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SDAFFL Week Seven: The season may be half over, but it's still the source of high drama

Going into week seven, the match-ups were anything but expected.

With only one team performing to expectations (top-seeded Bourbon Street Storm continued to dominate with another blow-out win), there were a few other standout games with outcomes that can be described as no less than incredibly dramatic!

Eden and Betty's produce a nail-biter

Starting with the first game of the day, the highly anticipated stand-off between Eden Hellraisers and Baja Betty’s Ballhawks delivered a nail-biting finish. Hoping to carry over the momentum they gained last week with their amazing win over top-seeded Flicks, Eden faced yet another top team this week, the 6-0 Baja Betty’s.

When asked how he felt going into the game, Betty’s Doug Komlenic said, "… we knew were going to be shorthanded. Eden is one of the top teams in our league and would be a challenge for us at full strength.”

He was correct, as this match up was tough; and it was tied until the very end of regular play.

Eden’s quarterback Ryan Thomas threw an interception, which was caught in Eden’s end zone sending the game into overtime. In the case of overtime, each team is given four plays to try to score from their 20 yard line.

In their third play, Baja Betty’s scored a touchdown. Given the same opportunity, on their fourth play, Eden’s ball was caught by receiver Jay Tevid, but out of bounds, delivering the "W" to Baja Betty’s.

“I went through an entire series of emotion in seconds," Tevid said. "First there was relief that I caught the ball, then frustration that I was out of bounds, then anger that we lost to a team that we could’ve beat.

"Then it became embarrassingly funny because when I landed, I noticed that everyone was watching," he continued. "I felt that I was about to have a “Rocky” game-winning moment, then when I realized I was out of bounds, it ended up being kind of funny, an anti-climactic way to end a tough game.”

"They capitalized on some of our mistakes, but we fought hard until the end!" said Luke Mahoney, a player for Eden. "It was our most intense game yet!”

"It was an intense game, we both wanted to win badly," said John Copeland of Betty's. "Eden came onto the field giving it their all. They started out very strong and we responded with tough defense; however, they did get the first touchdown, which really showed us what we were up against.”

"I asked the team to play hard, play smart and to give me everything they had," added Komlenic. "I am proud of how the team responded. Everyone stepped up and contributed to a hard fought win.”

Martini's and Park Manor bring on the high drama

Game two between Martini’s and Park Manor also delivered the high drama with Martini’s Bulls winning the game in the last four plays.

Martini’s Offensive Player of the game, Jamie Ciecko, was happy to see his team come together.

"Our team was fighting a lot of injuries and a two touchdown deficit going into the half, but we came out with a lot of defensive swagger and forced the other team to make mistakes," Ciecko said. "It was a great feeling watching the whole team come together to fight out a tough win."

"We fought hard, but there was no denying that the Bulls were the better team that day,” said Park Manor coach Herb Nance, of the loss.

Fiesta Cantina dazzles Red Wing

Not to be overshadowed, Fiesta Cantina had a great win over the tough and fast Red Wing R-Dawgs, bringing their record to 2-3.

James Velde, Fiesta’s Offensive Player of the Game, felt his team really was the underdog at the start.

"We won despite injuries and Easter vacations, because we always stand together and play our hearts out," Velde said. "I play on the greatest team, and couldn’t ask for a better group of guys on and off the field."

First year player Scott Robinson, Fiesta’s Defensive Player of the Week, was quick to give kudos to the team's communication as the reason for their win.

Despite the loss, Brookes Eggerth received Redwing’s Offensive and Defensive player of the game. Eggerth recognized the team hadn't "come out firing from the get-go," which contributed to the loss.

Urban Mo's still searching for a win as True North takes them

While other teams like True North are finally gaining that momentum, this week's opponent Urban Mo’s is still searching for that elusive W.

“We’ve won two weeks in a row," said Dallas Pugh, Defensive Player of the Game for True North. "It looks like our team finally found its stride. We have a strong, talented, motivated and aggressive group of players. Unfortunately we had a couple of bad breaks in the beginning of the season but for the last two games we came out strong and will carry the intensity through to the end.

"We were totally focused, and our defense was solid.”

The ever-humble Andrew Slutzki, Defensive Player of Game for Urban Mo's, had a different take, and wasn't feeling too keen on his title this week.

“Since we didn’t win, I don’t feel like the player of the week recognition holds too much water," said Slutzki. "I appreciate the recognition, but I’d trade it for a win in a heartbeat. Our struggles this year can’t be pinned on a lack of talent or motivation. We simply haven’t executed in crunch time. Part of that is on us, and part of that can be attributed to the solid competition we play each week. We will make adjustments, because we plan on notching our first win Saturday.”

R Gang and Pecs take drama to another level

Finally the best game of the day, with arguably the highest level of drama (although I may be a little impartial), was between R Gang Bangers and PECS Gators.

Facing a potential 0-6 record, one would think that PECS was at a disadvantage, but because the Easter holiday and family obligations left R Gang six players short, it was R Gang that was seemingly behind the eight-ball. PECS had the Bangers beat on sheer numbers. Having become the league’s sentimental favorite, PECS even won over some of R Gang’s most dedicated athletic supporters.

Perhaps capitalizing on R Gang’s lack of depth, PECS scored first. Going into the half, PECS was up 6-14, and all Bangers heard, even from their own supporters, was an ever-growing scream from the crowd of “CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!” as if to remind us what it sounds like when a gator bites down.

As a member of the Bangers, I can say this did nothing but motivate us to dig deep and do what we could to win this game. Coming back from the half, the pressure continued with PECS putting their best defense forward. Were the Bangers going to get beat again by another team with a losing record, just like last week?

On the last four plays of the Bangers’ final drive, they scored a touchdown, bringing the score to 19-20.

At this point, the Bangers could’ve gone for an extra point and tied the game -- sending it into overtime -- but with nothing to lose, they decided to go for two points.

As the ball snapped, it was chaos everywhere. Receivers ran their routes, and blockers did their best to block the oncoming rushers. Facing the pressure, Bangers’ quarterback Russell Rubio scrambled to his left, trying to shake the rushers. Having to get rid of the ball, he threw it high into the air, into a crowd, which is normally not recommended.

And just like in the movies, a Bangers receiver spied the ball coming in his direction -- in what appeared to be in slow motion -- and knew he had to make a play.

"It seemed like forever and all I could think was 'don’t f*ck it up!'” said Bangers receiver John Hernandez.

And you know what? He didn’t; Bangers win by one. How’s that for drama?

The drama continues next Saturday.

Come out and join in the fun

Know anyone that plays or just enjoys team sports? Come watch a game and show your support. See why the SDAFFL is as popular as it is!

Teams play every Saturday at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., & 12:00 p.m., at Doyle Park and Rec Center located at 8175 Regents Road, San Diego, CA 92122.

Each week, teams choose the offensive and defensive player of the week for their opposing teams, and sometimes it is the same person! The league also has a team of professional photographers on site taking action shots throughout the games and photos are available for online purchase after processing.

Scores from Week Six

  • Eden – 26, Baja Betty’s – 32*
  • #1 Fifth Avenue – 20 , Bourbon Street – 41*
  • Park Manor – 26, Martini’s – 33*
  • Redwing Bar & Grill – 12, Fiesta Cantina – 20*
  • Urban Mo’s – 13, True North – 27*
  • PECS – 20, R Gang Eatery – 21 *
  • BYE – Flicks

* indicates winner

A complete and current standings review for the league is available at the SDAFFL homepage.

Players of the Week:

#1 on Fifth

  • Offense: #25 Jerick Stockton
  • Defense: #84 Ryan Castro

Baja Betty’s

  • Offense: #85 Tommy Miles
  • Defense: #27 Nuno Costa

Redwing

  • Offense: #5 Brooks Eggerth
  • Defense: #5 Brooks Eggerth

Urban Mo’s

  • Offense: #15 Joe Uschmann
  • Defense: #81 Andrew Slutzky

PECS

  • Offense: #44 H.T. Bennett
  • Defense: #69 Danny Jesse

Martini’s

  • Offense: #4 Jamie Ciecko
  • Defense: #1 Todd May

Fiesta Cantina

  • Offense: #27 James Velde
  • Defense: #7 Scott Robinson

Park Manor

  • Offense: #21 Shigeru Yamada
  • Defense: #00 Andrew Spano

R Gang Eatery

  • Offense: #25 Russell Rubio
  • Defense: #22 Eric McDaniel

Bourbon Street

  • Offense: #10 James Lienhard
  • Defense: #15 Brian Bleus

True North

  • Offense: #12 Alex Otero
  • Defense: #27 Dallas Pugh

Eden

  • Offense: #1 Todd Kerr
  • Defense: #4 King Mike

For a full listing of team standings, future schedule, game times or any other information, visit the SDAFFL website.

SDAFFL Mission Statement

The San Diego American Flag Football League (SDAFFL) seeks to promote the positive social and athletic enjoyment of American flag football. Through our league, our events and most importantly our members, we also seek to foster and augment the self-respect of GLBTQA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allied) persons and to engender respect and understanding from the larger community.

While particular emphasis is placed on these specific goals, it is a fundamental principle of the SDAFFL that all activities, social and athletic, are conducted to be inclusive in nature and that no individual shall be excluded from participating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic ability, physical challenge, or HIV status.

All photos (including those above left) courtesy Tom Weigand Digital Photography. To see additional SDAFFL photos or to learn more about Tom Weigand Digital Photography, click HERE.

Russ Edra is the PR contact for the SDAFFL. He can be reached at russ@sdaffl.com.