For the first time in A7FL history, the championship will be a battle of East versus West!
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECAPS:
Eastern Conference Championship
Tampa Nightcrawlers vs. Baltimore Watchmen
Our first Final Four matchup saw the Florida division champion Tampa Nightcrawlers (5-0, +223 Net Points) and former NFL first-round pick Dominique Riodgers-Cromartie take on the North East Division champion Baltimore Watchmen (8-1, +249 Net Points).
The Watchmen would start off our Final Four with the ball and they got their running game going early but would finish their drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from OG Buck with 13:39 left in the first. The Nightcrawlers would respond quickly with a 40-yard pass play then would score two plays later on a pass from Logo Davis to make the score 7-6 with 11:18 left in the quarter. A false start on a 3rd-and-2 would set Baltimore back and they would throw back to Tampa with 8:10 left in the first. They would start their drive on their own 47-yard line and would drive right down the field and score on a pass from Logo to Mark Bagway to take a 14-7 lead with 4:03 left in the first quarter. The first would end with the Watchmen on the Nightcralwers’ 20-yard line.
Not long into the second, the Watchmen would turn the ball over via an interception to give the Nightcrawlers the ball back with 13:56 left in the quarter. A long drive that took up over 9 minutes of game time would end in a Bagway pass to Logo for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 4:41 left in the first half. Baltimore would take the ball down the field and score on a 30-yard pass play, but the Nightcrawlers would take the following 3-on-1 throw-off back for a touchdown to make the score 28-14 with 1:51 remaining until halftime. OG Buck would lead a masterful 2-minute drill and throw a touchdown pass with 36 seconds left in the half to make it a one-score game again, 28-21. Tampa’s final possession of the half would start on their own 35-yard line, but they would throw an interception on their first play of the drive to give Baltimore a chance to tie the game before halftime. They would be unable to do so and the score would remain 28-21 at halftime with Tampa in the lead.
Tampa would open the second half with a 3-on-1 return touchdown to make the score 34-21 with no time coming off the clock. The Watchmen would respond in a flash with another touchdown pass from OG Buck to make the score 34-27 with 14:13 left in the third. Tampa’s next drive would start on their own 10-yard line and they would methodically march down the field and score on an 8-yard touchdown pass to go up 41-27 with 8:49 left in the third. The Watchmen would take the ball back and respond by punching in a run from the one-yard line to bring the score to 41-33 with 2:56 left in the quarter. The ensuing Nightcrawler drive would start on the Watchmen’s 45-yard line and they would get a huge pass play to score on a 41-yard touchdown to go up 48-33 with 1:04 left in the quarter. The quarter would end with Baltimore with the ball.
Baltimore would score mere seconds into the fourth to make it a 48-39 ballgame with 13:33 left in the game. Tampa would take 7 minutes off the clock and score another touchdown from their lethal aerial attack to go up 54-39 with 6:57 left in the fourth. Baltimore would not go away quietly though as John Gause Jr. would throw a beautiful 31-yard touchdown with 5:17 left in the game and that would bring the deficit to only eight. The Nightcrawlers were faced with a 4th-and-13 in their own territory, but they would throw a bomb of a pass 60+ yards to score and go up 60-46 with 2:26 left in the game. Baltimore had no quit in them as they would respond with another quick touchdown with only 1:22 left in the game. On the ensuing Tampa drive, they would face a 4th-and-13 which would decide the game. The Nightcrawlers would convert, and that would ultimately end the game. The Tampa Nightcrawlers will represent the Eastern Conference in the A7FL Championship on July 23rd.
Final: Tampa Nightcrawlers 60 Baltimore Watchmen 52
Western Conference Championship
Cin City Chaos vs. Las Vegas Insomniacs
Our next Final Four game would see the Ohio Division Champion Cin City Chaos (7-0, +246 Net Points) take on the Las Vegas Division Champion Las Vegas Insomniacs (10-0, +487 Net Points) to see who would represent the Western Conference in the A7FL Championship.
The Chaos would start with the ball and they would go three-and-out and throw-off to the Insomniacs to set them up on their own 10-yard line with 12:32 left in the first. The Vegas run game started to establish itself on their first drive and RTC would finish the drive with a 38-yard touchdown to go up 7-0 with 9:20 left in the quarter. The Chaos would not get a first down on their second drive either as they would give the ball back to the Insomniacs with 7:00 left in the quarter. They would score quickly and go up 14-0 with 6:12 left in the first. Another Cin City drive would end without a first down and the Insomniacs would get the ball back on the Chaos’ 25-yard line with 2:21 left in the quarter. On the first play of the Drive, Cin City would recover a fumble and get the ball right back. The quarter would end with the Chaos on their own 25-yard line with the ball.
Due to technical difficulties, we moved ahead to the second quarter with 12:14 left and the Chaos with the ball on their own 45-yard line and still unable to get a first down. They would give the ball back to the Insomniacs on their own 30-yard line, but the Chaos would get a massive fumble recovery to get possession back with 7:20 left in the first half. The Chaos would get some momentum going on this drive with the run game and would eventually get in the endzone on a 21-yard passing touchdown to make the score 22-7 with 4:28 left until halftime. It would take the Insomniacs one RTC run to get right back in the endzone to extend their lead to 28-7 with 4:15 left in the second. The Chaos would take their next drive into Insomniac territory, but would throw an interception with 17 seconds left in the first half. They would be unable to score before the half and the score would remain 28-7 as the Insomniacs took the lead to the locker room.
The Insomniacs would receive the opening second-half throw-off and their offense would set up shop on their own 28-yard line. They would score again on an absolute dime of a pass from quarterback Scooter and would extend their lead up 34-7 with 13:15 left in the third. The Chaos would get to the otherside of the field but would throw an interception with 9:48 left in the third. The Insomniacs would slice through the Chaos defense like a hot knife through butter as they would get another score on a 10-yard screen pass to go up 42-7 with 5:45 left in the quarter. On the Chaos’ ensuing drive, they would throw a pick-six on their first play to extend the Insomniac lead to 50-7 with 5:12 left in the third. On the following throw-off, the Chaos would fumble and give the ball back to the Insomniacs. Luckily for the Chaos, they would force a fumble the next play and take it to the crib for a touchdown to bring the score to 50-13 with 4:10 left in the quarter. The Insomniacs would do more of the same and score again on a Scooter passing touchdown to go up 56-13 with 20 seconds left in the third. With the quarter expiring, the mercy rule would be enacted and the Las Vegas Insomniacs would become the 2023 Western Conference Champions and move on to face the Tampa Nightcrawlers in the 2023 A7FL Championship. Final: Las Vegas Insomniacs 56 Cin City Chaos 13