Division 3 Northeast Region

Maine Mayhem at Columbus Vanguards

-Michael Burmeister

In the 2019 Women’s Football Alliance Division 3 Northeast Region Championship Game, we will see a showdown between two teams whose modae operandi have been to defy any and all odds before them, as the #2 seed Maine Mayhem (3-5, 3-2 D3), fresh off their amazing late-season comeback to secure this playoff berth, make the big 1,046-mile trip west on I-80 to battle the #1 seed Columbus Vanguards (5-3, 5-1 D3), who are ready to get the biggest win in team history in their first game played inside their own hometown.

This is the first time the Mayhem and Vanguards have ever played against each other.

Thoughts on the Mayhem: After an 1-4 start (which included two close games against the D2 New York Wolves and Philadelphia Phantomz), several pundits had counted the Mayhem out of the playoff hunt. But it was right there and then, in the games which ensued, that the greatest women’s football team to ever represent the Pine Tree State proved why they are TRULY that great, winning their last two over New England rivals the Western Connecticut Hawks, most recently this past Saturday by a score of 22-11, enough points to push the Mayhem past the Richmond Black Widows for the second playoff spot in the Northeast Region. Although many have decried the Mayhem’s playoff selection, saying that Richmond was robbed and that teams with losing records don’t belong in the playoffs, the Mayhem are using these comments for fuel…with Coach Bryant Oja at the helm, the Mayhem set out not only to prove that they belong in the playoffs, but also to row this boat all the way to Colorado! A playoff upset in Indiana would be the PERFECT statement win to prove exactly that.

Thoughts on the Vanguards: Last season, the Vanguards defied all the pundits’ expectations to not only win three games, but also to clinch a playoff berth in their inaugural season. This year, the ‘Guards have been picking up right where they left off, their physical ironwoman brand of football leading to their first-ever winning season (5-3), nine All-American selections (including three to the First Team), their second playoff berth in as many seasons, and their first-ever home playoff game. However, perhaps their proudest aspect of this game is that, in the playoffs of their second season, the ‘Guards are finally playing a game in their own hometown of Columbus, Indiana, the Athens of the South! With Kenny Haworth at the helm and an INCREDIBLY devoted fanbase that’s driven all the way to Knightstown for their previous games, the Vanguards look to set a new WFA attendance record and put on a showcase in front of their home fans, knowing that their raucous support will be INSTRUMENTAL in their quest to get to Golden in July.

The questions are: Will the Mayhem #ROW this boat all the way to a first-round upset and put themselves within two victories of adding a 2019 WFA D3 championship trophy to their case, right next to their 2016 IWFL Affiliate Bowl one? Or will the Vanguards’ #IGotYourBack mentality and the devoted Columbus crowd lead to victory in their most important game in team history, giving the ULTIMATE turbo-boost for the National Conference Championship Game on June 29 in either Louisville or Orlando?