by Gridiron Media

Steeldogs Steal Win in Missouri

The Starkville Steeldogs defeated the Missouri Cyclones by a narrow 2 pt. margin in their first ever GDFL playoff game. With each team landing punches early the Steeldogs and Cyclones battled with each score being matched by the opponent.

 The Steeldogs and Cyclones tussled for 4 quarters in the back and forward affair. The final margin came as a result of a late missed Cyclones field goal sealing the win for the Steeldogs and punching their ticket to the 2nd round of the playoffs. 

The reward for the Steeldogs is a trip to Oklahoma and a date with the reigning GDFL National Champion, Oklahoma Thunder. The Steeldogs will need the momentum from this weekend’s win and a perfect game plan to challenge the number 1 seed in the GDFL.

Starkville Steeldogs (MS) at Oklahoma Thunder

On the flip side, the Steeldogs-Thunder game probably won't be as competitive.

It comes down to two simple notions.

First, Thunder is undefeated at home and has never lost a playoff game in Tulsa since the team has been in existence. The Steeldogs are in its inaugural season although they are 4-1 on the road this year. The Road to the Gridiron Bowl is brutal and unforgiving being a 6 seed makes it nearly impossible!  

Second, Steeldogs has the lowest point totals in the GDFL playoffs only scoring 135 points this season, by far the worst mark of any GDFL playoff team.

Considering the Thunder's strength lies in the arm (and legs) of Brandon Noohi and the talents of wide receiver Prentiss Elliott, Trae Johnson and  Brandon Shepard, it shouldn't be an issue for the Thunder to get going through the air.

Prediction: Thunder 34, Steeldogs 12

Road warriors Outlast Outlaws

 Home-field advantage can be huge in the playoffs. The fans, the rest and the lack of travel can do wonders for a football team. For the Outlaws (5-3) the home-field advantage shined early and gave them opportunities late. The well-rested Outlaws burst out of the gate at kickoff taking a 12-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter. The Roadwarriors shrugged off the slow start and rebounded with 28 unanswered points taking a 28-12 lead. The Outlaws struck back with a TD of their own to bring the score to 28-20 early in the 4th. Clinging to an 8 point, early 4th quarter lead, the RoadWarriors landed a haymaker with a 70 yard TD pass to go up 34-20. 

The Outlaws continued to battle and their quick strike made it 34-26 with 8 minutes remaining in the game.  With their season on the line, the Outlaws held strong on defense and held the Roadwarriors for the remainder of the game. The game was decided after the Outlaws scored and needed a 2 pt. conversion to tie the game. The conversion, however, failed and the Roadwarriors escaped with the 34-32 victory.

 The Roadwarriors will battle the number 2 seed Crescent City Kings in New Orleans in the 2nd round. In their only matchup of the season, the Roadwarriors defeated the Kings 14-12. 

Mississippi RoadWarriors at Crescent City Kings (LA)

Like the Roadwarriors-Outlaws game, this matchup boils down to a few points.

First, Defensive backs Keywan Bullock and Jeffery Hampton have grounded opposing passing attacks, snatching 8 interceptions in the second half of the season.

Second, Dre Buford has an ankle sprain. If he can't go, it opens the door wide open for Kings defensive unit to have a field day.

Kings is also just a much better team at home in the Playoffs. In particular, quarterback Jyron Walter  has led a sturdy offense that has manage to top 30 points in 3 of the last 5 games.

The Kings will be victorious if Walters is able to protect the football and the defense continues to keep them on the plus side of the turnover margin.

Expect a fast start from the confident Roadwarriors, but look for the Kings to rebound late and come away with a close call victory in the second round.

Prediction: Kings 20, Road Warriors 18

Rockets Blast Off  

The Huntsville Rockets entered the playoffs with legitimate playoff aspirations and eyes focused on a league title.  From what we saw Saturday, the team is poised for a deep playoff run. The Rockets dominated their playoff opener from beginning to end surging ahead in the first quarter and never looking back. The Rockets have all the tools of a league champion, but the playoffs test your mettle, determination and resolve. 

The Rockets have passed the first test and look ready for the next. The next test comes in the form of the Xtreme Conference’s number 1 seed, Chattanooga Eagles. The Rockets and Eagles split their regular season series with each team winning on their home field. 

The Rockets will now face the road as the next test in their journey. After an impressive first round performance, the Rockets will need to step it up another notch to best the Chattanooga Eagles.

Huntsville Rockets at Chattanooga Eagles

The Rockets and Eagles are set to take flight in an epic GDFL playoff clash, the implications alone raise the intensity of these 4 quarters. Somebody is going home. Home-field advantage ruled in the previous two match-ups and is a major factor here. Look for the veteran leadership of the Rockets to rise above the chatter, the crowd and the road to move on in their title quest.

 Prediction:Rocket 21 Eagles 20

Georgia Crush at Alabama Sabers

Crush vs Sabers will be a highlight filled affair. These opponents are familiar with each other, don't like each other and are loaded with talent. The football hotbeds of Georgia and Alabama will be on full display when the battle ensues on the gridiron. The prevailing wisdom here, is the most discipline team will be victorious. This notion favors the Crush, look for the Crush to survive a brutal match-up against the Sabers. 

Prediction:Crush 14 Sabers 13