WORLD LEAGUE – On opening weekend of the 2018 season, the World League Defending Champion Scandinavia Stars showed they were ready to pick up right where they left off, defeating London Falling 112-62 in Week 1’s Premier Match. The game was a repeat of last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals that the Stars won by a similar score of 111-78 and puts the Stars ahead 7-6 in the teams up in all-time head to head match-ups. Scandinavia heads next to face the Wild Boars of Milan on their quest to head back to he World Bowl in what would be a third consecutive appearance, while London gets a chance to turn things around in their match with Jerusalem.
Last season’s league and Eastern Conference #2, the Old England Patriots flexed their dominance in Week 1 as well, pummeling the Jerusalem Cheeseheads 117-61. England and Scandinavia were in a neck and neck standings race through most of the 2017 regular season, and the Patriots’ win to open the 2018 campaign puts the two of them right back in a new battle. Niether of those conference powerhouses, however, will start the season first in conference, as the Dublin Bay Prawns edge England out by a point after their 118-85 win over Milan to kick off 2018. That sets up an intrigueing Anglo-Irish showdown for week 2 as the pair play each other in an early-season #1 vs #2 match-up.
In the Western Conference, the mighty Mexico Aztecs ruined the New Orleans Acadians’ debut as the newly relocated Arizona Thunderbirds, 126-99 in the high desert match-up. Mexico was absolutely destroyed, 106-49 in last years Western Conference Championship, but they’ll start 2018 ahead of last year’s champs, as the Buenos Aires Blue Dogs fall in their 2018 opener. The World League’s newest franchise, the Youngstown Mafia beat the Dogs 92-75 in their league debut. Youngstown takes over the old Dacusville franchise after the Devils retired at the end of the 2017 season, moving the WFL’s smallest market up the road from South Carolina to the cradle of football in Ohio. The bigest surprise of opening weekend in the west, though, was City of Champions’ 131-76 steamrolling of Cali Rox. The Edmonton, Canada franchise, after finishing last season in last place, took advantage of the #1 overall pick in the draft to secure franchise halfback Sasquan “Sasquatch” Barkley, and then followed with a pick at 8th overall (Brandin Cooks) from a trade brokered with Dacusville last season and then the first pick in the 2nd round (Demaryious Thomas) giving them 3 picks in the first 13 of the draft. With their very positive 2018 draft and returning starters like Drew Brees and Dalvin Cook, CoC has put themselves immediately into the conversation for best in the west. They’ll get a chance to follow their statement win with another as they take on Mexico next week, in another unexpected, early season #1 vs #2. Youngstown takes their show to Cali next, while Arizona must face Buenos Aires.