Well, we made it. The final week of the fall 1018 season, the season of precipitation. As hard as it seemed at times, the mud, the rain, the snow; we all persevered and battled through to make it to this point. You should all be proud of yourselves for sticking it out and dealing with the harsh conditions to make it the outstanding season that it actually became (click on the pic to enlarge it; it’s great).
The Scoregasms and Vinegar Strokes kicked off the day with an A playoff spot on the line. If the Strokes won, they would punch a ticket to the A’s and the Scoregasms would be the two seed in their division with a loss. Luckily for the Scoregasms, it didn’t come to that. The Strokes came in without their all-pro rookie QB and star wide receiver. As a shell of themselves, the Vinegar Strokes could barely get to completion in this one. The sneaky good Scoregasms D held the Strokes to zero completions in the first half while scoring 24 of their own. The Strokes got on the board in the second half when Tyler Baker caught a screen at his own two yard line and broke forty-five tackles on his way to the endzone for six. Dan Walkley officially ended it with his league leading thirteenth touchdown of the season for the winners. The Scoregasms wouldn’t let you see the Vinegar Stroke face in this one as they gasmed their way to a 30-7 victory.
The BLITZ Game of the week came at 9am, where Flagnado had sugar plum dreams of sending the defending champs down to the B’s with a victory. It didn’t start out well for Flagnado in this one. After a riveting Rock Paper Scissor battle that left Flagnado with the ball, the first pass of the game went through the hands of the offense and into the hands of Greg Matthews at the one yard line. Just one play later, the Vikings would punch it in with a Nate Forsaith touchdown to take an early seven point lead. The next drive saw Flagnado marching down the field. It was a 45 yard bomb to Jerry Brown that had touchdown written all over it until the abominable snow monster came out and pulled his ankles down on his way to the endzone. Three plays later, the offense turned the ball over on downs as they couldn’t punch it into the endzone. The Vikings offense then took over for the first time in their own end. Jake Forsaith slung his way out his endzone as he hit Anwar Clarke for a 15 yard drag over the middle. Then he hit Nate again for 15 more. Finally he connected with Clarke one last time in the endzone to take a commanding 14 point lead. Flagnado’s offense continued to sputter. On their ensuing possession, the Vikings defense would get another interception, this time by Nate Forsaith on a fourth down hail mary from the thirty yard line. Flagnado’s D would stand firm for the rest of the first, but the offense died off in the redzone one last time to end the half. The second half was a different story. The Vikings offense became stale and could not get it over the thirty thanks in part to two Jerry Brown INT’s that set up his offense for scores. The first score came way of Nick Sapienza who caught a bobbling ball in the back of the endzone to put Flagnado on the board. After another Nate Forsaith TD, Jerry Brown caught a quick slant for a touchdown to pull Flagnado within eight points and 36 seconds left to play. They had a chance with a money ball conversion and then quick turnover, but alas, the Money Ball was caught by Sapienza at the three yard line only to be tackled at the one. The Vikings would take a knee to survive and send both teams to the A bracket, 20-12.
The most hyped game of the day was a battle between Carnage and Legion of Doom. The winner would earn themselves a first round bye while the loser would have a much harder path to the finals. This game had the credentials to be great, but was actually quite apathetic. Legion of Doom was a two man wrecking crew from the opening whistle. Led by MVP candidate, Kiel Canada LOD jumped out to a 13 point shut out at the half. The first half featured a Vinnie Frasco slashing touchdown followed up by a Canada pick six at the break. The second half verse was more of the first. Despite allowing Angel Rivera to score his first touchdown of the season, LOD got on the board the same way as the first half. Frasco scored another explosive touchdown to go up by 13 once again. And finally the venom bite into the neck of Carnage was yet another Canada pick six to seal it. LOD wins it’s finale and clinches a first round bye, 25-6.
The 10am game between the traveling West Canaan Coyotes and Illmatic started off like a runaway train for the home team in this one. Omar Graciamo got the first score of the game with a darting touchdown deep down field just one play after he got penalized for a costly flag guard. On the next Illmatic possession, QB John Freese connected with Tyler Hartt on a 35 yard post route that saw him tip toe his way into the endzone to go up twelve nilch. With it being the last game of the season, Illmatic used their money on the point after attempt. Freese launched a heat seeking missile towards the endzone where Graciamo came down with it for the conversion. Just like that, Illmatic is up 18 points on two possessions. After a three and out by the Coyotes offense, their defense struck. Martin Becerril picked off an errant Illmatic pass and took it to the house to cut the halftime deficit to twelve once again. Right out of the gate, the Coyotes kept it coming. RJ Gagnon caught the first of his two TD’s on the day to pull within a score. On the ensuing Illmatic drive, Freese found Hartt again but this time Hartt flipped it back to a countering Cory White who danced his way into the endzone to double the lead. Fast forward to just under two minutes remaining and the Coyotes marching. Derek Crawford slung a pass to Gagnon again towards the front pylon who hauled it in to pull within six. The Coyotes needed the money ball with just under a minute to play and no timeouts left to stay alive. Alas their money ball didn’t stand a chance as Justin Martin brought the hammer down on the Coyotes last ditch effort with a sack to close it out. Illmatic survives a tough one, 24-18.
The Carnage looked to even their record on the day as they finished the second leg of their doubleheader against the Knights at 10:30. Austin Williams caught a screen and scampered sixty yards down field to put his team on the board first. JMac then caught his third receiving touchdown of the season to go up by fourteen points before the half. The second half was more of the Austin and JMac show. Austin caught a little slant downfield and then flipped it off to JMac streaking behind him for the score. Shortly after that, Austin decided to keep it himself when he caught a heel tapping touchdown in the back of the endzone to finish it off. The Knights couldn’t manage any points on this day as they fall, 27-0.
The Knights drew the short-end of the straw on the next game as they got the privilege of playing back-to-back games, just the final leg is against the Dream Killers. The game started with a pressure sack safety to put the Dream Killers up two quick points, then Danny Cabrera caught a touchdown to put the Knights up by four. The rest of the game belonged to the Killers as they went onto score 25 unanswered points thanks to the 6’6’ Matt Arpin going up over all the little people for a touchdown. Jimmy Hayes would get a pick six and Steve Riley would catch his first touchdown of the season to close the first. Kyle Twiss came right out of the lockerroom to shake some defenders and leave them in his dust on his way to the endzone. The Knights got a bigman, strong hands touchdown from Johnny Rollins in garbage time for the losers. The Dream Killers victory of 28-14 assures a rematch in the first round of next weekend’s B playoffs.
Around this time of year, New Wave starts to make it’s annual run and time to get hot just in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, snow and rain extinguishes hotness as they stood no chance in their regular season finale against Insanity. Garrett Barry was the star in this one tallying passing td’s and defensive td’s to his personal box score. He started the game by picking off a New Wave pass and taking it to the house for six. He then found Jesse Diaz for his first touchdown of the season. After a Nathan Guillermo deep bomb for New Wave, Barry connected with Tyler McDaniels to roll in front to a 19-6 lead at the half. The second half was a defensive battle as it only featured one more trip to the endzone. After a nifty screen that earned them a big chunk of yardage, Brandon Vaillancourt found the endzone for his fifth time this season. Insanity earns its first dub of the season, 25-6.
In a game filled with all the drama and pizazz of a close playoff game, it was far from it score wise. The second play of the game saw Rage QB James Mathias Sanford shovel a forward pass in the direction of Chris Yim who would absorb the pass and weave his way through all the defenders to the endzone. Four plays later, the Goonies answered. Mike Pasapia caught a dump off pass from Steve Tambouris and spin zoned his way to pay dirt to tie it up. On the ensuing Rage drive, Mike Vinagro caught a floater in the back of the endzone for the score. Vinagro would then pick off a Goonies pass to set-up Brian Bebyn’s seventh touchdown of the season. It wasn’t long before Vinagro struck again. On third and long from their own 12 yard line, Vinagro picked off another Goonies pass and waltzed into the endzone untouched for an easy pick six. The Goonies finally responded by way of Will Washington. He caught a 40 yard bomb up the sideline to cut the deficit in half. But with three minutes left, Dave Martel made a phantom snowy pillow “catch” that set the Rage up at the Goonies 25. Two plays later, Sanford lofted one up to a streaking Martel who was wide open in the back of the endzone for the score. The bleeding continued when Vinagro caught another long ball up the sideline on the first drive for the Rage out of the lockerroom. Pisapia went full on spin zone endzone once again six plays later, but it wasn’t enough as Dave Martel scored one more to ice it. The Rage secure the number one seed in the North, 44-19.
The regular season finale matched up two Blitz veteran squads. America’s Children went on the road into the swamp to face off against the Battletoads. The conditions worsened as the day progressed and this game got the peak of it. The snow was pounded down deeper into the ground. The sunlight was out to warm it up, thus making the snow into a slippery and frothy mud-like substance. Both teams were stuck in this for the majority of the game. One step forward, two steps back was the theme of the game. Every time Tom Scalley would catch a 25 yard completion, the ball would find it’s way backwards thanks to a conveniently placed mud or ice patch. Josh Briand would make a circus style catch for thirty yard gain, but then an evil snowy turf monster would come to life and earn itself a sack. Tied up a zero’s at the half and tied up at zero’s until the final 26 seconds. The Toads leapt their way to the eight line thanks in part to Josh Briand catch and run that knocked him out of bounds to stop the clock. Just as this game looked as though it was heading into overtime, Nick Kepka heaved a football shaped snowball to Ben Phelps for the game winner. The Toads win a barn burner and earn themselves a spot in the A’s for the second straight season, 6-0.