4 straight TD’s said after the game, “It was easy in the second half. It was almost like nobody was there.” Alex Kahl said something along the same lines, “I give a lot of credit to Danny for throwing through those Lake Michigan sized gaps in the D.” The Force coaches and captains declined to comment on their non-existent D. They will await further discipline from the league as to skipping out of their post game presser. Catalina pitches a shutout and win this one easily, 28-0.