On Sunday, the Spinners’ Michael Panna made his way across Edgely Fields, the home of the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance, receiving handshakes and congratulations.
It’s Finals Weekend for PADA, and in an alternate universe, those kind words may have been sent Panna’s way for winning the league’s coveted Black Disc.
On this day, however, Panna hasn’t come to the field to play.
After the weekend that was – traveling to Detroit to face off against the Indianapolis Alleycats in the AUDL’s inaugural championship game and then coming back to Philly after celebrating the Spinners’ victory – he’s more than content with watching.
Panna and the Spinners played one of their best games all season, dominating every offensive possession to become the AUDL’s first champion, defeating the Indianapolis Alleycats 29-22.
Coming into the game, the Alleycats hoped that MVP candidates Jonathan Helton and Cameron Brock would be able to cancel out the Spinners’ efficient offense.
Brock got his, ending the game with 7 goals, but the Spinners’ duo of Greg Owens and Sean Murray were able to do a good enough job on Helton to force him into a few poor throws, while the Spinners’ team defense prevented the Alleycats from taking deep shots.
After struggling during the first quarter, giving off a few breaks that led to Philly taking the quarter 7-4, Indy was able to find some stability on offense, with Helton finding room to complete a few hucks in a row. They kept pace with the Spinners, who went to half with an 14-11 lead.
The second quarter was the last time that Indy was able to consistently complete its deep shots, but it wasn’t the Alleycats’ offense that made the game fall out of reach.
Three weeks ago, when these two teams faced off in Indianapolis, the Spinners won a close game, winning 19-16. In that game, Indy’s defense forced 23 turnovers, thus preventing the Spinners from running away with the match.
On Saturday, Indy had no answer for the Spinners’ offensive line. Only four times (by PDN’s unofficial count) were the Alleycats able to get a turnover on the Spinners’ O-line and then turn it into a break score.
There was no Championship MVP awarded, but Philly’s Jake Herman played a phenomenal game, putting up six scores with two assists, helping the Spinners’ potent offense find the end zone.
The AUDL has its fair share of problems that they need to fix going into its second season of operation, which we will detail as we move into the league’s off-season, but Philadelphia has only been tangentially involved in those issues.
For the most part, they were a prime example of the potential that this league holds. Philadelphia led the league in attendance and put the strongest team out onto the field on a weekly basis. Mostly constructed of players from Southpaw, the Spinners already had the team chemistry that most other AUDL teams lacked.
They have written the blueprint for a successful AUDL franchise, and on Saturday, they were rewarded by receiving the league’s first championship trophy.
As for the Alleycats, if they keep the core of their team together, they will be even more competitive next season.
Indy shouldn’t hang their heads about losing. They simply ran into a Spinners’ team that didn’t consider losing as an option.