Alternate History Sports

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11/22/2022 8:46 pm  #11


Re: Avornian Football League

Going into the second season of the Avornian Football League, there was clear nervousness and anticipation coming from the Avornian Football Committee.   Sure, last season was a big hit with fans and the gold that came in was plentiful, but would the same enthusiasm be there for this year too, or was the excitement a one hit wonder?   That question was answered immediately with even bigger crowds than before, to the point where it became difficult to obtain tickets to the games (at least at the games taking place at arenas.   The games that took place on stand-less fields didn’t have any issue with more people gathering around).   And so, it became clear that this newfound sporting sensation had become a legitimate sport that appeared destined to stick around for years to come.

Leorux’s season started well, getting 7 points after four games (2-1-1 record) as their best striker, Player Captain Asa of House Waiseslen, shot of the gates hot, scoring 4 goals in that span.   Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury in the fifth game (against Earch) that magic alone could not heal and would have to miss the next couple of months.   While he was healing, Leorux hit a rough stretch, losing eight of the next ten games (1-1-8 record), to effectively eliminate them from contention, though they’d finish the year strong upon his return.  The biggest problem for Leorux (aside from Asa being their only player that’s considered a great player) was their leaky defense, which allowed 27 goals against them, completely negating their improved offensive showing.  While Leorux had some promising new players that joined the team this offseason, Year 65 proved they weren’t quite ready for professional football, though keep an eye out for Carles of House Yalmount.  He proved to be a fairly dangerous goal scorer in Asa’s absence.  At the end of the season, Leorux was in last place, but fans can be hopeful that perhaps next year will be when the rest of the rookies step up like Carles did.

Many had expected Dobo to be a rather bad team this season and they did not disappoint (or perhaps, they did).  Player Captain Wahwmah of House Taccew had built the team rather poorly (being put together with a slow ball control method in mind when the best skills the team had involved a lot of speedy passes and sudden drives towards the goal) and it was clear the team never got comfortable with their new strategy, only able to score 17 goals and allowing 27 by the season’s end.   The most embarrassing performances being the fact that they failed to beat rival Hanuna and in Week 9 when Earch destroyed them 5-0, the biggest blowout in Avornian Football history.  Worse, the collective team still seems to be unwilling to play physically.  It’s getting to the point where other teams’ fans are opening mocking them throughout games (no rules exist for fan behavior).  It’s honestly a surprise that Dobo isn’t in the standings cellar, somehow overachieving with 18 points.  If Dobo wants to contend next year, (which doesn’t seem too likely) they will have to change the soft attitude and work a gameplan around the team’s strengths.   That will clearly require a new captain.   But with Wahwmah being highly respected in Dobo, that’s not guaranteed to happen either. 

Anjocca had reasons to have been optimistic going into the season, having finished in 3rd place last year and bringing most of that squad back.  However, their play this season could only be described as disjointed.  Xaxi of House Pentuna, their one-eyed goalie, performed admirably despite the handicap.  He did allow slightly more goals than last year, mostly struggling with keeping up with cross passes across the field that lead directly to shots on goal.  Still, his brave efforts drew a lot of respect from the Anjoccan crowds.  The real issue with the yellows was their offense, which utterly disappointed.   It became clear early on that Markhen of House Stonner, who had suffered a leg injury last year, had never fully recovered and played (poorly) with pain all year long.  With his brother Tobyas getting all the attention from defenses, (and with no other legitimate scoring threats on the team) Anjocca was only able to score 19 goals by the end of the year.  At the end of this frustrating and disappointing season, there are some real questions for the yellow team.   There are legitimate talents, but most of them can’t stay healthy.  Anjocca’s a fairly big city, but doesn’t attract many tryouts or large crowds (though it’s worth noting that the team’s attendance did improve from last season despite them being worse).  Was this year just a freakishly bad season or is it time to reconsider rebuilding the team and starting with newer (and healthier) talents?  That remains to be seen.

The question in Jahnsel going into Year 65 was whether Player Captain Noman of Talgrass’ strategy of picking a much older team (and benching or outright cutting several of last year’s starters) that had played football together for years for fun would work in the pros or totally fail.   It only really took 4 games to find out, as Jahnsel failed to score a single goal in that timeframe, the longest scoring drought in Avornian Football history (they did at least manage to pull off a 0-0 tie against Hanuna, so they at least had a point in the standings).   It’s no surprise that the oldest team in the league was having trouble keeping up the rest of the league.   However the team’s chemistry, which supposedly was to be the team’s strength, was non-existent with teammates yelling at each other (usually Noman) in frustration and never really getting in synch with gameplans.  Things finally reached a boiling point after 7 games when the fans were chanting for Noman’s removal.  The team did in fact hold a meeting after that game and Noman was sent to no man’s land after being removed from the roster.  Adding to the changes, new captain, Derrec (Dare-Rack) of House Smyt had to beg some of the players from last year to come back.  Speaking of, Derrec was himself a decent forward, but more useful as a manager, rearranging the roster to be younger and more cohesive.   It took several weeks to get thing going, but by the end of the year, Jahnsel had finally improved enough to consider themselves in decent shape again (a late season 4 game winning streak helps, especially when one of those wins was their first ever against hated rival Silagnak).   Jahnsel will have to be content with being in 7th place considering their awful start, but can at least be assured with their recent winning streak that they may only be needing a retooling, not a rebuild, next year.

Petorvale had finished Year 64 only 2 points behind Earch for the championship and had good reason to be optimistic, possessing a dangerous offense and a great goalie that proved brilliant at times with game management.   That offense proved once again this year to be a threat, Svontal of House Dors leading the team with 14 goals.  Svontal is quickly becoming a big name in the sport, what with his strong shots to goals combined with ball dribbling that could only be described as mesmerizing, able to weave in and out of loaded defenses to find his open shots.  Honestly, if Petorvale’s defense had performed as well as it did last year, they’d have had a great shot to winning the championship.   The defense did not perform as well as it did last year.   Not even close.   It was known that Petorvale had some new defensive players (who were new to the game of football) and that they could struggle a bit.   However, the unit proved completely clueless at times, being out of position on many occasions, despite Hammen of House Tong barking orders at them to get into place constantly.   This led to Hammen having to face far more shots on goal than he had to last year.   Worse, him getting out of shape proved a problem, as he appears to have lost a step, missing out on several diving save attempts that he would have gotten last year.  As a result, the team that allowed the fewest goals in the league in Year 64 has now tied for allowing the MOST goals.  Ultimately, the team experienced a rough early stretch of games where they last 5 of 6 in Weeks 3 through 8, which put them massively far behind the leaders in the standings, and they’d never come close to threatening for a title.  The defense will absolutely have to improve big time (and Hammen will need a diet, something almost unheard of in Petorvale) if green team wants to contend next year.

Tomen definitely had a season to remember, though the beginning of the year was a start to forget.  Mishakl of House Floddergrove quickly proved to be a poor captain, rarely making adjustments during games and relying more on himself to win games instead of working with his team.   Between that and Tomen having a lot of new starters that took a long time to gel, Tomen embarrassingly failed to win a game until Week 6 (including being the team that handed the equally poor starting Jahnsel their first goal and victory in Week 5).  By Week 4, the team’s infighting and incohesive game-planning threatened to tear the already fragile team apart.   Then, in a moment of epiphany, Mishakl struck gold.  He made the humble decision to step down as player captain, having convinced Loeb of House Gammiz to return, not as a player but as a full-time manager, knowing the team’s respect for him (worth noting that there were no managers at this time, meaning Loeb had to take up a roster spot).   This proved a stroke of genius, with Loeb able to yell out directions from the sideline, the team was able to work together better.   Tomen would go on a hot tear starting with that Week 6 game against Earch, as they would win 7 of the next 8 games, the team clearly rejuvenated by Loeb’s charismatic leadership.  While a late slip in form in recent weeks eliminated them from the championship, this season has to be considered a resounding success. 

There was plenty of intrigue with Silagnak during the pre-season as they had rebuilt last year’s worse offense entirely around a hotshot new kid, Boba of House Coldsteek.  Could the 17 year old handle the pressure of being an expected star right away?   He provided that answer early on as an obvious yes, scoring several times throughout the year off of well-timed breakaway dashes toward the opponents goal (an incredible 15 goals in total, which not only lead the entire league, but became a new record!).  His performance absolutely overshadowed the rest of the teams’ efforts, but that’s largely due to Silagnak basically being the same kind of team, just with a new spark to the offense.  This is still very much a brute force team, pushing other teams around as much as possible to gain the ball before trying to quickly get it to Boba for a quick goal.   One key difference is that Player Captain Borky of House Silvor (a Defender himself) has managed to get the black and blues to play a bit cleaner to prevent the many obvious penalties that the team had committed last season.   All of this resulted in a much improved Silagnak, who have only lost 4 games by season’s end, tied for the least in the league.  The only thing that held Silagnak back was their inability to put some games away, there were too many games where Silagnak had to settle for 1 point draws because their defense faded and allowed a late goal.  Nonetheless, they managed to stay in contention until a rough 4-1 loss to Earch eliminated them in Week 17.  Silagnak has plenty of reasons to feel proud of their improvement and with some small roster tweaks (they need more than just Boba on offense and the defense could use a retooling), Silagnak has every opportunity to contend again next year.

All eyes in Hanuna were on Captain Lellochatnim of House Gull, and the two new starting forwards, Alfenz of House Mohr and Guacheemo of House Siwee.  Fans had been surprised with Lellochatnim that he hadn’t overhauled the team’s goalie and defenders, opting to keep the experienced players around in what many saw as a gamble.   With Hanuna having the worst defense last season, it was expected that the two new forwards would be key to whether Hanuna had a chance at improving or not.  Their quick burst out the gates settled any anxiety immediately, as Hanuna quickly got to 11 points after only 5 games, just 2 points behind equally red hot Chalmblaank.  The defense was shockingly stingy, (no doubt a sign that Lello had done well teaching technique into a fairly unskilled group) Alfenz and Guacheemo were doing well enough to keep opposing defenses honest, and fans were salivating over the Week 6 matchup with Chalmblaank in what looked to be a matchup of the two best teams in the league.   Unfortunately for Hanuna, Chalmblaank would win 3-1, and Hanuna wouldn’t get that close to the top of the standings again.   Still, Hanuna remained a tough out throughout the year, with Lellochatnim leading the team on both ends of the field (scoring a team high 9 goals, being the team’s primary dribbler during drives and constantly making clean tackles to keep opponents away from the goal).   Overall, Hanuna looks like a contender and fans are excited over the potential next year brings.

The defending champions’ season started in mediocrity, trading wins and losses through the first 6 weeks.   Dennai of House Endear was struggling to stay on the field with nagging injuries.  Dabu of House Namacka, the breakout superstar from last year, was clearly feeling a ton of pressure to perform at a high level again and be the hero of the poor and working classes, as he was unable to get the goals flowing consistently, with only 2 in the first third of the season.  Worst of all, was that Chalmblaank looked nigh invincible.  

Player Captain Frazciscle of House Ailian had drilled into his fellow Chalmblaankians the fundamentals and condition necessary to become a champion.  He might have been an arrogant elitist like many in Chalmblaank, but Frazciscle at least truly loved his city and wanted it to be the best it could be.   The hard work was paying off beautifully.   The defense, only average last season, was like a steel wall, only allowing more than 1 goal just once in the first half of the season (in the always heated rivalry battle at Petorvale, which Chalmblaank would win 3-2 amidst a chorus of boos from the Petorvalian faithful).   The offense wasn’t too shabby either, usually scoring multiple goals a game early on, then helping the midfield focus on ball control.   Speaking of which, the Chalmblaankian midfield was easily the best in the league, with Frazciscle and the rapidly improved Alajandrus of House Capeburgh running circles around their opponents and keeping the ball safe at all times.  Chalmblaank’s dominance was so incredible, that causal fans would gulp at the standings when they saw how far ahead they were on everyone else.  Through 9 weeks, Chalmblaank had 27 points (yes, they had won every single game so far), an unbelievable 10 points ahead of SECOND PLACE Hanuna.  

Meanwhile, for Earch, Week 6’s (at the time) embarrassing loss to previously winless Tomen was the final straw.  Dennai held a team meeting right after that game, screaming nonstop at the team for nearly a full hour.  His message was a simple enough one.  Quit worrying about living up to last year, quit worrying about being a hero, quit worrying about Chalmblaank, and to just focus on being the best they could be THIS year and to play at the level they knew they were capable of.   The speech would become the stuff of Earchian legend, made more so by the teams’ response.   Earch’s best proved to be a team that would only lose once more in the next 11 games, earning 24 points (7-3-1 record) and looking eerily like last year’s team that had also started slow before going on  a tear also starting Week 7.  Now it was Earch’s turn to be the dominant squad, outscoring their opponents 23-9 in that 11 game run.   However, while the defending champions were finally playing very well, it was clear that Chalmblaank was simply too far ahead.   For Earch to even have a prayer, Chalmblaank would have to collapse in devastating fashion.  With the gray and reds’ early form, Chalmblaank’s championship was simply inevitable.  Until Week 10, that is.

Chalmblaank, during its Week 10 game with Tomen, saw the invincibility fade away with a crash.   Early on, Alajandrus got into an ugly collision with Tomen’s Mishakl racing to the ball.  The impact had nearly no impact on Mishakl, who got right back up, but Alajandrus would stay on the ground for many minutes, clearly concussed badly and having to leave the game.   Frazciscle too would not survive the game, as he horribly twisted his ankle accidentally stepping on another Tomen player’s foot.  Tomen would win 3-1 and the bad news would keep coming.   Medicinal magic performed by mages can help bones heal and tendons recover, but it’s no miracle, time is still needed to come back to games, (Frazciscle would miss the next 7 games) and there is no magic that can help head injuries.   Alajandrus’ road to recovery was going to be a long one, and indeed he would miss the remainder of the year.   With their star midfielders both out, Chalmblaank’s performance went ice cold, earning just 6 points over the next 7 games.   Fans watched in horror after each loss or draw as the once seemingly insurmountable standings lead dropped.   10 points.  9 points. 6 points. 4 points.  2 points. Chalmblaank's lead steadily shrank.  What remained of their meager lead would only last until last week, Week 17, when they merely drew with weak Leorux and watching as Earch eliminated Silagnak with a win.   Chalmblaank now trailed Earch via a goal differential tiebreaker. 

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It is now Week 18.   Red hot Earch looks to clinch a second straight title with they hope is a victory over the pathetic Dobo squad.   Meanwhile, Chalmblaank draws a Jahnsel team that has greatly improved over the course of the season (and is another small town city that can’t stand Chalmblaankians for their snobby personalities).  It will not be enough for Chalmblaank to win, they need to hope that Earch somehow draws or even losses to a Dobo team that has proven an unreliable team to root for.   Helping them though is word that Frazciscle will be returning from injury just in time for the game (though he’s likely not at 100%)

And that is where we leave you today. Will Chalmblaank find a way to regain the lead and avoid a stunning collapse?  Or will Earch win their second straight championship after a comeback to rememer?   Find out next time in a special Final Week Special!   See you all then!


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11/23/2022 6:31 pm  #12


Re: Avornian Football League

The day that the game of Week 18 of the Avornian Football League’s Year 65 season was a cold one, taking place in early winter.   Snow had fallen for much of the week, but thankfully today was clear, the fields cleared and the fans already roaring support for their teams.  While five games were played, the two that really matter took place in the cities of Dobo and Chalmblaank.  

In Dobo, the mood was relatively calm, Dobo had long been eliminated from championship contention and with nothing to play for, the fans were just hoping their team would play spoiler against the red hot Earchian team.   Earch’s expressionless faces belied a feeling of nerves and excitement for this game, a win here would almost assuredly grant them the title (unless Chalmblaank somehow beat Jahnsel by 5 more goals than Earch beat Dobo, an unlikely possibility).  There were no major injury issues (Player Captain Dennai of House Endear had struggled early in the year with nagging injuries but had soldiered his way through them and was still playing decently, if moving much slower than usual), Dabu of House Namacka had found his groove (impressing everyone again with his dazzling footwork and strong leg that had granted him 10 goals that year), and the defense had been nearly impenetrable.  Surely, against a Dobo team that seemed at times scared to even play the game, Earch had this in the bag, right?

In Chalmblaank, the mood was so thick with tension, you couldn’t even cut it.   Fans were holding their breath before the ball had been kicked off.   Even most of the team looked plainly anxious, dreading the possibility of failing to win a championship they'd seemed guaranteed to, and in front of their fans at their home stadium.  The team had been getting a few points lately, but only in the form of draws, which had been their result in 4 of the past 5 games (they lost the other game).    They just couldn’t get ahead of anyone lately.   If recent form was a predictor, it was actually quite likely the visiting Jahnsel would emerge victorious, having only recently lost a 4-game winning streak, (for what it’s worth, Dobo had been the victor).   However, while the vast majority of people at the stadium were a nervous wreck, one man held steadfast confidence.   Frazciscle of House Ailian was even smiling, so laidback was he that he was making his rounds to each teammates, cracking jokes to put them at ease.   Why shouldn’t he confident?  He was finally able to get back onto the field after missing the last 7 games with an badly sprained ankle.  So what if he wasn’t 100%?  Frazciscle captained a quality team full of high end, disciplined talents.  Yes, they had struggled lately, but that’s only because he wasn’t on the field to lead his troops with his commanding authority and excellent ball control tactics.   When the time was right, when the game was on the line, someone (perhaps Frazciscle himself) would find a way to get that key goal, in order to obtain the victory and glory Chalmblaank so deserved after all their hard work (thanks to his guidance, of course).  Yes, Frazciscle was a very (over) confident man, but only because he truly believed in his squad and had faith that they wanted to bring a title to their home as badly as he did.  

As the Dobo vs Earch game played on, it was clear early on, something was different with Dobo.   It probably should have been obvious last week after they had spanked Jahnsel 3-0.   The team, which had been harassed by fans and opposing teams for weeks over their weak play, were frankly, sick of being made fun of.  Nobody had noticed since they had been eliminated a while ago, but before last week, Player Captain Wahwmah of House Taccew had gathered the team together and finally dug into their bottoms and displaying his anger over the poor performances (which was a large bit his fault for putting the team together badly).  Dobo, shocked by the normally placid captain (a devout Dobotitus follower who wouldn’t hurt a fly), had finally responded, displaying a raw edge they hadn’t ever shown.  That newfound toughness was on display today, as the team showed no quarter to Earch in physicality, who clearly were not prepared for an actual fight.  By the 75th minute, the game was in Dobo’s favor, 1-0.   But after a failed Dobo shot on goal, Earch’s goalie noticed Dabu running hard towards the other end and launched a beauty of a punt towards him.  Dabu easily handled the ball, dribbled around multiple defenders, and suddenly had just the goalie between him and the net.  He shot……

But the goalie was just able to block the ball, which ricocheted off his hand and out of bounds for a corner kick.   
With the game beginning to near its end, Earch took a very dangerous strategy of bringing everyone near the Dobo goal, including their goalie.  If this corner kick was stolen by stopped by Dobo, there was a real risk that Dobo could quickly take a shot at an empty net, sealing the game.  The kick was launched….. too far for Dabu to get near the ball, but Dennai had a chance at it.   The grizzled, often hot tempered Dennai had definitely not been as swift running up and down the field as he used to be before the injuries piled up. But he was a man who had stomached through plenty of pain during the season, he could muster one quick burst of speed.  Which he did by darting to the ball, used every fiber of muscle in his legs to leap into the air just over Wahwmah, and twisted his balding head as hard as to could to absolutely smash the football!  The ball shot from the blow to the far end of the goal…..

Just past the goalie’s outstretched hands for a GOOOOOOOOOAL!!!!!   

The cries of dismay from the Dobo fans rang out as Dennai’s fellow Earchians ran to their leader, colliding with each other as they all tried to hug him in joy!  However, Earch was unable to get another goal off before the time endee, being forced to settle with a 1-1 draw.   Now they had to wait and hope Jahnsel could at least tie with Chalmblaank.  It was their turn to worry and be filled with anxious anticipation.

While Dobo vs Earch was concluding its game, Chalmblaank vs Jahnsel was proving to be a competitive showing.  Frazciscle’s faith in his team was well founded, as they had managed to score twice in the game, in the 6th minutes (off of a header from a forward after rebounding an absolutely stunner of a pass by Frazciscle) and the 55th minute.   The gray and reds were playing with a fire fans hadn’t seen in weeks, seemingly catching their captain’s confidence.   However, Jahnsel was absolutely up to the task, as the feisty small town boys had long had a grudge against the arrogant Chalmblaankians, and while playing fiercely, still played smart by utilizing an aggressive attacking approach under their new captain, Derrec of House Smyt.  They had managed goals in the 24th and 78th minute, Derrec himself getting the 2nd goal off a dainty little half kick just past a goalie that had charged away from the goal at the forward, trying to get a diving block off.

It was now the 88th minute, with Chalmblaank driving.   Frazciscle had the ball 25 meters from the goal, on the left side, looking for a forward to pass the ball to for them to get a late shot off when inspiration overcame him.  As he had anticipated, it was late in the game and it was time for someone to step up at this critical moment.   The team had done very well to keep it close, now it was time for him to rise to the occasion.  He faked a pass by swinging his leg just before the ball, then quickly stepped to just a hard dribble.  The defender bit, allowing Frazciscle an opportunity to drive towards the goalie, having just enough space to take a shot.   One shot.   Frazciscle swung with everything he had, aiming for the top right corner of the goal with no intention of letting the goal keeper have a chance at deflecting it.   In the instant his right leg connected with the ball, Frazciscle knew it would go in the net.  Of course it would.   He had put in all the work, shaped his team from lazy bums to legitimate champions, busted his butt to get into the elite conditioning necessary to withstand the punishment of a grueling competition, and drilled every single test he could think of to master every aspect of the greatest sports known to man.   All he had to do was listen to the excited crowd bellowing in joy and adoration and watch as the ball screamed off his leg towards the goal………

and sailed over the railing, missing completely. 

Frazciscle could only stand still in shocked horror, having missed the opportunity of a lifetime.  With only seconds left, and Jahnsel getting the goal kick, (and this was before the days of added time) there would be no second chance.    He had blown it.   He didn’t even need to hear the final score of Earch and Dobo, he knew ithe dreams of a championship were over.  After the final cannon shot off, indicating the end of the game, he would crumpled to the ground as his stunned teammates slipped past him off the field, silently weeping in humiliation…

After the messenger was teleported to Dobo to report the news that Chalmblaank had also only obtained a tie, the few Earch fans at the field and the Earchian football team screamed and piled onto each other in celebration.   They had somehow managed to make the comeback of comebacks, coming back from trailing Chalmblaank at one point by 13 points down in the standings, to charge back and become the champions of the Avornian Football League once more.   It’s a victory that never be forgotten, not be Earch, not by any football fans, not by anyone.

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Thank you all so much for reading through another season of the Avornian Football League!   I had an absolute blast writing up this story (and yes, for those curious, I promise, the simulated season really did play out this way)!  We’ll see you next time for the offseason developments!   Happy Thanksgiving!  

Last edited by Stickman (11/23/2022 6:31 pm)


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11/26/2022 6:16 pm  #13


Re: Avornian Football League

Year 66 Offseason

After the dramatic end to the Year 65 season of the Avornian Football League, the Avornian Football Committee was quite pleased with the revenue coming in and continued their work on using the funds to continue building and paying for each team to get an arena, though there was much work left to do.   At this point, only Earch, Chalmblaank, and Tomen had fully completed stadiums, with Silagnak's, Hanuna's and Petorvale's stadiums being worked on.   Anjocca and Dobo were still sorting out where to even put their stadiums (Anjocca not wanting the stadium to get in the way of the city's defenses and Dobo not wanting theirs to become an eyesore by their holiest areas) and nothing had been done yet for Jahnsel and Leorux, the smallest two cities in the league.   Still, Commissioner Ravael of House Banswell made it clear, he was happy with the progress.   After these stadiums were done, then the league could start to talk about expansion, with an eventual goal to get new teams in sometime in the next 5 years.

Only... football fans from around the kingdom didn't want to wait so long to get their teams.  They figured, if tiny Jahnsel and Leorux could have teams, why can't we?   Especially when Leorux and Dobo's teams have been fairly bad teams so far, it just didn't seem fair that they were allowed to have weak teams and more deserving cities couldn't get one.   We want to have the same emotional experiences that Earch and Chalmblaank just had last season (maybe not so much how Chalmblaank fans emotions were now, but more like when they were 10 points ahead of 2nd place) and we want it now!   As the grumblings continued, rumors started to abound that a rival league, consisting of many cities not included in the Avornian Football League, would be forming in time for the Year 66 season. 

Not surprisingly, news of a rival league didn't put the Committee in good spirits, especially knowing that there was already talk of this new organization promising to pay the players better (currently, salaries are low enough that players have to work other jobs in the offseason to stay afloat).   If the new league ever got cutthroat enough to put teams in the existing Avornian Football cities, the better pay would likely entice current stars to jump ship, causing a domino effect that would threaten the Avornian Football League's existance.   Things got even worse as Ravael was shockingly unable to convince King Mikelangel III to put a stop to the league's formation, a real stunner given the Banswell House's influence within the city of Earch (the king felt it was not his place to interfere with these matters.   Plus, he was secretly excited about the possibility of more football, having gotten a bit addicted to watching games when he was not busy with royal affairs).

With no other tangible options remaining, Ravael and the Committee made the decision to up their current players’ salaries and publicly announce that instead of introducing new teams within 5 years, they’d do it after this season, hoping that would slow the tide on this rival business getting started.  While the Avornian Football players enjoyed the slight pay raise (in truth, it’s still nowhere near enough to live on alone, but it’s something!), the new league, officially called the Federation of Avornian Football, did indeed get formed, hosting a rather bulky 24 teams right off the bat.  Surprisingly, the Federation never thought to put any teams in current Avornian Football League cities, a real lucky break.  While more fans get access to football than ever before, it’s pretty clear that some of these new football cities are nowhere near big enough to have a real chance to make much money (even Jahnsel-the smallest town in the Avornian Football League- was more than twice as large as at least 6 of the new teams and still larger than several others), and there are questions to whether the Federation can really afford to sustain the promise of paying much more money than the Football League does.  Nonetheless, this is a huge development and the Avornian Football Committee is going to have to adapt quickly, or else risk being leap-frogged in national popularity. 

We’ll see you all next time for the pre-season write ups on each Avornian Football League team (Note: I won’t actually be doing season writeups for the Federation of Avornian Football, but I will be posting updates each offseason).

Last edited by Stickman (11/26/2022 6:16 pm)


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11/29/2022 4:41 pm  #14


Re: Avornian Football League

Here are the season preview writeups for the Avornian Football League.  It was a very busy offseason for some teams!

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Chalmblaank (Player Captain: Frazciscle of House Ailian) (Team Nickname: N/A): After the heart break the team suffered in their choking the championship away last year, there were plenty of questions as to how (and if) the team would bounce back.  The good news is that Alajandrus of House Capeburgh, their excellent midfielder who can do just about anything asked of him, is likely to come back after suffering a nasty head injury last midseason and had to sit out the rest of those games.  The bad news is that Frazciscle, after missing the shot that would have won Chalmblaank the championship, doesn’t appear to have recovered mentally at all.   While Chalmblaank has always trained hard to become a better team, the intensity with which Frazciscle had pushed the training just isn’t there this off season leading some to believe that he’s lost his touch as a leader.   Chalmblaank does have a new striker in the form of Sirge (Seer-Jay) of House Einna (Eye-Na), who seems to be a solid prospect, though his pass game needs improving (as in, he doesn’t like to trust his teammates near the opponents goal, preferring to take all shots himself).   In addition, Chalmblaank’s defense is getting older, with 2 of the 4 defenders being in late 30s.   Do they have another year of excellent defense in them?  Overall though, Chalmblaank is still a talented team, they can absolutely make another run at the title.  

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Jahnsel (Player Captain: Derrec of House Smyt) (Team Nickname: N/A): The mood at Jahnsel is vastly different than it was last year.   Derrec proved he was a solid leader by the end of last season and had been instrumental in turning Jahnsel’s season around after their terrible start.  He’s continuing to retool the team, having gotten rid of or at least benched all of the older players that previous captain Noman of House Talgrass had insisted be starters in Year 65.  Jahnsel now has a much younger and energetic group of players starting.   Derrec himself is a solid enough forward, commanding the left side of the field.   However they are very excited about new starting striker Bili of House Yelbow.   Bili’s been on the team since the league’s formation, and has played quite a lot already.  But since he was so young, (he’s only 22 even now), he was usually forced to come off the bench.   He’s got a lot of promise, being a speedy little guy.   He is only 5’7”, so he has some disadvantages, but he’s got the ability to get great jumps off of vertical attacks, defenses are going to have to be careful around him.   Jahnsel’s offense should be far better than it was last year, although the team’s collective defense is considered to be average at best.   The idea is to hope that their strategy of using a lot of quick bursts of vertical attacks can net them a lot of goals to make up the defensive deficiency. 

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Leorux (Player Captain: Asa of House Waiselen) (Team Nickname: N/A): Leorux has yet to be able to field even an average team, let alone a good team, as of this point in the Avornian Football League (providing proof from the Federation of Avornian Football that there were far more deserving cities than Leorux to have teams in the Avornian Football League).   The problem last year was their defense, as none of the prospects that had tried out for the team had been able to prove that they really belonged in professional football.   It remains to be seen if they’ll show any improvements, though listening to captain Asa of House Waiselen, Leorux is optimistic that the new players will make a second year leap in quality.    Speaking of quality, one player to keep an eye out for is sometimes midfielder, sometimes forward Carles of House Yalmount.  He’s a solid dribbler and has a knack for passing the ball to open players in the tiniest of holes.   He can shoot too, though Asa tends to take more shots on goal.   Rumor has it that the team is planning to implement a much more offensively aggressive approach and leaving the defense to handle the pressure of being able to fend off drives by opposing teams should they get the ball back.   It’s a bold strategy with such an inexperienced defensive front, but if Asa is confident that it'll work, he may know best. 

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Hanuna (Player Captain: Lellochatnim of House Gull) (Team Nickname: The Bluefins): Last year’s vast improvement in the standings has fans genuinely excited for Year 66.   Lellochatnim has proven an excellent manager, able to bring out the best of seemingly mediocre talent.   It’s true that preseason training has shown he’s starting to lose a step or two, but Lello is still a solid midfielder that can direct traffic well.   Assuming he stay healthy, he should still be able to successfully commander the newly christened “Bluefins” (nicknamed by fans after the delicious Bluefin Gully that is a staple in Hanunan diet and key piece of their economy).   Health may be the key to this year, as Hanuna has already lost promising forward Guacheemo of House Siwee potentially for the entire season due to a freak fishing accident that involved his ship crashing into another one, a beam splintering and impaling his left leg.   He’s lucky to still have that limb.  Hanuna’s defense is mostly still a bunch of ragtag guys who are notable only for being well coached.   At least young Garlen of House Richenaan, a 2nd year player who usually came off the bench last year has the potential to be one of the best center defenders in the league someday, as he already exhibits some of the best clean tackling the Avornian Football League has ever seen, and he’s remarkably aggressive at running towards the ball.  He just needs to work on his positioning, sometimes getting out of place at the worst time and getting ran past by an unnoticed forward.   Hanuna is definitely no joke and could make that jump to the top of the standings this year.

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Dobo (Player Captain: Wahwmah of House Taccew) (Team Nickname: N/A): Dobo has often been seen as a bit of a joke entry into the Avornian Football League.   Their consistently poor defense, poor player mismanagement and oftentimes hesitation to play any sort of physical ball has left Dobo in a state where they are often ridiculed by fans of the other teams, getting insults thrown their way constantly (Dobo’s status as a highly religious place, the home of the Great Temple of Dobotitus hasn’t helped their meek reputation).   Don’t tell anyone, but that reputation is likely going to be shattered, as captain Wahwmah of House Taccew, who appeared to have flipped a switch late in the previous season, has put the team through some of the most grueling physical training ever seen in the league’s history.  It’s even gone as far as Wahwmah forcing potential players to participate in a Slap Wrestling tournament, using it as a guide to determine who was tough enough to make the team (NOTE: Slap Wrestling is the name for a variant of the competition known as Sumo Wrestling, a sport involving using physicality and quickness to force your opponent off of a circular mat.  Slap Wrestling has a long and proud history within the Dobo region from an era before Dobotitus worshippers took over the area hundreds of years ago.  Descendants of those ancient tribes - called Anhkans- have proudly practiced the violent sport as a way to preserve their legacy.  Wahwmah is one such descendant).   No doubt, Dobo has decided to embrace toughness and physiciality and teams looking to effortlessly blow past their defense are in for a very rude awakening.   Wahwmah’s skills as a game manager remain to be seen, but he’s at least figuring out how to build a team around his preferred gameplan of a slow, physical team that specializes in time of possession.   Helping on that front is Wahwmah’s brother, Nahnquan (Non-Kwon), a rookie that shows a ton of potential as a midfielder that has good ball control skills and the physicality needed to prevent opponents from steal it away from him too easily.   Plus, unlike the relatively unathletic Wahwmah, Nahnquan is a stellar athlete and much quicker than his large frame would have you think.   All in all, it’s not known how much Dobo will improve on their standing, but they are definitely a much stronger team this season.

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Tomen (Manager: Loeb of House Gammiz) (Team Nickname: N/A): After the emotional roller coaster Tomen has been through during its first two seasons, fans are looking forward to having a normal season where the goal is to simply improve upon last year.   Loeb has worked on adding some new offensive and defensive talent (Tomen’s midfield game is unchanged from last year, with Mishakl of House Floddergrove leading that group), the result of which being several newer starters.  The defensive unit in particular is very youthful, their inexperience is likely to result in Tomen’s goals allowed stat to be no better than in years past.  The biggest problem on offense is that Tomen still only has Mishakl that they can claim is a top tier performer, and as a midfielder, he’s not breaking away on sudden vertical drives too often.  In particular, there is concern about the lack of a true striker on attacking end of the field, (there hasn’t been a truly dangerous striker since Loeb himself starred briefly in the position) which will leave the offense a bit underwhelming unless Tomen strikes lightning with one of the new starters.  Once again, it seems Tomen isn’t one of the most talented groups assembled, so their ceiling seems limited to how far Loeb’s skills as a motivator take the team. 

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Petorvale (Manager: Hammen of House Tong) (Team Nickname: The Hammers): Petorvale has always had a solid overall offense, led by one of the league’s best strikers in Svontal of House Dors.  The problem last year was on defense, where an inexperienced bunch of defenders and an overweight goalie held the team back.   Going into the preseason training camp, the team was in for a shock.  Player Captain Hammen, the chunky but surprisingly quick goal keeper, had somehow shown up to camp even fatter than last year.   Worse, his assumed speed was gone, so clumsy was he that other respected members of the team had to have a heart to heart talk with him as they informed him that while they respected his game management greatly, Petorvale no longer felt that he could handle the role of starting goalie.   Seeing the writing on the wall and wanting to capitalize on his high influential standing while he could, Hammen elected to retire from the game of football and take up the role as Petorvale’s first ever manager, although like Loeb from Tomen, he’d had to take up a spot on the team roster.  In his place as goalie is Barnar of House Mubel, a much younger (and in shape) goalie who seems to be a slight upgrade on Hammen.   The green team’s defensive unit is still bad, though.   Barnar is going to be in for a long year.   Petorvale hasn’t necessarily improved or worsened since last year, and it’s possible that they’ll end up somewhere in the same general area in the standings.  With Hammen, an elite game planner, at the helm coaching full time though, Petorvale could also overachieve like they did in Year 64 too.  Of note, contrary to what you might think, Petorvale's new team nickname of the Hammers has nothing to do with Hammen, but rather with the heavy tools used in metalworking (an occupation that Petorvale on the whole is excellent at).  

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Silagnak (Player Captain: Borky of House Silvor) (Team Nickname: N/A): After a surprising 4th place finish last year, fans were optimistic that with some slight upgrades, the black and blues could find a way to continue building towards contention.   They were quickly disappointed.   It appears that captain Borky has chosen to be content with the starters he had last year, choosing to play it a bit safe on roster building.   There is not one single rookie on the 18 man roster for Silagnak, which is great from an experience point of view.   However, there was a clear need to rebuild the defensive units, which still consist of most unathletic brute players that can push players around and little else.   They are starting Joka of House Bonz as the new 2nd year goalie after their last one retired.  Little is known about him, as he never played last year, other than he is the son of a rumored Silagnakian crime lord, (which, given Borky’s own questionable history before he found football, likely is why he’s on the team).   He doesn’t appear to be much of a leader, though to be fair, with Borky as a defender being able to bark orders at the defense, Joka might not have much to worry about other than constantly being shot at by opposing teams.  Offensively, Silagnak has last year’s breakout sensation Boba of House Coldsteek.   Now officially a man at 18 years old, Boba is still a very young man, but he’s expected to build upon his stunning record breaking 15 goal performance that he had last year.   However, with no other real stars around him on that end of the field, plus with teams having an offseason to figure out how to deal with his heavy vertical attack approach, is it really that realistic to expect Boba to surprise the league again?   For that matter, was the Silagnak team that shocked the league last year really that good enough to expect a repeat performance or did this group just overachieve in Year 65?  

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Anjocca (Manager: Tan of House Browse) (Team Nickname: N/A): It’s taken a few years, but Anjocca may have finally gotten that bit of good luck to ensure the city begins to start showing more support for their team.  The mayor’s son, Connavonn of House Duvaloi, surprised the football world by announcing he had made a brand new deal with the Avornian Football Committee to become the first ever football team owner.   Essentially, he owns the team, the players, the history of the club, everything.   He does have to pay the footballers himself (up to this point, the Avornian Football Committee paid every players bases on a percentage of what the league generated) and he will be solely responsible for building Anjocca’s stadium (once he figures out where to put it).   The Committee, in their desperation to add new teams to the league but feeling each team they already had needing a stadium, was more than happy to allow someone else to be responsible for the building of an expensive arena, Connavonn taking on the charges will save the league a ton of money this year.    Connavonn has already made some waves, removing Tan of House Browse as a player (he was a below average midfielder anyway) and installing him as a full time manager, wanting to jump on the new bandwagon that Tomen and Petorvale started by hiring full time managers.  Tan is being held responsible for getting Anjocca back up in the standings in Year 66, Connavonn being very clear that he expects to be a contender right away.   It helps that Connavonn spent most of his offseason promoting the league to the more influential members of Anjoccan society, this resulted in a much larger pool of potential players trying out.  The yellow team made some key changes this offseason, most notably benching forward Markhen of House Stonner and replacing him with Shaggu of House Khaldrem, who looks promising and, more importantly, is healthy (in truth, Tan would have preferred to cut Markhen altogether, but didn’t want to risk ticking off his brother, star forward Tobyas, so he merely benched him instead).  Xaxi of House Pentuna, the one eyed goalie, returns as well, hoping that Anjocca’s improved defensive unit will protect him from seeing the ball too much.   Overall, things seem to be trending upward for Anjocca, the unit has a collectively better bunch of talent and the city is finally starting to get interested in football. 

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Earch (Player Captain: Dennai of House Endear) (Team Nickname: The Falcons): The two time defending champions are geared up to try for a third title, with most of their talents returning.   It is worth noting that some league analysts (mostly the members of the Avornian Football Committee and they’re not going public with these information) feel that the team is starting to get a little long in the tooth, as most of the Earchian players are in their 30s by now.   Worse, as the team didn’t add too many new players to the squad, there’s always a concern that such a successful team might just be content with their past work and might not dig as deep as they need to in order to keep winning titles.   Then again, with Dennai once again taking the helm as Player Captain, with his fiery personality, maybe that won’t be such a problem after all.  They still have Dabu of House Namacka, who did start slow last year, but he’s still seen as one of the league’s best scoring threats.  One new player that was added is a right midfielder, Daivan of House Banswell, a relative of Avornian Football Committee Commissioner, Ravael. There are rumors that there were far more worthy candidates to take that starting role, but Daivan’s close relationship to the Commissioner may have influenced Dennai to let him tag along (Dennai, for all of his good, competitive traits, still plays the wealthy elite politics game like many other rich and affluent members of Earch).   It isn’t known for sure how good of a player Daivan is, but word on the street is that he wasn’t particularly impressive in training camp.  Nonetheless, with one of the game’s best scorers, one of the stingiest defenses, and likely the best captain in the game, Earch is going to be a very difficult team to beat as they try to win that third title.

That’s all for today, see you next time for the Year 66 season review!


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     Thread Starter
 

12/02/2022 6:03 pm  #15


Re: Avornian Football League

As the 3rd season of Avornian Football began, there was a belief that the league could once again come down to Earch and Chalmblaank for the championship.   From a talent perspective, they again appeared to have the league’s deepest and strongest rosters.   However, time would prove that to repeat their top two finish, they’d have to dig deep, as multiple teams were able to top the standings throughout the year in what would prove to be the biggest dogfight the football world had seen yet.

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Borky of House Silvor had worried Silagnak fans with his decision to keep loyal to the players from last year’s surprise team, choosing to keep nearly everyone on that roster again, despite there being serious questions about the roster’s overall quality, especially on defense.   Those fears were temporarily tamed as Silagnak was able to keep pace for a while, with 13 points at the halfway point, just 2 points behind 1st place.   The defense was performing admirably, being physical as usual to prevent the opposing teams from getting too many shots at new goalie Joka of House Bonz.   Boba of House Coldsteek was still giving teams fits with his quickness and accurate shots on goal, he’d score 12 goals by the end of the year.  Things seemed well and Silagnak fans were just starting to think they had a chance to possibly shock the world and win it all! 

However, starting Week 10, the roof caved in on Silagnak, as the team would earn just 2 more points by the end of the year.   Injuries weren’t any worse for the black and blues than they were for anyone else, it’s just that the entire team’s play just collectively fell apart.   While nobody played well during the 2nd half of the season, the fingers will absolutely be pointed towards the defense.  While it had performed adequately at the start of the year (considering the lack of talent), teams got better at utilizing space and quick passes across the field to get around the shove happy defense, leaving many more shots on the goal.    It would quickly become apparent that Joka, the new goalie, was every bit as awful at his job as fans feared he could be, being out of place often (usually due to being overly aggressive at leaving the goalie post to charge at a dribbler, who’d usually just easily bypass him for an easy shot) and allowing an alarming amount of goals.   On multiple occasions this year, Silagnak managed to get involved in games that set the all time record for most goals scored in a game (both losses, 4-3 in Week 1 against Tomen and 5-3 in Week 13 against Anjocca).  All in all, Silagnak’s defense in Year 66 has proven the worst of all time, easily setting a new Avornian Football League record for goals allowed (40 so far, obliterating the old mark of 30!).   The anxiety has turned into anger at the stands, with multiple incidents occurring involving fans throwing garbage onto the field and booing the team very loudly.   There’s no doubt there needs to be a real house cleaning done at Silagnak next year.

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Leorux hadn’t been expected to be a serious contender this season and they lived down to expectation.  The team did have a weird habit of getting streaky at random points of the year, as on two occasions they had the exact same streaks of a tie, then 2 wins (accounting for 14 of the 15 total points they’ve earned).   However, their longest streak was a rather nasty 5 game losing run where they were outscored 3-12 during Weeks 8 through 12.  There were many problems, but chief among them was their horrid defense.  If not for Silagnak’s defense being historically bad, Leorux would have set the record for most goals allowed themselves, with 31 by the end of the year.   The offense was terrible too, scoring a league low 18 goals.   It appears the entire team has regressed from last year, despite technically being slightly higher in the standings now. 

The core problem is likely player captain Asa of House Waiselen.  His aggressive offense heavy approach backfired spectacularly.   His offense generally couldn’t break opposing defenses, who would often steal the ball and then quickly break away through the puny Leorux defense for an easy score.    Despite Leorux’s general strategy failing over and over again, Asa refused to make adjustments, and had to watch helplessly as the same failures kept repeating and Leorux kept losing.   Even worse, his skills at developing young players is proving to be lacking, as the only good player that’s emerged in two years is forward Carles of House Yalmount.   Even Carles’ stat line wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, as defenses could afford to focus most of their energy on him without fear of the other players getting scores instead.   Nonetheless, Carles still managed to get the assist of most of Leorux’s goals (shame he couldn’t get the glory to himself, but so it goes!) and he’ll be a major player for years to come.   It’s just a shame that nobody knows if anyone else on Leorux will ever reach Carles’ level. 

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Fans at Hanuna had been optimistic about their chances, given the teams solid improvements from the first season.   However, the Year 66 the Bluefins endured can only be described as cursed.  They had already lost forward Guacheemo of House Siwee due to a freak leg injury before the year even started (he wouldn’t play the entire season), but they would witness multiple members on offense being knocked out of actions for weeks on end, including midfielder (and player captain) Lellochatnim of House Gull and Alfenz of House Mohr, the team’s remaining best scoring threats.  In addition, Hanuna fans would have plenty of reason to complain, as there were more than a couple of occasions where Hanuna would seem to lose on a late controversial penalty or non-call that always seemed to screw the Bluefins over.  Yet even despite that, Hanuna had hung in there for most of the year, keeping just close enough to still have a chance at making a run for the title.   An unfortunate 4 game losing streak (with really bad non calls causing two of those) from Weeks 13-16 put paid to that idea, however.  By the end of the season, Hanuna sits in 8th place, with most football fans agreeing that they really deserved better.

One rather bright spot for the team has been their no name defense, which has proven yet again that Lellochatnim’s coaching has worked wonders on the squad, as they’ve only allowed 21 goals in the season, among the best in the league.   The one name in the defensive unit, Garlen of House Richenaan (Re-Chen-Non), despite this being his first year as a starter, is making waves with his impressive play and has made a case that he’s already one of the top 3 defenders in the league, commanding that end of the field with his aggressive play and a maturity far beyond his 23 years of age.   In his usual coaching wisdom, Lellochatnim has backed off yelling directions at the defense as the year has gone on, letting Garlen handle more and more of that responsibility.    Fans are disappointed with Hanuna’s year, but they can rest assured that with some better luck (which hopefully includes the offense getting back on track), Hanuna is still in a decent position to contend next year.

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If goal differential meant everything, Chalmblaank would have finished far higher in the standings than where they are currently sitting.   The offense, led by Sirge of House Einna and assisted by midfielders Alajandrus of House Capeburgh and Frazciscle of House Ailian had scored 28 goals by the end of the year, tied for 2nd in the league.   The defense wasn’t quite the steel wall it had been last year, but by Week 18, they’ve only allowed 23 goals, tied for 4th best.   However, Chalmblaank’s problem has been close contests.   They’ve blown too many games where they had leads late or have had to settle for draws against teams that they should have been able to beat easily (including tying both of their games against league worst Silagnak, which is simply a disgrace considering the talent differences between them).    Worse, against Each, the team most Chalmblaankians would probably now consider to be the team’s biggest rival, Chalmblaank couldn’t get anything going in those games, losing both of their contests (in fact, Earch has won all but 1 game in 3 years!), leaving a nasty taste in the fans’ mouths.   If they hadn’t sweep the series against their other hated rival, Petorvale, Year 66 would probably be considered the worst the city had ever seen (Chalmblaank, being a rich community, clearly doesn’t have many bad years). 

It does appear that losing or tying so many close games, along with blowing last year’s certain title, is having an impact on the players, or at least one of them.   Frazciscle, so confident/arrogant last year, seems at times lost as to what to do when he gets the ball deep in opposing terrority (he’s only score 2 goals all year, easily the lowest of his career, and one of those was a fluke pass that bounced off his leg just awkwardly enough to slip past the goalie).   There’s a real belief that his days as a football player could be coming to an end sooner than one would think.   If that happens, there’s no clear choice for a next captain, so there are real questions that will follow Chalmblaank into next offseason as to the direction the team will go.

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Going into the season, everyone had wanted to see if Earch could pull off the incredible three-peat and continue being the only team that had ever won the Avornian Football League.   After what has become a team staple inconsistent start to the season (trading wins and losses over the first 7 weeks), the Falcons found themselves once again going on a couple of decent unbeaten streaks throughout the year, and had found themselves in 1st Place on a couple of occasions.   However, the team’s play in the second half of Year 66 was going different than how Earch usually performed.  Part of the reason the Falcons could afford their slow starts was because they would then go on long winning streaks where they’d make up the point difference in the standings and eventually climb up to the top.   Once they made it to the top, they usually stayed there for the rest of the season.   This year, they were only tying games to earn just 1 point instead of 3, including an annoying three game tie streak that included draws with Silagnak and Leorux, teams Earch should have been able to defeat easily.   As those missed potential points started to add up, so too did the difficulty of getting ahead of the rest of the league.   Earch would eventually fall out of first place late in the season and after an embarrassing 4-1 loss to Hanuna in Week 17, Earch would find itself in a place it’s never been before, eliminated from the Avornian Football League Championship race. 

The team’s defense performed okay, though they’ve allowed 23 goals this season, the team’s worst ever effort (that’s still tied for 5th least allowed, so it’s not a terrible stat).   The problem was on offense, which never got going.   Dabu from House Namacka once again started the season slowly, but he never did quite blast off the way he normal does, ending with just 9 goals, his lowest yet.   Part of that problem was that Earch’s collective passing game was often a bit sloppy, several passes were aimed poorly, leading to several easy steals from the other team and ending way too many potential drives for the all reds.   New midfielder Daivan of House Banswell (the commissioner’s nephew) had a pretty rough season, many of the poor passes were directly his fault.   He actually is rather good at defense when he’s on that end of the field, but midfielders need to be able to do it all and Daivan seems a bit misplaced at that position.   By the end of the season, the Falcons only scored 22 goals, easily their fewest ever and 2nd least in the entire league, behind only inept Leorux.   For the first time ever, Earch will need to go into next season having to solve legitimate problems with the team and it remains to be seen if they can do it.

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Petorvale, more or less, proved in Year 66 that they are essentially the exact same team as they were last year.   The offense is once again very good, Svontal of House Dors is having yet another great year, scoring 13 goals, tied for the league lead.   Also emerging was efforts of midfielder Ceecil of House Ackerberry, who’s provided some extra oomph to the offense, scoring a neat 7 goals himself.  Ceecil’s issue though, is that like the rest of the Hammers, he stinks at playing defense.  Once again, Petorvale has struggled preventing teams from getting tons of shots off at the new goalie, Barnar of House Mubel.   While Barnar would prove indeed to be a more reliable goalkeeper than his predecessor, he seems a bit more fragile, having missed 4 games this year due to a head injury caused by Chalmblaank’s Sirge of House Einna colliding into him (as if Petorvale needed any more reason to hate the snobbish Chalmblaank, who also won both of their meetings).

Still, despite the defensive deficiencies, or perhaps due to the usual great offensive showings, Petorvale still made a decent showing of themselves in the standings.   Year 66 started rough though, as they only had 3 points by the end of Week 5 (1-0-4 record), immediately finding themselves in last place.   Thankfully, they started to find their rhythm, going unbeaten for 7 straight games (5-2-0 record, for 17 points), including a very nice 5 game win streak.  It seemed for a moment that the Hammers could actually jump into the race as a contenders, as they were only 1 point out of first place behind Jahnsel.  Unfortunately, they’ve lost Ceecil to a nagging foot injury that’s cost him the last 5 games, in which Petorvale has only won 1 game, meaning they’ve been eliminated from winning the championship.   There are good pieces here at Petorvale, but the team needs the defense to start stepping up, it’s been costing them too many games for too many years now.    On a side note, Hammen of House Tong has provided some solid leadership as the manager, the team hasn’t made nearly as many mental errors as they did last year (having Hammen at the sidelines where he can easily yell to the entire team with his foghorn voice is also helping).   Best of all, he’s enjoying being able to yell at his players during practices while they work out to keep in shape (especially now that he doesn’t have to do the hard work anymore!)

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For a team that had finished in 9th place last year, Anjocca seemed to be under a lot of pressure to immediately perform well for new (and first ever) owner Connavonn of House Duvaloi, the Anjoccian mayor’s son.   He had spent a lot of time pushing football to the community and it was time for the team to deliver a positive return on his investment.   So far, the team has played much better than expected.  2nd Year defender Gailor of House Omakyt has stepped up big time with his style of physical ball.   He’s been very good at keeping things clear in the penalty box area by the goal, but hasn’t been scared to purposely foul a forward that’s at risk of driving past the entire defense and nearing a 1 on 1 with goalie, Xaxi of House Pentuna.   This aggression hasn’t made him popular with the referees and opposing teams, but Xaxi and the rest of Anjocca love the guy.  Xaxi himself is having a career year, having allowed just 20 goals throughout the entire campaign (2nd lowest in the league), though the improved defense has certainly made his life much easier.   On offense, the team is still average at best, but Shaggu of House Khaldrem has provided Anjocca with a nice little passing option to compliment their best striker, Tobyas of House Stonner.  Tobyas is still the team leader in goals (and has been each year so far) but with Shaggu getting his fair share of opportunities to shoot, neither are going to challenge the league lead anytime soon, (not that either mind as long as the team is winning). 

The team is certainly winning more lately, staying close enough to the top of the leaderboard to never be completely out of reach.  Especially as of late, Anjocca has been on a red streak, having earned 13 points in the last 6 weeks from Weeks 12 through 17, with a 4-1-1 record.   That one loss looms largely, though, as it was what could be a critical defeat to nearby Dobo in what has suddenly become a rather chippy little rivalry.   Anjocca is already known for being a physical team, but Dobo has stepped to the plate, resulting in two very competitive (and temperamental) matchups.   The key is that Dobo has won both of them and with the red and blue team being higher in the standings, Anjocca may live to regret their failure to get past their newfound rival.  Nonetheless, with Week 18 approaching, Anjocca does still have a chance to win the championship, though a lot will have to go right for them to win it.

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Loeb of House Gammiz’s first full season as a manager was always going to come with questions.   He’s been great at keeping the team motivated throughout the franchise’s many ups and downs.  But now that the team is finally having a “normal” season, how would he handle the job once the focus would now be on his gameplanning?   Turns out, he’s been up to the task, as Tomen has consistently been at or near the top of the standings during the whole season, even being in 1st place at one point.   However, it’s not like the team has dominated at any point in the season, in fact they’ve only got a +2 goal differential for the year (if that meant everything in the standings, Tomen would be in a tie for 6th place instead of 3rd).  But the team does have a special trait most of the other teams in the league don’t have, which is being clutch.   On 4 separate occasions in Year 66, Tomen has managed to get the football into the opposing team’s net at the 80th minutes or later (out of 90 minutes), which has turned 4 potential ties into wins.   In fact, Tomen’s first tie didn’t occur until just recently in Week 17, a 2-2 draw with Petorvale.   The team’s intangibles have really made the difference for them, which is either very lucky, or perhaps a sign that Loeb has somehow managed to unlock far more out of this team than he really has a right to have.  

As a team, Tomen isn’t a supremely talented group.   However, for having several new starters, the offense has managed to overachieve greatly, working very well together to drive the ball down the field (usually the responsibility of Mishakl of House Floddergrove, easily the best individual player on the team), then making a high pass near the goal line, while the rest of the forwards and midfielders crash in at the same time, trying to get a neat little header through the net.   It’s not a complicated strategy, but it's been effective enough.   Defensively, things haven’t been as smooth.   The defensive unit is collectively very young, none of their 5 starters (4 defenders and 1 goalie) being older than 24 and the relative lack of playing experience is very obvious.   Tomen has allowed 25 goals at this point, tied for 3rd worst in the league (if Silagnak and Leorux weren’t having historically bad defensive years, Tomen’s weak defense would likely be a bigger talking point).   There definitely will be some growing pains on that end of the field.   Nonetheless, with one week to go, and despite being a rather average club with no real clubs and over reliant on heart and clutch, Tomen still has a real chance to win the championship, which would make a great Cinderella story!

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If Jahnsel fails to win the championship this season, it won’t be near as heartbreaking as Chalmblaank’s Choke last year, but it’ll still be mighty disappointing.    After getting off to a torrid start (15 points in 7 weeks, for a 5-0-2 record), the white team has cooled down quite a bit.  In truth, they’ve been a bit streaky after the fast start, getting a neat little 2-3 winning streak together, then losing or tying the next 2-3.   They’ve also been jockeying with several other teams for 1st place, between Tomen early in the year, Earch for much of the midseason, and only recently, Dobo.  It’s perhaps only fitting that Jahnsel is in a real battle with 3 other teams in Week 18 for the title.   They’ve held off some teams, perhaps they can do it again next week.

If Jahnsel is to win the championship, it’ll be through their offense, which is something special, having tied the Year 65 Earch team for most goals scored with 32 (and with one more game to play, they’re likely to break that record).  Their aggressive strategy of capitalizing on opposing team’s turnover to make a quick vertical attack to the other goal has worked rather well, thanks to Bili of House Yelbow’s emergence as a likely superstar.   His speed and quick, decisive dribbles around slower defender has opened up several shots on goal, leading the Avornian Football League with 13 goals so far- tying Svontal from Petorvale for the league lead.  He’s most memorably managed in Week 16 to score a goal off of a corner kick (granted, it was against hated rival Silagnak, who’s leaky defense is probably the only one that would have allowed such a goal, but it’s still an awesome moment) proving he’s got a cannon for a leg.   When the quick vertical attack doesn’t work, player captain Derrec of House Smyt has done well to help pick up the slack, and has been the team’s best option to score when things get crowded near the goal line.   If only the defense were near as good as the offense.  They’re tied with Tomen for the 3rd worst defense in the league and that weakness has absolutely cost Jahnsel on several occasions.  Hopefully it can hold up in Week 18 to give them a chance to win it all!

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Perhaps the biggest story of the season has been Dobo, who had been considered one of the worst run franchises in the league up to this point.  They were certainly expected to be a better team in Year 66, likely to finished near the middle of the standings.   But absolutely nobody outside of Dobo throughout the kingdom of Avornia had thought that they’d have a chance to challenge for the title, let alone be in 1st place after 17 weeks.  While they only started the season off fairly averagely, as the weather has gotten colder, they’ve gotten hotter, having won their last 4 games.   A big part of the reason they are contending now has been the team’s defense, long a source of scorn and ridicule.   Things have changed as defensive chief Wahwmah of House Taccew has instilled a level of toughness the team’s never had before.   It helps too that nearly every member of the defense is having a career year.   Take goalie Tumac of House Sashtane for example.  Usually considered a rather bad goal keeper, he has suddenly been nearly impossible to get footballs past.   The Slap Wrestling tournament Wahwmah ran in the offseason seems to have lighted a fire in his spirit, as Tumac has become much more courageous in the situations where he has to leave the goalie’s net to rush for a ball while a striker is also charging at it, having gotten really good at timing when he can snatch that ball just in time to prevent a shot at goal.   When corner kicks get the ball near the goal, he’s figured out when to leap at the ball and when to stay put in the goal, which is just another layer to his dramatically improved game.    Really, the entire defense has been outstanding.  Dobo’s offense, though, is still a problem.   In a year where league scoring has increased by quite a lot, Dobo still has only scored 23 goals the entire season, tied for 3rd lowest in the league.   This is largely due to Wahwmah’s preferred ball control strategy, the teams takes a long time passing and holding onto the ball instead of risking wasting shots at goal, so it was to be a bit expected.   Even so, it’s probably a bit fortunate that their defense has been as great as it has been, since Dobo’s goal differential is only +4, which would easily be the worst a champion has ever achieved if they do hold onto the league lead.

Speaking of which, Dobo only just took over 1st place in the standings just last week, after their 4th straight week.   To be fair, they’ve been fairly consistent in Year 66, but until recently, they’ve always been hovering a few points behind first place, whether it be behind Tomen, Earch, or Jahnsel.   Luckily, nobody has really stepped up enough to run away with the lead, which means Dobo’s 30 points is just enough to top the standings.  

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With a remarkable 4 teams still in contention for the Avornian Football Championship, Week 18 is going to be a very dramatic one indeed.    

Dobo has their destiny in their hands, a win over a talented, but rather unlucky Chalmblaank club would grant them a rather shocking championship.   However, don’t think Chalmblaank wouldn’t love to break someone’s heart this year after the way Year 65 ended for them and most analysts would agree that Chalmblaank might still be the better team of the two anyway.

Should Dobo failed to win, Jahnsel would have fate in their hands, as they play an Earch club who’s defense is definitely still good enough to prevent Jahnsel from scoring many (or any!) goals, but who’s offense might not be good enough to penetrate even Jahnsel’s weak defense. 

Likely the most interesting matchup has Tomen vs Anjocca, the other two teams that still can win a championship.   The fact that they face each other means this will be must watch material, especially since for either team to have a chance, they absolutely MUST defeat the other, a tie will eliminate both teams.  Even a win doesn’t guarantee a championship, but with Dobo and Jahnsel’s talented (if disappointing) opponents, it’s certainly a real possibility.  

Who will win the championship?   Find out next time, for the conclusion of the Year 66 Avornian Football League season!


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Yesterday 12:04 am  #16


Re: Avornian Football League

I've fully caught up and jumped on the Petorvale bandwagon.  
Hopefully they find a defense while Svontal and Ceecil are still playing well. 
Love the series Stickman! 
 


Only the written records of his travels survive.
 

Yesterday 9:18 am  #17


Re: Avornian Football League

Balu the Bare wrote:

I've fully caught up and jumped on the Petorvale bandwagon.  
Hopefully they find a defense while Svontal and Ceecil are still playing well. 
Love the series Stickman! 
 

Thanks!   Always appreciate the kind words and I'm glad you're enjoying the series!

Petorvale definitely has the offense to keep themselves in any game, I would definitely imagine them being one of, if not the, most entertaining team to watch for sure.   We'll see if their manager, Hammen (one of my favorite characters to write up so far) can find the prospects to shore up the defense, because that likely is all that's preventing them from contending for the championship!
 


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