1st round recap
Western Conference S4 Preview
Eastern Conference S4 Preview
Then......THERE WERE 8
THE MPFL CONFERENCE STANDING 4
"I'm a different kind of Coach, my style is not like others & I stay LOCKED IN ...."
Insider Vol. II Issue No. 3
MPFL PLAYOFFS: Round 1 Recap
The MPFL Playoffs began with 8 of the 12 post season qualifiers in action, 2 in The Western Conference, and 6 in The Eastern Conference. Some thought 12 teams were too many.
"I heard some idiotic statement referring to the 6 and 7 seeds in the East as being "awarded participation ribbons"....So,The Desoto Tarantulas, and Denton County Rhinos, aren't playoff worthy? Well, I'd take my chances with those coaches and rosters against any in the state, MPFL or otherwise!"
MPFL CEO J.C. Kimey, on the quality of The 2018 MPFL Playoff participants.
Why is this writer not surprised at that statement?
BY CHASE RADER
Round 1 Recap - Page 2
Standing 4 Preview - Page 7
Standing 4 Preview- Page 10
In The East:
#2 War Eagles 25 - #7 Rhinos 9
The #7 seed Denton County Rhinos, famous for the "Rhino Rally", boast a POTY candidate in QB Kendall Thomas, who along with TE Eric Koch and WR Mon Roberts, can score points in bunches.They ran into another "Gang Green", in The #2 seed Texas War Eagles. Could The Rhinos light up one of the best defenses in The MPFL? Not on this night. This game was a physical, defensive battle, with The War Eagles pulling away late, thanks to a gutsy late run by QB James Beal, and turnovers created by that defense.
#6 Tarantulas 30 - #3 Vipers 17
The #6 seed Desoto Tarantulas, were given their "participation ribbon" in the form of The #3 seed Austin Vipers. Participation ribbons have changed dramatically, apparently. The state's longest running dynasty had endured injuries all year, but this was the post season, their longtime home. Desoto came to Austin and did what so many have tried to do, put up an early lead, and play sound defense and hold that lead. They even scored points with that defense as "Old Man Strong" DL Mike Turman, scored on a fumble recovery. Is this the end of an era for The Vipers? Not likely. The same was said after 2016, and again in 2017, after the regular season. For now, they are left to ponder, "what if?", and regroup and pursue another Shanklin Trophy in 2019. Desoto, however, has parlayed their "participation ribbon", into a trip to The Eastern Conference Standing 4.
#5 Bullets 51 - #4 Vikings 47
The #4 seed Dallas Vikings, had a season of ups and downs, mostly ups, and led by the offensive "quad" of RB Brandon Willis, WRs TreTaylor, Harold Wayne, and Jailon Murphy, were looking to build on a breakout expansion season in 2017, by advancing deep into the post season. The #5 Texas Bullets, were looking to erase the sting of having their 24 game win streak erased by the other "participation ribbon" recipient, The Denton County Rhinos, in the unforgettable 55-51 game of the year in 2017. Well, history repeated itself, sort of, as this time The Bullets won the shootout. The Vikings started fast, paced by "The Quad", as Willis, Taylor, Murphy and Wayne (2 TD catches in the 1st Quarter) were on fire. Newly acquired QB Ty Sellers, showed he still has a few bullets left in the gun, and The Bullets put the 2017 nightmare to bed...for another week at least.
In The West:
#4 Drillers 22 - #5 Horned Frogs 0
The #5 seed Amarillo Horned Frogs, by most accounts, were expected to have difficulty competing in The MPFL, much less making a run at a playoff spot. After all, despite the talent in the area, history has not been kind to the "Panhandle Posse". Well, as Degeneration X would say: "History Sucks!" (Or something to that effect). The Frogs made the post season, and had to face The #4 seed West Texas Drillers in Midland. The Drillers of late, have been "getting the thing back to where it was starting to be", by pushing people around, and being downright surly about it. Overcoming injuries, and internal philosophical differences, the bully is back, and proved to be an inhospitable host, blanking the upstart Frogs. Let's see what kind of guest they make as they head west to take on the top seed in their barn.
Conference Standing 4 Preview
By Chase Rader
The #1 seed North Texas Stampede enter the 2018 MPFL Playoffs with an undefeated record and the favorites to win Shanklin Bowl VII. Winning every game by a comfortable margin, with the exception of the season finale, against The #5 seed Texas Bullets. Yes, the same Bullets who in 2017, entered the post season under the same circumstances, but as the defending champions, and with a 24 game win streak, dating back to 2016. The Stampede must first get through the #6 seed Desoto Tarantulas, who knocked off the 2017 MPFL Champion Austin Vipers, in Austin. Meanwhile The Bullets will face the #2 seed Texas War Eagles, who have quietly had an .800 winning percentage, since entering the league in 2017.
Intrigue?Drama? In a word, hell yes! Okay, that's two words, but again, math is not my strong suit, and you people know what I am trying to say here.
#1 Stampede vs #6 Tarantulas
The North Texas Stampede are a minor league football institution. 15 seasons, winning at an .800 clip, and making the post season every year. This is a who's who of personnel, led by their legendary head coach, Jackie Bridges and a collection of HOFers on his staff. Offensively, the skill positions are an all star team that begins with the reigning two time MPFL Offensive POTY QB Justin Willis. His accoutrements? So many, we have to go rapid fire, one word association, to get to them, and still miss a few. WRs Davon Sneed (sudden), Roderick Brown (shapeshifter), Lenny Williams (machine), Ed Young Jr (deadly) and RBs Keith Davis (prototype), Zay Griff (mercurial) and Nick Morrow (versatile), make a coach wish there was more than one football to go around. The offensive line is often overlooked, but how? Mountainous Jeremey Roberson, Chris Mason, Brandon Roney, Jarius Holley, Brandon Bishop and Max Revere Sr., give time and open holes. The defense is equally loaded. Up front, Rod Richardson, Will Hackney, Skylar Graham and shop wrecking edge rusher De'marcus Cummings, set it off, with MLB Cornelius "Biscuit" Houston cleaning up the trash. The back line is, well, absurd. CB Stuart Glenn along with former NFL players Jason Goss and Quincy Butler are topped off by S Rickey Kinney. Wow. Why even show up to play them? The Desoto Tarantulas will go ahead and show up. They knocked off the champs, in their building in round 1, and expect to win this one as well. QB Vernon Sharp Jr., a powerful athlete, who has added nuance and mental focus to his game, is dialed in. The WR group looks like The Golden State Warriors in football pads. Dewayne Guyton, Travis Collins-Teague, Eric Harper, and Quincy "Agent Zero" Scott, are terrifying. Upfront, brawlers C Justin Eudy and OT Ryan Fields, are nasty. Defensively, DT Chris Atchison-Lee and DL Courtney Ollie, handle the trenches, while LBs Jordan Lee and William Pittman, are fast, smart, and tough. DBs John Nelms and Raymond Delacambre, patrol the sky with alacrity. This one should be epic.
#2 War Eagles vs #5 Bullets
The #5 seed Texas Bullets have got to be feeling good about their postseason prospects. Given the championship pedigree of the franchise, this is not a surprise. What has been a surprise, has been the up and down nature of both sides of the ball. The defense carrying them early on, and then, the late season resurgence of the offense.The addition of QB Ty Sellers, along with OL Jeremy Puckett being activated for the playoffs, seem to be moves that have changed the dynamics of the offensive matrix, for The Bullets. Of course it helps, when you have "The HWO" (Hog World Order) of William McKinley, Kevin Simpson, Jose Osito, and the best center in the game in Justin Holcomb, already in place. Sellers is also helped by a run game spearheaded by Greg Greene. WR Kyle Biddlecombe, is a big target, who creates headaches for Cover 2, or zone defenses, and allows the speedsters outside, to operate with impunity. The veteran laden defense, has the covermen in CBs Will Fields and Kedrion Betts, to free up the front 7 and safeties, to control the middle of the field. The #2 seed Texas War Eagles, led by one of the all time great coaches in minor league football in Alex "Waco" Ovalles, are a team that is a mirror image of their coach. Consistent, and low key. Upfont C Ronnie Brokeberry, is a definite rival to Holcomb as a pivot man, and he is joined by Rashaud Perkins and Will Smith, keeping that hallmark of Ovalles' teams intact. WRs Anthony Caston and James Chism, give QB James Beal reliable targets outside.Defensively, they are as good as any in the business, with all world FS Isiah Johnson playing a mean centerfield. Of course, bullies like DL James "Savage" McGue and DT DJ Johnson, backed by LBs Anthony Stevenson and Keith Chatman, are also good for your football. Can The War Eagles' defense stop The Bullets surging offfense? Show up Saturday and find out.
Conference Standing 4 Preview
By Chase Rader
The MPFL has been in the West Texas/New Mexico region for every year of its existence. All 6 seasons have seen a Midland franchise win the west. The #4 seed West Texas Drillers, and former ALL MPFL MLB and Drillers' Owner, Mike"Heeter" Heetland, ruled the first 5, winning conference titles in each. In 2017, the #2 seed West Texas Pride, also from Midland, owned by the savvy Harold Fuller, continued the streak. 2018 saw The Pride start out in impressive fashion, racking up road wins in New Mexico, Lubbock, El Paso and Austin.This included an opening day home win win over the #1 seed West Texas Lions, owned by the lovely and talented Stephanie Rose, out of El Paso. The MPFL schedule makers set up the home and home between #1 and #2 perfectly, as The Lions were able to beat The Pride in OT late in the season, avenge that loss, and claim the all important top spot in the Western Conference. The first time a non-Midland franchise has done so, in the history of The Crest. Meanwhile, the only franchise with a recent league championship, the #3 seed Lubbock Liberty Eagles, owned by the fast and fastidious Brylon Bradford, add another legitimate challenge to the Midland stranglehold on the MPFL West.
Most competitive MPFL West ever? Well, you can't spell competitive football, without the M, P, F and L!
#1 Lions vs #4 Drillers
The #1 seed West Texas Lions, have already accomplished things most teams dream of. In 2017, they had 1000 plus fans at their first ever home playoff game, in their first ever season. In 2018, they raised the bar, by snaring the top seed in the conference, and shifting the path to the title to 4 hours west on I-20, from Midland, where it had gone through, to El Paso. This is big from a historical standpoint, but even bigger from a travel standpoint. QB Gaston Esterellas, is a multi-talented athlete, who is working on a Hall of Fame career, and could use a ring to seal the deal. Speaking of multi-talented, ATH Jeff "Trigga" Turnbull, can run it, throw it, catch it and tackle the man with it. DE Jessie Rose, (yes, he is the younger brother of the afore mentioned Lions' owner Stephanie Rose) is a name that comes up when opponents and peers talk about MPFL Defensive POTY candidates. The backline is full of pests like DBs Steven Valadez and Chris "McNut" McNulty, who can run and hit. They will face the #4 seed West Texas Drillers, led offensively by QB Adrian Pertile and RB Boogie Marquez, and eclipse sized OL Garrett Martin, another player working on a Hall of Fame career. The Drillers also have big play WR/KR Zamir Linton, a real threat to score from anywhere on the field. DE Broman Womack, LB TJ London and SS Jamal Johnson, lead the kind of defense we expect from The Black and Blue. The Lions have to solve the Midland mystery at some point, hell, maybe even twice, so why not do it to start the post season?
#2 Pride vs #3 Liberty
The Lubbock Liberty Eagles, come into this championship chase, as champions. Can they stay that way? WR/KR Brylon "Bullet" Bradford, who MPFL CEO J.C. Kimey called "The fastest man in The MPFL", is a singular athlete, with gamebreaking speed. That LLE defense, led by stud DE Richard Jones, also boasts veterans in LB Jaysen "Coney Island" Duprecin and maybe the best ever at his position in The MPFL, CB Brandon Taylor. The #2 seed West Texas Pride, led by Coach of The Year candidate Fred Thrweatt, started out having people believing not only would they win the west, but were legitimate hopefuls, to bring The Shanklin Trophy west for the first time ever. QB Chris Ware, is an MPFL Offensive POTY frontrunner, and electric WR/KR Andre Goodley gives him a gamechanger out wide. Defensively, DL Ced Thomas is one of the best defenders going, and angular CB Rich Garrett, continues to build his legacy as a great coverman. If The Pride look ahead, to either a trip to El Paso, or settling the "Heetfield/McFuller" bloodfeud, Lubbock will make them pay.
Photos for this issue provided by:
Joe Watson Photography
Gabriel Chavez Photography
Thanks to all contributors