2015 Champaign – Championship Night (Nov. 18)

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Updated: November 25, 2015

Wednesday Night marked the conclusion of the 2015 Champaign League.  It was the 3rd ever Championship Night in Champaign and for the first time there was potential for Back2Back Champions.. As the Final4 Teams entered, we were not only watching to see if 3. Team SigEp could go Back2Back but to see if 9. Team ATO could shock the world again and get to their 2nd Championship Game in 3 years, only this time to win the whole thing.. Or would either 2. Team SAE or 5. Team Sig Chi  break through to their first Championship Games and hoist the Crown?? It truly was anyone’s to Win and we’ll break everything down in just a bit..

Before we get any further, we just want to give a big Thank You to all of the Teams for participating this year! Hope you had as much fun as we did. Here’s the Weekly Highlight Video with extended Championship Night clips! Another quick reminder as deadlines are fast approaching — for Spring Break Trips — StudentCity — and for Study Abroad — cea Study Abroad. OK let’s find out who took the Crown!

Champaign League Championship Night Recap

Final4 Flag Football

2. Team SAE (Farm Lake Barn) v. 3. Team SigEp (cea Study Abroad) – 3. Team SigEp Wins 18-12 in 2OT

The right side of the Bracket was all chalk in the Elite8 and that left us with a match-up of two elite squads battling for a spot in the Championship. Based on both Seeding and Football performance in the Regular Season, it was safe to say that the Winner of this Final4 match-up would be the favorite heading into the Championship.. Neither Team could afford to look ahead though…

2. Team SAE entered the Final4 after sending home the SAE 5s in the Elite8 round.. They came into the Playoffs seeded higher than ever before.. It was truly an incredible ride to this point for them.. Their opponents were of course the 2014 Champaign League Champs, 3. Team SigEp.  It’s incredibly rare that Teams even get to 2-straight Final4s let alone Repeat as Champs.. Team SigEp has certainly etched their place in history of the Champaign League already..  On Wednesday Night, the only thing both groups cared about however was getting through one another..

As the Game got going it was clear that points were going to be at a premium.. The athleticism on the field proved to give the Defense the upper hand.. The speed exhibited at the line of scrimmage for both Defenses kept the opposing quarterbacks scrambling for their lives throughout the entire Game..  After several possessions Team SAE finally broke through when QB Brad Holway hit Jimmy Hoye in the endzone to go ahead 6-0. Just before the half they’d tack on another and it was Holway to Jesse Arnold this time to make it 12-0. As we got to the Half it seemed as if the Defending Champs had finally met their match.. Jeremy Kritt was simply dominating on the SAE D-Line.. Coming out of the Half, Team SigEp did what Champs do.. They didn’t panic and began their comeback.. SigEp QB Ray Beckman hit Marek Sorenson for a TD and made it 12-6.. That’s where the score would remain for most of the 2nd half.. Team SAE had the ball with a few minutes to go and Team SigEp would force a key 3 and out..  With just a couple of minutes to go Team SigEp needed a Championship Drive and that’s exactly what they got!  They managed to tie it up with a score from Beckman to Henry Dominicis!  Team SAE was able to compose themselves and get a huge stop on the PAT. We were headed to OT tied at 12! 

In Overtime Teams would each get 4 downs to score from first-down marker closest to the goal-line.. 2. SAE as the higher seed, elected to play D first and they managed to make Team SigEp go 4-out.  Now it was their turn to take the ball and hopefully win their way to the Championship Game.  However, Team SigEp also forced a 4-out!  Overtime 2 would flip the script and this time it was SAE with the ball first.. Another 4-out. The third in a row, led to the ball going to the Defending Champs.. They knew if they could just score they’d get back to the Championship Game.. Finally, that’s exactly what happeneed as Beckman hit Marek Sorenson once again in the end-zone and it was all over! Team SigEp was going back to the Championship Game!

For Team SAE, it was undoubtedly one of the toughest Playoff Losses we’ve seen in All Sports Series.  They played incredibly hard and did everything possible to get the W but unfortunately only one Team could move on.  This group of mainly juniors made a HUGE leap from 2014 and they will without question enter 2016 among the favorites to hold the Crown. Captain Chris Valvassori knows how to right the ship and will do just that for next year.  This is one of the best Teams out there.. Thanks for playing and congrats on a great year!

 

5. Team Sig Chi 5s (Wedge Tequila Bar Green) v. 9. Team ATO (iHotel) – 9. Team ATO Wins 26-12

 

Team Sig Chi 5s came into the Final4 after a tough Elite8 W over 4. Team ZBT.. They are an all-Rookie squad trying to do what so few first-time groups have done before them.. Get to the Championship Game. On the other hand, you have 9. Team ATO who have been apart of All Sports Series in Champaign since Day 1.  While they didn’t Win the Crown in 2013, their Team ended up being the story of the Playoffs.. That year, due to weather, the Elite8, Final4 and Championship were all played in the same night.. Team ATO then was seeded 7th with a bunch of Rookie Sophomores back then.. They came into Championship Night and shocked the world to by defeating the #2 and #3 seeds in consecutive Games to get to the Championship.. They’ve already dawned the Cinderella slipper once and know they could do it again…

As this one got going, in opposition to the other Final4 Game, points were being scored and quickly.. Before too long it was Team ATO holding a couple TD-lead..  Entering the 2nd Half it was Team ATO’s Game to lose and while Team Sig Chi 5s did all they could to mount a comeback there just wasn’t enough time!  It was 9. Team ATO going back to the Championship for the 2nd time in 3 years!

To Team Sig Chi 5s, what a ride for Year 1. Captain Colmery put together a deeply talented bunch that will now hopefully transition to Chicago Leagues upon Graduation. They have a solid base to build upon and now that they have experience in All Sports Series, the sky is truly the limit for them.  Thanks for playing and congrats on a great Rookie season!

 

Championship Flag Football

3. Team SigEp (cea Study Abroad) v. 9. Team ATO (iHotel) 

So the stage was set.  Just minutes after both Teams stamped their tickets to the Championship Games they’d need to put their emotions in check and focus on the task at hand.. Grabbing the Crown.  Let’s back up just a moment though and really paint the picture.. After the Final4 Games ended we were left with quite a few amazing storylines.. Through 3 seasons we had arguably the two most successful franchises in Champaign League history battling it out for the Crown.. Again, these are the only two Groups to ever make 2 Championship Games.. On top of that, Team SigEp could become the first Team to ever go Back2Back in Champaign.. Not to mention they were coming into the Championship fresh off a 2OT thriller.. Just wow.

As the Game got going, emotions were certainly running high for both Teams.. It’s hard to try to play within yourselves when there’s a) the added pressure of the Championship on the line and b) having just won the Final4 Game not more than minutes prior.. It’s a tough transition.. However, both Teams find themselves in the same boat.. Team ATO struck first getting a short-pass that turned into a long run to the house to go up 6-0!  Team SigEp didn’t wait long though as QB Ray Beckman hit Captain Mike Groves for 6, and then the ensuing 2PT PAT to go up 8-6..  From there the route was basically on.. Once Team SigEp got into the endzone for the first time, the floodgates had opened, and it was Team SigEp getting the big victory! Team SigEp are Back2Back Champaign League Champs! More on them in a second..

For the Runners-Up, Team ATO.. Another incredible journey that will be remembered for years to come.. Twice now in three Playoff runs they have managed to pull off multiple upsets en route to the Championship Game.  They will lose some key Seniors to Graduation this year but much of their core were Sophomores who will certainly be back and ready for redemption in 2016.  They are among the League’s elite and will be for a long stretch.. Congrats on another fantastic ride! Thanks for playing!

Now, to the Back2Back Champs of the Champaign world.. Team SigEp. They join a very select few who have Repeated as Champs.  It’s been only done a handful of times in the 6 years of All Sports Series.. They have a special group that never thinks they are out of it.. While they will lose a large portion of their group (who we’ll certainly start to see in Chicago Leagues soon), they will return some young pieces with all important Championship experience.. In 2016, they will try to become the first ever 3peat! Can they do it!?

 

That’s it for the Champaign League. Have a great Thanksgiving and Good Luck on Finals! Thanks again for playing! See you in 2016!

-Holden