It was a banner year for the tournament with a growing women’s divisions, and three men’s divisions. In total, 22 teams came out to show why their team should be considered a champion in the NW. At the end, Two Elite level champions were crowned, a Men’s and Women’s Champion took home a trophy to close out the 2016 year.
2016 Women's Division Recap
On the other side of the championship bracket was the Salem Storm, led by QB Sonja Sapp. They had a lot to prove after Flag Football Frenzy tournament and were ready for the challenge! The proved right away that they could compete, with better systems and more in sync players. They had added some solid lineman to the team and sharpened up their offense!
On the other side of the bracket, the Salem Storm would end up with the winner of Relentless Women and Central Oregon Lady Outlaws. Relentless was able to get the W in a hard fought match, but the real game would be the rematch with the Salem Storm. The Storm looked much stronger than they had previously and were hungry to get another crack at a top tier women’s team, like Relentless. The game was pretty evenly matched, the play of the game was orchastrated by Erika Kreiley, who picked off Relentless QB and returned the ball for an 80-yard TD. The final score was 25-15.
The championship was set, the Top team in the NW, Tight Endz, vs the up and comer, Salem Storm. If we had given the game gambling odds, it probably would have been 6:1 that the Storm would win. While the core of their team has some experience playing, they are still pretty young as a team. The Tight Endz have been to probably a dozen championship games over the last two years and have a strong nucleus of players. On paper this looked like another championship for the Tight Endz. But the game turned into a defensive slug-fest. While not always fun to watch, defensive style games make it possible for either team to win as the game comes down to the final few minutes. In this game, both teams were able to punch the ball across the goal line for 1 TD, the difference turned out to be a conversion. The Tight Endz found the endzone on their conversion, Salem Storm did not. The Final Score, 7-6, Tight Endz!
Congrats to the Medford Tight Endz, the 2016 Maximus Sports NW Champions Tournament Champs!
The tournament was a qualifier for the Las Vegas Invitational in April run by the Women's Flag Football Network. Since Tight Endz punched their ticket at the Freedom Bowl in July, Salem Strong is now eligible to compete in the international team attraction. Go get it to both the Tight Endz and the Salem Strong.
2016 Men's Division Recap
We don’t have all results from the men’s side, but we know that Recreational Division Champs were the Open Womb 3 and the Competitive Division Champs were the Gamebreakers. Congrats to both teams for the Championship Trophies in 2016.
Day One game Results below:
Your Men's Individual Award winners, from Top Left to Bottom Right:
1) Dustin Resnik Jr. Buffalo Wilds Wings Fastest Man Champion
2) Eric Rich Buffalo Wild Wings Longest Punt Champion
3) Ben Jensen Buffalo Wild Wings Fastest Big Man Champion
4) Bryan Pompor Buffalo Wild Wings Farthest Throw Champion
As it proves time and time again, day 1 results may mean little in terms of getting to a championship game on day 2. Two lower seeded teams reached the championship with grit and tenacity in cold, wet weather. In the championship game, the teams took a little while to figure eachother out, with defense leading the way for the first half. Both teams traded drives early on, eventually getting a series together for a TD a piece. Neither conversion was good and the halftime score was knotted 6-6. After halftime, the two offenses seemed to click, The Outlaws seemed to find some solid rhythm getting two scoring drives together to open the half. The Stiff Turkeys seemed to be ready to match the Outlaws, exchanging scores on the first drive of the half, but the Outlaws defense tightened up and stopped them on their second drive and held onto a 8 point lead. The teams traded possession and the Stiff Turkeys got the ball with about 2 minutes to go. They marched down the field and got inside the 20 but the Outlaws D was getting stronger! Two penalties though and two first downs gave the Stiff Turkeys an easy chance for a TD. With the game on the line, going for the 2 pt conversion to get into overtime, the Stiff Turkey’s QB spun out of a sack and found a player in the middle of the field for the conversion to send the game into overtime.
In overtime the Stiff Turkey’s score first with a great pass to their top WR! But after a failed conversion they only led by 6 and would need a big stop to bring home the trophy. After pushing the Outlaws to 4th down, the defense had them on the ropes. The Outlaws found an answer, with a Sportscenter Top 10 catch in the back corner of the endzone to tie the game. The Outlaws when to their tried and true conversion play, and released the center to secure the win and take the Trophy back to Spokane.
Final Score, 27-26, Spokane Outlaws.
Congrats on the 2016 NW Champions Tournament Elite Division Championship Trophy!