Axemen win 4th Championship Title
The 121 Financial Jacksonville Axemen went undefeated for the 2022 season after a 36-12 win over the Tampa Mayhem. This is the 4th National Championship title for the Axemen in their 17th season. The Tampa Mayhem are the 2021 National Champions.
Having met up twice already this season, both teams were very evenly matched and they were very close games with the Axemen sneaking out the win in each game. In the previous match ups the score was very much back and forth, but in the final it was the Axemen who took the lead and ran with it.
The Axemen scored first with a try out wide by wing James Williams. Conversion kick from Luke Findlay brought the opening score to 6-0. James Williams followed up with another try, this time the conversion is no good and the score moved up to 10-4. They Tampa Mayhem found their footing and capitalized off some penalties to put 4 points on the board, but the Axemen’s Josh Westerlund responded with a try of his own just minutes later. Findlay’s conversion was good for a score of 16-4. Tampa, desperate to hold on, scored another 4 points just before the half, and both teams took the break with a 16-8 score.
The second half was nearly total domination from the Axemen, with James Williams scoring a hat trick, Justin Williams with two tries, and 2 more tries by Steven Hill and Vashon Marrs. The score was 36-8 when the final try was scored by the Mayhem, but their fate was already sealed and the clock ticked down to secure a 36-12 win by the Jacksonville Axemen.
Axemen co-founder and general manager Drew Slover was proud of the team for the work they’ve put in this season. “I am proud of the team for how hard they have worked all season,” says Slover. “This season everyone was focused on the task at hand and Coach Sean Rutgerson did a great job developing some new young players. It’s great when the work pays off with a championship.”
Tampa co-founder, coach and manager Billy Neilson was disappointed with the loss, especially with better performances during the season. “Congrats to Jacksonville on the win. They deserved it. We picked the wrong day to have our worst game of the season. We knew going into the game we couldn’t make many mistakes, and Jax is too fast and too disciplined to give them extra opportunities. We didn’t take care of the ball and couldn’t complete sets. They turned out mistakes into points and pulled away in the second half.”
“Tampa caught us sleeping last year and went on to win the championship, “Says Slover.” The Axemen were determined not to let that happen again. It’s not an easy feat to go up against a team as good as the Mayhem 3 times in a season. Now we can take the momentum from the win and keep building for 2023.”