2014 Champaign League – Championship Night! (Nov. 12)

Updated: November 13, 2014

New Champions! New Champions!  On Wednesday Night – Team Sig Ep claimed their first Champaign League Championship!  The Power Rankings this week will take you through Championship Night and describe just how Team Sig Ep took the Crown. Before you dive into that.. Take a peak at this week’s extended Highlight Video!

Champaign League Final4 Flag Football

1. Team ZBT (Biaggi’s Black) v. 5. Team SAE 15s (Farm Lake Barn)

Both Teams headed into this Final4 showdown with all the confidence in the world.. Both squads view Flag Football as their “go to” sport and as fate would have it we had what were likely the best two Football Teams in the League playing for a spot in the Championship Game.  #1 Seed ZBT is as smart as any unit out there, especially on the gridiron and really like to control the ball.. Team SAE relies heavily on their fantastic athleticism and big plays to get the job done… The Team that imposed their style of play on the Game would likely advance to the dance…

The nice Fall weather that we had this weekend quickly evaporated and Wednesday Night was simply – freezing..  Both Teams got off to slow starts as everyone was trying to just get acclimated with the cold and windy conditions. Defense ruled the opening part of the game as the QBs had trouble really getting a feel for the ball out there.   Eventually the Offenses did manage to get on track and half time it was Team ZBT up 7-6.. Obviously, as we entered the second half it was still anyone’s Game.. Once again, it was a slow start to the half for both Teams.. Getting back to the pace of the game mentioned above.. It was Team ZBT’s kind of Game.. However, you couldn’t help but feel SAE 15s had a big play left in them…

As the half whittled down to just about a dozen minutes Team ZBT began to drive.. They were able to get a couple positive plays in a row and then finally Richie Renner hit Eric Handrich who ran up the sideline, weaving through defenders… Eventually landing in the endzone!  Team ZBT would not get the extra point and would lead 13-6..  Team SAE 15s were not done yet as there was still time to come back and either tie or take the lead..

With just a few minutes to go Scott Ingram hit Dennis Lemke who was open deep and just like that Team SAE 15s had one of their big plays!  With that TD they pulled within 1.. They elected to go for the tie but did not convert and so they trailed 13-12.  With a couple timeouts left SAE 15s did manage to stop ZBT and get the ball back.. However, with just seconds remaining they did not have enough time to get another TD.. #1 Team ZBT was headed to the Championship!

For Team SAE 15s — it was a great Season.. One that was built based on a solid year last season.. These guys are Seniors, but declared that many would be back for a 5th season in 2015 and you have to think that with the extra year of experience and the getting so close to the Championship.. Well they will have as much motivation as any to take the Crown in 2015. They may just be the favorites!  Congrats on a great season guys..

2. Team Evans Scholars (iHotel) v. 3. Team Sig Ep (Starr Limo)

So who would play Team ZBT in the Championship!?  These 2 Teams took extremely different paths to get to the Final4.  #2 Seed Team Evans Scholars is having a dream Rookie Season.. In most cases, Rookie Teams, are just happy to get into the Playoffs let alone be the #2 Seed and in the Final4.  As for Team Sig Ep, they were the #2 Seed a year ago and went home much earlier than expected.. This year is supposed to be their Redemption year and no one was supposed to get in their way.. So would it be the Rookies becoming even more surprising or the uncrowned power house?

Team Evans Scholars jumped out first behind a TD scramble from Rookie of the Year – Trevor Freberg. Seriously what can this guy not do?  Quickly, Team Sig Ep matched with their own TD run from Brandon Shaw.  Eventually Team Sig Ep would gain control of the ball through the turn over battle and then the lead.. They would manage to get up 13-12 midway through the second half before one final TD toss from Brandon Shaw put them up 21-12.  Evans Scholars who had made a habit of finding a way to win all season long just couldn’t do it this time.. Team Sig Ep would eventually get the ball back and run out the clock..  Sig Ep was moving on to face #1 Team ZBT!

For Team Evans Scholars — they are a group of mostly Juniors who will undoubtedly be back for another season in 2015.  While, the storyline was fun, having Rookies go so far — for their Championship chances — next year will prove to be much kinder.. You need a full season under your belts in All Sports Series to really figure out everything.. It’s remarkable they made it so far this year and it’s scary to think what they are capable of next year when the Rookie tag will be shed.. Congrats guys! See you next Fall!

Champaign League Championship Hoops

1. Team ZBT (Biaggi’s Black) v. 3. Team Sig Ep (Starr Limo)

So the stage was set for the Championship.. 1. Team ZBT who was the frontrunner all year long vs. 3. Team Sig Ep who has been a mainstay atop the Power Rankings and Standings for two years.. It was really a dream matchup..

As the Game tipped, both Teams wanted to get their top scorers going and they did just that.. Wes Brooks and Nate Brune were hot to start for Sig Ep and ZBT’s Zach Aranas and Justin Berkson were matching them..  The lead would change a half dozen times in the first 10-15 minutes or so in what started as a game of runs.. First Sig Ep went up 5-0, then ZBT made it 10-5 them and back and forth they’d go.. Both Teams seemed pretty exhausted as they had just competed in Final4 Flag Football Games prior to the Championship.. It was going to be a true test of wills..

Following Halftime, Sig Ep went on another run to re-claim the lead.. Only after this punch, they countered with a 3Ball attack from Nate Brune and all of a sudden they were up double digits and the route was on.. Team ZBT couldn’t comeback this time and it would be Team Sig Ep holding the Crown!!

For the Runners-Up — Team ZBT — they had an unbelievable year.. They were in first place from wire to wire in the Regular Season and had as tough of a road to the Championship Game as any #1 Seed in recent history. Captain Ross Lehrman certainly knows how to construct a Team and he’ll be back next year for his Senior year along with most of the Team ZBT crew.. This house continues to reload year after year and there’s no doubt they will be among the Elite again next Season. Many of these Guys also play in Highland Park in the All Sports Series Summer College/Prep League — they will gain valuable experience there in hopes of grabbing the Crown next Fall.  Congrats on a truly impressive 2014.

To the Champs — Team Sig Ep — some things are worth waiting for!  They truly earned this Championship and no one will leave the League thinking “how’d that happen?”  They’ve been one of the best groups around since the Champaign League’s creation and on Wednesday Night they took home what was rightfully theirs.. Now all there’s left to do is celebrate w/ their FREE BARN DANCE from FARM LAKE BARN! Well, that and get ready to try and repeat in 2015!  Captain Bryan Bitzer will be Graduating in the Spring but he leaves behind some very capable Juniors who will be hungry for a #Back2Back season.  Have to give a big shout-out to last year’s Sig Ep Seniors who helped mold this squad — Connor Dart and Pat Rafferty — are surely enjoying that their squad had grabbed the Crown!  Each guy on this Sig Ep squad helped their Team along the way.. They had many specialists and all of them pulled their weight in route to the gold.. Congrats Team Sig Ep, you are the Champs!

That’s it for 2014!  Good Luck on Exams and see you next year! Thanks for playing! ILL.

– Holden