July 23, 2006 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)
The inaugural championship of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League lived up to its billing on July 22, as the Port Huron Pirates won a hard-fought battle against Rochester for the third time, 40-34. For the third time, the game was in doubt all the way until the final minute, as a late Matt Cottengim pass to Mike Kallfelz again created a one-score margin.
The beginning of the game was the opposite of their first two encounters, as both teams scored two touchdowns. After a 1-yard Maurice Jackson catch gave Rochester a 21-14 lead, Port Huron put the clamps on the potent Raider offense. Between that play and the Kallfelz catch with 00:43 left in the game, Port Huron outscored the Raiders 26-6.
The Pirates defense came up with big play after big play, as Ed Bynes recorded a sack and about a dozen pressures on Cottengim, earning him the Great Lakes Bowl I MVP award. The defensive presence forced Cottengim into numerous bad throws, one that was intercepted by Shawn Hackett.
After the game, Bynes wanted nothing to do with his individual accolades. "This team is why we won. Without guys like Frager, Jackson, Franzer, Askew, Bausley, Cousins, Hackett, I don\'t win this. We don\'t win the championship."
Cottengim, who won the Vincent Cleveland Memorial Trophy for being the league\'s MVP, had a poor night (mainly because of Bynes), completing 15 of 29 passes for 140 yards, four touchdowns and the Hackett interception. Jackson caught eight of those passes for 65 yards and two scores. His counterpart, Shane Franzer, completed 7/11 for 123 yards with a touchdown.
Rayshawn Askew again was a key player in the game. Though he fumbled twice, Rayshawn scored the biggest touchdown of the season, from 16 yards out. To score, he spun around a pair of Rochester defenders and got the ball just into the end zone. This after Shane Franzer recovered his second fumble on the same drive.
Pirates head coach Brian Hug was thankful for the opportunity this team gave him. "I\'m proud to be a part of this team. I won\'t ever coach a better group of guys." His performance as Pirates head coach earlier in the season earned him a high school job as head coach and athletic director of Pahrump Valley High School in Nevada.
The GLIFL has one more game, the inaugural GLIFL All-Star Game on August 5, 2006, at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA. The league sincerely thanks all of the fans that have made our first season a huge success.