August 10, 2008


LOYAL RANT READERS will recall my absolute joy when, somehow, someway, the Manchester Wolves -- my city's minor-league arena football team -- beat the South Georgia Wildcats in the first round of this year's af2 playoffs. Not only did we win, we won after a last minute of play that was perhaps the most exciting minute of arena football I've ever watched. Well -- THEY DID IT AGAIN! The Wolves beat the Green Bay Blizzard! The Wolves beat the Green Bay Blizzard!

And I thought last week was exciting. Holy Toledo, this was even better. So dig this: with less than a minute left, the Green Bay Blizzard have scored a touchdown to go ahead 54-47. That gives us roughly 46 seconds to march the ball down the field and in the endzone to tie it all up. With no time outs left, we're under the gun. Well, lo and behold, we're able to advance the ball down into Green Bay territory, and with 7.2 seconds left, we've got enough time for roughly one more play. With 17 yards to the endzone, we were completely behind the eight ball. But Brian Jones, our new quarterback -- who was our starting quarterback before he got sidelined with injury in April -- takes the snap, heads back, and after a few seconds hits wide receiver Emery Sammons in the endzone for the equalizer!

Then Sammons ran into the trombone player. No, wait. Anyway, so now comes the extra point attempt, which would have sent the game into overtime if good. But ... hey. We're not going to try the extra point. We're going for a two-point conversion to win the ball game. Oh God oh God oh God. The try goes ... and the pass is incomplete off the back wall. NOOOO -- but there's a penalty! It's on Green Bay! One more try! It's a running play. Jones walks into the endzone! Manchester's up 55-54!

But with 1.2 seconds left, Green Bay still gets to receive a kickoff and try to return it for a score. Their return man is Steve "Speedy" Gonzalez, who played for the Wolves before getting a promotion to the Philadelphia Soul. In a word, the guy's dangerous. But the unthinkable doesn't happen -- and Manchester wins! Manchester wins! WOW!

Even more amazing, we are not facing Wilkes-Barre Scranton in the conference final. Somehow, WBS lost at home (!) to the Tennessee Valley Vipers, of Huntsville, Ala. So now we're heading down to the Yellowhammer State to see if we can make our way to the ArenaCup game. I do not know what a yellowhammer is but I do know Tennessee Valley is a very tough team. They beat Wilkes-Barre at home. That's an accomplishment that can't be understated. But if we can beat South Georgia and Green Bay on the road we can beat these guys too.

Amazingly, the playoff situation as it stands now gives us an outside chance to host the ArenaCup game -- which would be downright cool. However, it's an outside chance. Not only would we have to win, so would the Amarillo Dusters. I put our chances of beating Tennessee Valley as pretty good. Amarillo's chances of beating the Spokane Shock, the best team in the entire league ... well, they're slim. But if Manchester makes it, that will hopefully mean some sort of television coverage, so we'll see. I don't want to put the cart before the horse, though -- so let's go to Alabama and bring home a victory.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 10, 2008 10:06 AM | TrackBack
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