New England Football League Cats and Dogs | New England Football League
New England Football League

Cats and Dogs

Saturday’s matchup between the undefeated Rhode Island Wardogs and the surging Connecticut Panthers will be the NEFL’s GAME OF THE WEEK. The teams, however successful, play two different types of games and get their wins in opposite manners.

The Wardogs are headlined by top rated passer Jeff Costa. Last season Costa finished with a league high 28 touchdown passes while completing over 50 percent of his throws. “He throws the ball better than anybody in the league” said an opposing coach. “He can make every throw on the field. And his team is set up for him to succeed.” Their four receiver sets are led by Elliot Wright and Antonio Mena. “They have a ton of guys who can hurt you. Offensively they are the best in AAA.” In 5 games the Wardogs have score over 40 more points than any team in the Colonial Conference while averaging over 30 points per contest.

The Panthers have been somewhat under the radar but their 3-1 record shows that they are again a championship contender. No different than the past, the Panthers are spearheaded by their team defense. In their four games this season, the Panthers have only allowed 25 points, which is less than a touchdown per game. “They’ve been making it hard on opposing offenses for years; and now they have more on the other side of the ball”. A team that relied on the big play for years has acquired a true pocket passer. Jason Manson has thrown 2 scores in three games in 2017 and has done most of his damage behind a beefed up offensive headlined by offensive tackle Mike Swartz. Running back Kevin Woolfolk is now their go-to runner and has had his most productive season since his rookie year.

The Wardogs were both the top seed and host of the AAA Championship game last season. Winning 21-3 at halftime, the Wardogs allowed 21 unanswered second half points and lost what was one of the most exciting title games in NEFL history. “There’s no way that still isn’t on the minds of their staff and core guys. They’re playing this year to get back there and take the crown. “Right now they are playing better than anyone and should get that opportunity.”

The Panthers have maybe their most balanced team since their back to back championship seasons. A regrettable 5-5 season last year saw Coach Mark Welch do some serious offseason recruiting. Along with top players came administrator Anthony Medeiros. “Anthony is a top talent evaluator and team organizer. The Panthers became an even better team when they brought him in.”

“This is the game I’ve been waiting for” said NEFL Representative Bernie Armstrong. “Arguably the best offense against the top defense. It doesn’t get any better. The two team could be giving us a preview of the Colonial Championship game. I’ll be sure to see who wins round one.”

Phil Terio (18) and the Panthers defense are allowing less than a touchdown per game

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