In a season in which almost every division came down to the last weekend of play and tiebreakers were the norm, it was going to be difficult for the playoffs to live up to the hype…but live up to the hype it did!
The Fall 2017 Manitoba Touch Football finals had multiple one-point victories, last-second stops and scores, and incredible individual plays. Securing the top seed in the regular season seemed to spell certain doom come playoffs as the underdogs won time and time again.
Joey’s Old Wood defeat Dillos South 33-22
Joey’s Old Wood completed the historic undefeated season, defeating the Dillos South in an epic final. Katie McRae led the Wood with two touchdown receptions, while Taylor Thurston threw her first career touchdown pass for the Dillos.
The Dillos split their team into two for the Fall Season as they are renowned for being the most fun team in coed and have a waiting list of people to come and play. They will return for the Winter Season perhaps again with two teams while the Wood will be back to defend their title.
Tom Bradycardia defeat There’s No Crying In Baseball 33-24
Newcomers Tom Bradycardia jumped out to an early two-score lead, but the veteran No Crying team battled their way back and took the lead late in the game. No Crying was driving to put the final nail in the coffin until Eugene Lee of Bradycardia made an incredible interception on the goal line and returned the ball all the way back to No Crying’s five-yard line. From there QB Evan Wiens hit Lesley Merkel for the game-winning touchdown. The game changed in an instant, very reminiscent of the Grey Cup! An incredible coed final.
Tom Bradycardia managed to win a championship in their first season, with Avni Jain and Lesley Merkel establishing themselves as two of the top women’s players in the province. The Tom Bradycardia highlight reel can be found here.
Masters Division (Over 40)
Last Call defeat Aches and Pains 26-0
Last Call wins the Masters Division with a great defensive performance, pitching the shutout in the process. Last Call was led by MVP Paul Frias’ two touchdowns and a sack, while Claude Rheault stepped out of retirement to throw four touchdowns to three different receivers. The Master’s division has really taken off in recent years with players needing to be forty years of age to be eligible to play. The division is very laid back with a skill level to fit every player. A great way to stay active, have fun, and still strive for championship glory!
Provincial Flag Football
Provincial Team #1 defeat Provincial Team #2 24-20
Manitoba’s best touch and flag football players battled it out to see who would represent Manitoba in the Flag Football National championships to be held in Saskatoon this summer. The team is comprised of the best touch and tackle football players in the province. Anyone who watched the games during the season saw a level of play not seen in Manitoba as these players showed why they were the best.
Fall season MVP Brandon Poulin most likely punched his ticket on the team earning the best touch football player in the province award for his outstanding play.
Guild of Calamitous Intent defeat the Provincial Flag Team 44-27
The Guild capture their league record 22nd championship title in what has become a decade of dominance in touch football for this team. The Guild were led by league MVP Brandon Poulin’s four touchdown receptions while Shai Ross replied with four TDs of his own for the Provincial Team. The Provincial flag team was a bit out of their element as they played touch football in the finals, but it was an amazing game to watch as Manitoba’s best touch and flag players battled it out on the same field. The undefeated season for the Guild gave them their fifth such season, tying the provincial record for undefeated seasons held by the Flying Squirrels.
Knights defeat No D 40-39
In the game of the night, the Knights capture the Division 2 title by driving the length of the field with just over a minute left in the game to score the game winning touchdown. Three touchdowns were scored in the final two minutes of the game as the Knights had a seven-point lead until No D scored to bring the game within one. The Knights, just needing a couple of first downs to close out the game, had an interception caught by Jon Franklin and returned for a touchdown via a pitch to Nick Trinder with just over a minute left in the game. This just set the table for some late-drive heroics when Jim Bell hit Chris Noonon in the back of the end zone with seconds remaining for the win. Perhaps the best touch football game the province has seen in a while!
Ducks defeat Brewers 39-30
The Brewers got into the playoffs on the final day of the season and took that momentum into their first game in which they knocked off the top-seeded Kings, then nearly did the same to the second seeded Ducks. However, a late long bomb from Neil Walton to Phil Siemens sealed victory for the Ducks. The touchdown came just a play after Brewers QB Andrew Westwood had brought the game to within two points when he hit Stephan Pastuchenko for the score.
Another great game, in a night which featured amazing finishes across the board. See how the Ducks punched their ticket to the championship game here.
Strange Brew defeat Patiala Island 33-19
No matter which division Strange Brew plays they seem to be hoisting the trophy at the end of the season. Future Touch Football Hall of Famer Steve Nabess, Sr. has transitioned from one of the top defensive players in the province to one of the game’s best quarterbacks. In the championship final Steve threw five touchdown passes, two to Kyle Hosein. Dharmpal Brar, another up and coming quarterback, threw three touchdowns — two to his brother Harman — in reply for Patiala Island. Greg Enns did his part for Strange Brew with three sacks which, on this day, helped the veterans knock off the young guns.
Venum defeat Boozers 23-0
Venum gets redemption against the Boozers, who had won their regular-season matchup and knocked Venum out of the summer playoffs. This has become one of the game’s best rivalries, and while the Boozers have gotten the best of this matchup in recent times, it would be Venum who would sip from the cup in the Fall.
Led by a very strong defence which accounted for four interceptions and two sacks, Venum was able to keep Dillon Rapinchuk, one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, at bay and pitch the shut out. Congratulations to Venum for shedding the bridesmaid label and making it to the championship alter!
Fall Ballers defeat Ripping and Tearing 51-26
The Fall Ballers offence had a night as they scored on every possession in the finals. Slot receiver Bryce McDonald scored five touchdowns while Jason Cassie added another score to go along with three interceptions for the Ballers. Ripping and Tearing QB Adam Wowryk hit both Ziggy Haliuk and Michael Peter for two touchdowns but it was not enough as the Fall Ballers rolled. The turning point was the 40-yard strike caught by Fall Baller Cliff Kitchen to end the first half which blew open what was a back-and-forth game at that point.
Fail Mary defeat The Filthy Few 24-22
Another worst-to-first scenario as the bottom-seeded Fail Mary put things together for playoffs to knock off both the top seed in the division and a Filthy Few team stacked with talent.
Fail Mary got up early and was looking to cruise to victory but an interception return for a touchdown by Russ Wallis set up the potential comeback. Veteran QB Derek Mills settled his offence down and was able to hit Jason Cassie for the winning touchdown late to preserve the victory for Fail Mary. Just like in the summer season, top seeds fell on the playoff battlefield and it was the underdogs who were holding the trophies at the end! View the dramatic winning touchdown here.
The Avengers defeat Vanilla N Manila 46-25
The Avengers won their second-straight indoor title in an improbable final which saw the two bottom seeds advance to the championship. Those same two seeds had to win a tiebreaker just to make the playoffs!
In a league where parity reigns, Vanilla N Manilla shocked the division by knocking off the previously undefeated top seed while the Avengers squeaked by the second seed by just a convert.
Jordan Loewen threw seven touchdown passes, four to his brother Ryan, while James Filbey replied with 18 points and an interception for Vanilla N Manilla. Fibey’s heroics were not enough as the Avengers make the football field safe for all players and are rewarded with the nicest trophy in recreational sports!
VaudeVillians defeat the ‘Hawks 33-19
The VaudeVillains capped off a perfect season in a game that looked like it would get out of hand early. The VaudeVillians scored early and often to go up 26-0. To the ‘Hawks credit they clawed back and pulled within a score with a few minutes left on the clock. To save the game, VaudeVillians QB Clint Wiebe hit game MVP Chase Sweeney with his third touchdown of the game to seal it late. Kudos to the Hawks rusher Kene Nadi who terrorized the VaudeVillians all night with seven quarterback sacks! Take out the first ten minutes of this game and we may have had a very different result, but that is why we play the full 60 minutes.
Balls Deep defeat Unwanted All-Stars 24-13
Balls Deep goes worst to first following an incredible playoff run which started with them needing a win and some help on the final weekend just to make it into the playoffs. From there Balls Deep dismantled the top seed and then held the very high-powered offence of the All-Stars to just 13 points. Tim Maguire hit Greg Harrison for all four touchdown passes to get their names inscribed on the championship trophy. The All-Stars had been on a multiple consecutive championship reign that was ended by the huge upset!
North Bay defeats Fill Up Her Endzone 21-6
These two teams live and die by their defences, with both teams giving up on average only 10 points per game. If you are a fan of great defence this was the championship final for you. The two teams combined for six sacks and three interceptions with both teams gaining very little traction on offence. The brothers Jacobucci finally broke the game open when Dallas hit Luke for not one, but two touchdowns to put the game out of reach and give North Bay their third ever championship title. Fill Up Her Endzone’s lone touchdown came on an athletic and heads-up Ev Jackson punt return score.
Team Potato Wedges defeat the Wickermen 45-39
In a championship final that was the opposite to the defensive battle in Division 11, the Potatoes and Wickermen combined for 94 points in a game which featured just one defensive stop! The fans knew it would come down to whomever had the ball last. Potato QB Jean-Guy Mercier hit game MVP Chris Sousa for his fifth touchdown reception with seconds remaining to seal the barnburner. And if you thought this game was high scoring, the regular season tilt between these two teams saw 110 points scored. In that game, Jean-Guy Mercier set the league single game touchdown pass record (10) and Stanton Remple set the single game scoring record (45). No matter which way you like your games played, the PIT games will always be interesting!
Down to Football defeat Vick in a Box 26-12
In what became a common theme in these playoffs, all the top seeds in this division were upset in the first round and the bottom two playoff seeds battled it out for supremacy. While both teams hit their stride in playoffs, on championship night Down to Football played a near perfect game.
Jordan DeMerchant had four touchdown passes to three different receivers, ran in a convert, and had an interception to take home not only the trophy, but MVP honours.
Down to Football had two big offseason veteran signings, inking both Mihn Tran and Keith Lillies to indoor contracts. The two veterans brought stability to the defence to complement their high-powered offence. A well-rounded Down to Football team is a scary one!
Free Agents South defeat Test My User 19-18
Another worst-to-first story as the Free Agents won out after starting the season 0-3. The Free Agents had to win all their remaining regular season games and still needed a tiebreaker to go their way to squeak into the playoffs. The Free Agent team was loaded with talent, but needed a few games to gel before embarking on an improbable playoff run that required them to go undefeated after the third game of the season and knock off the top two seeds in the division to win the title. The season ended in a one-point thriller, with Simon Ritchie providing both the offence (12 points) and defence (two interceptions) for the champs.
D.T.F. defeat Mayhem 19-12
D.T.F. ran the gauntlet, first by defeating Oay Company and then Mayhem in the championship final. All three of those teams had identical records and tied for first place during the regular season, which meant whichever team brought their ‘A’ game for playoffs would probably take home the crown. D.T.F. did just that, allowing only a combined 25 points to their opposition during the playoffs and winning the closely contested championship final against a Mayhem team that had defeated them during the regular season.
Suckskatchew1 defeat The Dilligafs 8-6
Defence was the name of the game in this one as both offences had difficulty mustering much scoring. The two teams combined for an amazing 10 interceptions and six sacks. One of those sacks by Kris Bulat turned out to be the winning points as he caught Dilligafs QB Tyrone Oakley in the endzone for the safety. Neil Jonker and Ricardo Cedric McKinney of the Dilligafs and Dave Larson and Matt Trump of Suckskatchew1 all had multi-interception games in what turned out to be a nightmare game for the starting quarterbacks!
Athletes Foot defeat Back That Pass up 14-7
Athletes Foot was a combined 1-12 in their previous seasons in the PIT, so when they went 4-1 — which earned them a tie for first place in the division — it was quite a revelation!
Back that Pass Up was riding high after their remarkable overtime victory in the semi-finals and had seemingly booked their championship title after taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. However, Gabe Fiorino hit Brett Westra with only seconds remaining to put Athlete’s Foot back on top, and then nailed the two-point covert for the seven-point lead. A final Hail Mary attempt fell short and Athlete’s Foot claimed their first championship.
If only the Cleveland Browns could figure out a way to turn around a franchise this quickly! Check out these highlights to see how Back that Pass Up made it to the final with a thrilling overtime victory in the semifinals!
The Untouchables defeat Winnipeg Shamrocks 24-7
The Untouchables avenge their one-point regular season loss to the Shamrocks to take home the first of our two Redemption Bowl championships. The Untouchables played stout defence, accumulating five interceptions on defence, while Michael Cooper lead the way scoring four touchdowns to bring the Untouchables to the championship podium.
Charleswood Chargers defeat Gooby Pls 28-8
The Charleswood Chargers win their first ever touch football championship by defeating newcomers Gooby Pls. Game MVP Thomas Hubbard threw four touchdown passes, two each to Clayton Wilson and Chris Alexander. The Chargers are one of the provinces good young, up and coming teams. We predict this championship trophy will not be their last!
The PIT Football League is the official touch football league of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The PIT would like to thank the Winnipeg Football Club for helping grow the game of touch football in the province!
Winter registration for their indoor touch football league is now open. Registration information can be found here.