The Central Penn Piranha won its second GDFL National Championship in three years. The Piranha from the state of Pennsylvania defeated the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters 21-19 in Gridiron Bowl V in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, TN this past weekend.
There was no scoring in the second half. Oklahoma led 21-19 at he break and won by that same score.
The Piranha became the first-ever two time champion in GDFL history. The GDFL has remained on the scene with quality football in a vast number of markets. The league will be entering its 6th season in 2015.
A pivotal Xtreme conference semifinal match-up featured a pair of undefeated teams in the Florida Falcons and East Alabama Predators with everything on the line.
Florida (12-0) entered the game undefeated coming off of a 5-5 season a year ago. East Alabama (11-1) went undefeated in their first season in franchise history winning the Heart of the South division crown.
Once the ball kicked off and the final horn sounded, it was the boys from the First Coast, the Falcons, coming out on top 38-22 on the road. Florida advances to the Xtreme Conference championship game and will host the Central Penn Piranha (10-1). Central Penn won the GDFL National Championship in 2012. The Piranha scored a conference semifinal victory over the Albany Metro Mallers 21-10.
In the Impact Conference the Nashville Storm (12-0) won the battle of I-65 for the third time this season in three meeting defeating the Indianapolis Tornadoes (8-4) 24-7. The other semifinal saw the Oklahoma Bounty Hunters (10-2) knock off the Cinderella Dallas Anarchy (8-5) 28-18. The Anarchy knocked off defending GDFL National Champion and previously undefeated Oklahoma Thunder (10-1) in the second round 31-25 preventing an all-Oklahoma semifinal. Oklahoma will host Nashville in the conference championship game.
Florida and Nashville are the only undefeated teams left in the 2014 GDFL playoffs.
Each conference semifinal will be held this weekend, September 13th with the GDFL National Championship game, the Gridiron Bowl, on Saturday September 27th in Memphis.
The Georgia Crush made their GDFL playoff debut a successful one in front of the home fans at Windsor Academy in Macon, Ga.
Adam Crump rushed for a touchdown, Cornelius Williams returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Marcus Brooks hooked up with his favorite target Lamontray Williams on a touchdown pass in the first half as the Crush led 21-12 at halftime.
In the second half Allen Davis added two rushing touchdowns as the Crush advanced with a 33-12 victory over the Carolina Chargers. Special teams again proved to be an issue for the Crush as they missed two extra point attempts in the second half.
Mario Ford rushed for a touchdown and Adrian McLean returned an interception for a touchdown for the Chargers.
The Crushes will travel to the East Alabama Predators in the second round. The Predators were the Heart of the South division champs and received a first-round bye. It will be the first meeting between the two teams in history.
The Georgia Crush hit the road to face the Georgia Firebirds to close out the regular season. The contest was scoreless when it was delayed in the opening quarter due to extreme lightning in the area. Once play resumed it went uninterrupted as the Crush bested the Firebirds 18-8. Next stop for the Crush, the GDFL playoffs.
Crush wide receiver Allen Davis rushed for a touchdown and scored a two-point conversion. Running back Adam Crump added a rushing touchdown for the Crush as well.
Special teams doomed the Crush last week in a home loss to the Gulf Coast division champion Florida Falcons. Special teams were a point of emphasis in practice this week for the Crush.
Said practice showed its fruits as Will Keiran connected on a 45-yard field goal for the Crush.
Issac Alford scored the lone Firebird touchdown and scored the ensuing two-point conversion.
The Crush complete the season 7-3 and await their next opponent in the GDFL playoffs.
As the GDFL regular season winds down division titles and playoff spots are up for grabs across the league.
This season in the GDFL each conference- Xtreme and Impact- consist of five divisions. Each division winner makes the playoffs and the top four division winners earn a first-round bye based on overall record with a league tiebreak system in place. The fifth-place division winner will host a first-round playoff game. The next seven teams in each division based on overall record regardless of division standing earn a playoff berth.
We take a look at the Impact Conference first where the defending GDFL Champion Oklahoma Thunder reside.
In the Midwest division the Oklahoma Thunder (9-0 overall; 3-0 division) host the Memphis Blast (7-3; 3-1 division) in a game where Memphis has an outside shot to win the division. Memphis has one loss in the division while the Thunder are undefeated, a Memphis win by 19 points would give them the division title. The Thunder won the previous regular season meeting 30-12.
The Lone Star division features a match-up between the first-place Oklahoma Bounty Hunters (8-1 overall; 3-1 division) and the second-place Dallas Anarchy (5-4 overall; 3-2 division). With a victory of at least six points the Anarchy would win the division, a loss and they could be all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The Bounty Hunters won the previous regular season meeting 23-18. The Texas Eagles (4-5 overall; 1-5 division) are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot.
Things get interesting in the Southwest Division. The Crescent City Kings (5-4 overall; 4-1 division) host the Panhandle Crusaders (4-4-1 overall; 3-1 division) this weekend. The loser is all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Crescent City won the previous regular season meeting. The Bayou Vipers (5-4 overall; 3-3 division) are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot.
In the Central South division the Nashville Storm (8-0 overall; 3-0 division) have locked up the division championship and the Tennessee Lightning Bolts (5-3 overall; 2-1 division) are still mathematically alive. The Indianapolis Tornadoes (6-2 overall; 2-0 division) have locked up the Central North division while the Huntsville Rockets (5-3 overall; 1-1 division) are still mathematically alive.
On to the Xtreme Conference.
The Central Penn Piranha (7-1 overall; 6-1 division) have locked up the Northeast division while the Hampton Roads Redskins (8-0 overall; 4-0 division) have locked up the Coastal division.
In the Midway division the Carolina Venom (8-0 overall; 5-0 division) have locked up the division crown while the Florida Falcons (9-0 overall; 5-0 division) locked up the Gulf Coast division title with their win last week over the Georgia Crush.
The East Alabama Predators (9-0 overall; 3-0 division) have won the Heart of the South division.
The GDFL regular season will conclude August 16th with the playoffs beginning August 23rd.
The GDFL Game of the Week lived up to it’s billing as the Florida Falcons came from behind to defeat the Georgia Crush for their ninth straight win. The task was not easy as the Falcons needed all 60 minutes to pull out the victory.
Tied at 27 in the fourth quarter Ricky Wright intercepted Crush quarterback Marcus Brooks setting up the Falcons on the Crush 19 with 1:51 remaining. Four plays later James Ezell scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 5-yard run with 32 seconds remaining to give Florida the 34-27 lead after the successful extra point.
“It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be. When we got down 21-7 we just kept telling the guys to keep plugging away and wear them down. We changed some thing up on the defensive line and with our linebackers in the second half,” Falcons head coach Justin Moses said.
Florida started the game with an impressive 7-play 71-yard drive capped by an Ezell 8-yard touchdown run for an early 7-0 lead. Georgia scored 21 unanswered points to close the first half with Brooks hitting Travis Fuller for a touchdown and Eric Williams Jr rushing for two touchdowns.
In the second half Florida’s defense proved the halftime adjustments worked along with special teams playing a role in the comeback. Richard Cash scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on a 1-yard plunge capping a 9-play 32-yard drive pulling the Falcons within seven, 21-14 with 10:04 remaining in the third. Florida would threaten again but were turned over on downs at the Crush 16 late in the third.
In the fourth quarter the Falcons received the special team boost they were looking for. The Crush struggled with punting in the third quarter with punts of 28, 24 and 11 yards which proved to be a bit of foreshadowing. Backed up at their own 20 and forced to punt again, the punt went 28 yards. Florida’s Quintin Davis fielded the punt on the run at the Crush 48 and did not stop until he was down at the Crush 1. On the next play Cash plunged in for the touchdown for a 21-20 score after Georgia blocked the extra point however the momentum was clearly in Florida’s favor.
Georgia answered back on their ensuing possession when Brooks hit Allen Davis for a 56-yard pass play which set up his 10-yard touchdown pass to Fuller two plays later. Georgia’s special team troubles continued as the extra point was wide left leaving the score 27-20 with 10:41 left in the game.
The Falcons were not rattled as they came right back with a 9-play 63-yard drive capped by Richard Cash’s final touchdown run from 5-yards out to even the game at 27 with 6:16 remaining.
“Cash gives us another dimension, he’s a load. Not too many men are going to step up and go head-to-head with him, he made some tough runs for us tonight,” Moses said about his fullback.
Things would continue to go downhill for the Crush as Richard Cherry fumbled on the next possession. A goal line stand by the defense gave the Crush another shot with the game tied before Brooks threw his third interception of the game setting up Ezell’s game-clinching touchdown.
“They came out and made adjustments after halftime and made more plays than we did,” Brooks said. “We just let this one slip away. You can’t turn the ball over late like we did and keep asking so much from the defense.
This was the first game of the season where the Falcons did not have a passing touchdown. Starting quarterback Felix Diaz was ineffective in the first half resulting in him being pulled in favor of Boobie Tobler in the second quarter after throwing two interceptions.
“[The Georgia Crush] have a really good program, they are well coached and they have a lot of great athletes. We knew coming up here they would be fully staffed,” Moses said. “Luckily for us we got the bounces to go our way. Unfortunately for them the bounces didn’t go their way but we’ll take it.
The Florida Falcons (9-0) remain atop the Gulf Coast division of the GDFL and will host the Florida Stingrays in the regular season finale next week. The Crush (6-3) will close the regular season with a trip to the Georgia Firebirds next week.
The Georgia Crush were chomping at the bit to get back on the field after a series of forfeits and cancellations. Once the chance came to snap their chin straps against the Georgia Firebirds the rust showed in their first game in 28 days.
Trey Register opened the scoring with a long touchdown run around the Crush defense as the Firebirds went up 6-0.
Marcus Brooks and Lamontray Williams hooked up on a touchdown pass to give the Crush a brief 7-6 lead in the first quarter. Brooks was held under 100 yards passing for the first time this season and followed up his touchdown pass with back-to-back pick sixes as the Firebirds led 20-7 midway through the second quarter.
The Crush closed the half on a positive note going 99 yards for a touchdown when Brooks and Williams hooked up for the second time pulling the Crush within six, 20-14 at the half.
In the second half the Crush special teams got in on the scoring act. Octavious Hall recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to give the Crush a 21-20 lead.
Later in the fourth quarter Eric Williams scored on a rushing touchdown giving the Crush a 28-20 lead. Williams lead an effective Crush rushing attack with 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Crush finished with 223 rushing yards.
Register and the Firebirds would answer back when Register connected with Issac Alford for a touchdown. The potential tying two-point conversation failed and the Crush led 28-26.
The Firebirds had one last shot late in the game and were moving until Juantreze Williams intercepted Register to seal the victory with less than a minute remaining.
The Crush improved to 6-2 while the Firebirds lost their third straight game falling to 2-6. The two teams will meet in the regular season finale on August 9th.
The Florida Stingrays of the Gulf Coast division picked up a big win defeating the Georgia Predators out of the Heart of the South division 20-0 in Gainesville, FL Saturday night in GDFL action.
The Stingrays improve to 3-4 while the Georgia Predators fall to 4-2. It was the first time the Georgia Predators have been shutout in franchise history. The Predators return to action next week against the Georgia Crush in their first home game in over a month at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston, Ga.
In other GDFL action the East Alabama Predators (7-0) defeated the Huntsville Rockets 22-0 and remain in first place in the Heart of the South Division.
The Georgia Crush (4-2) were unable to fill their open slot this weekend after scheduled opponent the Georgia Knights shut down operations for the remainder of the season earlier this week.
The Georgia Knights cancelled their remain regular season games after an 0-5 (on the field) and 0-6 record earlier this week. Head coach Elmar Watters cited multiple injuries as the main reason why the Knights would not complete their season. The GDFL has not commented about the Knights status but has removed them from their official website.
For most of the teams in the GDFL this week is a bye week. There were only four scheduled games this weekend, none involving teams in the southeastern region of the country in the Heart of The South or Gulf Coast divisions.
Heart of the South division leader East Alabama Predators are 6-0 in their first season. The Predators are averaging 38.5 points-per-game and have record two shutouts. East Alabama quarterback Charles Drinkard leads the offense with 706 yards 6 TD 2 INT passing and is second on the team in rushing with 232 yards and 3 TD. Running back Latrell Jenkins leads the team in rushing with 290 yards and 4 TD while Tony Askew has scored five rushing touchdowns.
The Georgia Predators are 4-1 with their only lost coming to East Alabama. Starting quarterback Stephen Williams has passed for eight touchdowns while backup Edward Russ has four passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. Georgia is averaging 30.4 points-per-game and has recorded one shutout.
The Marvel City Tigers (2-4) and Georgia Knights (0-6) pull up the rear in the Heart of the South division.
In the Gulf Coast division the undefeated Florida Falcons lead the division with a 6-0 record. Felix Diaz and Boobie Toler have both seen action at the quarterback spot with Diaz leading the team in passing. The Georgia Crush are second in the division and are led by the GDFL’s second-leading passer Marcus Brooks. Brooks has passed for 921 yards 9 TD 3 INT this season and his top target, Lamontray Williams is fourth in the GDFL in receiving yards with 367 yards. Williams has five receiving touchdowns.
The Georgia Firebirds (2-3) and Florida Stingrays(2-4) pull up the rear in the Gulf Coast division.
Both divisions resume play next weekend July 12th.
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