Week Five began divisional matchup week. This is where the playoff seeding began to matter and we got to see who the real contenders were versus the real pretenders. Week five also brings us to only two weeks remaining on the regular season schedule.
The week started off as it usually does, the over night shift Nightmare taking on an opponent. This week was the new look Shotgunnaz. This earned BLITZ game of the week honors due to it’s intensity and highlight reel spectaculars. The Nightmare have been red hot as of late winners of two in a row and really flowing on both sides of the ball. Despite Nightmare’s hotness, the Shotgunnaz were the one who shot out to the quick lead. Led by four Andre Rioux receptions on their first drive, the Shotgunnaz jumped out to a seven point lead. Rioux punched in his first touchdown of the season via Shake n’ Bake style shovel pass from the two yard line. On their next drive, QB Brendan Bernazzani looked off the safety and aired one out deep down the sideline to a streaking David Hamilton for six more; Shotgunnaz up fourteen on two drives. Nightmare would wake up from that bad dream start and get their act together. Dillon LaPlante led his offense to a first down at midfield. Two plays later he lofted a ball in the direction of Mike Kamysz who leapt over three smaller defenders and came down the with the touchdown. After a big interception by Nick Santana, Nightmare was on the attack once again. Santana caught a screen from the ten yard line and snuck his way into the endzone to pull within a point with 45 ticks left on the first half clock. Shotgunnaz had one last chance to increase their lead and they did just that. Bernazzani connected with Hamilton once again down the sideline for sixty yards for another touchdown as the clock expired. David Hamilton, 2 receptions, 115 yards, 2 touchdowns, one half. Fantasy gold. The Shotgunnaz kept their momentum going in the second half, this time it was the other Hamilton, Allen who did the damage. On their first possession after marching down to the ten yard line, Allen stopped at the pylon and received a missile from his QB. He then hit the back endzone for the extra point conversion. Ensuing Nightmare possession, Shotgunnaz defense player of the year candidate Sean McGrath provided defensive points. Though he didn’t earn the sack on this play, his intense pressure caused a back foot back line scrape by the Nightmare to give them a safety and possession. For the ‘Gunnaz, ultimately, the possession didn’t result in points, however they did burn a lot of clock using over four minutes on eight plays. When the Nightmare finally got the ball back, they had three minutes to operate and score seventeen points. LaPlante got to work and made quick work of the prevent D of the Shotgunnaz. He found Santana in the endzone underneath everyone from the one yard line to pull within eleven at the two minute warning. The Shotgunnaz tried their best to end this one, but instead of running the ball and taking the clock down, they turned the ball over. Mike Kamysz came up with a big tip ball INT inside of their own twenty to give them a chance with under a minute to go. LaPlante got his offense down to the two yard line thanks to a couple big Martin Beccerril catch and runs. On fourth down from the two, Trevor Lessard layed on the ground and LaPlante pinpointed a dart in his direction where Lessard suctioned it to his stomach to pull within five. The clock is expired and with only one way to keep their win streak alive, the Nightmare elect to use their Money Ball. The Money Ball is an extra point from the thirty yard line that’ll count for six points; this is a once a season opportunity and they decided to roll the dice for a chance at the dub. LaPlante dropped back from the thirty and under heavy duress launched a hail mary towards the endzone. Kamysz couldn’t come down with it as it was batted to the ground by the Hamilton boys. Shotgunnaz hang on and win their second of the season, 30-25.
The Phantoms and America’s Children took the field at 8:40. This was a tale of two halves for each squad. The Phantoms put up twenty in the first and the Children spit out a big goose egg. QB John Freese found his arm on the Phantoms first score when he threw a deep ball to Cory White who corralled it and scored from the 29 to break the zeros. White would not be outdone. On their next possession, he took a pitch from the two into the endzone for six more. Finally the bleeding would solder itself for the Children but not until after Dean Muzzy used every bit of his 6’6″ frame to get over two defenders to end the half at twenty to zero. America’s Children got their game back in order out of the locker room. After a clock eating four minute drive, Pat O’Donnell found Dave Landry streaking over the goal line for their first score of the day. Folliwng a turnover on downs, rookie of the year hopeful, Andy Geffard kept his touchdown streak alive. He caught a little bubble screen then shook every defender on the field, not once but twice to put them all on skates for his 8th touchdown of the season. Just as the Children began to get life and momentum, the Phantoms took it right away like the souls of the victims on the Nina, the Pinta and Santa Maria. Dean Muzzy caught his second touchdown of the game in style. He made an outstanding circus like skyscraping, toe tapping, pylon dragging touchdown grab for the eventual game winner. Geffard scored another touchdown late in the second half but it wasn’t enough. The Phantoms go streaking with another dub, 26-19.
Shake n’ Bake was at home looking to keep pace with Rampage against the Scoregasms at 9:25. We had a close one in the first half, but alas each game is two halves so it took the dramatics away from us thanks to a huge second half by Shake n’ Bake. Dane Schindler got his team moving when he connected with Jason Grace on their patented one yard shovel pitch thingy for a score. Three plays later, the Scoregasms responded. Who else but Dan Walkley caught a post over the middle for 35 yards and the tie. Rookie of the year nominee, Chris (Yogi) Guilermo caught a one-handed 22 yard post saying “anything you can do, I can do better,” type touchdown. Guilermo would then intercept the Scoregasms on the following drive to set up another Jason Grace touchdown flip. In the weening seconds of the first, Walkley would catch a 55 yard touchdown bomb to keep pace at 20-13 at the half. For the Scoregasms, that was as close as they would get on this day. Schindler connected with Austin Williams right out of the gate, then Dave Martel would score his first touchdown of the year after yet another Guilermo INT. Schindler and Grace would put the exclamation point on the victory at the end when Grace slung a behind the back rocket to a wheeling Schindler for the final touchdown. In the loss, the Tripodi brothers, had some fun returning a pair of extra points in the second half to get the Scoregasms on the board. Shake n’ Bake keeps the blowout city truck moving, 38-18.
At 10:10, ’twas a matchup of 1970’s NFL Powerhouses when the Raiders clashed with the Vikings. With Raiders starting QB Mike Howe DNP due to a contract holdout, they brought in free agent quarterback Sam Bonney-Liles to provide some oomph ’til the contract talks have been resolved. Bonney-Liles shook the rust off on just their second possession. He hurled a torpedo into the direction of David Baldwin into coverage for their first touchdown together this season. The Vikings would quickly find a way to respond. Fresh out of Gronkowski style retirement, Jake Forsaith threw his first touchdown in two years to a diving, AJ Labrecque for the equalizer. Both teams knotted at seven’s at the break. If you got up to grab a beer or use the bathroom during the halftime show you might’ve missed the first score of the second half. On the first play, Bonney-Liles threw a twenty yard comeback route to Christiano Reyes who made three defenders miss before sprinting into the endzone for the score. Tack on the extra point and the Raiders had a lead that would eventually win them the game. Lebrecque would later catch another knee dragging touchdown to pull within a point for the Vikings. But alas it was all for not when Baldwin called game with three minutes left. He caught a pass in the back of the endzone all alone to go up seven with a minute to play. Lastly once in desperation mode, the Vikings threw a pick six in the the direction of who else, David Baldwin. Raiders go on the road and win a big one over the rusty Vikings, 27-13.
Score-wise and intensity-wise, the 10:55 game might have been the Blitz Game of the Week, but nobody likes good defense so it will settle for a BGOW nomination instead. Winless Flagnado was at home to take on the well-oiled machine known as Legion of Doom. It’s been a tough go for Flagnado thus far. They had lost four games this season by a touchdown or less and that’s doing it without two of their impact players in the Humphrey brothers. Expecting a blowout, Flagnado still played the opposing super squad tough. The game’s first score came way of Kiel Canada. Thanks to a long run by Jay Smooth, LOD was knocking on the door to score right away. Smooth connected with Canada in the endzone from the eight yard line for six and the instant lead. Flagnado couldn’t get the ball moving on offense thanks to the super stingy and stout Legion of Defense. However, sometimes defense is the best offense, as they were able to get on the board thanks to a cone kick safety by LOD to give them the ball back. An offensive possession that didn’t last long. Vinny Frasco intercepted an arrant pass and took it down into Flagnado territory. Jamaal Woods would score from the six yard line for six just two plays later to go up by eleven. Finally with 90 seconds left, Flagnado scored on offense. Thanks to double coverage of Jerry Brown downfield, Jason Michelini had an entire blank canvas to work from when he caught a dump pass underneath. Michelini opened the gate, looked up and saw pay dirt as he spun his way to the endzone to pull within five points at the break. Spoiler alert, that’s all the scoring the game would see. Kevin MacDonald came up with a pair of sacks for LOD in the second half. Pat Gabriel tried to be a flare for the dramatics when he forced a fumble on the LOD twenty with a minute left. Four plays later, a Flagnado pass dropped silently to the ground without a home to end it. Legion of Doom hangs on in a tight one, 13-8.
Despite the highlight and sizzle reel you may have seen, Rampage in fact did not score a gazillion points against the Battletoads at 11:40. Rampage stormed out of the gate, scoring on both of their first half possessions. Yes, both. They only had two possessions because the Toads enjoyed leaping from lilly pad to lilly pad and eating the clock like mosquitoes. After the coin toss, Rampage scored on six plays most in part to reigning MVP, Andrew Duval. He hauled in three catches on their opening drive including a dip and duck touchdown for six. On the Toads ensuing possession, Duval would strike again. This time with an acrobatic, body contorting, air walking interception. This INT set up Carter Cormier in the back corner of the endzone for another score. The Toads would finally answer on their next possession. They took the clock all the way down to one minute, then Rampage just forgot to cover the King of the Forum, Ben Phelps. Avoiding the constant and pesky pressure by Luis Andino, Scott French evaded the rush then slung a dart to Phelps all alone and the Toads were with seven. Junior Teixeira then plucked the extra point from the sky one handed and rumbled and lateraled all the way into the endzone for two. Halftime. Fresh after the clock started, Duval blew by all his defenders and caught his second touchdown of the game. On the consequent Battletoads possession, Andino would jump the O-Line with his hands up like the Boogeyman from under the bed. Magnetically, he summoned the ball directly into his tennis racket sized mitts, threw a stiff arm and ended up in the endzone for a pick six. The Battletoads would score once more thanks to a five yard drag by Pete Coats. At the end of the day, this one belonged to Andrew Duval. On the final drive, he told the refs “watch this” as he turned on the jets and whizzed by everyone on the field for his third touchdown of the day. Rampage remains undefeated, 37-12.
At 12:25, the bipolar squad known as “Take Over” took on the Tribe. By watching the first half, you would think this was a blowout as the Tribe dominated every aspect of the game for the first eighteen minutes. George Urena started the day for the Tribe with a 55 yard touchdown grab from Jordy Bohlorino on a reverse. Two drives later, Bohlorino on yet another reverse connected with Jose Lawtown for his first career touchdown. Tribe up by fourteen points at the break just like that. The Tribe may have gotten a little too over confident in the second half in this one, experimenting with different plays and exotic defensive formations. The experimentation was going well but Take Over took out their playground playbook and took the bull by the horns. Terry Lovett secured a ten yard crosser and then sprinted for forty more yards for the score to pull within seven. Then George Vasconcellos stiff-armed his way downfield for 35 yards and the score. Two possessions and just like that, Take Over suddenly only down by one. Jose Lawtown got his team in front again with a fourth down conversion from the 29 yard line. A conversion that started as a first down, then turned into points; touchdown number two, Tribe up seven once again. The lead didn’t last long because Vasconcellos retaliated. He snuck by a defender in open field and left the rest of the defense wondering how his flags didn’t pop as he high stepped into the endzone to pull within a point…again. They could not convert the extra try so they gave the ball back to the Tribe down by one. On second down, a simple play action QB waggle turned into a back cone kickeroo that resulted in a safety to give Take Over the lead. A lead that stuck til the bitter end for the Tribe. Take Over took over the lead in the waning seconds for the victory, 21-20.
The final game of the day, was the Tribe trying to split their doubleheader against the Spartans. This game had some fireworks early but ended nicely in handshakes and learning moments. The Tribe jumped out to a 26-6 lead at halftime led by Mike Newguytonvillefield. Mike led the team in receptions and missed flags by far. He amassed 634 yards on the day… that includes every inch of back and forth shiftiness and traction control speed recalibration. Mike was the gameplan and Steven Polanco was the beneficiary. Polanco completed a touchdown hat-trick on the day with five receptions for 117 yards and three touchdowns. Not a bad way to get back on track for the Tribe. Spartans lone highlight came way of Shawn Lopes doing his best Mike Newguytonville impression, shaking the boots off the pursuing defenders for the score. Tribe downs the new young franchise with ease, 32-14.
Now that week five has come and gone, we are officially in crunch mode for playoffs. This means, that if you plan on playing in the playoffs you need to get your games in. Remember, three games for vets (2+ seasons) and four for rookies and sophomores. These are the playoff requirement minimums for everyone on all teams. Once week seven has completed, the playoff bracket will be drawn and your official playoff roster will be posted under your team page. We have a bye week this weekend 5/29), then we’re back at it for just two more weeks. That’s plenty of time to get some games played earned to your credit.