Razors Edge - Day 1 At the USAFL Nationals

For months, there was worry about what the weather gods would bestow upon those traveling to Racine for the 2018 Nationals.  There was frost, wind, cold, and the occasional warmth from the warm glowing ball in the sky.

But there was a lot of exciting football on offer, in front of a variety of dignitaries, personalities, and our new favorite people, the citizens of Racine.  The dust has settled, the permutations have been finalized, and the semifinals for Sunday morning are set.  The women’s and men’s D1 champions are in position to repeat, the D2 and D3 men’s semis feature two regional rivalries, and the other divisions are still very much up for grabs as October glory is afoot.

Check the schedule and results at 2018 Nationals Tournament Central.

Watch matches from 8am through 1pm CDT on GoLive SportsCast here.
Watch the Grand Finals from 1pm through 6pm on ESPN3 here.


MEN’S DIVISION 1:

Semifinal #1 – Golden Gate v Los Angeles 10am (Cooper’s)
Semifinal #2 – Austin v New York 11am (Cooper’s)
Consolation – Denver v Quebec 12pm (Cooper’s)
FINAL – Semifinal winners 4:15pm (Cooper’s) on ESPN3

The chalk did what chalk usually does, come in and win the games they are supposed to.  In Pool A, Golden Gate accounted for Denver and New York by a 88-7 total.  The Magpies defeated Denver in a thrilling 15-13 battle in the day’s first game to ensure their spot in the semi-final.

Austin, meanwhile, also went through in straight matches, defeating Quebec by 50 points in their first game and then fending off a hard charging Los Angeles side by two straight kicks.  LA’s 26 point win earlier in the day booked their semifinal spot.

And so, Golden Gate and LA tangle in the first semifinal, in a rematch of last year’s D1 Grand Final.  That winner will take on the Austin-New York winner; the Crows derailed New York in 2016 and the ‘Pies look for revenge.


WOMEN’S DIVISION 1:

Semifinal #1 – San Francisco v Minnesota 9am (Field 2)
Semifinal #2 – Denver v Seattle 10am (Field 2)
Consolation – New York v Portland (Field 2)
FINAL – Semifinal winners 3pm (Cooper’s) on ESPN3

The Maidens’ three-peat bid is still very much alive after winning both of their matches on Saturday to clinch Pool A.  A 15-0 win over Seattle and a 45-9 rout over New York saw them through, while Seattle’s 20-0 win over the ‘Pies got them into the other semifinals spot.

Denver had an interesting day; they steered away Portland 12-2 in their opener.  Minnesota defeated the Sockeyes in an exciting 12-10 encounter.  In the nightcap, the Bulldogs and Freeze traded leads before Sara Rohner kicked two goals in a minute to giver the Bulldogs the win and the Pool B top spot.

San Francisco will face an impressive Minnesota outfit in the first semifinal as they try to become the third team to win three straight women’s D1 titles.  Denver plays upstart Seattle in their bid for flag #7.


MEN'S DIVISION 2

CHAMPIONSHIP:
Semifinal #1 – Seattle v Portland 9am (Field 4)
Semifinal #2 – Minnesota v Chicago 10am (Field 4)
FINAL – Semifinal winners 2pm (Cooper’s) on ESPN3

CONSOLATION:
8th Place – Dallas v Calgary 8am (Field 4)
5th Place – San Diego v Houston (Field 4)
7th Place – Orange County v DAL/CGY Winner (Field 4)

Two regional rivalries make up the semifinal in D2.  The battle for Cascadia adds a bit of glitter with a Final spot on the line as Portland and Seattle play once again; Portland swept the season series, but that will be made all better if Seattle wins.  The Steelheads made the semis via the wildcard despite seeing their perfect season ruined by Minnesota 10-7.  The Freeze’s victory gave them the win in Pool A.  Seattle won Pool B with solid wins over Dallas and San Diego, while Chicago surprised a few in knocking off Houston and Orange County to lock up Pool C.


WOMEN’S DIVISION 2:

Sacramento (2-0), Columbus (1-1), Calgary (1-1), Texas (1-1), DC Eagles (0-2).

The Sacramento Suns, Montreal Angels, and Wisconsin Wombats combo took both of their Saturday matches by a combined 73-2 scoreline.  Three other teams are still in striking distance at 1-1.  The Suns play the Cats/Philly Hawks/Chicago combo on Sunday in the final game.  Texas/LA/Oklahoma plays DC/Baltimore/Boston and Calgary/Blue Ox/Nashville/AZ Hawks as they look for their first title as well.


MEN’S DIVISION 3:

CHAMPIONSHIP:
Semifinal #1 – Ohio Valley v Boston 9am (Field 5)
Semifinal #2 – Columbus v Philadelphia 10am (Field 5)
FINAL – Semifinal winners 1pm (Cooper’s) on ESPN3

CONSOLATION:
8th Place – North Carolina v DC Eagles 8am (Field 4)
5th Place – Sacramento v Des Moines (Field 4)
7th Place – Oklahoma v NC/DC Winner (Field 4)

The D3 Final Four will be an all Eastern Time Zone affair.  Ohio Valley held off Philadelphia by a straight kick to win Pool A, but the Hawks advanced to the semis as the wild card thanks to their big win over Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon.  Columbus’s wins over DC and Des Moines got them the top overall seed in the semifinals.  They’ll square off against Philly, a team they’ve already beat this year at home.  Ohio Valley takes on Boston, whose wins over North Carolina and Sacramento put them tops in Pool C.


MEN’S DIVISION 4

Semifinal #1 – Seattle-B v Houston-B 9am (Field 3)
Semifinal #2 – Nashville v Baltimore 10am (Field 3)
Consolation – Atlanta v Wisconsin 11am (Field 3)
FINAL – Semifinal winners 1pm (Field 3)

Seattle/Arizona Outlaws will take on the Houston/Fort Lauderdale bunch in the first semi after winning their games over Baltimore and Atlanta, while Nashville/Quebec will face Baltimore after wins over Houston and Wisconsin.


MEN’S RESERVES

Austin Crows (2-0), Denver (1-1), Golden Gate (1-1), New York (0-2)

Denver plays New York at 8am on Field 5, and then Austin and Golden Gate face off at 9am on Cooper’s Field.  If New York beats Denver, then the winner of the Austin-Golden Gate game will be premiers.  If Denver wins, then an Austin win would give Crows the title, and a Roos win would force it to Percentage.

Photo: Scott Olsen

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