Spring 2016 – Playoff Preview
By Sean Dochney
The JSGFFL Spring 2016 season has come to an end and the playoffs begin this Saturday at 9 am at Shelter Cove in Toms River. Here we will take a look at all 6 of the teams that remain in the hunt for a championship.
1st seed – The Shockers (8-0)
1st Round Bye
278 Point Differential. Opponent Record (22-42)
Key Wins: Warewolves (week 2, 42-37), Woodchucks (week 6, 40-18)
The Shockers are undefeated and have the largest point differential in the league at 278. They dominated all year on both offense and defense which led them to an average margin of victory at 34.7. The Shockers had the most interceptions as a team with 27, and the 2 nd most sacks with 24. They were led on defense by the Soletto Brothers who both were 1 st and 2 nd team All-Pro. Steve Soletto led the league in sacks (17), while his brother Bryan led the league in interceptions (7). Dan Calabrease would add 6 picks of his own, and the dual threat Devon Snead would have 5 interceptions himself for the Shockers, ranking them 2 nd and 3 rd in the league.
The offense is led by first team All-Pro QB Joe “Guffslinger” Guiffre and his talented receiving corps that is led by 1 st team All-Pro WR Charlie Barbiere. Charlie may have won a receiving Triple Crown this year, but Devon Snead and Ryan Pharo would each have big years themselves. Snead had 43 catches for 665 yards and 12 touchdowns. Pharo had 41 catches for 520 yards and 8 touchdowns.
2nd Seed – The Blue Jackets (8-0)
1 st Round Bye
225 Point Differential. Opponent Record (20-42- 2)
Key Wins: Strangers with Candy (week 1, 45-12), Warriors (week 3, 46-6)
The Blue Jackets went undefeated in their first season in the JSGFFL and have the second seed because of point differential. They gave up the fewest points in the league with 175 and had the 2nd most interceptions in the league at 16. Steve Bailey led the team in interceptions with 5, while Jack Phair and Anthony Fata would each chip in 3.
The offense is led by 2 nd team All-Pro QB Anthony Fontana. Fontana threw the 2 nd most touchdowns in the league with 45 and the least amount of interceptions with only 4. He has one of the most balanced receiving attacks in the league between Pete Linfante (30 rec-532 yards-13 TDs), Chris Malmstrom (34 rec-528 yards-11 TDs), and Jack Phair (32 rec-550 yards-8 TDs).
3rd Seed – The Warewolves (6-2)
Game at 10 a.m. against the Warriors (4-3- 1)
143 Point Differential. Opponent Record (28-36)
Key Wins: Grizzlies (week 1, 58-14), Woodchucks (week 4, 41-33), Rabid Squirrels (week 5, 42-24)
Key Losses: Shockers (week 2, 37-42), No Lackin’ (week 3, 21-31)
The Warewolves offense is led by the Commissioner, Chris Angelini, who threw 36 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions this past year on his way to the highest single season QB rating in league history with 137.2,. His favorite target was Sean McAndrew, who hauled in 41 catches for 597 yards and 15 touchdowns. Chris McIntosh (391 yards, 6 TDs) and Shane Capone (339 yards, 4 TDs) were the next 2 leading receivers behind McAndrew.
On defense, the Warewolves gave up the 3 rd fewest points in the league with 178. Sean McAndrew led the team in interceptions with 4. Tim Steager and Isreal Rodriguez were the teams primary pass rushers as Steager would end up with 6 sacks and Izzy with 8. The Warewolves gave the undefeated Shockers their biggest fight this year as they only lost by 5. Both teams would need to make the championship game to play each other again this year.
4th seed – Strangers with Candy (5-2- 1)
Game at 9 a.m. against the Woodchucks
61 Point Differential. Opponent Record (26-37- 1)
Key Wins: No Lackin’ (week 2, 34-26), Grizzlies (week 5, 45-22)
Key Losses: Blue Jackets (Week 1, 12-45), Woodchucks (week 7, 12-36)
Strangers with Candy QB Anthony Caputo put up some real big numbers while leading his team to the 4 th seed. Caputo would throw for 2359 yards with 36 TDs and 6 picks. His top target was 2 nd team All-Pro WR Cam Blackwell (35 rec-774 yards-16 TDs). Pat Jensen would also have a big year for the team at WR (), and he also led the team in interceptions with 4.
Strangers with Candy are 0-2- 1 against other playoff teams this past season and are poised to prove their 5-2- 1 record is no fluke. The 9 am Playoff game is a rematch of a week 7 contest in which the Woodchucks won decisively, 36-12. The Woodchucks were playing for a lot more as they needed a victory last time out to secure a playoff spot, while Strangers with Candy had already clinched. Candy also lost their QB Caputo to an injury during the game. Expect a much closer game this week if Caputo is healthy and he has all his weapons at his disposal.
5th seed – The Woodchucks (5-3)
Game at 9 a.m. against Strangers with Candy
54 Point Differential. Opponent Record (34-28- 2)
Key Wins: Grizzlies (week 3, 38-35), Warriors (week 5, 41-26), Strangers with Candy (week 7, 36-12)
Key Loss: Rabid Squirrels (Week 2, 19-40), Warewolves (week 4, 33-41), Shockers (week 6, 18-40)
The Woodchucks are a gritty team that had the toughest schedule of any team that made it to the playoffs. They are led by John “The Zit” Zitani at QB who is a JSGFFL legend as he is the career leader in passing yards and touchdowns. John put up another great season this year, even though his top 2 receivers from years past, Billy Belford and Kyle Spatz, jumped ship to go play for No Lackin’ this season. John had a completion % of 68.7% and threw for 2559 yards, 37 TDs, and 10 picks. His 37 TDs were tied for 3 rd in the league, while his completion % was second to only Chris Angelini. The Zit’s top 2 receivers were Zach Emmett (39 rec-591 yards-5 TDs), and Chris D’Addario (39 rec-452 yards-6 TDs).
The Woodchucks own the best pass rush defense in the JSGFFL as they led the league with 28 sacks this past season. The Woodchucks’ top 3 in sacks this year was Steve Dalrymple (9), Garrett “Loud Mouth” Lavaggi (6), and Justin Izzo (5). The pass rush will be crucial for the Woodchucks to win 2 games on Saturday and advance into the championship game next week.
6th seed – Warriors (4-3)
Game at 10 a.m. against the Warewolves
17 Point Differential. Opponent Record (30-33- 1)
Key Wins: No Lackin’ (week 7, 21-20), Rabid Squirrels (week 7, 29-18)
Tie: Strangers with Candy (week 6, 20-20)
Key Losses: Grizzlies (week 2, 29-37), Blue Jackets (week 3, 6-46), Woodchucks (week 5, 26-41)
The Warriors entered week 7 with a 2-3- 1 record with 2 games to play and needed a lot of helpto get into the playoffs. They would win both their games against 2 teams that still fighting to get into the playoffs at the beginning of the day, No Lackin’ and Rabid Squirrels. The Warriors were able to take the 6 th and final seed of the playoffs away from the 4-4 Rabid Squirrels, a team that started the season 4-4.
Josh Eagel and Dan Altman have been there primary QBs on the season, although Josh Eagel has been getting the majority of the time at QB over the past few games, including the 2 do or die games played in week 7. Eagel threw for 837 yards, 11 TDs and 5 picks in 3 games at QB this year. The Warriors leading receiver with 35 catches for 542 yards and 8 TDs, he also led the team in interceptions with 4.
The Warriors are trying to keep their Cinderella story alive as they get set for a tough game against the Warewolves Saturday morning. If they beat the Warewolves, they will need to beat the Shockers to get into the Championship game next week, which makes the Warriors’ path toughest out of all the playoff teams this Saturday.