AFFL Dual Final – Fighting Cancer vs Florida Fury
In the latter of the two 2019 AFFL dual final games, defending champions Fighting Cancer faced off against the newly developed, star-studded Florida Fury team in what would become the consensus game of the year. Established as the league’s two professional teams prior to tournament seeding, both Fighting Cancer and Florida Fury would make their season debuts in this dual final showdown. The winner of these two well-rested teams would go on to face the amateur champions, Texas Money Team, in the 2019 AFFL Ultimate Final.
Eager to compete and win at the most elite level, Florida Fury team leaders Danny Wuerffel and Mike Vick approached the game with extreme preparation and focus. Their efforts immediately reflected on the team’s performance. Just one minute into the game, Florida Fury intelligently utilized one of their best weapons: ex-Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Jason Avant. On second down and 30, Avant rose over his defender to complete a Randy Moss-esque catch for the first down. Retired New York Knick Nate Robinson displayed great joy and passion alongside his fellow defensive teammates on the sideline as they demonstrated full support during team Fury’s promising offensive attack. Following the star receiver’s highlight, Avant caught back to back passes including a wide-open touchdown reception that put the game’s first points on the board.
Florida Fury impressively held the 2018 AFFL champions scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the game, until Fighting Cancer found the end zone with 19:56 left in the first half. Their MVP quarterback Darrell “Housh” Doucette connected with wideout Ouslet Volcy for Fighting Cancer’s first score of the day.
Though 1996 Florida Gator Heisman trophy winner Danny Wuerffel started at quarterback for team Fury, Michael Vick proved he can still throw the football well when he completed an 18-yard pass halfway through the first of two periods. Wuerffel pitched it to Vick, who got his throw off just in time as he was instantly pressured by “Housh” Doucette.
After regaining possession of the ball, Fighting Cancer marches down and scores again. Volcy tallies his second touchdown, but this time he runs a handoff into the end zone after a pass interference call against team Fury placed Fighting Cancer just short of the goal line. With the game tied six minutes prior to halftime, Fighting Cancer is able to cover the field and score again. In typical fashion, Housh leads his team down the field and finds Ouslet Volcy for his third score of the half as time expires.
Down 19-13 at halftime, Florida Fury started the second period with newfound energy. Doucette was picked off just one minute into the half, and team Fury capitalized by adding 7 points to their total on a third down and goal.
Momentum began to visibly shift when Fighting Cancer’s turnover on downs was followed by a long touchdown catch by team Fury’s Terrence Williams. Fighting Cancer’s inability to score on the very next set of downs resulted in Florida Fury further increasing the game’s point differential. Wuerffel found Williams for another touchdown, which would contribute to the wideout’s game total of 96 yards and three scores. The extra point attempt was successful, with Danny Wuerffel targeting Mike Vick in the end zone for the short reception. The NFL legend expressed great emotion after his conversion with an emphatic Gronk-spike celebration. A 34-19 lead with just eight minutes remaining on the running clock seemed promising for Florida Fury: a team positioning themselves to head to their first ever Ultimate Final. That being said, there’s a reason Fighting Cancer is widely considered the world’s best flag football team. Never count them out.
A Fighting Cancer score at the two-minute mark regenerates hope for the aspiring back to back champions. Down nine, they successfully execute an onside attempt to maintain possession of the ball. Housh zips it in the end zone to Davis with 1:22 to bring the reigning champs within three. Then Fighting Cancer pulled off the most important play of the game. Volcy receives a backwards lateral from Doucette and heaves an opposite-field prayer to the left side of the end zone that miraculously ends up in the hands of a double covered Darren Hilliard. The wide receiver’s unmatched leaping ability helps Fighting Cancer convert on the three-point attempt and send this thriller into overtime.
Florida Fury began overtime with possession, but Fighting Cancer’s relentless defense would stand their ground. After a turnover on downs, it was Fighting Cancer’s turn. On second and goal, they attempt a trick play with a quick lateral that is intercepted by Florida Fury. As we’ve seen him do before, Housh Doucette chases down the speedy defender and prevents the winning score. Since AFFL overtime rules grant a team all four downs starting at the opponent’s twenty-five-yard line with the only exception being an offensive or defensive score, Fighting Cancer was given the ball back for a third down and goal. Far too experienced to make the same mistake twice, Fighting Cancer scores and converts the extra point. With a chance at redemption, Florida Fury is able to score a touchdown. The team’s fate lies in their ability to convert the extra point and re-tie the game. Team Fury botches the snap and fumbles the ball, resulting in a heartbreaking ending to an amazingly hard-fought battle. Fighting Cancer capped off the comeback with a 41-40 win, and they now prepare to face Texas Money Team in the Ultimate Final.
Doucette led the way for Fighting Cancer, completing 18 of 35 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns. Team Florida Fury gave it their all behind Wuerffel’s 330 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Congratulations to Fighting Cancer for advancing to their second straight AFFL title game!