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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Greatest Co-ed Sports League in the Nation, welcome to your Round 1 Playoff review. Playoffs are always a time to come out hard and that is precisely what went down this past Saturday. Early in the year, I talked about “mid-season form” but “playoff form” is altogether a whole new animal. Teams put it all out on the line; for some, that ended in victory, for others, a bitter reminder that sometimes your best isn’t good enough. But hey, that’s why we play the game. Without further ado, let’s get into the games.

First up was Public Enemy versus Why So Serious. It was no secret PE was going to be missing some key personnel. Coming off a loss the previous week to this same team at full strength, what would have been a no brainer became a “it could happen”. But alas, though WSS did have their full rank of capable athletes, overcoming the reigning champs twice in as many weeks was not in the cards. PE’s performance was not flawless, I saw some big drops and miscues on defense, but it was good enough to get them a 48-30 win and a ticket to the semis versus long time rival Eyes Downtown. PE was fortunate to get Jake M back from injury, an unexpected surprise. WSS had Greg Chadwick back for when it mattered so having another speedster in him and Pete Nguyen was huge. Terrell Bolden was throwing for WSS but he was having trouble finding his receivers. Maybe it was the great equalizer, the wind, but he threw several balls 5 yards short of the intended target or 5 yards over their heads. Whatever magic, chemistry or maybe just old fashioned luck WSS had last week, it ran out a little too early for them this week.

Sticky Bandits and Sloppy Seconds was a little closer of a game, with both teams playing solid defense, making stops and trading picks back and forth. Brian Stevens had an early pick for SB to set the tone but after going almost full-field, Ben Stack answered with his own pick. SB took an early lead and held on until the half. SS made some adjustments and Amy Taylor had a phenomenal catch and run in traffic. Alex Buchalis rallied his team back to within a score but Mike Thomas was able to punch it in with time ticking away. The SB defense dropped back to defend the deep pass and SS were not able to get passed them, making an early exit with their 18-30 loss.

Losing Streak took out Slytherin That End Zone, much to no one’s surprise. I don’t know if the inconsistent QBs was the problem but looking at the cast they had, that’s really the only explanation for their fall from grace I can think of. On the other side of the ball, LS looked like they have had their eye on the championship since Week 4. This team is full of guys with speed, height and football IQ, a QB who can sling it and females who know the game and have solid hands. They are going to be a tough out for any team they come up against.

Speaking of a team they are coming up against, Bullet Club shocked the world by knocking out #1 seed Peachy Platoon. In probably the biggest upset of the day, BC squeaked into the playoffs after losing 7 straight games. Scotty Dro FINALLY showed up and showed off what we have all been waiting for him to do. He was able to hit his receivers perfectly and had 2 picks to boot. PP seemed to be sleeping on Gordon Kus and it cost them dearly. Rawdog was out but Todd Halas took over, catching everything thrown his way and some thrown a little out of his way. He had an extraordinary TD catch to put his team up 10 with under 2 minutes in the game. PP just had a bad day to have a bad day. Their usually sure-handed females had a few uncharacteristic drops and they didn’t have the magic they usually come with. I’ve heard rumors Mr Thompson tore it up in Breakfast Club; maybe he was the missing link there.


A&A also made an early exit for the playoffs, getting bounced by When Doves Cry. These teams played each other the week previous with a significantly different outcome. The difference? Topper’s team showed up this week. He had his ladies back as well as Drew and Devin Linder who were out when they faced off last time. Topper utilized his team average height of 6’5 to move down the field then found his females to punch it in for a gender score. A&A’s defense could not find an answer. Matty Ice found his kryptonite in the wind as well, with numerous deep attempts getting carried off or falling short of their targets. Some untimely drops and a 15 yard sack by Brittany Clark pretty much sealed the deal for A&A and their playoff hopes.

Yet another D2 upset was XTC taking out the younger, faster squad of Mountain Dew Me. Bottom line, MDM had a case of the drops. As much as it pains me to say it, Joey Battaglia is one of the best in the game when it comes to play calling. Yep, that tasted like vinegar and I didn’t even say it out loud. He will take those 10-15 yards every time. Unfortunately, when your team has drops like they did this week, your QB needs to try the deep ball now and then to make up some yards. That is where Chris Cole excels, but Joey falls short. Sans last year, Dubey is usually his most “on” during playoffs. He can hold his own in any division, and has leaps and bounds more football IQ then most anyone else on the field at any given time. And yet, it almost wasn’t enough. XTC tried to hit Eric Flynn on a slant but Joey made a play on the ball and MDM took over. But wait! Joey’s non-throwing shoulder is hurt on the play. He rallies to drive his team down the field and ties up the game. XTC had a chance to end it but a questionable play call results in OT. Dubey was able to find Flynn for a TD in the first drive but they did not get the conversion. MDM takes over at the 10. Joey finds Jill Battaglia in the endzone for what most think is the win but nope! Kelly Sabo gets in for the sack and 1 yard loss. XTC switches to a guy rushing, Joey looks for Jill again but Jill runs out of real estate and Sabo is right there to bat it down. MDM has one last chance but Joey throws it out of the back of the endzone and XTC moves on to next week.

Garrett Beesing arrived late for Frodo Swaggins after missing his Sloppy Seconds game completely. Apparently Friday night was a rager. He never seemed to be really comfortable whereas All We Do is Quinn finally had their full roster show up. Vince Taverna has been getting some heat from either not coming or not performing as well as we expect of him but he turned it on when he had to. Mike Gelz remained a solid target and Kacey Thur has been a top receiver for them all year. FS just could not find a rhythm and their championship aspirations died well before most thought they would.  On the bright side, Beesing met his goal for his sister’s MS fundraiser and made good on his promise to shave his head, which happened later on at the bar.

The Angels fell to WolfPack, who continue to impress us. The Angels got off to an early lead and tensions seemed to be mounting among the Pack. Matty Ice took advantage of the mismatches and both teams played solid defense. Ward Blewitt was able to use the height advantage his team has and Cindi Bell played outstanding on offense. Anthony Barnessi has become a top target for Blewitt and now that everyone seems to be getting the hang of the league and play calling, this team could be poised for another upset next week.

Freeballers took out the Cunning Stunts meaning neither the Angels or the Stunts will be around for semis, possibly for the first time since the teams were formed. The game was never really close as the Stunts had no answer for Sean Weisendel. The Stunts stuck it out but couldn’t overcome the FBs who apparently had no QB controversy as George Lombardo was given the rock. Typical media overexaggerating just for a story line.

Show Me Dem TDs had a season to forget and their loss to Breast Friends means they can now start forgetting. The score indicates this game was closer than it was but BF were up 42-0 at the half. SMDTDs played with 3 females and tried out 4 different QBs, all of whom threw at least 1 pick. Tim Zielinski (who we heard is recently engaged, Congratulations Tim!) tried to rush Travis Cleavenger to cut down on scrambling time but that didn’t do the trick. I will hand it to them for not giving up and making it closer than the beginning would have predicted.

Spinelli’s Plumbing trounced Lenny’s Ladies 44-0. I wish I caught the name of the girl making serious play for SP but all is know is it was not Katie Swanson. She had picks and huge catches all over the game. Nick Hawes has been playing well all season. Robin Makula was an absolute weapon for LL but Joe K and Co could not finish a drive. SP takes on Travis Henry’s Kids next week, who they had no trouble with in their first meeting.

Last but certainly not least was the First Ever Eggplant Bowl! For those of you new to the league, the story is simple this: Once upon a time there was a team loved by all named 3rd and Schlong. Started by the man, the myth, the legend, Scott Keller Sr and populated by his family, everyone in the land knew 3rd and Schlong and they even had their own line of merchandise with their recognizable eggplant logo (if you don’t get why they use an eggplant, google “eggplant emoji meaning”). One day, an evil villain named 40 Year Plan Guy, who was disgruntled by his lack of game both on and off the field, decided he was no longer happy playing on the happiest team in the league and defected. This resulted in the end of the 3rd and Schlong era and dark days in the TSL. Now fortunately, the Keller’s stayed in the league, albeit dispersed and forced to play under new banners. Then, along came a new team. Enter Not So Sticky. Due to a team quitting late after the schedule was set, the powers that be needed a replacement. Jeff Krol took up the challenge, bringing together familiar faces but playing them in unfamiliar positions. Not a problem in and of itself but then we see the bright yellow jersey have a very distinctive logo on the pocket. To add insult to injury, the eggplant is crossed out! The disrespect was almost too much to bear. In his final attempt to get back into the good graces of the Kellers (or seeing his opportunity to name a new villain), Evil 40 Year Plan Guy teamed up with Mr Keller and issued a challenge. B’s Brothers dropped the gauntlet saying the former 3rd and Schlong team will play for the rights of the eggplant logo (and shots because that’s always part of a bet here). Not So Sticky accepted the challenge, I was there to witness it:

Because I know you all are wondering, the first TD in Eggplant Bowl history was scored by none other than Jeff Krol, the mastermind of the imposing team himself. The conversion was successful putting Not So Sticky up 7-0. 3&S scored on their drive but failed to convert. After that, both teams started to lose some of the adrenaline they had going into the game. NSS rallied on the last drive of the half to go up 15-6. In the second half, things got interesting. Paul Scinta made a couple of his signature catches, Katie Keller caught everything, even when “accidentally” hit in the face by the defender, and Scott Keller Jr threw a deep TD pass to Austin Weber over the head of Ricky Recckio. Plenty of excitement, but it came down to the last few minutes. 3&S trailed by 9 with mere minutes on the clock. They need a gender TD, they get a gender TD. Of course, they go for the win…they make the 2-point conversion! 3&S take a one point lead with time winding down. But NSS will not go silently into the night! They march down the field and Recckio finds a wide open Mike Thomas with 26 seconds left. Time out 3&S. The Kellers regroup, they have one play to become legends. The pass is made…NSS gets the stop and becomes the first ever Eggplant Bowl Champs! It was a game for the ages.

There is nothing else that could top that excitement so I will leave you with your Playoff Top 5 Notables and let you all mentally prepare for the big dance next week.

1. Scotty Dro, Bullet Club- finally played up to his potential and secured a spot in the semis for his previously 0-7 team

2. Practice Squad Defense- It’s not easy holding Buffalo Vice to 12 points when they average 40 a game but PS brought their A game when it counted most

3. Breast Friends- the only remaining gender team going into semis next week

4. Eric Pochylski, Wasted Potential- had a pick and TD for his team in their upset victory over Puckett All Stars

5. Rylee Moser, Itches and Ohs- I said last week she doesn’t get enough cred so here I will give her her due. I didn’t see enough of the game to report on it but I saw some plays and TOX had no answer for Rylee.

Until next time, I’ll be watching….

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