The 2011 Super League regular season is over with several teams playing for pride or just trying to end with a positive note.
The Chicago Griffins defeated the Chicago Lions 41-19 to finish 2-4. Andrew Suniula scored 21 with a try, five conversions and two penalties. Glynn Edwards scored two tries. The Lions dropped to 3-3.
The win for the Griffins might have been thought as a surprise, but it's worth pointing out that the Griffins' season, in retrospect, wasn't that bad. Their opening loss was by a point to NYAC. After a poor game versus the Lions, 21-3, they posted scores of 16-25 v. Life, 22-16 over Old Blue, and 27-34 v. Boston. Three of their four losses, then, were by a total of 17 points.
Also in the East, Life needed some second-half heroics to beat Boston and secure the home field semi against that self-same Boston team.
The game with most at stake was the Life University and Boston clash, with the winner to get home field advantage in the semi final game between the two sides in two weeks. It was an absorbing clash, played at a high tempo pace that never relented. Boston got off to an great start, with Nick Elrick kicking a penalty immediately following the start of the game. Ten minutes later, Life took advantage of a Boston knock on by sending winger Steve Petzel over in the corner for an unconverted try. Shortly after, Life were awarded a penalty near the Boston line and center Paul Emerick, sensing a mismatch, took the quick tap and crashed over for a try. Five minutes later, it was Boston to take advantage of a knock-on, with Elrich getting over the line for a try.
After a long period of territorial advantage, Brennan Moore scored for Boston, and the Elrick conversion pushed the score to 15-10 for Boston. Shortly after, a missed pass in Life’s midfield was pounced upon by Elrick who took it 50 meters for another score. His conversion brought the score to 22-10. Deep into the first half, Petzel scored again for the visitors, and the Aaron McMaster conversion left the score at 22-17.
The second half was equally entertaining, starting with Mark Aylor scoring Life’s fourth try about five minutes in, recapturing the lead but more importantly securing the bonus point and guaranteeing home field advantage for the semifinal. Life extended the lead shortly after, with prop Seth Strauss running a great angle on a pop pass to crash over the tryline, McMaster again converting. Boston replied quickly, with Marcus McAllister evading several would-be tacklers to narrow the gap to 27-31. Life would have the final say however, with reserve Tui Osborne finishing off a long run to leave the final score at 36-27 in Life’s favor.
And NYAC finished 3-3 with a 51-15 defeat of Old Blue.
Frank Gianchetta scored three tries for the AC.
In the West, SFGG won as expected 97-7 against Dallas. Mile Pulu scored four tries for SFGG and Volney Rouse hit nine conversions. And the Utah Warriors handled a delayed plane into Seattle and beat OPSB 29-22. Eagle lock, playing flanker, John van der Giessen was a massive factor for the Warriors, helping them put in a much better performance in the set pieces. Mike Palefau scored two tries.