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With three weeks in the books, we are down to only one Undefeated team. Catalina Wine Mixer is far and away the favorite right now in Vegas to win Blitz Bowl IV. However many critics say their success is predicated on timing (injured opponents), but is this really the case? Only time will tell, but right now they are playing better than anyone in the league and have stricken fear into the minds of all of their opponents.
This week Catalina took on their acrimonious divisional rival, the Rough Riders who were high off their win over the Fan Faves just a week ago. Catalina’s defense came out uptempo and fast. Yan Iek pressured Keith Woodward from every direction as he wasn’t able to get anything going the first couple of drives. Catalina’s offense came out just as quick. QB Adam Lagasse found speedster Jake Tinirella and Pat Williams on the first of each of their pair of TD’s on the day to give Catalina an early 13 to nill lead. Woodward’s ineffectiveness wore off toward the end of the first half as he was able to toss a deep bomb to Mohamed Kargbo, and then find perennial MVP candidate Tai Ahmad, for two straight TD’s to finish the first half trailing by just a point. The separation didn’t change much in the second half. Lagasse and Woodward played back and forth the rest of the way. It wasn’t until the final two minutes where Toby Pena was able to pick off a Lagasse pass and run it to the house to tie it up at the end of regulation. The coin flip as usual determined the outcome in overtime. Catalina won the toss and on the first play of OT, ran a hook and ladder to back Mike Dion who took it up the sideline for the game winning TD. Catalina stays perfect and wins 41-35 in OT.
In non-Catalina news; the first game of the day was a defensive battle..to say the least. Victorious Secret and the Seagulls both came in winless and both in desperate need of a W to stay in the playoff chase in their respective divisions. Kevin Williams took over at Quarterback for the Seagulls this week as they look for a shakeup to get them into the W column. The Seagulls D was strong the first half. Two-time MVP Chuck Ford was all over the place deflecting passes left and right as Dylan Berry of Victorious wasn’t able to connect with any of his explosive receivers leading to a scoreless first half for both teams. With 6 minutes left in the game, Berry was able to get a drive going as Dom Puleo stiff armed his way to the endzone for the eventual game winning TD. Victorious Secret prevails, winning their first game of the season 7-0.
The 9:30 game pitted bitter Untouchables Quarterback Tony Longhi against his former team the Thunder Buddies. Last season, Longhi was used primarily as defensive stopper as he looked to prove his former team wrong for letting him walk in the offseason. However Thunder Buddies DE, Timmy Perry had other plans. Longhi didn’t have much time to throw as Perry was able to get to him two times and halting several Untouchable first half drives. Longhi spread the ball around the best he could and was able to give his team a 14-12 lead at the half. The second half became a more aggressive defensive battle. Untouchables defense was stingy at the goal line picking off 3 passes. Safety Dave Martell was able to bat away a go ahead TD to Tim Mosher and then finally pick one off to give him a league leading 4 INT’s through three weeks of play. However, despite the turnovers, the thunder Buddies trailed by just 8 with 90 seconds to play. Thunder Buddies QB Bruce Wallace connected with Mosher for a 50 yard TD and then found Shawn Morin on quick slant on the two point conversion to send the game into overtime. After a controversial coin flip, Longhi and his Untouchables were given the ball in the extra frame. The screen game paid off big for the Untouchables as Tyler Shattuck was able to juke the Thunder Buddies defense setting up the game winning TD to the A-Train, Anthony Thomas. The Untouchables hold on in OT and win 26-20.
In a divisional clash, the Fan Favorites traveled to play Beast Mode in the third game of the day. This game was started with controversy as the Fan Faves had just 3 guys at the start of the day with the 4th and 5th stuck in traffic. In a gentlemen’s agreement, Beast Mode allowed the game to be played…and what a game it was. The deadly combo of Derek Riley and Dan Walkley stayed hot for Beast Mode as they connected on pass after pass eventually leading to three scores together on the day. The Fan Faves’ Leslie Traeger and Joey Parzych would not go down without a fight. Traeger was also able to find Parzych on three endzone connections for the day. Score at the half had the Fan Faves in front by just 2 points. Experience and timely wind allowed the Fan Faves to get it rolling on offense as Traeger tossed a TD and ran for one more in the second half. Riley and his Beast Moders were only able to muster up one second half TD as they couldn’t put it in the endzone on the final drive of the game and they fall to 34-26.
The final game of the day had the Gate City Goats going to test the expansion Manchester Rage at home. The goats looked good early stifling QB Jimmy Sanford in the first half. Eric Rosario hooked up with Marcos Ramos and early season MVP front-runner Jerry Brown for early TD’s to give the Goats a 12-0 lead. Johnny Nadeau of the Rage picked off Rosario to give them some life in the first half as they battled back to take a 14-12 lead. Offensive Lineman Bob Dawson was able to get into the endzone to give the Goats the lead again 18-14 at the half. On the first drive of the second half, the Rage forced a fumble in the endzone and the safety pulled them within 2 points and totally shifted the momentum of the game. Both teams were equally matched, scoring 4 TD’s on the day. However the safety and by way of the Goats losing the extra point battle 4-0, they lose by 6 in a heated and action packed game. Rage win 30-24.
Week three was filled with action and emotion; the things football are built on. We had two overtime games and each game this week was decided by one score or less. It seems as though with each passing week, the level of competition of games gets better and better. This season is up for grabs..is your team willing to reach for it?
The biggest headline of the week, was a loss for the Fan Faves. They haven’t lost a game in over 2 seasons, thus ending their 14 game winning streak which dated back to Week 9 of the Spring 2012 season. If this were Sportscenter, we would be covering this story as much as if Tim Tebow were to actually throw an actual pass in the NFL. However…this isn’t the NFL and the Fan Faves are just another team in a very competitive and parodic league.
The days finale was a matchup of the previous two season’s championship games, however this time was a little bit different. Both teams were without their big contract players but they didn’t let that affect their performance. Jack of all trades, Leslie Traeger stepped up again this week contributing big in the first half. He threw easy TD’s to Kevin Langevin and Cameron Bernazzani and even ran for a score in the first half as the Fan Faves took a solid 18-7 lead going into the half. But like they write about in movies, a little pixie dust fell from the sky and ignited a spark in the Rough Riders. The first drive of the second half had the Fan Faves backed up in their own end and suddenly a Toby Pena safety set the tone and shifted momentum to the Rough Riders. Mario Pena was suddenly on point finding Keith Woodward and Washington Morisset at will. Mental and physical fatigue set in for Traeger and the Fan Faves as they allowed the Rough Riders to go on to score 31 unanswered points. The Rough Riders finally snap outta their slump against their arch rivals and win 38-24.
In other headlines; the start of the day pitted the Rage against Beast Mode in a North divisional matchup. Beast Mode was bound to come back to earth since erupting last week for 68 points while the Rage was poised to steal a divisional game. The Rage struck first with QB Jimmy Louzan airing it out deep down the field to Billy Clement for a 55 yard TD. Beast Mode hung in there though countering with a short slant to Leon Lackiram to even it up. Shortly after, Louzan found Huard in the back of the endzone to pull within 3 at the half. The second half was more of the same, a see saw battle which saw the Rage eventually take a lead due to their effectiveness in short yardage. The Rage was able to convert on 4 of their 5 point after touchdowns while Beast Mode was shutout for the game eventually leading to their demise. The Rage wins 34-30.
In the second game of the day, the Thunder Buddies traveled to Catalina to sample some of the fine wine. Both teams came out of the gate hot last week winning big opening day games against difficult opponents. The first half was dominated by defense. Neither team was able to get any offense going until a Yan Iek safety gave Catalina a 2-0 lead with the 2 minute warning looming. Adam LaGasse tossed a quick TD to give Catalina an 8-0 lead at halftime. In the second half the Thunder Buddies fatigue started to shine through. QB Bruce Wallace was pressured all day by Yan Iek and wasn’t able to get any kind of flow on offense. Last year’s Old Spice Swagger Award winner Mike Dion scored three TD’s on the day while Matt Austin and his Catalina defense completely shut down the Thunder Buddies offense and win easily 27-8.
Next on the agenda was Victorious Secret taking on The Untouchables. The game was not pretty at the start. Neither team was able to get into any kind of rhythm as costly penalties and turnovers cost each team valuable scoring opportunities. The sun went down and the wind changed directions in the second half as Dave Martell was nearly “Untouchable” finding Adam Gill on what seemed to be every throw down field. Dan Connolly of Victorious was held in check and wasn’t able to get in the endzone and take this game over. Gill picked off two passes in the second half helping the Untouchables win a gutty divisional game 42-27.
The 4th game of the day was our fantasy impact game of the day. The Seagulls traveled to Gate City to take on the white hot and new look Goats. The double blitz of the Goats was too much to handle from the start for the systematic offense of the Seagulls. Jay Darwell stepped up big this game picking off two passes and running one for a TD. It was a coming out party for rookie QB Eric Rosario as he torched the Seagulls D on deep and short passes all day long. The usually active and hard to handle Sylvestre brothers were anemic on offense as they fall to the surprise start Goats 67-15.
After two weeks of games, we have a few suprise teams. Some teams came in with high aspirations of undefeated seasons and no real challengers, while other teams came in under the radar looking to shock the world. Yet…so far everyone is playing their hearts out and competing. We have finally found some nice parody of even keeled teams. Things look great going foward and each week looks to be promising and entertaining games throughout.
In the first game of the season, the defending champion Fan Favorites, took the field against their new divisional foe The Untouchables. The Fan Faves came in looking for their second straight undefeated season, while the Untouchables had other plans.
The first half was a tight battle as back to back QB of the year, Brendan Bernazzani hooked up with Leslie Traeger and Kevin Langevin for first half TD’s. But in a tragic turn of events, Bernazzani went down with a knee injury temporarily staggering their offense. The Untouchables field general Tony Longhi, capitalized off the Fan Faves fatigue finding the A-Train, Anthony Thomas for a first half TD bringing them within one score at the half. The second half remained a tight battle, but Traeger of the Fan Faves stepped up picking off three passes and tossing two TD’s to seal the victory as the Fan Faves topped the Untouchables, 26-14.
The 9:30 game was a nail biter between Victorious Secret and the Thunder Buddies. Both teams came outta the gate a tad bit sluggish. Each team was only able to matriculate the ball slowly down field eating up the first half clock with both teams only having 2 possessions and giving the Thunder Buddies a slight 6 point advantage.
At the start of the second half, Thunder Buddies newcomer Justin Antone set the tone with one of his two interceptions which led to a deep skinny post to Rhett Lewis to give them the lead for good as the lethal receiver combo of Phil Shomer and Dan Connolly could not battle back and muster up a final drive victory. Thunder Buddies win 26-18.
The third game of the day wasn’t quite as exciting unless you happened to own Beast Mode players on your fantasy teams. The Seagulls came in with high expectations signing two highly touted Free Agents, Zach Lockwood and Jordan Scott in the offseason while Beast Mode came in with memories of last seasons first round playoff exit fresh on their mind.
The first half was close while Jamie Sylvestre connected on two TD’s to his old reliable receivers Steve Haley and Nick Allar but Beast Mode controlled the first half holding onto an 8 point lead at the break. The second half was a whole different ball game. QB Derek Riley tossed 4 more TD’s bringing his total for the day up to 7. The Beast Mode defense doubled two time MVP Chuck Ford and didn’t allow a single second half point. Leon Lackiram led the Beast Mode defense to a routing victory of 68-14.
The 11:30 game came back to normality as the Manchester Rage played Catalina Wine Mixer in their first game on Blitz turf.
Continuing his tear from last season, Catalina’s Jake Tinnirella set the stage with a big receiving TD in the first half from Adam LaGasse. The Rage wouldn’t go down quietly. Despite penalties and a slight learning curve they kept this game close as Bill Savory spread the ball around all day keeping the Catalina defense on it’s toes.
However at the end The Rage’s inexperience showed as the physicality and trickery of Catalina proved to be too much as they went on to win 23-15.
The final game of the day was poised for an upset. The Gate City Goats formerly known as 5deeP, came out strong. The defense led by Erik Johnson and his three sacks stifled last season’s MVP Tai Ahmad and quarterback Mario Pena as they couldn’t get into a rhythm and went into halftime with 13-12 lead. As all great teams do, the Rough Riders made adjustments in the second half. The Rough Riders switched to a dink and dunk offense and the Goats defensive scheme could not adjust quickly enough. Washington Morisset caught a deep TD and then picked off a pass in their own end to seal the deal. The Goats hot first half offense led by Jerry Brown couldn’t get into the endzone again as they fall on opening day 26-12.
In the weekend opener between 5deeP and GPW we had matchup of divisional foes jockeying for the last playoff spot in their division. 5deep came in with a 2 game winning streak while GPW hadn’t won a game since opening day. 5deep struck fast and often in the first half led by team captain Chris Morgan’s two touchdown catches. GPW couldn’t get it going while managing to muster up only 8 points at the half. Second half adjustments were made and GPW came outta the lockerroom with a fire in their eyes. Led by disgruntled quarterback Jamey Lawton, they scored on 4 straight possessions before giving up a Jerry Brown TD cutting the lead to 13 points. However, Lawton and his defense fought back; after a 5deeP turnover GPW captured the lead for good on a 50 yard seam route to Jeff Denver to clinch the season finale giving them the victory. GPW ended the season with 2 wins coming on the first and last games of the season. Though even through victory, GPW could not squeak by 5deeP in the standings as 5deeP clinched the 4 seed in the Sweat division.
The next game was another divisional matchup of 1 vs 2. The Fan Faves were looking to stay undefeated against Beast Mode who is coming off their first loss of the season taking all the drama out before it even started. The Fan Faves looked poised to finish the season unscathed right outta the gate scoring on 3 straight possessions to take a 20-0 lead. Beast Mode didn’t quite have their usual swag as quarterback Derek Riley could not get any time to throw due to the unconscious pass rush of Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jamal Simmons. Riley throws the best deep ball in the league and with shutdown corners Kevin Langevin and Justin Gagne all over the receivers; Riley could not get anything going. This game was over before it started, Fan Faves finish the season undefeated and win 49-22.
Next up Victorious Secret traveled to the Wine Mixers of Catalina. In another game that meant nothing due to playoff implications it was over before it started. Blown coverage and lackadaisical routes led to a first half hole that was impossible to dig out of even with a team as skilled as Victorious Secret. Catalina’s Mike Dion was unstoppable this week grabbing 4 td catches and a rushing touchdown that depleted the Victorious defense. Quarterback Dylan Berry had no answer for Catalina’s pesky pass defense while Chine Iek and Bruno Silverio each had a pick six in the first half. Berry was able to find his bearings a little bit in the second half connecting with Jack Teahan for two touchdowns which were ultimately their only points of the day, Victorious falls to Catalina Wine Mixer 54-15.
In the league’s regular season finale, the Kibbles Remix Football Club took on the Rough Riders in a sneak peak playoff preview. The Rough Riders went with Mario Pena at quarterback that day giving league leader, Ramon Pena, wide receiver duties. Super Mario would not disappoint. From the first snap he had the Kibbles defense flustered connecting with 4 different receivers on the first two drives. Kibbles had an answer though scoring 12 quick points in the first half cutting the lead to one touchdown. Ultimately, turnovers became costly and Mario was just too much connecting with Tai Ahmad and Keith Woodward 6 times total on the day as they routed the depleted Kibbles Remix 66-18.