By Sean Dochney
Warewolves (1st seed, 8-0) vs. Rabid Squirrels (4th seed, 4-4)
The Warewolves went undefeated in the regular season and hope to ride that momentum into the playoffs. They have a potent offense that is led by the top rated QB and the number one receiver in the league in Chris Angelini and Shane Capone. The Commissioner has completed 67% of his passes for a league high 2,679 yards, and finished 2nd in the league with 38 TDs, and 8 interceptions. His 12.8 yards per attempt is over 2 yards more than the next QB in the league. Capone has hauled in 37 catches for a league high 827 yards, and tied for the league lead in TDs with 13. Shane is a huge playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, which is evidenced by his 4 interceptions and 2 defensive TDs. Sean McAndrew and Chris McIntosh deserve a mention for the contributions to the offense as well. Sean has 28 catches for 539 yards and 8 TDs, while McIntosh has 16 grabs for 301 yards and 7 TDs on the season.
The Rabid Squirrels had themselves a fine season that was almost spoiled in the last week as the Clam Slammers made a serious push for the final playoff spot. If not for some poor clock management by the Slammers in their final game, the Squirrels may have missed the playoffs altogether. The Squirrels are still deserving of the final playoff spot as they were led by Sean Collins at QB, who would end the year with the third highest QB rating in the league at 124.71. Sean completed 70.8% of his passes for 2,226 yards. Sean spread the ball around well as Joe Andress (33 rec. 412 yards, 4 TDs), Andre Snead (32 rec. 411 yards, 5 TDs) Mike Lawrence (20 rec. 428 yards, 7 TDs), and Jihad Castro (27 rec. 295 yards, 6 TDs). On the defensive side of the ball, Bill Budd has probably had the biggest season in the entire league. He led the league in interceptions with 5, returning 1 for a TD, and he was third in the league in sacks at 4.
Since this is not a spelling bee, the Warewolves are walking into this game as the favorite. This is no surprise since they are the undefeated number one seed. These 2 teams have matched up twice this season, in the first and final week. The Wolves walked away with both victories obviously, 33-18 in Week 1, and 36-27 in the Week 7 double header. Sean McAndrew has stood out the most in both matchups. In the first matchup, McAndrew had 8 catches for 146 yards and 3 TDs, in the second matchup, he had 8 catches for 165 yards and 2 TDs. The Squirrels D will need to stop him and Capone if they have any hope to finally advancing passed the first round.
Prediction: Warewolves win 30-22
Shockers (2nd seed, 7-1) vs Woodchucks (3rd seed, 5-2-1)
The perennial JSGFFL favorite Shockers finished 2nd this season as they suffered their only loss to the Warewolves. After Shane Capone, they boast the top 3 receivers in the league with Charlie Barbiere (35 rec. 606 yards, 13 TDs), Saint Mike O’Neill (53 rec. 667 yards, 8 TDs), and Devon Snead (26 rec. 581 yards, 10 TDs). O’Neill led the league in catches and was 2nd in yards, while Barbiere was tied for the league lead in TDs, and Snead would finish 3rd in that category. Giuffre had another great season for the JSGFFL. He would throw for 2,456 yards, league leading 39 TDs, but also led the league with 12 interceptions. The Shockers do have a great defense led by the JSGFFL’s all-time sack leader Steve Soletto, who led the league again in sacks with 12. His brother Bryan was tied for 2nd in the league with 4 interceptions, while Anthony Carlo hauled in 2 himself.
The Woodchucks have the 2nd ranked offense in terms of yards per game as they enter in as the 3rd seed. This high-powered offense is led by John “the Zit” Zitani, who finished 2nd in QB Rating at 125.43. he completed a league high 71.3% of his passes for 2,227 yards, 32 TDs, and 7 interceptions. As always with the Zit, the ball was spread out real nice this season between his receiving corps. Chris D’Addario (35 rec. 445 yards, 6 TDs), Devon McEllen (23 rec. 347 yards, 8 TDs), Jeremy Wozniak (25 Rec, 340 yards, 5 TDs), Charlie Mackie (27 rec. 388 yards, 2 TDs), and Steve Dalrymple (27 rec. 348 yards, 8 TDs) all had very nice seasons at receiver. Their defense does a great job at getting to the QB, led by Kevin Kastner and his 8 sacks, which is good for 2nd in the league.
This is going to be a hard-fought battle, which is what these teams always have. The Shockers walked out victorious in Week 5 in the 40-26 battle, but things could be very different this time around. Rumor has it the Shockers will be without the Guffslinger at the helm this weekend. This will prove to be huge as we are not sure if anyone can pick up his slack on the roster for Guff. The defense is still going to be good for the Shockers and they may be able to carry them to victory. But because of the absence of Giuffre, I am going to declare the Woodchucks as the favorites in this game.
Prediction: Woodchucks win 26-21