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Coaches Corner 2017 AzFL

This is the special edition for the 2017 Championship game #2 Tempe Predators vs #4 Tucson Demons
Guest contributor is Sean "DragonMaster" Enna HC/Owner of the Cave Creek Dragons.

Hello Folks,

I was asked to give my thoughts on the coming up AzFL Championship game 2017. Weren’t these two teams battling out last year for the Championship? Hmmm. Well this is round two for two truly battle tested teams. Bear with me as I break down some insightful thoughts, well in my mind they’re insightful.

The defending Champions the Tucson Demons owned by Amber Martinez and Javier Armenta and Coached by Coach Gambrell  were strong all year, they pretty much showed the league they’re the Champions for a reason. Going into the last week of the season to establish the #1 against the Cave Creek Dragons. Well the Dragons were uncharted territory and had a chip on their shoulders, they’ve seen the #1 seed in the beginning the of season, but didn’t hold onto it enough. So the game was for the #1 spot and the loser would get bounced down to the #4 spot, I will explain later how that worked. The game was hard fought and the Dragons came out the #1 seed for the playoffs. Well this sure put a fire under the Demons (sorry for the pun). This surely was not going to be good for anyone they faced. A Champion is defined by confidence and the Demons had this. They believed they were better and was out to prove it. They had a hard-fought game vs the Head Hunters which this game could have gone either way. But as they say Champions find ways to win, and win they did. Doing so they got what they wanted; a redemption game vs the Dragons which bumped them down the line. So they came out a little more focused and executed what they needed to do. They fixed what happened in the first meeting and came out to reestablish why they are the defending Champions. Beating the Dragons 28-6 and punching their ticket to the big dance to go for a REPEAT…… 

The runner up to last year’s Championship game the Tempe Predators was the quiet team of the final four. This is not a disrespect to them by no means as I’ve got the utmost respect for the Owner Ruben Arviizu and Coach Braybrooks. When you heard about the leaders of the league the Predators were hiding in the shadows which I think the liked more than the attention of the other teams. This removed stress from the team as far as expectations. The Demons were the Defending Champions, The Scottsdale Crusaders always there and the new shiny team in the mix was the Cave Creek Dragons. So this all allowed the Predators work on what they needed and do their work to get back to the dance. This all started to get a little more limelight with their last game of the season vs the Crusaders. This was the making for a great game and it didn’t disappoint by any means. This game was for the seeding and I spend the whole day going over every scenario except the one that happened. The battle was back and forth no one was willing to relinquish to the other. The game showed this by ending in a tie. Yes a tie, the one scenario I didn’t think would have happened. So with the tie and only time they played each other and both ending with the same record, the tie breaker was the points allowed. See the Predators in their quiet way of moving through the season was defensively locking people down. They weren’t worried about rolling up the score, they were about keeping teams from scoring and this mindset paid off by allowing them to get the #2 seeding and giving the Crusaders the #3 spot. The Crusaders played the Prescott Patriots (inaugural season) who were a handful for the Crusaders. As a seasoned team the Crusaders found their way to the win column and on to the next dance for a rematch with the Predators. This was again another hard-fought battle neither team giving an inch. It took 2 OTs, that’s right not 1 OT, but 2 OTs to determine the winner gets to the big Dance. Well the Predators did it with a 12-6 win over the Crusaders and back for their own redemption of a game vs the Demons for the second year in a row.

So, we have a rematch of last year, Demons vs Predators. These two teams already met each other 2 times this year and split their games. They met in the season opener and the Demons came out hard and fast putting up a 26-6 win in Phoenix. The second match up in Tucson was a little different ended in a 6-0 win for the Predators, if you’re keeping count, the Predators have had their share of OT games, so they’re tested. Now we’re back to the Big Dance the Championship game. Both teams are hungry for this game. The Demons want to prove they’re the best and by proving that would be to repeat. The Predators got the taste last year and feel its their time and don’t care who is ahead of them, they’re fighting for what they feel is now is theirs. Coach Braybrooks has been no stranger to the Championship game. This is his 4th trip and feels the guys he has this year is the right combination that will get him the elusive ring.

The 2017 for the AzFL had excitement as it was truly the first time where the top 4 teams were entering with a record of 7-2 and it was anyone’s pick to go. As they say, the teams with the most focus and determination will be there and both the Demons and the Predators showed theirs.

Prediction: The Demons are built to repeat again, they say Defense wins Championships and the Demons have been on the Defense Lockdown all season. The Predators have been taking care of business themselves. So this is going to be a low scoring game.

Predators 15 Demons 12 

I want to congratulate all the teams in the AzFL for a fantastic season. I look forward to seeing the East Valley Vengeance, Prescott Patriots, Peoria Raiders and the Tucson Punishers flourish in the offseason to come back stronger and start building that programs you want to stand with.

This is your favorite Dragonmaster Sean Enna……Strength and Peace.



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