The 2015 Stephen Faoro International Flag Football Tournament in Bellingham presented the largest competitive North West regional tournament in over two decades; with 16 teams, multiple fields and referees from around the area. Bellingham served as an ideal location for such an assembly of teams reaching as far north as Prince George British Columbia and as far south as Medford Oregon. The tournament came together as a fundraiser and memorial for not only Stephen Faoro, who is survived by his family and unborn child, but also Sean Hicks who also passed away during the planning phase for this tournament. The Semi-pro team Bellingham Bulldogs called both players members and teammates and served as part host for the memorial tournament. To play football in their names was the only fitting tribute that our community could give to these two fine young men, and many folks who knew them could be heard exalting this fact all weekend exclaiming that “they would be so proud of everyone's efforts here.” Scott Beadell, the tournament organizer did an outstanding job and left a great impression on the teams and the community as a whole that will last into the future.
All 16 teams were placed into the director’s power rankings for pool play on day one, subsequently separating the competitive and elite divisions for the second day based on standings from day one. Saturday started poorly for the caterer Back East BBQ, having two of their tents blow away and get destroyed. They couldn't cover their BBQ so there was no food at the field as planned. The director ultimately had to scrap the skills challenge as well due to conditions. The fields on Saturday were so trashed that tournament organizers moved two of the fields for Sunday. Despite the setbacks Scott Beadell, Don Oneida, Luvance Mcafee, Martin Fisher and Kelly Holian deserve a lot of credit for seeing this tournament through to the end and ultimately providing our community with the type of professional and fun atmosphere that we love.
Championships - (3) Vancouver Villians vs (5) Seattle Bad Dogs
Final score was the Bad Dogs 22, and the Villains 14.
1) Seattle Bad Dogs 5-0
Pre seeding rank #5 coming into this tournament as a long established traveling team with veterans and athletes alike. Strong showing on first day with 2 wins in pool play against lower seeded teams, and moved into day two as the #5 seed. Day two saw them defeat one of Oregon’s best in team Dynasty, only to then barely scratch out a victory over league rivals, and soon to be highly ranked, Seattle Chiefs. The Bad Dogs moved to the championship round with some swagger and pulled out their first major tournament victory since 2012 over the stout Villains in what will be a very memorable championship game.
2) Vancouver Villains 4-1
Pre seeding rank #3 coming into this tournament generally in the top 2 of their league, routinely ending up in league and tournament championship games. Came out of the gate strong with 2 wins in pool play on the first day against lower seeded teams, and moved into day two as the #1 seed. Day two they beat old rivals Moose(pticons) and up-and-comer Setina Nation to move on to the championship round, only to lose a close battle against the Seattle Bad Dogs.
3) Seattle Chiefs 3-1
Pre seeding rank #7 coming into this tournament after having just won their most recent local 8v8 and 9v9 league championships. Put away both squads in their pool play on day one against the lower seeded teams and started off day two as the #6 seed. The Chiefs put away a strong Cobra squad in the quarter’s and subsequently lost in a nail biter against the Bad Dogs in the semi’s.
4) Setina Nation 2-2
Pre seeding rank #4 coming into this tournament as the 2015 Polar Bear champions, Show Up or Shut Up finalists and perennial local champion for their area. Day one saw a bit of difficulty for Setina after having gone 1-1, but put up enough numbers to get into the Elite bracket for day two as the #7 seed. Setina put away the surprise tournament team Bellingham Expendables in the quarter’s, and lost in a drag out fight against a tough Villains squad in the semi’s.
5) Medford Dynasty 2-1
Pre seeding rank #8 coming into this tournament after having just won the Medford Snow Bowl. Team Dynasty put a great show on the field in day one and coming out with 2 victories against lower ranked teams. Dynasty, ranked #4 in the Elite division, showed up to play on day two against a strong Bad Dogs squad but could not pull out a victory and lost to them in the quarter’s.
6) Bellingham Expendables 2-1
Pre seeding rank #15 coming into this tournament as a newer team with veteran talent. The Expendables came in as an unknown for this tournament and quickly established themselves as a team-to-know. Came out of day one with 2 victories and a strong showing, and started off day two as the #2 seed. Despite their first day successes they could not hold off the onslaught from the potent Setina Nation in the quarter’s and were bumped from the tournament. This team turned the most heads after being ranked in the bottom 8 yet fighting into the Elite division. They will most certainly be on the NWFF radar from here on out.
7) Vancouver Cobras 2-1
Pre seeding rank #1 coming into this tournament after having just won their 8v8 league championship in Top Flight Flag Football League of Vancouver. The Cobras took care of business on day one vanquishing both of their pool opponents, setting themselves up with the #3 seed for day two. The Cobras were matched up against a strong Chiefs squad who ended up handing the Cobras their exit ticket in the quarter’s.
8) Vancouver Moose(pticons) 1-2
Pre seeding rank #2 coming into this tournament with 2014 WCFFC championship honors. They split their games on day one and came into day two as the #8 seed. They took on their league rival Villains to start off day two but came away with a loss in a very hard fought game.
1) Spokane Outlaws 4-1
Pre seeding rank #6 coming into this tournament with veteran experience as perennial local league and tournament finalist. Came out of day one with split games, and was seeded in the competitive division on day two as the #2 seed. The Outlaws, being a little short handed due to travels started performing well with back to back victories against Prince George and Crimson Tide, moving on to the championship game against known foes BITE, and eventually came out with their 3rd win of the day to claim the competitive championship.
2) Spokane B.I.T.E 2-3
Pre seeding rank #9 coming into this tournament with as a fairly new team, with a solid new mix of veterans and athletes, running spread and making a name for themselves. BITE was not able to get a victory out of day one pool play and started off day two as the #6 seed in the competitive division. They pulled out 2 victories against the Bomb Squad and Razorbacks only to fall short of the crown in the championships against a great Outlaws squad.
3) Vancouver Razorbacks 2-2
Pre seeding rank #11 coming into this tournament bringing young talent and desire. Razorbacks are a league contender but a bit new to the tournament format. They ended up splitting their games on day one but did not qualify for the elite division for day two. Starting off day two as the #1 seed they beat the King of the North, and subsequently was pitted against a solid BITE squad from Spokane for their final loss in the quarter’s.
4) Vancouver Crimson Tide 1-3
Pre seeding rank #10 coming into this tournament with solid veteran talent and experience. The Tide did not have a victory on day one and was placed as the #4 seed for day two. The Tide showed resiliency and beat the Yakima Gridiron Gang to then move onto the Outlaws for the semi’s and fell short in the end of that game.
5) Bellingham Bomb Squad 0-3
Pre seeding rank #13 coming into this tournament winning their local championship twice in row, yet new to the traveling tournament circuit. The Bomb Squad could not come away with a victory in day one pool play and was placed as the #3 seed in the Top Flight division. They were then pitted against one of the finalists in Spokane BITE and fell short of the victory against them in the quarter’s.
6) Yakima Grid-Iron Gang 0-3
Pre seeding rank #14 coming into this tournament having mostly local experience as a team just starting to come into the fold. The Gridiron game fell to both opponents in pool play on day one, and set into the #6 seed in day two play. Set up against the Tide for the quarter’s, the youngsters from Yakima could not overcome the veteran experience of their opponents and were sent home in day two.
7) Prince George Young Guns 0-3
Pre seeding rank #12 coming into this tournament normally playing in competitive touch leagues but have definitely showed some strength when competing in flag. The team from Prince George could not pull out a victory in day one competing against some solid talent. Prince George was placed as the #7 seed for day two and pulled the Outlaws for their quarter’s game and lost.
8) Bellingham King in the North 0-3
Pre seeding rank #16 coming into this tournament as a newcomer to the tournament flag community looking to make some waves. The King of the North couldn’t get a victory in day one and was placed as the #8 seed for day two, and subsequently lost to the Razorbacks for their elimination game.
Offensive MVP: QB, Noah Roehl, Seattle Bad Dogs
Defensive MVP: DB, Broderick Hutchinson, Seattle Bad Dogs
O-Line MVP: G, Michael Stead, Seattle Bad Dogs
D-Line MVP: DL, Frank Connell Jr., Vancouver Villains
Most Inspirational: DL, Greg Bearman, Vancouver Villains
Best Flag Puller: DB, Cam Yeow, Vancouver Villains
Top Flight Division:
Offensive MVP: QB, Darin Spangler, Spokane Outlaws
Defensive MVP: DB, Will Gardiner, Spokane Outlaws