July 2, 2022

From the press box

Sports in Central and North East Indiana

Brien Mitchum

The UFL (United Football League) is a newly formed Semi-Pro/Developmental league that kicked off its inaugural season this past weekend, the UFL consist of 12 teams from around Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and as with any league it has big shoes to fill, just for the fact that there are so many leagues out and so many fail, the reasons why? There are many reasons but the biggest I feel and just a disclaimer, so I don’t hurt any feelings yet, the leagues are not properly conducted, the board or officers have and play favorites, don’t enforce their own rules and the #1 failure of leagues that are not around anymore or have good organizations leave is accountability.

That however does not seem to be the case with the UFL, they are setting the bar for teams and holding them accountable for their actions and some of the things they are doing and require of the teams that are in their league such as set rosters before the season starts, streaming of the games are mandated, league reps at all games to make sure things are going well and the best thing for this is that they are setting the standard on the “trash talk” we all know that this is a part of any game and especially in the semi-pro football world and letting it happen can sometimes lead to it getting out of hand, while the stigma of Semi-pro is that of fighting and such at least the UFL is trying to set precedence over that stigma.

This past Saturday was the inaugural kickoff weekend for the UFL, perfect by no means was it, but it seemed to go very well despite some streaming issues and weather delays, and its only week 1 and I get the feeling that the league officials will work on the things that didn’t go so great and keep pushing forward with the things that worked well. So, without further delay here is the recap of week 1 for the UFL.

We start with what the UFL called the Game of the week, for some of you that read my recaps you already know what my game of the week would be, but I digress.

Week 1

UFL Game of the Week

Northern Michigan Wolves 32 vs Grand Rapids Surge 6

Northern Michigan Wolves are one of the top teams in Michigan, coming off a trip to the Sunshine Bowl back in February and have an arsenal of talent, led by the “Sheriff” drops 32 points on the Surge to take the week 1 victory as they look pretty good in week one look to be the team to go through in the American Conference.

West Michigan Chaos 3 vs Lansing Lightning 7

This was a close hard-fought game both teams battled, and the Lightning came out in the end and held off the Chaos 7-3 and go 1-0 to start the season.

Calvary Knights 46 vs Holland Gladiators 14

The Knights came and slayed the Gladiators in this battle dropping 46 points on the defense of the Gladiators, emerging victorious in week 1 of the UFL season and go into week 2 looking to keep that streak rolling. The Gladiators look to improve and get a W going into week 2.

Liberty Conference

Fort Wayne Wolverines 6 vs Indy Firehawks 14

The Fort Wayne Wolverines came into the UFL ranked #1 in the power rankings and had and still have a huge target on them, as they would in any league, but this is a new league, new teams new and better competition so adjustments will have to be made and there will be some growing pains, wins and losses, the Firehawk’s rolled into Fort Wayne with something to prove to the league and other UFL teams, and that they did.

The Wolverines would strike first on a fumbled snap by QB Adonis Harper and fail the 2-point conversion, the Wolverines defense would continue to do what they have done so many other times in the past and that is stop the opposing team’s offense, but that only lasted so long as the Firehawk’s were able to finally start to move the ball and that they would driving the field with huge passing plays and capitalizing on mental mistakes from the Wolverines would go up 8-6 at halftime. The Wolverines would try to make some adjustments coming into the 3rd quarter but that would be short lived as the Firehawk’s would once again drive the field and capitalize on some big plays to go up 14-6 and that would be pretty much all they needed, the Wolverines would get close but just could not finish.

Fort Wayne has another tall task on them coming into week 2 as they travel to Detroit to take on the Motor City Outlaws who were victorious over the Findlay Knights, look for them to continue that streak vs the Wolverines, and expect Coach Q and the Wolverines to make some much needed adjustments going into week 2 and look to get a win, and not go 0-2 to start the season off.

Motor City Outlaws 28 Findlay Knights 0

The season is still early, only week 1 the Findlay Knights would make the trip to Detroit to take on the Motor City Outlaws and it would be a long bus trip back for them as they would fall to the Outlaws 28-6.

The Outlaws will host the Fort Wayne Wolverines in week 2.

Indianapolis Shockers vs Kalamazoo Titans

From what I have heard the Shockers didn’t get to play due not having refs but not sure who didn’t have the referees.

So overall thoughts on the UFL opening weekend…

For a new league it has a lot of great and positive things that will bring a positive to semi pro, but there are things that need to be adjusted as to be expected and I think that the league officers will work to get those things adjusted for week 2.

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