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Ladies and gentlemen of the TSL, this is playoff football. There were upsets a-plenty following our first round match ups. Teams we thought were a layup will now be sitting at home next week and teams we thought needn’t have shown up, are still in the hunt. That’s why we play the game. Without further ado, lets see how things went down.

D1

Sticky Bandits were the underdogs of the 4-5 match up against Slob Kabobs. Looking at these teams, I had to give the edge to SK but SB had their full roster and we’ve all seen how dangerous that can be. Both teams started hot on offense, but SKs defense took some time to get going. Seth Molisani fell in love with the deep ball and missed some open receivers 10-15 yards downfield. Mike Thomas, on the other hand, had no problem dumping the ball of to Kevin Zack, who can work the middle better than most anyone else in the game. The game seemed to be close throughout but a big pick by Drew Colosimo turned the tide in favor of Sticky Nation and they carried that momentum to a victory.

Tight Ends in Motion and Losing Streak was one game I was excited about because based on reputation, standings and history, TE had the edge. However, in their 3 match ups against each other this season, LS came out on top twice. There had also been talk about how TE didn’t seem to be meshing as well as usual this year. All the factors were in place for a huge D1 upset. But, alas, it was not meant to be. LS played a solid game on offense and proved they have the raw talent to run in D1. Their defense though couldn’t find a rhythm and Bro Kleckler feasted. Both teams had big, highlight-reel plays from their star players but TEs finally looked like their old selves and are moving on to next week.

D2

A&A and Bullet Club faced off for the 3rd time this season. I don’t think many people had their money on Bullet Club but they did make a game of it. Scott Drosendal threw an early pick 8 to Margo Pagano, certainly not helping his teams’ morale. They rallied and stayed in it though. Dro found Todd Halas in the end zone on several occasions to keep them within a score or two. Despite being a close contest, A&A never looked worried and rightfully so. A huge deep ball TD to Casey Lawler took the wind out of BCs sails and they ran out of time to make a come back.

TopShot took on Passed Our Prime and while I didn’t see many specific plays during this game, I heard a lot of yelling coming from the field. It seemed to be coming mostly from POP so I thought I was going to hear of an early upset. But alas, TS recovered from some early miscues including at least 1 pick by Dylan Jaloza. Nikki Kedron was a force to be reckoned with and Blase DeLuca made yet another great defensive stop.  Passed Our Prime’s James Celotto did what he could for his team but there was no stopping to athletic prowess TS brings to the fields. 

When Dove Cries fell to XTC in a 4-5 match up game. WDC battled back from an early deficit to regain the lead. XTC had Joey Battaglia under center again. Both these teams are evenly matched but XTC was more willing to march and used age-old plays developed years before many of us even began playing. Topper tried to force a few too many passes to his go-to receivers but that usually successful tactic failed. The ladies of XTC continued to impress and may just be what carries this team to the championship.

Scared Hitless barely squeaked by The Notorious BNB. With a final of 16-7 this was a defensive battle, but more so because neither team could get much going on offense. Dylan Day has been impressive thus far and getting through the first round of playoffs is no easy feat. Whatever was the reason for the blasé effort this game, hopefully they can turn it up a notch next week when they take on TopShot.

D3

Grey Hair Don’t Care remains the odds-on favorite for D3 and their win over Cobblestone came as a surprise to no one. CB was missing Sam Lattuca but had a solid replacement and Maddie Norton to fill her shoes. One of the Carrs made an incredible TD catch that was thrown into triple coverage. But on defense they just could not match up with the speed GHDC brings. Despite Mike Rawdin’s multiple drops, GH was able to march down the field and punch it in the endzone at will and Cobblestone could not find an adjustment that worked.

While not technically an upset because The Angels were the higher seed, many people had Last Dance winning this game. The big news coming out here was Ricky Austin was back so season-long sub Matt Newman was benched for the original starter. Now you can question the judgement of bringing in a cold QB who hasn’t played in weeks in favor of the guy that has been winning games for you, but that’s how it happened. Matty Ice was on fire coming off his A&A win and the ladies stepped up big. Emily Curry had a huge game on defense while Taylor Pagano demanded the ball and came through on offense. Ricky Austin had a nice deep pass to Joe Zogaria but then continued to go deep throughout the game. The Angels shut it down early and were able to keep pace with scoring.

The Untouchaballs fell to 4th and Dong in one of the biggest upsets of the day. UT were one win away from finishing first. There season was a roller coaster; beat The Angels, lost to Cobblestone, beat Grey Hair Don’t Care, lost to Last Dance. It seemed like this team was destined to do exactly what was NOT expected of them. They kept to that script for sure. 4th and Dong had a solid start to the season. In Week 3 I said they would be my pick for the championship (if Scott Keller Sr stepped in at QB). But after that they started to fizzle out. A loss to Show Me Dem TDs started their downward trajectory until the last game of the season where they managed a win against The Angels. Maybe it was that momentum they took with them into this game. Jeremy Burr had to contend with Austin Weber rushing, and that pressure did not look like something he was used to.

Frodo Swaggins came up with the win against Freeballers to push them out of the playoff run. Things just seemed to be going the way of Garrett Beesing and company. I saw Ron Weber was subbing for them and he had some solid TD catches. Nick Buczek is always good for a couple as well and he did not disappoint. Beesing also found the end zone with Kristin Daniels, who has a sneaky way of getting open. Freeballers couldn’t get anything going defensively. Based on the hanging heads after this game, it’s safe to say this team had more to give and will be itching to get back at it next season.

D4

The Cunning Stunts knocked out Zack Attack, looking to be in true playoff form. Joey Battaglia knows what works and feels no pressure to change it. He took the yards the ZA defense were giving him and his ladies found a way to get open in the end zone. ZA experienced firsthand the jump from D5 to D4 is not easy but they were able to make some adjustments. They could not find pay dirt in the red zone though and the Stunts move on.

Vaspian fell to The Falconies after a back and forth battle. Joe Miano played lights out for his squad, utilizing his females and reading the field like a seasoned vet. Vaspian had an exceptional season considering they were given 13-1 odds at the beginning. QB Brian Orzechowski lead them in every game he played but they came up short in a tough fought game this week.

I didn’t see too much of the Buffalo Vice versus Puckett All Stars game but I did see some quintessential BV deep balls from Seth Molisani. Dan Gonzalez has battled injury this season but he looked fine to me racing downfield for his specialty play. TJ Ferguson seemed to be having trouble either reading the field or keeping his footing, causing a couple picks that PAS could not recover from. Kenny Parker had himself a day on defense while Amy Denning proved Caitlyn Mason is not the only female with talent on BV.  

D5

In what was the hands down, biggest upset of the day, Lettuce Win took Wasted Potential out of the playoffs with a 27-18 win! Coming into the season at 15-1 odds then going 3-6, this team was all but written off by just about everyone. They haven’t been able to get much of any offense going and their +/- before the playoffs was -73. But anything can happen in the playoffs and it did. Wasted Potential started the game down a player so that did not help their situation. Jay Jaskier had what could only be described as an “off” game. It happens to the best of us but unfortunately for WP it happened in the playoffs.  

The most surprising part of the Spinellis Plumbing versus TOX game was that it was as close as it was. Topper was in as play caller for TOX but even he could not inspire his team to a victory. SP is solid from top to bottom. They ran through D6 last year and have done the same in D5 this year. TOX was able to make a game of it at least, but I don’t see any team stopping them.

Not So Sticky beating Come From Behind was also one of the major upsets on the day. Neither team was given great odds to start, but Come From Behind had been putting up some big numbers. Included in that is their 36-6 and 40-6 victories over NSS during the season. But like I said before, anything can happen in the playoffs. NSS played flawlessly on both sides of the ball. Rags was finding his receivers and utilizing them all to their strengths. They take on 716 next week and hopefully can hold on to some of this momentum.

D6

Lennys Ladies move on with a win over Victorious Secret. This was another back-and-forth showdown. The ladies on both teams wowed the audience with just how good the women in this league are. The entire game was a spectacular display of speed and hands. Joe K proved he still has it after missing some games due to injury. Jordan Lawson had no trouble finding his girls in the endzone, but they struggled to get stops when they needed them on defense.

Graves Bros, as the saying goes, picked a bad day to have a bad day. Not that their season has been all that great this year. They just didn’t look like they had any motivation left in them. Blitzkrieg on the other hand, seems to be gaining momentum as the weather gets colder. Starting with their win against TMA during the season, Blitzkrieg has looked like they are on a collision course to the championship. They take on Travis Henry Kids next week so I hope it doesn’t come down to who is able to get more people to show up but with these teams, that is the usual story.

That’s all for our first round of playoffs. Next week is it for the Fall 2021 season. Can’t wait to see who will enter the ranks of Co-ed Football Immortality. I will leave you with my Top 5 Notables:

1.      Drew Colosimo (Sticky Bandits, When Dove Cries)- always makes incredible plays but had a pick for SB that turned the tide of the game

2.      Katie Keller (XTC, 4th and Dong)- came through big for both her teams to move them onto the next round.

3.      Jeremy Streit (Itches & Ohs)- crisp route running and solid hands makes for at least one big catch a game, also heard he can hang at the bar

4.      Ellory Roberts (Not So Sticky, Falconies)- her teammates talked about how well she played against Come From Behind so while I didn’t see anything I could report on, I wanted to give credit where it was due

5.      TOX- went 0-8 on the season, not including a forfeit win, but they never got mad and always stayed for drinks afterwards

Until next time, I’ll be watching…

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