Monday, May 13, 2013

Explosion Defeat Sting to Win CIFL Championship

In a game of epic proportions, two of the CIFL's finest teams battled tooth and nail to the final whistle; but at the end of the day the hometown fans of Erie stormed the field to celebrate with their team as the Erie Explosion defeated the Saginaw Sting 37-36 in front of nearly two thousand fans at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Erie took the lead early in the first quarter to go up 7-0 before the Sting marched back with a score and trick-play two point conversion to take the lead 8-7. The Sting tacked on another score with twelve minutes to go in the first half but failed on the two point conversion to take a 14-7 lead. With just under 7 minutes to go Erie's Shon Rowser kicked a field goal to close the gap to four with a score of 14-10.
The Sting fumbled late in the second quarter but Erie was unable to capitalize and turned the ball back over on downs. Sting QB AJ McKenna scored on a keeper and DeShawn Hayes added the two point conversion to go up 22-10 with twenty seconds to go in the half. The momentum changed in the favor of the Explosion with one second remaining on the clock as Erie QB Aaron Smetanka connected with Alfonso Hoggard to cut the lead to five with a score of 22-17 at the half.
The CIFL announced during halftime that the winners of their post season awards, as voted on by the coaches and owners, were as follows:
CIFL Players of the Year: Offensive - Tommy Jones, Dayton Sharks; Defensive - Kwaheem Smith, Erie Explosion; Special Teams - CJ Tarver, Saginaw Sting; CIFL MVP - CJ Tarver, Saginaw Sting
Erie added two more scores in the third quarter to lead Saginaw 30-22 at the end of three. The Sting scored to make it a two point game but failed on the two point try and the Explosion continued to lead 30-28. McKenna found Shaun Hldaki in the back of the end zone and added the two point conversion on a run play to put the Sting ahead for the final time 36-30. With 1:48 remaining on the clock Erie's Richard Stokes closed out the scoring when he plunged into the end zone to score the go-ahead touchdown putting the Explosion up for good 37-36. The Sting fought back to the Explosion six yard line but were unable to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs.
During the post game celebration the league also announced the CIFL Coach of the Year honors went to Shawn Liotta of the 12-0 Erie Explosion.
The Explosion capped off an undefeated season with the CIFL Championship, their first ever indoor football championship in Erie history. With the conclusion of the 2013 CIFL Championship, the Continental Indoor Football League would like to thank it's fans, teams and corporate partners for helping complete its eighth consecutive season - continuing its tradition as the longest running indoor football league in the country.

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