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Week 3 Review

Category: The Sentinel
Created: Wednesday, 08 September 2021 01:06
Published: Wednesday, 08 September 2021 01:06
Written by Patrick McGovern
Hits: 1313

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the TSL, welcome to your Week 3 edition of the Sentinel. Taking a quick perusal of the standing page, it seems quite a few teams have already had double headers, pushing them to that half way point of the regular season if you can believe it. Itches and Ohs already have 5 games under their belt while Sticky Bandits, Eyes Downtown, Public Enemy, WoodPeckers and Victorious Secret only have one. My point being that basically anything can happen once all those teams actually play their games. We had a beautiful day this week, let’s take a look at what happened.

In D1, Tight Ends in Motion had a double header themselves and had the band back together. They made easy work of Slob Kabobs then won a close victory over Sticky Bandits in their opening day of the season.  Bro was back in form and found Kyle Coniff and Derek Bongiovanni deep on several occasions. Sticky Bandits once again had the lead going into the half but Bongiovanni had the game winner with an impressive contested TD catch. Sticky Bandits did introduce their most free agency signings, Micah Hanford and Drew Colosimo. Hanford had a pick this game but I’m excited to see what he else he can do.

In D2, XTC and Scared Hitless went at it early. XTC struggled hard on defense as they have been all season. Johnny Football got an easy running touchdown straight down the middle of the field when no one decided to cover him. Dubey had his fair share of errors, including a muffed snap early in the game and a pick trying to force the ball into coverage. Scared Hitless came away with the win and finds themselves in 2nd in the division. Not a bad start to season.

XTC had another game later on against TopShot. TS’s Sean Weisendal came up with a pick early. Amber Hayes had a wide open running touchdown. XTC did have a chance to win late but the pass to Kelly Sabo was popped up and picked up by Blasé Deluca. XTC finds themselves at the bottom of the division, grateful that all D2 teams make the playoffs.

Top Shot had a game earlier against Notorious BNB. BNB threw 2 early picks to Dave Baker. Amber Hayes had another big game for TopShot while Garrett Beesing complained the whole time about not getting fed as much as was promised in his contract. Dylan Jaloza and Co were down early after 2 picks the other way. Neither were Jaloza’s fault as they bounced off his receivers hands but they were able to battle back and TS came away with the win, 33-22.

Bullet Club fell to When Dove Cries, 28-36. I saw Tim Dove make an appearance for his namesake team. Topper pulled out the old school playbook this game with a lot of trick plays. He seemed to favor the pitch to Drew Colosimo that was working well. At the end of the game, Topper faked the pitch and found Kelly Liddle across field. Bullet Club had a chance to tie with a gender TD, Scotty Dro found Crystal Carlson in the end zone but the ball was dropped. 

A&A snuck by Passed Our Prime in a game that no one wanted to play defense. POP was fresh off a come-from-behind win against Bullet Club. Matty Ice had been at the fields all day so naturally his facilities were not 100% intact. Regardless, he was able to find his receivers downfield and used his females well. James Celatto had a big game for POP. Matty and Hogan could be heard from fields over yelling at the refs for various grievances but ultimately came down to A&A scoring more gender TDs than POP did and A&A running out the clock.

In D3, The Angels got their first win of the season against Last Dance. Ricky Austin was once again not in attendance so Matt Newman took over at QB. LD looked and sounded like a train wreck from the beginning, with more drama than a Spanish soap opera. Any dropped ball, missed coverage or just plain mistake ended with sarcastic comments. Not cool guys. The Angels, on the other hand, looked to be having a great time. They finally managed to shut down some big plays on defense and continued their usual dominance offensively.

Super Freaks lost to Grey Hair-Don’t Care despite bringing in John Langley to throw. Ralph Finney was not in attendance at all. Langley kept them in it but GHDC looked like they were going easy on SFs after an early lead. Xavier Williams was making some great deep plays but ultimately SFs looked lost.

4th and Dong beat up on Cobblestone, 52-30. All the females in this game played fantastic and each team used them in their own way. Sam Lattuca did not hesitate to throw for her team and Katie Keller was all hands on offense. Cobblestone could not get a stop on defense and struggled on offense. The tall guy on 4&D was unstoppable. If they only had Scott Keller, Sr throwing instead of Scotty Dro, this team would be my pick for D3 champion.

In D4, Today’s Feast fell to Vaspian 42-16. Vaspian’s new QB continued to look solid. TF, however, did what most new teams do and forgot to use their females. They got into way too many 4-2 and 5-2 counts (if anyone on the team reads this, 2 is too many). You have to utilize your females if you are going to be successful in this league.  Especially when you play a gender team. Today’s Feast went on to play Cunning Stunts and the age old “we are quitting if we lose to girls” came out. We hope that’s not true because well, they lost. Not the first time we’ve heard it, not the first time the team has lost. CS played a great game. TF kept trying to go deep and missing their receivers or the defenders made a great play on the ball. TF went through 2 different QBs, neither of whom called any plays. Kelly Liddle had a pick after a ball bounced off a receivers hands. Joey Batts used his ladies efficiently as he does best and they came away with the win, 35-14.

Practice Squad and Puckett All Stars had a great back and forth game. PS picked up Katie Swanson who feasted all game. Number 4 on PS had a big pick followed closely by a Vince Taverna pick, who is proving himself as a solid receiver. PAS was down by two but B threw 2 bad passes to let them back into the game. PAS’s Andy had a pick off Joe Fergusons hands. Fortunately for B, he found Kenny Lantz in the end zone for the winning TD.

Zack Attack and Breast Friends faced each other again after both moving up from last season. BF looked much more like the team we got to know last year. They took what the defense gave them. Zack Attack couldn’t find a way to stop the ladies. They insisted on rushing a girl, giving Travis Cleavenger too much time to scrabble and let his ladies get open. Breast Friends came away with the win, 35-15.

In D5, Wasted Potential beat Lettuce Win, 42-20. Jay Jaskier had a great deep throw to the guy in the Bills shirt. LW’s QB threw 2 picks, one trying to go deep, one off a ladies hands. WP had the distinct advantage of having someone on the sideline giving them advice on defense. LW has the talent, they just need someone to put it all together for them and they could make a stand.

Wasted Potential took on Come From Behind immediately after. CFB was Paul Lovullo-less but the replacement appeared to be a younger and more agile version. Jaskier and Co continued their systematic play. Ricky Booth had a great game with solid catches. Craig Gerhard made an impressive break on the ball to pick off Jaskier and run it down to the 5 yard line only to pitch it back to a female and get picked off by WP again. WP went on to win 35-24.

TOX had a double header and dropped both. They had no answer defensively for either team and seemed to be struggling on defense as well. Dave Walter went in at QB eventually but it was not enough to overcome the deficit they were in. They fell to WoodPeckers and Spinelli’s Plumbing. SP got their first 2 wins since moving up a division and put to rest any doubts about where they belong. WP played their first game of the season with a different cast of characters than what we saw last year. I didn’t see much of this game but I did see Mark Buscaglia had a pick.

Not So Sticky and 716 played a close game with a ton of picks. Derek Pew favored the deep ball to his WR1, whose name I do not know. That was difference maker in the end. Alivia LaRue and Jenna Blachura played very well for NSS while Mike Thomas has 2 INTs in the game. 716 might have had the blunder of the day though at the end of the half when Rags threw a pick that was easily taken back for what should have been a TD. NSS defense didn’t even try to get back (probably because they were thinking about their halftime beers already). Somehow, after waiting for a female to catch up for the gender TD, the exchange was botched and the ball hit the ground. No points, end of half. Ya hate to see it.

In D6, Blitzkrieg shut out Lenny’s Ladies 22-0. LL held on in the first half despite missing several key players. Unfortunately, due to some big drops and bad Joe K passes, they could not generate any offense to find the end zone.

Blitzkrieg and TMA faced off once again. This was close game that was decided by one point. Both teams’ females played outstanding. Ryan Henry was back for TMA. It came down to the wire when TMA went up in the final seconds of the game. Blitzkrieg tried for the Hail Mary for the win but Rich Turner came up with the pick to end it.

That is all for this week. Allow me to leave you with your Top 5 Notable Players of Week 3:

1.      Amber Hayes- all I kept hearing about was the sliding interception she made for TopShot and how no one could cover her on Breast Friends.

2.      Matt Helm- the females on Untouchaballs tend to get all the pub but Helm made an incredible one handed TD catch that deserves recognition.

3.      Matty Ice- not only did he stay all day in between his games to ref, he then went on to win his D2 game while moderately intoxicated.

4.      Katie Salisbury-still recovering from surgery so out for the season, Katie came back to help out because she heard we were in dire need.

5.      Everyone who donated to the Stand Down event. We got so many donations and Topper’s wedding date was overwhelmed at the turn out. We are going to continue collecting next week too for anyone who forgot this week. Thank you! This is just one of many reasons we have the best sports league in the area!

Week 2 Review

Category: The Sentinel
Created: Monday, 30 August 2021 18:43
Published: Monday, 30 August 2021 18:43
Written by Patrick McGovern
Hits: 1414

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the TSL, another week of football has come and gone. This week, the kinks we saw on Opening Day were flushed out and things were smooth sailing from my perspective. Sure, it felt like we were playing on the surface of the sun, but that’s football. Come late October, we will be bellyaching that it’s too cold I’m sure. But despite the likely sunburn and possible heat stroke many of us are still suffering from, the week was a glorious. More so for some than others, so let’s get into it.

In D1 there was only one game played as Slob Kabobs forfeited their rematch against Public Enemy. Losing Streak came away with their first D1 win against reigning champions Tight Ends in Motion. I wrote that sentence strictly to give them the satisfaction of reading it but now I must report that TE was definitely not at full strength. Most notably, Bro Klecker was MIA (he had a good excuse as he was getting married). They had their ladies and a solid male receiving core but Garrett Beesing subbed in at QB and just threw too many balls to the wrong team. So, while I would say the result may have been a little different had TE had their full squad, LS proved they can run in D1. I did hear Ralph Finney was injured during the game though so hopefully that’s not serious as it takes more than just a Chris Nelson to compete at the top level. 

In D2, When Dove Cries took on A&A. Most notable in this game was WDC missing all their females. Steph Czaja and Emily Schilling subbed in, giving Topper solid targets but the Clarkes’ ability to adjust to Topper waiter-esque throwing style is tough to make up for. The deep ball plagued A&A’s defense as usual. Matty Ice was able to use his females effectively to march down the field. Their newly added height is going to be tough to defend for many teams this season.

A&A went on to beat XTC later in the day. XTC was missing Dubey so Joey Batts stepped in at QB. This was a back and forth battle with as much side talk as you’d expect from these two teams. Kelly Mazur had a great game for XTC while Glenn Bird came through big for A&A when it counted.

Notorious BNB got their first win over Passed Our Prime in a controversial ending. After a tight, high scoring shoot out, Kyle Conniff had hands on the would-be game winner but Alex Baker played some solid defense and Conniff was not able to hold on. It was ruled “no catch” and BNB walked away with the 42-39 win.

In D3, Grey Hair Don’t Care continued to assert their dominance over The Angels in another close match up. A surprisingly low-scoring game, The Angels looked like they found a rhythm on defense but Matty Ice and Co could not punch it in when it counted. Dave and Beata Eickhoff utilized their chemistry perfectly to score the gender TDs when they needed it. Jackie Ufland Pienkow also had a solid game for GHDC. These two teams could not have a game without drama so Rawdog provided that with a fast count that any Angel would be happy to tell you all about.

Last Dance finds themselves at the top of the division and the early D3 favorites after their dominant win over Cobblestone. Matt Newman took the rock for LD and put on an absolute clinic. He looked like he added some arm strength in the off season and showed perfect touch and placement. Possible QB controversy already??? Cobblestone has solid athletes but could not keep up with the agility and speed LD brings to the table.

Darryl Carr and Co redeemed themselves later in the day, beating Untouchaballs 30-6. An early injury resulted in George Lombardo subbing in to give Untouchaballs a full squad. The aforementioned athletes of CB lived up to their usual level of performance while Darryl put the team and his back and carried them into the sunset.

Lastly in D3, it was brought to my attention that I misspoke (mistyped) in my previous article. Scotty Dro did not abandon Bullet Club as their primary QB for Frodo Swaggins. Rather, he joined the Kellers on 4th and Dong, keeping BC as his secondary team. 4th and Dong was able to snag their first win this week, beating Super Freaks, 38-30. Now everyone relax.

In D4, Buffalo Vice and Zack Attack battled in out on defense. BV did not have Seth Molisano in at QB so had to go with their back up. Dan “Deep Ball” Gonzalez did what he does best. Caitlyn Mason shook the ZA defense out of their socks on multiple occasions. ZA was renowned for their defense last year, but Zack Elphick and his team need to find a way to put more points on the board if they are going to survive this division.

Zack Attack was able to get a win in the books later against Puckett All Stars. Another low-scoring game, both these teams are riding on the adage “defense wins championships”. Bold strategy, but let’s see if it pays off for them. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Itches and Ohs put up 87 points over the course of their double header this week while allowing 73 points on defense. I did not see much of either game as the heat stroke started to sink in by the time they played. Looking at the standings though, I&Os sits at the top of the division with 4 games already under their belt. In the +/- column though, they stand almost dead even so maybe Zack Elphick and Steven Moser can give each other some tips to round out each other’s game.

Iches & Ohs, Practice Squad and Breast Friends all had double headers against each other which is just a fun scheduling thing I noticed. Breast Friends did not fair well as they were the only team to lose both. Kelly Sabo had an incredible catch in the back of the endzone to go up on I&Os in the final minutes of their game. BF were not able to maintain their lead and I&Os came away with the win, 36-35. Travis Cleavenger looked gassed, from what I could see from the bar (again, these were late games and I don’t do above 85 degrees). Afterwards, I heard BF were short handed and had to play iron man. Regardless, Emily Wyse is not a name I hear often but she was making a name for herself among the dominant females on Practice Squad with some solid catch and runs this week.

In D5, most teams have only played 1 game besides 716. They beat TOX this week who debuted a new QB in place of Topper. New guy can certainly sling it but it looked like TOX ran out of gas late in the game. James Celatto is questionably overqualified to be playing in D5 but I guess we will have to see how the rest of the division shapes up once everyone plays a couple games.

Wasted Potential took on Not So Sticky in a very close match up. NSS had the lead but WP was able to tie it up in the final minute. “Rags” Nagarajan was leading NSS throughout the game and on the last drive he found Ricky Recckio in the endzone for the game winner. NSS’s females had a solid game on both sides of the ball.

Come From Behind is back and all is good in the world. For those new to the league, CFB is a vet-savvy team made up of some players who have been playing longer than some have been alive (I won’t say who). TSL legend Paul LoVullo is back and his connection with Jen Stachura hasn’t missed a beat. Lettuce Win is a “new” team but there were some familiar faces that have definitely played before under other identities. Both these teams seemed evenly matched both offense and defensively. Neither was afraid to go deep and defenders were not against going up to make a play. Both QBs utilized their females well and marched down the field systematically. Lettuce Win seemed to have just a little more gas in the tank though and came away with the win, 28-16.

Lastly in D6, TMA beat Blitzkrieg and took over the #1 spot in the division. Rob Rummings and Nick Smith were back which greatly added to TMA’s overall ratings. Val Testa came up big with a sack on 5-0, giving her team great field position. Johnny Dio was back in action slinging for TMA. Blitzkrieg has speed abounds and used it well against TMA. Blitzkrieg continued to play with a new QB while their starter remains on IR. I don’t know his name yet but he was not afraid to send his receivers on a go route and toss it up to him. His no look passes successfully drew away the defenders, allowing his receivers to walk it in. In the closing minutes of the game, Johnny Dio found Rummings to put TMA on top. Blitzkrieg tried to go hurry up but Nick Smith got an interception to put it away.

That’s all for this week! Hopefully by next week things will cool off a little so we can’t all use that as an excuse for our fitness level. I will leave you with my Top 5 notables of Week 2.

1. Cobblestone- everyone questioned why they moved up but they currently sit at 2nd in the division. Never doubt Darryl!

2. Jenna Blachura- had 5 sacks for Not So Sticky, putting the team on her back to come up with the win

3. Jordan Lawson- got his first D1 win so he deserves some special credit.

4. Tammy Buzcek- saved Joey Batts from throwing a would-have-been pick by fighting off the defender then sacrificing her head to make an incredible catch for Cunning Stunts

5. Peter Walbrandt (Travis Henry’s Kids)- early candidate for the Chris Nelson Best Player Playing in a Division Too Low for Them award

Until next time, I’ll be watching…

Championship Saturday Review

Category: The Sentinel
Created: Tuesday, 29 June 2021 12:59
Published: Tuesday, 29 June 2021 12:59
Written by Patrick McGovern
Hits: 2301

 

Well TSL, we made it through the season! Unlike this past Fall’s “COVID season” this one saw a return to normalcy, especially by the end of the season when it felt like a “real” football atmosphere again. Shout out to our fearless leader / reigning TSL Executive of the Year Topper and all of his Field Crew for all they did to make sure things ran smoothly this season. Championship weekend is always an exciting day and this year was no exception.

The day began with the Breakfast Club Finals on Field 1, and The Great White Clarkes wrapped up their undefeated season (the ONLY undefeated season in the TSL this year) by beating The EMigos.  This was a close contest at the half with Topper throwing a pair of touchdowns to both teams early, and the EMigos narrowly clinging to a lead thanks to an Emily Schilling safety.  But as all great teams do, the Great White Clarkes tightened their defense in the second half as Travis and Deak dominated the rest of the game and walked away with the Breakfast Club title.

D1 was not a division that produced too many great games in the regular season, but the playoffs were a different animal.  Public Enemy and Eyes Downtown was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team claiming a big advantage either way.  Greg Osika played great for Public Enemy with Paul Johnson hurt on the sidelines.  Jordan N was solid on offense for Eyes Downtown to make it a game, and both teams utilized their girls well, with Chris Cole and company stealing a last-minute win to move on the finals.

On the other end of the D1 bracket was Tight Ends in Motion vs Sticky Bandits, which was expected to be a blow-out by most of the League.  Sticky Nation nearly shocked the world though and turned in their best performance of the year (maybe ever?), running up a 12-point lead on the strength of Brian Stevens two interceptions and putting the fear of God in Dave Baker that he abandoned the wrong team.  Ultimately TEIM battled back grabbing a lead with a few minutes left as Eric Kleckler had a pair of second half touchdowns, and held on through questionable officiating (including a controversial “non-gender play” that took a game-winning sixth down opportunity away from Sticky Bandits on the goal line) as Tight Ends advanced to force a rematch of last year’s D1 Finals.

Tight Ends in Motion famously choked away a 20-point lead in last year’s Finals, but they weren’t about to let that happen again.  Bro Kleckler led his team to a 25 point lead this time around which proved enough to withstand Cole’s last gasp barrage of offense.  On the final play of the game Public Enemy needed a gender touchdown and Stoner Dave was able to bat away Cheryl Julicher’s final pass to lock up the win and official “passing of the torch” as the best team in the League.  Congrats to TEIM, and congrats to Public Enemy for their run of dominance at the top.  Whether they come back for another shot at the title, we’ll let the Godfather weigh in on.

D2 had many upsets in the first round of the playoffs with Mountain Dew Me, Peachy Platoon and A&A all falling to their lower seeded opponents, but the second round would stick more to the original script.  Losing Streak destroyed Bullet Club as predicted, and When Dove Cries crushed XTC (who were hampered by injuries to Kevin Zack and Anthony Battaglia).  The finals were a better matchup until Topper made some terrible decisions and threw picks to the Losing Streak defense, with Chris Nelson and Ralph Finney proving too much for the Commissioner to figure out.  Jordan Lawson played a solid game and used his girls efficiently for mistake free football in locking up the D2 title in their first season with the TSL.

If Breakfast Club, D1 and D2 haven’t entertained you with any surprise winners yet, you’re in luck with D3.  HEAVY favorites TopShot imploded in the Semi-finals and Dylan Jaloza couldn’t get the offense going against a suddenly rejuvenated All We Do is Quinn team who had been left for dead by many in the League after having an awful regular season.  Some late scores by TopShot couldn’t change the outcome and Quinn was on to their first finals since… well, it always feels like they’re in the Finals doesn’t it? 

Wolfpack destroyed Grey Hair – Don’t Care as one of the hottest teams in the League kept their streak going, and a number of sources pointed to Ward Blewitt’s relentless positivity as the reason for the turnaround throughout the season.  It wasn’t enough to take the D3 championship though, as All We Do is Quinn FINALLY broke through and won the title on the last play of the game against Wolfpack after having so many promising seasons slip away in the past.  Maybe they needed the adversity to build character?  Either way they are now champions of the (D3) world and it’ll be interesting to see if they stay together and try to slay the D2 beast together.

The D4 playoffs promised to be the most up-for-grabs in the League and it lived up to the billing with three exciting games.  Despite the usual fantastic play Laura Streeter and Rylee Moser, Itches and Ohs couldn’t keep up with Freeballers who sealed the win on the final play of the game to move on the Finals.  Jabronies took down Practice Squad on the other end of the bracket (I’m not sure if this counts as an upset?) to set up our Finals.  Sean Weisensal was his usual unstoppable self as he rolled through the competition on his way to a 33-25 Freeballers win and championship.  It was definitely the right move to keep George Lombardo at QB and Sean at receiver!

If the first round of D4 games thrilled the TSL audience, the first round of D5 games probably put them to sleep with two big massacres.  Zack Attack destroyed Interdimensional Lightning Falcons 43-8 with Dave Baker busy winning the D1 championship (Andrew Kicak stepped in and QBed for the Falcons, much to Zack Attack’s delight) and Wasted Potential beat Breast Friends 48-8.  Didn’t these guys do a whole bunch of losing at the end of the regular season?  To come out in the playoffs and knock off Puckett All-Stars and then Breast Friends is a real testament to their resiliency.  The D5 Finals was a much better game and the defensive stars of Zack Attack did what they do best, holding Coach Jay and company to only 19 points (they allowed only 27 across both games) to add a D5 Championship to their growing trophy case. 

The D6 playoffs also delivered all the action and excitement we expected with three great games.  Spinelli’s Plumbing got off to a slow start against Travis Henry’s Kids but once they got rolling, they were able to rattle off 51 points in a winning effort.  The game featured numerous picks for both teams so it wasn’t ALL offense as the final score would suggest.  John Langley was able to find one man highlight reel Pete Walbrandt for repeated big plays to keep up, but Nick Hawes and Co weren’t going to be denied on their path to the Finals. 

The other D6 semi-final saw TMA and Tater Tots both lose their best players in the first half when Nick Smith drove a guy to the ground and a bench clearing altercation occurred.  TMA kept trying to go man defense but couldn’t keep up with the Tots.  The game ultimately came down to the final minute with TMA down by 10 points.  They drove down and scored a gender TD off Diana’s hands to Val but on the two-point conversion to tie the game, Drunk Meg got the sack on Ryan Henry to end it and push the Tots into the Finals.  That would be the last of the Tots magic this season though, as ultimately they fell to Spinelli’s Plumbing in the Finals in the matchup (and outcome) most people expected this year.

Your top 5 Notables of Championship weekend were:

1.      Tight Ends in Motion – they’ve been dreaming of this moment since the infamous Public Enemy comeback of last Fall (and probably a lot longer than that too).  Congrats to Dave Baker and team for finally winning the big one!

2.      All We Do is Quinn – another team that has persevered for so long and looked like their championship window was finally closing, just to shock the world and win the title in the most unlikely season.  Never say die, kids

3.      New Teams – although everyone loves the story of teams like Tight Ends and AWDIQ who battled for years to achieve co-ed touch football glory, it’s new teams that keep the TSL fresh and interesting every year, and teams like Losing Streak, Travis Henry’s Kids and Passed Our Prime (who didn’t get to experience TSL playoffs unfortunately) came in and immediately made an impact.  A big thank you to these teams for coming in and making the TSL an even greater place.

4.      The Clarkes – Breakfast Club champions and D2 Champion runner-ups; is there anything they can’t do??

5.      The Entire League – it seems like a distant memory now, but we started this season in COVID protocols with strict check-in regulations, separate entrance/exit gates etc, and once again the entire League banded together to deal with these forced inconveniences to make football possible.  Special thanks as always to Topper and his merry band of helpers (Coach Jay, Emily Curry, Jeff Krol, Joe K, Travis Cleveanger and Val Bernal)

 

And that brings us to the close of the TSL Spring 2021 season. Congratulations to all the champions as well as everyone else who made it through this “return to normal” season with us. We are so grateful to you all for allowing us to be a part of the greatest co-ed football league in the area. Remember to continue to check back on the Facebook and Topper Sports League page to see announcements throughout the summer (wine tournament, Fall registration etc) and until next time… I’ll be watching.

Week 1 Review

Category: The Sentinel
Created: Monday, 23 August 2021 16:52
Published: Monday, 23 August 2021 16:52
Written by Patrick McGovern
Hits: 4670

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the TSL Universe, welcome back! I am so excited to be back on the fields with all you fine people and Week 1 did not disappoint. We had an early start compared to years past but for all those complaining about it being “too hot” last Saturday, more will be thankful come November that we are not playing in the snow. Trust me, I’ve heard teams considering forfeiting a championship because the bar was warm and the air on the fields hurt your face. So yes, it was hot, I’m sure a good number of us experience some sunburn on Sunday but for the 38 teams that got started Week 1, it was a glorious day. Let’s take a look at what I saw, divisionally.

In D1, Public Enemy came back for “one more year” again, to try to reclaim their title. The fall of Why So Serious led to some big free agency signings, notably Pete Nguyen. They took on Slob Kabobs, who are kind of last years Sloppy Seconds, plus or minus a couple players. Pete seemed to be fitting in well with his new team and Alex Buchilis had a great day on offense. SK’s defense couldn’t do a thing against Chris Cole’s offense and PE came away with the win, 53-30. Heather Cepuchowski seemed uncoverable in the corners during the time that I watched, scoring multiple TDs.

Eyes Downtown took on Losing Streak for their D1 debut. Bobby seemed to have some new faces again but notably Jordan Neidig was back in the mix making big catches for his team. Johnny “Football” Yioulos made his ED debut and seemed to be an early favorite for the WR1 spot for Bobby. LS had some early personnel issues; I believe I saw QB Jordan Lawson play defense, which usually means there are not others available. Chris Nelson and Ralph Finney were there however, and kept things interesting. This game was close, LS tied it up in the closing minutes but ED was able to rally back and pull out the victory 40-34.

In D2, A&A took on Notorious BNB, who appear to be another cast-off Sticky Bandits team. Alex Buchilis and Garrett Beesing had a great connection throughout the game, with Garrett making phenomenal catches included a one-handed TD. A&A looked they added some new personnel (and a lot of height) with Jon Allen, Jay Jaskier and JJ Wilson. Another back and forth battle, these teams both turned it on for offense then displayed some underwhelming defense. Amy Taylor threw a TD pass to put her team within 1 on their last drive but they failed to make the conversion and A&A came away with the win 37-36. Casey Lawler gave Buchilis nightmares rushing; I’m pretty sure I heard someone say after the game she had 3 sacks in one drive.

Scared Hitless is giving D2 another shot and they came out strong for their first game of the season against Bullet Club. Once again, BC had some attendance issues and had to find some last minute subs (I’ve also heard because the sub rules were not followed, this game would have been a forfeit anyway had BC won). Regardless, SH trotted out their newest addition, Melanie Linsmair, who BC had no answer for. Johnny Football was back in this game as well and making big plays using his speed. Jeff Reynolds had a solid game on defense.

Bullet Club had to come immediately off that game and take on Top Shot, who considered going to D1 but chickened out. Dylan Jaloza, and the rest of Top Shot, have something to prove after the way their season ended last year. Sean Weisansal put on a clinic. Scotty Dro was in attendance for BC this game after, and I quote, “abandoning them”, for their season opener in favor of his other team. Unfortunately, BC just did not have the personnel needed to run with TS and came away 0-2 on the day.

Passed Our Prime beat XTC, 54-53. Yes, you read that right. After considering moving down due to a rough season last year, POP decided to man up and they were rewarded with a big win. In a game that saw very little defense, XTC had the lead pretty much all game until the very end when Jeremy Olson and Co were able to march down field and steal the victory right out from under them. Kyle Conniff was a big add for POP so I’m curious how this team will fare with a few more reliable guys.

In D3, Last Dance (formerly WolfPack) took on Show Me Dem TDs. John Senn said he was going to revamp and move up despite a less than ideal season last year. They were missing their QB, Tim Zielinski, so trying out a rookie at D3 rarely goes well. With Ward Blewitt leaving us for greener pastures, LD signed free agent Ricky Austin to fill the QB role. The talk of the media around Ricky had always been which Ricky is going to show up, Good Ricky or Bad Ricky, so I’m interested to see if that narrative will continue. Based on Week 1 performance, Good Ricky seemed to prevail early as LD took an easy 48-22 victory.

Frodo Swaggins and 4th and Dong tied, 34-34. I mentioned Scotty Dro’s “other team”. Turns out, he signed an off season contract with his former team. Time will tell if the Scotty-Garrett connection will make for glorious highlight reel plays, or just more bickering between these two. 4th and Dong are The Kellers, all finally reunited after Katie Keller decided to step away from her gender team so she could help her family return to their former glory. You just don’t see loyalty like that these days.

Cobblestone shocked the world when they moved up to D3. They continued to shock us as they whooped Super Freaks, 46-18. Super Freaks is Ralph Finney’s second team with him at QB. They looked like they might have some work to do if they want to compete at this level but some familiar faces tell me they will find a way. Daryl Carr was back with his family and the Lattuca’s and they put on quite the show to get this season started.

The Angels took on Untouchaballs who added some talent to beef up their roster. Jeremy Burr was in at QB while Jaime McCabe added another speedy receiver. Matty Ice led his team on offense well but they could not get a stop when they needed one on defense. Melanie Linsmair was a monster on offense for the Untouchaballs, scoring the majority of their TDs. Robin Makula was the newest addition to the Angels and had some big catches. The Untouchaballs came away with the victory, 45-32.

In D4, Practice Squad took on Buffalo Vice. There is some controversy over the QB as Andy Clark is reportedly out for the season so BV added Seth Molisani. Allegedly, complaints have been filed with the Board of Directors so things may get shaken up a little come next week. Regardless, both teams played great. Dan Gonzalez continued to get downfield for the deep TD pass, regardless of how many guys are covering him. Caitlyn Mason lost no speed in the offseason, giving B a headache and literally 6 seconds to get rid of the ball. B ran his team well. Ashtin Fiegel showed some serious route running skills. BV came away with the win, 43-34.

Pucket All Stars trounced Vaspian, 30-8.  TJ Ferguson was back for PAS with some added speed in Joe Schwab of the now dissolved All We Do is Quinn. Vaspian is now Drew-less so they moved down to D4 but they continued to struggle to get an continuity going throughout the game. Hopefully roster issues were to blame or its going to be another long season for Vaspian.

Itches and Oh’s beat newcomers Gucci 43-40 in a tight battle. Apparently, the rumors are true that Gucci’s regular QB is Kelly Kane, once she makes her debut after dealing with some personal things. Frank Laudico filled in this week and put on a solid performance. Steven Moser continued to utilize their solid game plan of taking what the defense is giving them. Laura Streeter raked up a ton of YAC after a quick pitch off the line. Jeremy Streit also had a solid game down field by running solid routes and getting lost in coverage.

In D5, only Spinelli’s Plumbing and 716 played. I did not see enough of this game to report, although I did see that Spinelli’s lost, 36-27. 716 is a new team with some familiar faces so I will be sure to check them out and see what they are all about.

Lastly in D6, Victorious Secrets demolished Graves Bros, 42-12. Jordan and Co may have been practicing in the offseason as they looked solid and GB did not have an answer. They then had to go on and play TMA immediately afterwards. TMA were missing Nick Smith, Rob Rummings and Ryan Henry but still were able to come out with a victory, 34-32. Johnny Dio was back at QB for TMA and utilized his females well. He found Diana Bernal in the back of the endzone for the game winner in the closing minutes of the game.

I didn’t see the Travis Henry Kids vs Lenny’s Ladies game but I did hear that due to injury, Joe K left the game so Chris Cole came in to replace him. I thought that could go one of two ways: Chris Cole uses his 20+ years of experience to led the ladies to a  victory OR Chris Cole’s left handed rocket throws off the ladies catching ability and THK takes an easy win. The latter proved true based on the final score of 52-28.  

That’s all for this week. I will be sure to check out the teams I missed soon, especially the new additions. If there is a person you think deserves my attention, make sure you let the Godfather or Topper know. I’d rather focus on new faces and teams each week but if the big names are the ones making the big plays, that’s who gets the press. So if you want to be on that list of big names, be impressive. I will leave you with my Top 5 notable players/teams/plays of the week:

1. Melanie Linsmair- my prediction is she could be a notable every week but let’s give credit when it’s due early, she was unstoppable

2. Mike Mckenrick- went 2-0 for Falconies with a solid performance in both games

3. Talia Calabro- played a great game for Freeballers both offensively and defensively

4. Amy Taylor- in both games I saw her play in, she had fantastic catches and defensive break ups. Also, as I mentioned she threw what could have been the game winning TD pass if her team converted the extra point.

5. All of you who stepped up to ref. It’s a thankless job no matter what level competition or what sport you’re in but without you all, we wouldn’t have the best league in the world.

Until next time, I’ll be watching…

Round 1 Review

Category: The Sentinel
Created: Tuesday, 22 June 2021 14:34
Published: Tuesday, 22 June 2021 14:34
Written by Patrick McGovern
Hits: 2813

 

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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