All great novels or news articles must start with a grabber to entice the readers to keep reading. Something so amazing and poignant that it feels almost obligatory to keep reading to survive. So are you ready for your grabber? The Vikings are done. They are finished. They are imploding like Chris Sale’s belly button ring at Claire’s in the Pheasant Lane Mall. Crazy right? The defending champs just Stroked out in the middle of the field on Saturday. We’ll get to that later on but first we’ll start in chronological order.
The first game of the day took place between a pair of original six squads as Flagnado went on the road to face off against the Scoregasms. The home team jumped out to a 7 point lead thanks to a Scott Daniliek bomb over the top of the defense. Flagnado would respond on the ensuing drive. Nick Sapienza caught a leaping touchdown in the back of the endzone to tie it up. A tie that wouldn’t last long as Flagnado’s Jerry Brown picked off a Scoregasms pass and bolted down the sideline from endzone to endzone to go up 14-7. After two turn over on downs by each squads, the Scoregasms would reset the game right before the half. Dan Walkley sat in the slot and ran a little drag over the middle and caught a gut grasping touchdown to even it up. The second half would not be as competitive as Walkley and Daniliek took over. The Scoregasms offense ate the clock and managed the game perfectly as they scored 14 more unanswered points replicating their exact performance from the first half. Flagnado loses a tough divisional game, 28-14.
Up next, the Dream Killers took on New Wave fresh off their bye week. New Wave came out strong and fast. QB Devon Collier connected with Nathan Guillermo on their first drive to go up six quickly. Unfortunately for the home team, that was about all the momentum they could muster up for the day. They shut out the Dream Killers in the first, but in the second half is where they came to life. On the first Killers drive out of the locker room, Guy Pederazami dumped one off to Steve Riley who stiff armed his way through three defenders for 45 yards. On the next play, Pederazami found a wide open Andre Rioux for his first touchdown of the season to tie it up. Pederazami would then pick off New Wave to set up a short field for his offense. Three plays later he found Rioux open again for the lead. Jason Posnick would add a rushing TD for the winners in this one to put it out of reach. The Dream Killers down the preseason B champion favorites, 19-6.
After a tough loss last week, the Battletoads picked up their lily pads and set up shop at the circus in an attempt to tame the Tigers. Ben Glassman got the scoring going in his usual fashion with a two yard shovel pass from Scott French. Josh Briand would then intercept an arid Tigers pass, run it to the ten and then catch a touchdown on the front pylon. Ben Phelps then put an exclamation on the half by diving head first into the endzone to haul in his second TD of the season. The Tigers only highlight of the half/day was a deep post to track start Dave Brown for their lone touchdown. The Toads would then go on to score 26 second half points to complete the dismemberment of the poached Tigers squad. Battletoads get back on track, 45-6.
As the Athletes routed the Toads last week they looked to continue their assault of the league as they took on America’s Children. The winner of this one would claim the top seed in their division in the way too early to care about standings. On the first drive of the game, the Athletes picked up where they left off last week. Matt Bailey shoveled a short pass to Jay Vance who instantly shoveled it back to a streaking Bailey for the 35 yards and the score. After a turnover on downs, Melvin Bonilla juked his way up the field shaking all the defenders out of their cleats on his way to the endzone. Jay Vance then picked off a Child’s pass and flipped it Bailey again who waltzed in for the score. Just like that, in six minutes, the Athletes were up 19 points. Bailey added another pick six thanks to Bonilla, Dee forced a fumble and then caught a TD and then some other stuff happened, then some more crazy stuff, then finally Sean Osorio caught a twisting leaping backflip inducing TD to cap off the day. Athletes steal the Children’s lunch money 54-8.
If “Venom” being released into theaters last week wasn’t enough to recognize it, then you need to know now that the Carnage are for real. Led by former MVP, Dane Schindler the Carnage is set for a late season run. They took on the West Canaan Coyotes at 10:30 in week three and it wasn’t even fun. Christian Reyes caught a touchdown on the Carnage’s first drive, then Chris Rocker followed it up with a tiny sweep shovel inside the five for a score. Justin Vazquez concluded the first half scoring with a streaking TD thanks to the first of Austin Williams’ four interceptions on the day. Reyes added another touchdown in the second half and Austin Williams took one of those picks to the house. The Coyotes finally got it figured out a bit late as Derek Crawford found Mike Sullivan in the endzone with under a minute to play. RJ Gagnon caught himself a garbage time TD as time expired; too little too late for the Coyotes as they fall, 34-12.
At 11, Legion of Doom went on the road to take on Illmatic at home. Illmatic has the talent to compete with anyone but it’s a matter of which Illmatic team you are going get. On this day, Legion of Doom got the mediocre one. LOD’s first points came way of a pressure safety sack that caused Illmatic to walk out of the back of the endzone a la Dan Orlovsky. On their offensive possession, Kiel Canada hooked up with Vinnie Frasco for a 58 yard bomb. Frasco did all the dirty work and Eugene Sartin got the glory as he hauled in a missile from the two yard line for six. Sartin would tip-toe his way into the endzone one more time after the half to go up fifteen points. Joe Medeiros would then snag a 60 yarder from the sky for six more. Illmatic cut into the lead a bit when rookie Omar Graciamo went up over everyone for a home team score. With two minutes left in the game, Josh Thomas took over. Thomas picked off an Illmatic pass and scampered 17 yards for the score. Then just three plays later, Thomas did it again. A pair of pick sixes in 48 seconds. Legion of Doom downs Illmatic, 35-6.
In what could have been a game of the week finalist, the Knights and Insanity were overshadowed by this weeks opening statement. This was a good game that saw both teams who have history with each other go back and forth throughout the game. Unfortunately, a dust up, shoving and cursing caused the fanfare of this game to fizzle out quickly. Sun Tzu who is a fabled and acclaimed military strategist and philosopher of Ancient China once said that “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” The skirmish was small and nothing of notoriety, but it did ultimately ruin what could’ve been a fantastic game. The Knights won the game as time expired by completing the extra point to win 33-32.
The high noon game was not a shootout at the okay corral, it was more like the Pilgrims and the Indians. Metrowest Boomin came into this one looking to build off of last week’s moral victory and perhaps take down the all-mighty Rage. In life, not all well-laid out plans become well-executed plans as the Boomin weren’t quite ready for the Rage in this one. Chris Yin, Tek, Michael Vinagro and Keddie all scored TD’s as Boomin blood was shed on the field. The Boomin is a tough physical team and they played as well as they could sans QB1. Jay Davis who is the Julio Jones/Odell Beckham of the squad is playing quarterback thus making it hard to put points on the board and open things up for the Lavoie’s who are very ample weapons. The Rage step off the gas a bit in the second half but still go on to win with ease, 40-12.
And finally the finale of the day; the moment you’ve all been waiting for; the upset of the week..or is it??? Ok so the grabber at the beginning of this was to get your attention. We all know the Vikings are not done and they are not trash, they are still most certainly one of the classiest and most talented teams (miraculously) in the league; obviously. So let’s get it started now shall we?
The first half was a precursor for the rest of the game as it was literally back and forth the entire time. The Vikings would march down the field and score. Then the Strokes would go down and score. Vikings ball, turnover on downs. Strokes possession, turnover on downs. The Vikings found the endzone and the Vinegar Strokes would find the endzone. Dez scored first the Vikings, Mike Kelly first for the Strokes. Nate Forsaith next for the purple guys then Chad Crockett for the blue guys. Halftime came along and it was the exact same way it started, all tied up. Nate caught two more TD’s in the second half while Kelly and Crockett caught each added a TD respectively to their stats in the second. Crockett’s second TD of the game came a bit more filled with drama than the previous. Led by QB Ben Durand, the Strokes possesed the ball down by six with over a minute to go. He carved up the Vikings prevent D in the waning moments only to connect with Crockett over two Viking defenders to send this one into sudden death. After a quick briefing on the overtime rules, the all decisive Rock Paper Scissor battle would commence. Rock Rock. Paper Paper. Rock smashes scissors. Ok turn around take a breather. Phew back into it. Paper Paper. Scissors cut Paper. All tied up. Rock Rock. Just then with an unorthodox and nonconformant move, Strokes goes back to back Rock and smashes the Vikings scissors to gain possession of the ball in overtime. Durand started in his own end. He found Kelly over the middle for ten. He scrambled away from Colon and hit Baker who rolled out of bounds for ten more. Kelly again for five over the middle. Fourth down, Durand found Baker again to move the sticks. On first down is where you make your money and that’s just what the Strokes did. Durand rolled to his right to barely avoid the outstretched fingers of Colon. Eyes locked on Baker awaiting him to sneak out of that narrow window. Finally while on the run he launched a pea to the back pylon where Baker laid out, grasped the leather with his gloved digits, sucked it into his chest and face planted on the grass to secure the victory. The Vinegar Strokes earn their first big franchise victory in overtime against the defending champs. The Vikings lose their first game or 2018, 31-25.