Burmy’s Brain: This Week in WFA Football – April 1 Edition

 

By Michael Burmey, of Club Burmey

— GAMES OF THE WEEK  —

BOSTON at PHILADELPHIA
Interdivision Game of the Week
The defending Division 1 National Conference Champions Boston Renegades take on perennial Division 2 contenders the Philadelphia Phantomz in a rematch of last year’s SUPER-close season finale (Also a matchup between the women’s football teams in the markets of last years’ Super Bowl teams)

All-time series: Renegades won 4, Phantomz won 0
Points: Renegades 162, Phantomz 69
Last meeting: The Renegades hung on to defeat the Phantoms 27-24 in Boston on June 3, completing the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Boston in the regular-season finale on June 9.)

Thoughts on the Renegades: Last season the Renegades got back to the glory days in which the Boston Militia spent much of their existence; being the #1 ranked team in the Massey Ratings for most of the season and going undefeated until their W-Bowl II loss to the Dallas Elite (where they still put up a brave rally from a 31-0 deficit). One of the closest games of that season was in the regular-season finale against the Phantomz, where the ‘Gades hung on to hold off the Ghosts’ rally from a 27-0 deficit. So, suffice it to say, despite the divisional difference, Boston is NOT taking Philly lightly here…their quest to head back to the Champions Bowl (and this time win it) will likely depend on them getting the hard-fought win once again.

Thoughts on the Phantomz: Just as the purest gold is the one which is tested in fire, so the Phantomz’ experience against D1 competition has made them one of the juggernauts in D2 for the past couple of seasons…as we all saw with their FURIOUS rally in last year’s meeting, they can hang with the VERY best of the best. In fact, were it not for a controversal penalty flag, the Ghosts would’ve likely gotten the upset win! Coupled with their upset first-round playoff loss to the New York Sharks, the Phantomz are gonna be MORE dangerous than ever now…their slogan this season is #NattyOrNothing, so they believe they CAN and WILL get this big win to get in the driver’s seat of the D2 playoff race and prove the third time to be the charm! Yes, a true CLASSIC will ensue.

The questions are: Will the Renegades pick up right where they left off with another win in Philly, making sure that the road to Atlanta goes through Boston? Or will the Phantomz get the STATEMENT win and establish themselves as THE team to beat in D2?

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CAPITAL CITY RAGE at SAN DIEGO REBELLION
Division 2 Game of the Week
This is a showdown between two first-year teams LOADED with veteran talent and experience where both of whom have their sights set on winning the #NattyinOne.

This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams (They will meet again in Sacramento on May 5).

Thoughts on the Rage: Despite this being the team’s inaugural season, they are comprised of the best of the best players from the most-decorated team in IWFL history, the Sacramento Sirens (most notably perennial IWFL All-Stars Svetlana Stepanchuk and Yesenia Rodriguez). Dissatisfied with the direction of the league, the Rage chose to start a brand-new chapter of Sacto’s RICH women’s football legacy-believing themselves INSTANT contenders for the D2 National Championship, the Rage first look to establish themselves as California’s best D2 team with a win in North County.

Thoughts on the Rebellion: Again, this is a brand-new team comprised of some SEASONED vets, mostly from the IWFL’s former North County Stars team (including elite players and Team USA gold medalists Knengi Martin and Katie Ott). Their WFA membership not only ensures that women’s football will remain in San Diego for years to come, but also that they themselves will be a FORCE as Division 2 title contenders. Opening up at home, the Rebs look to establish themselves as Cali’s best D2 team by knocking off their archrivals.
The questions are: Will the Rage prove they haven’t lost a step from the Sirens days and pick up the win to turn the pundits heads’ towards Cali’s capital again? Or will the Rebellion unleash their inner rebels all the way to victory, getting themselves a good momentum boost on the road to Atlanta?

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RICHMOND BLACK WIDOWS at MAINE MAYHEM
Division 3 Game of the Week
This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and their only meeting of the 2018 regular season.  It is a showdown between the #3 and #2 ranked Division 3 teams, respectively, in last year’s Massey Ratings.

Thoughts on the Black Widows: As was the case in their 2016 inaugural season (where they won the D3 National Conference Championship and came within one conversion of the national title), the Black Widows once again proved themselves to be one of the VERY best teams on the third rung of the ladder! Unfortunately, as the Northeast Region was by far the most competitive of them all, the Black Widows found themselves out of the playoffs despite being ranked #3 nationally in Division 3. Feeling like they were robbed, the B-Wids have put their anger to VERY good use over the course of the offseason, maintained their status as national title contenders, and now are gonna be as lethal as a bite from their namesake, ESPECIALLY against the team which edged them for the playoff berth last year!

Thoughts on the Mayhem: Fresh of their 2016 IWFL Affiliate Bowl champoinship, the Mayhem came to the “W” not only quickly establishing themselves as the very best D3 team in all of New England, but also solidifying their status as the best team in the Pine Tree State’s RICH women’s football legacy-all in just their second season! Locking in the #2 ranking in the D3 Massey Ratings and securing a playoff berth in the ultra-crowded Northeast, the Mayhem’s run ended by losing a close, competitive battle to their fellow black-and-purple team, the top-ranked Toledo Reign. Proving themselves for real, the Mayhem are ready to do this all again and end their season in Atlanta…first they’ll be set to put the controversy to bed by beating the team they got into the playoffs over. Yes, this is gonna be SUCH a great game to watch!

The questions are: Will the B-Wids cast aside that dark cloud hanging over them, coming home from their 643-mile trip with a statement win and a boost on their road to Atlanta? Or will the Mayhem prove that the Masseys got it right last year, setting the tone for another season where they’ll rule the D3 North Atlantic?

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— OTHER WFA ACTION — 

HOUSTON POWER (D3) at ARLINGTON IMPACT (D1)
Interdivion Game
All-time series: Impact won 5, Power won 0
Points: Impact 154, Power 12
Last meeting: The Impact blanked the Power 54-0 on April 1, 2017 in the season opener for both teams.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Houston on May 12).

Thoughts on the Power: Even In Houston’s JAM-PACKED women’s football scene, the Power have been managing to stand out among the pack throughout their history. After coming THIS CLOSE to a fourth straight playoff berth last year, the Power have been charging back up and preparing nonstop to get set back on the road they hope will end in Atlanta…of course, pulling off an unprecedented D3 over D1 upset will be the PERFECT way to start that road.

Thoughts on the Impact: It is a true testament to the quality of the Metroplex as a women’s football market that it can host a second D1 team entirely, much more one of the Impact’s caliber and strength. After just narrowly missing the playoffs last year, the Impact have their sights set on a breakout season, namely one which would take them all the way to the Champions Bowl in ATL…another victory over the Power would get that journey off on the right track.

The questions are; Will the Power SURGE through for the upset and set themselves up as favorites for the D3 National Championship? Or will the Impact make noise yet again, making sure they’re in every discussion about potential Champions Bowl teams this season?

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DALLAS ELITE (D1) at AUSTIN OUTLAWS (D3)
Interdivision Game
All-time series: Elite won 6, Outlaws won 0
Points: Elite 424, Outlaws 0
Last meeting: The Elite blanked the Outlaws 75-0 on May 20, 2017 to complete the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Dallas on May 26).

Thoughts on the Elite: After having never lost a regular-season game as well as making it to the title game twice before, the Elite at LONG last stood tall last year, defeating the Boston Renegades 31-21 to claim their first national title and the Metroplex’s sixth overall. Unfortunately, for various reasons I cannot go into detail on right now, several of their star players left to form an IWFL team with a similar identity…but one thing the elite are NOT is quitters. With Lyn Liberty-Ellington and her husband Mike (former owners of the 2010 WFA National Champion Lone Star Mustangs) joining Maria Spencer to bolster the ownership group, the Elite are ready to show that they’re STILL just that and to repeat in Atlanta!

Thoughts on the Outlaws: Last year the Outlaws enjoyed themselves a bit of a renaissance, picking up a .500 record and returning to the playoffs, this time clinching a D3 Midwest Region berth. Despite their loss to the eventual National Champion Arkansas Wildcats, the Outlaws now have the ground laid for their quest to return to glory and win their first title since winning the IWFL’s very first one in 2001…an unpredecented D3-D1 upset (especially over their defending champs) would be perhaps the biggest win in their history!

The questions are: Will the Elite prove that they’re STILL that team which can defend their national title? Or will the Outlaws make themselves some history and get a MAJOR boost in their own revival?

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TACOMA TRAUMA (D2) at PORTLAND SHOCKWAVE (D1)
Interdivision Game
All-time series: Shockwave won 6, Trauma won 1
Points: Shockwave 245, Trauma 59
Last meeting: The Shockwave beat the Trauma 28-6 on April 29 in Tacoma to complete the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Portland on April 21, and then in Tacoma on June 9.

Thoughts on the Trauma: For the past couple of years, the Trauma have been hard at work preparing on another breakout season similar to their 2015 miracle run-despite coming JUST short of the D2 playoffs in back-to-back seasons, the Trauma have shown NUMEROUS signs of greatness, and are feeling like they’re ready to finally have it all pay off this season…a cross-divisional upset would be the PERFECT way to set the tone for the journey to ATL.

Thoughts on the Fighting Shockwave; Despite finishing with the best record in the Pacific Northwest at 7-1, thanks to the Massey Ratings the PFS found themselves on the outside looking in. In addition, several of their star players had left to form the brand-new Eugene Lady Hawks…but they are NOT going to give up on their#OneCityOneTeamOneMission goal this easily. On the contrary, they’re feeling ready to make THIS the season they contend for that D1 National Championship!

The questions are: Will the Trauma pick up the upset, ensuring that the road to the D2 National Championship goes through Pierce County? Or will the Fighting Shockwave prove why they’re still the WFA’s Queens of Cascadia and get their names officially in the ol’ title picture?

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COLUMBUS COMETS at DETROIT DARK ANGELS
Division 2 Game
This is a showdown against two of the D2 Northeast Region’s top two Midwest contenders!

All-time series: Comets won 2, Dark Angels won 1
Points: Comets 50, Dark Angels 19
Last meeting: The Comets beat the Dark Angels 26-12 on June 13, 2015 in both teams’ season finale.
Meeting of the year: Only (of the regular season, at least)

Thoughts on the Comets; These ladies from Ohio’s capital city have had an absolute RENAISSANCE as of late, advancing in the 2016 D2 playoffs and coming THIS CLOSE to returning this past season. As their name would imply, their goal is to streak through to the next big height…they want to end their season at the D2 National Championship in Atlanta this year! A win here in Motown would be the PERFECT way to get this mission going…

Thoughts on the Dark Angels: They’ve been going through a good rebuilding process over the past two seasons, finishing with a .500 record last year. With plenty of changes on the horizon for the DDA women, they feel like now’s the time they can make the D2 playoffs and establish the Motor City as one of women’s football’s MOST elite (just as it was back in the Detroit Demolition days). A win over the Comets would be a PERFECT way for them to boost this road ahead-it will be a FANTASTIC game!

The questions are: Will the Comets shine bright yet again here and establish themselves as favorites to win the whole thing this time? Or will the Dark Angels cast a spell their opponents won’t forget and get set on their own path to Atlanta?

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NEW YORK SHARKS at BALTIMORE NIGHTHAWKS
Division 2 Game
Here, the New York Sharks take on the Baltimore Nighthawks, opening up the Sharks’ #GrandFINale season.

New York Sharks at Baltimore Nighthawks
All-time series: Sharks won 5, Nighthawks won 0
Points: Sharks 195, Nighthawks 73
Last meeting: The Sharks beat the Nighthawks 45-26 on April 29, 2017 in Baltimore in the teams’ only meeting of the season.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Brooklyn on April 28)

Thoughts on the Sharks: Having been there from the genesis of the modern women’s football game, the New York Sharks have been a BEACON for the sport throughout their history, with the 2002 IWFL World Championship and numerous other accolades under their belt as the Big Apple’s only women’s tackle football team! Now, after 20 seasons, owner Andra Douglas is preparing to sell the team and retire the Sharks brand after this season…but first, they’re going ALL in to make sure they close their run with a D2 National Championship, bringing back several hitherto-retired players such as legendary QB Karen Mulligan to put together a JUGGERNAUT…this finale tour’s first stop is in Baltimore.

Thoughts on the Nighthawks: In their inaugural WFA regular season, the Nighthawks made some noise and finished at .500-despite being just outside the playoff picture, the ‘Hawks proved they are on the RISE, in particular thanks to the heroics of the WFA’s leading rusher and Offensive Player of the Year Shay Fitzgerald! Now they’re ready to prove themselves as bona-fide D2 playoff contenders, and a win over the Sharks will be JUST what the doctor ordered!

The questions are: Will the Sharks smell the blood in the water again and begin another season of devouring the competition, getting set to finish their legacy raising a trophy in Atlanta? Or will the Nighthawks spoil that #Grand FINale, prove that they’re NOT a team to take lightly, and begin their own flight towards the D2
national title?

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 MINNESOTA VIXEN at MADISON BLAZE
Division 2 Game
All-time series: Vixen won 5, Blaze won 4
Points: Vixen 138, Blaze 115
Last meeting: The Vixen blanked the Blaze 44-0 on April 1, 2017 in both teams’ season opener.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again on May 19 in Inver Grove Heights)

Thoughts on the Vixen: Can you believe it’s been 20 seasons already since the ’99 WPFL Barnstorming Tour? I imagine it’s hard for many of the Vixen faithful to imagine as well (in fact, four of the players from the beginning, Jodi “Moose” Rehlander, Drue Barber, Cynthia Bryant and Michele Braun)-but that doesn’t make them ONE BIT less proud of their team nor ready to celebrate by winning a LONG-awaited National Championship! So you best believe that Minnesota’s ready to open up their #ViXXen season on a PERFECT note against their rivals spanning two league eras…

Thoughts on the Blaze: As one of only two teams in the D2 Midwest Region last year, the Blaze were already guaranteed a playoff berth-still, that didn’t stop them from playing EVERY game to their ABSOLUTE best all the way to that regional title game against the St. Louis Slam. Despite their relegation to D3, you best believe that passion will be burning BRIGHTER than ever now…after all, this season they’re ready to win #ForAndy.

The questions are: Will the Vixen kick off their anniversary season on the right note, starting on a journey which they’re ready to end with a ring? Or will the Blaze pick up the cross-division upset and set the tone as the team to beat in the D3 Midwest, blazing a trail they’re hoping to end in Atlanta?

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ALABAMA FIRE at DERBY CITY DYNAMITE
Division 3 Game
The back-from-hiatus Fire are ready again to make this a strong, quality matchup for which Burmy and his Brain will be HONORED to be in attendance!

All-time series: Fire won 2, Dynamite won 0
Points: Fire 78, Dynamite 8
Last meeting: The Fire blanked the Dynamite 40-0 on June 4, 2016 in Birmingham, completing the season sweep.
This will be the teams’ only meeting of the 2018 regular season.

Thoughts on the Fire: In their inaugural season, the Fire came out to a five-alarm blaze, finishing the regular season at 7-1, splitting the season series against the D1 Atlanta Phoenix, and even defeating the Jacksonville Dixie Blues in their first-round home game before being knocked out by the Tampa Bay Inferno in the next round. After taking last year off to reorganize, the Fire are back and burning for 2018…now in D3, these B’ham ladies have some unfinished business on their road to the national title, and are ready to pick up RIGHT where they left off with a win here in Louisville.

Thoughts on the Dynamite: Despite back-to-back 2-6 seasons in league play, spirits are running high in Louisville right about now…simply put, the Dynamite are the kind of team who is absolutely PASSIONATE about this game, the kind of team that it’s easy for fans to LOVE, the kind of team that’s looking all set for a breakout season, and the kind of team it will be my absolute JOY to see up-close-and-personal to kick off my 2018 tour! They’re SERIOUS about contending for a D3 Southeast playoff berth this season, and a win over the Fire would be a MASSIVE boost in momentum!

The questions are: Will the Fire prove they haven’t lost a step, blazing a trail which will end in Atlanta this year? Or will the Dynamite let that fire be what sets off
their BIG explosion and establish themselves as certified National Championship contenders?

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KEYSTONE ASSAULT at CONNECTICUT HAWKS
Division 3 Game
All-time series; Assault won 1, Hawks won 0
Points: Assault 19, Hawks 13
Last meeting: The Assault beat the Hawks 19-13 on May 20, 2017 in Danbury in the teams’ only meeting of the season.
Meeting of the year: Only (of the regular season, at least)

Thoughts on the Assault: Since rejoining the WFA, the Assault have been certified Division 3 contenders, improving on their playoff-qualifying season last year, though just barely missing out because of a super-competitive Northeast Region. Now in their 10th season, the Assault are primed to have the best season in their decade and put together a run to Atlanta; to do this, they open up in the very place where they got their closest, hardest-fought win of last season.

Thoughts on the Hawks: Don’t let last year’s 2-6 record fool you; the Hawks were one of the most competitive, stronger teams in the entire D3 Northeast last season, sweeping the New York Knockout and playing close games against such forces as the Maine Mayhem and Richmond Black Widows last year. Last year was where the foundation was laid, and now this year they’re ready to build something which’ll take them all the way to the D3 playoffs…to begin their quest, they take on one of the teams they took to the limit last year…a win would be some good fuel! Yes, this is going to be an UNFORGETTABLE game.

The questions are: Will the Assault pick up right where they left off and get back into the D3 Northeast and National title discussion? Or will the Hawks get their first
big statement win and take off on their season-long flight where the destination is ATL

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TOLEDO REIGN at GRAND RAPIDS TIDAL WAVES
Division 3 Game
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and their only meeting of the 2018 regular season.

Thoughts on the Reign: This team coming from the birthplace of women’s football had perhaps the BEST season in their entire history last year…finishing at #1 in the National Division 3 Massey Ratings and becoming the first D3 team to EVER defeat three D2 teams in a season, spirits were high in Toledo, as I was honored to notice up-close and personal at the National Conference Championship Game. After their heartbreaking loss to the Orlando Anarchy in that game, the Reign have been at work NONSTOP to make sure they ended this season hoisting a trophy at the 50-yard line in Atlanta…to do this, they look to first spoil the inaugural game of a team many consider the most likely first-year team to win the natty.

Thoughts on the Tidal Waves: After the West Michigan Mayhem folded after this past season, the region’s rich women’s football legacy is now handed down to this first-year team from GR. Having built a pretty strong buzz over this past offseason (and even a last-minute name-change), the Waves are finally ready to come crashing down in D3-as I said, they’re widely considered to be the first-year team most likely to excel this season-a win over a team of the Reign’s caliber will be the IDEAL tide for them to create the PERFECT storm this year! This is going to be an absolutely FANTASTIC game.

The questions are: Will the Reign show that they haven’t lost a step and once again ensure that the road to the natty goes through the Glass City? Or will the Waves’ inaugural game be a statement victory to set the course for a competitive inaugural season and hopefully a fantastic run for years to come?

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MUSIC CITY MIZFITS at CINCINNATI SIZZLE
Division 3 Game
All-time series: Sizzle won 2, Mizfits won 0
Points: Sizzle 80, Mizfits 8
Last meeting: The Sizzle blanked the Mizfits 44-0 on May 6, 2017, completing the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Nashville on May 5)

Thoughts on the Mizfits: Surpassing the expectations of SO many pundits, the Mizfits made the successful transition from 8’s to 11’s to pick up a winning season in their inaugural WFA campaign. After barely missing the D3 playoffs, the Mizfits are ready to play a victory tune all the way to Atlanta this season-a victory over the Mid-South qualifier which swept the season series against them last year will be the PERFECT note on which to start this hit parade!

Thoughts on the Sizzle: In their first season back in the WFA following their 2015 USWFL Championship, the Sizzle picked up RIGHT where they left off, having by far the best season they’ve ever had in the “W” en route to securing one of the D3 Southeast Region’s two playoff berths. Despite a somewhat slow finish to the season (losing four out of six, including a playoff loss to the Orlando Anarchy), the Sizzle are ready to rebound from that with brand-new ownership and a brand-new attitude looking to scorch their own trail to the D3 National Championship. Yes, this will be QUITE a game.

The questions are: Will the Mizfits open up on a high note and set the beat for them to bring Nashville its first 11’s National Championship? Or will the Sizzle bring just as strong of a burn as last year and bolster their own quest towards bringing the crown back to the Queen City?

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KNOXVILLE LIGHTNING at SOUTH CAROLINA SMASH
Division 3 Game
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and their only meeting of the 2018 regular season.

Thoughts on the Lightning: After having played their first three seasons in the IWFL, the Lightning decided to make the move to the “W” in order to enjoy an increased number of nearby opponents to play and to contend for the D3 National Championship. They will certainly have a chance to do the former, as they never play the same team twice over the course of this regular season…now it’s time for them to get the latter going as they open up their season in the Palmetto State!

Thoughts on the Smash: As the first-ever women’s tackle football team in South Carolina, nobody knew how the Smash’s inaugural season would go last year. Having finished 3-4 and come THIS close to the D3 playoffs, I think you gotta admit that the Smash have laid a pretty good foundation to build something the whole Cackalack can be proud of. An opening-day win over a veteran team would be the PERFECT way to get their sophomore year going…this is gonna be a strong, well-played game!

The questions are: Will the Lightning prove just as strong and competitive in the WFA as they did in the IWFL and officially put their name in discussion for teams most likely to end their season in Atlanta? Or will the Smash get another statement win like last year’s over the North Florida Pumas and get set on their own quest to bring the title to Columbia?

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DAYTONA WAVERUNNERS  at ORLANDO ANARCHY
Division 3 Game
Back from a brief hiatus, Daytona (Dab Waverunners) takes on the defending D3 National Conference Champions Orlando Anarchy.  This battle of Central Florida archrivals could be their most competitive meeting yet!

All-time series: Waverunners won 5, Anarchy won 2
Points: Waverunners 102, Anarchy 64
Last meeting: The Anarchy beat the Waverunners 37-0 on April 1, 2017 in both teams’ season opener (The Anarchy would later win the May 13 game by forfeit, completing the season sweep)
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Daytona Beach on May 26)

Thoughts on the Waverunners: Far more competitive and stronger than their historic won-loss record total would have you believe, the ‘Runners came THIS close to qualifying for the inaugural D3 playoffs in 2016, then put up a good showing against their Central Florida leaguemates before ending their season early last year because of injuries and out of player safety concerns. Now that they’re back at full strength, they’re ready to contend and at long last catch that BIG wave all the way to Atlanta…a win over their archrivals will be a perfect boost for them along that ride.

Thoughts on the Anarchy: My love and enthusiasm for this team is WELL-documented by now…you know what they’ve been through, you know where they’re at right now, and now you’re gonna know the heights they’ll be reaching this year and beyond. Right now, they expect to end this season holding up a trophy in the middle of Kennesaw State’s football stadium, so they are PRIMED to begin this run the same way they ended their losing streak and began their amazing 2017 season-with a win over the ‘Runners. No doubt, this will be an OUTSTANDING game…

The questions are: Will the Waverunners #CatchTheWave towards a statement win, setting their sights on not only taking the Anarchy’s crown, but also winning the natty? Or will the Anarchy prove why there’s VERY little strength like #CoryStrong and #JahquiStrong, picking up where they left off last season and embarking on their quest to ATL

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ACADIANA ZYDECO vs ARKANSAS WILDCATS
Division 3 game
The 2017 D3 Champs Acadiana Zydeco go head-to-head with the defending D3 National Champion Arkansas Wildcats in the newest installment of this rivalry between the only two teams to have ever won the D3 title.

All-time series: Wildcats won 6, Zydeco won 3
Points: Wildcats 243, Zydeco 120
Last meeting: The Wildcats blanked the Zydeco 60-0 on June 3, 2017 to complete the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Lafayette on June 9)

Thoughts on the Zydeco: After winning the D3 National Championship in 2016, the Zydeco had a down year in 2017, finishing 0-8 and not scoring any points after April 8. However, one thing Mia Ben is NOT is a quitter, so she and Coach Desmond K. Woods have been HARD at work this offseason on bringing Big Z back to their ’16 level and beyondf-a win here aigainst their rivals, the champs, would be the PERFECT redemption.

Thoughts on the Wildcats: Very few expected the Wildcats to come back from hiatus in 2017. With the smallest roster in the WFA last year, even fewer expected them to win the Midwest Region’s top playoff berth. Still fewer expected them to make the 32-hour trip to Southern Oregon, let alone return victorious. And you can probably count on one or two hands the people outside the team who expected them to win the D3 National Championship in Pittsburgh. But guess what…the Wildcats DID ALL THAT, and after last year’s AMAZING championship run, the question just might be whether anyone can stop them from making it back-to-back titles.

The questions are: Will the Zydeco get back to their winning ways and set on reclaiming their old throne? Or will the Wildcats continue to prove why they’re the champs, getting their road to a repeat off on the right start?

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COLORADO FREEZE at LA MUERTE DE LAS CRUCES
Division 3 Game
All-time series: Freeze won 1, Muerte won 0
Points: Freeze 21, Muerte 13
Last meeting: The Freeze, then in the IWFL, defeated La Muerte 21-13 in a CLASSIC interleague triple-overtime game on May 13, 2017 in Las Cruces.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Denver on May 26)

Thoughts on the Freeze: Last year was an absolute BREAKOUT season for the Freeze…under new management, the Freeze became instant contenders, winning in both the IWFL and in their two WFA interleague games and making it all the way to the Founders Bowl in Salt Lake City, where they defeated the San Antonio Regulators by a score of 26-6. Many had speculated that if the Freeze were in the WFA last year, they’d be prime contenders for the Division 3 National Championship; now that they’re on board, they head over to the “Necropolis” looking to repeat last year’s victory over La Muerte.

Thoughts on La Muerte: Despite being a last-minute addition to the WFA last year, La Muerte proved themselves an ABSOLUTE success on all fronts…they won their inaugural game over the veteran Utah Blitz 12-0 (on a snowy night in Utah no less), made every game of theirs a competitive one, came THIS CLOSE to the D3 playoffs, and won over SO many in the process, packing the stands in the Field of Dreams and having so many across the nation watching the team’s every move! Now that they have build an INCREDIBLE foundation, it’s time for La Muerte to pick up where they left off and leave a trail of victims all the way to Atlanta…to begin, they look to get redemption for last year by thawing out the Freeze. This will be ANOTHER thriller…

The questions are: Will the Freeze once more stand out on top, ensuring that the road to Atlanta goes through the Mile High City for D3 as well as D2? Or will La Muerte make their opponents feel the ULTRA-freezing touch of death and put together their own shadowy rampage to the D3 National Championship?

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SANTA FE DUKES at ROCKY MOUNTAIN THUNDERKATZ
Division 3 game
All-time series: Thunderkatz won 2, Dukes won 0
Points: Thunderkatz 96, Dukes 22
Last meeting: The Thunderkatz defeated the Dukes 46-16 on May 13, 2017 in Santa Fe to complete the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Santa Fe on May 12)

Thoughts on the Dukes: After playing in the NMAFL for its 2015 and 2016 seasons (in the former of which they won the championship), the Dukes were a last-minute addition to the WFA’s 2017 lineup as that league folded. Playing a five-game schedule in their inaugural WFA season, despite going winless, the Dukes put up some INCREDIBLE fights and had an UNDENIABLE spirit to them (the Mountain West’s powerhouse the Mile High Blaze even called them the toughest team they’ve ever faced in the region). Now that the Mountain West and specifically New Mexico is officially established as a hotbed for women’s football, the Dukes look to continue their rise up to the top and prove that they’re just as strong in the WFA as they were in the NMAFL, ready to knock off last year’s playoff qualifiers the Katz in the Springs!

Thoughts on the Thunderkatz: Joining the WFA for 2017, the Thunderkatz quickly rose up to the top of the D3 Mountain West power structure, securing a winning season at 5-3 and clinching their first-ever playoff berth! Despite losing to the Southern Oregon Ladygades in the regional playoff, the Katz have a SOLID foundation built for 2018 and well beyond…they’re ready to send a shockwave throughout D3 and clear a path all the way to Atlanta…another victory over the Dukes will do WONDERS in setting the tone!

The questions are: Will the Dukes make their first win as a WFA team a statement win and put their name into D3 title discussion? Or will the Katz pick up RIGHT where they left off and keep proving themselves the team to beat in the D3 Mountain West?

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VENTURA COUNTRY WOLFPACK at SIN CITY TROJANS
All-time series: Trojans won 2, Wolfpack won 0
Points: Trojans 120, Wolf Pack 0
Last meeting: The Trojans defeated the Wolfpack 38-0 on May 28, 2016 in Las Vegas to complete the season sweep.
Meeting of the year: Only (of the regular season, at least)

Thoughts on the Wolf Pack: Now this is a team you have got to ABSOLUTELY love, one which embodies the spirit of women’s football. Despite never having won a game YET (it’s gonna happen before you know it), these VC ladies embody the teamwork, courage and overall LOVE of the game which women’s football is ALL about! Embarking on this, their fourth season, the ‘Pack are ready to finally make their hard work and determination pay off; they’re hoping to make their first win a statement one in Vegas.

Thoughts on the Trojans: The Trojans have been a perennial contender in D2 for the past two seasons, winning a playoff game in both years. Despite a smaller roster and relegating to D3, don’t think for a MOMENT that the Trojans have lost a BIT of that#WarReady spirit and attitude which got them this far; they’re ready to begin their battle march to Atlanta, and a win over the Wolfp Pack will certainly get the fans ready for what’s to come from them this season!

The questions are: Will the Pack finally get their first win, making a statement and putting their name in the hats for the D3 playoff race? Or will the Trojans prove the pundits right about being a favorite for the D3 National Championship, proving their spirit and strength, though smaller, still has the same force!

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KERN COUNTY CRUSADERS at INLAND EMPIRE RAVENS
Division 3 Game
All-time series: Ravens won 2, Crusaders won 0
Points: Ravens 58, Crusaders 0
Last meeting: The Ravens blanked the Crusaders 40-0 on May 20, 2017 to complete the season series.
Meeting of the year: First (They will meet again in Bakersfield on June 9)

Thoughts on the Crusaders: Since starting up this page, I have closely followed the progress of Bakersfield’s women’s football teams, first the IWFL’s Bombers in ’16, and now the Crusaders last year and beyond…the Cru have been making some MAJOR strides for the game in ol’ Bako, picking up the first two wins in city women’s football history (by sweeping the Ventura County Wolf Pack) and laying a solid foundation foundation to be a D3 playoff contender in the seasons to come! The Cru get set to take the 164-mile trip down I-5 ready to begin this campaign on the right note and clip the Ravens’ wings.

Thoughts on the Ravens: They say that magic is imminent when a raven appears…I don’t know how true that saying is, but what’s for certain is that the former West Coast Lightning picked up a brand-new swagger last year upon adopting the Ravens identity, garnering a .500 season and coming OH-SO-CLOSE to a D3 playoff berth…still feeling the pain of that snub, the Ravens have let it DRIVE their offseason preparations, and they’re ready to make sure their flightpath ends in Atlanta this season…another victory over their rivals from the Central Valley will do well to set the tone for this sophomore soar! This will be a FANTASTIC game…

The questions are: Will the Crusaders make a statement with the win here, making sure folks talk about them in the D3 National Championship picture? Or will the Ravens ensure that their perch in D3 California is secure as they begin their own flight to the natty?

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MILE HIGH BLAZE at ROSWELL DESTROYERS
Division 3 Game
This game will showcase the defending Division 2 Pacific Region Champions Mile High Blaze and the 2016 NMAFL Champions and current WFA Division 3 team Roswell Destroyers in a showdown of Mountain West teams.

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and their only meeting of the 2018 season.

Thoughts on the Blaze: My love and fandom for this team is WELL-documented by now (after all, they gave me my best gameday experience on May 27 of last year)…it has been an absolute joy seeing the Blaze rise to the top, seeing them take Denver from an untapped market to a hot bed, and seeing them become bona-fide CONTENDERS for the D2 National Championship. Finishing with a perfect regular season and giving the two-time D2 National Champion St. Louis Slam their CLOSEST fight within the division, the Blaze are feelin’ like the time is right for them to charge on to Atlanta and win it all this season…they begin their ride to the top in the Alien City.

Thoughts on the Destroyers: Representing the smallest market in the entire WFA, the Destroyers’ spirits have been high ever since they won the NMAFL’s final championship in 2016, knowing they can do well and compete on the next level. Now as part of the D3 Pacific Region hotbed amongst numerous other strong teams (including two others from the Land of Enchantment), the Destroyers feel like the time is right for them to officially make their invasion and make a run for the D3 playoffs. Newly-landed extraterrestrials are frequently depicted as saying “Take me to your leader”…well, the WFA scheduling folks have done just that, as Roswell looks to make an impact right away against the best in the Mountain West!

The questions are: Will the Blaze prove they’re only getting better, setting the tone for their run to the D2 National Championship? Or will the Destroyers pick up the upset in their WFA opener, sending a message throughout the entire league that the Alien City’s team is NOT to be overlooked?

See More previews from Burmy’s Brain on the Club Burmy Facebook page.