2023 Schedule Week 5 Games to Watch

by Doug Horning

The 2023 Tri-Point Football League Schedules have been released!

(previous weeks posted below) (Master Schedule Image at the bottom)One of the most exciting times in the TPFL offseason is the release of the regular season schedule. It’s no secret how impatient football fans and players can be, but in the world of semi pro… it can reach a whole different level. Teams are off to the races preparing for the season now that they know their opponents. Most teams have begun their indoor practices while a few gritty teams brave the tri-state weather.

As we get closer to the season, let’s take a week by week look at some of the games to keep an eye on. We will post a new article over the next 8 weeks that will feature what games we think will be the most exciting and why.

Week 5 - July 8th:

Greensburg Golden Hawks At cleveland cobras
                by week 5 The goldenhawks could still be rolling as a top tpfl team. just to lay out the recent G'Hawks news as of this entry into this article: The reighning TPFL Champs, A national bowl appearence, Their RB scoring on national tv as an xfl player... those high notes could start them on a roll as the season begins and give an already talented team a heck of a boost to start this season and possibly ride all the way to the playoffs. The Cobras are gonna be super talented. They have easily been the most active team in the offseason and by week 5 we will know if all those ingredients make a winning recipe.
- prediction - the further into the season I get with this article, the harder these predictions become. the hawks are the reigning champs and that carries a ton of weight. the cobras may think it's sweet, but there may be some lumps in their pudding. Hawks by 6.

Mahoning valley federals vs the cleveland rams
               Both teams just joined the tpfl as of this entry and both teams are completely different on paper. the feds are gonna be super young and young can mean two things. either they are hungry and resilient and by week 5 they are put together and clicking.. or they could be inexperienced enough that they struggle under pressure and split at the seems a bit. Structure and coaching will be key. The rams have been loading up on talented vets to mix with their young group. A few key additions make them a wildcard option for a ring chase. Will structure and system be able to topple talent and expirience?
- Prediction - I'm familiar with the rams and their organization, but there has been a ton of turn around from the previous season to this one. so both teams are unknows as of this entry. I'm going big talent over youth and energy. Rams over feds by 12.

Week 4 - June 24th:

Canton Hurricanes at Mahoning Valley Ruff Ryderz
                The Canton Hurricanes should be coming into this game knowing exactly who they are gonna be. It's week four after all. While they may not be on many list as a top 5 team in Tri-Point, they do have some interesting enough pieces to shock a few teams. Their quarterback stands out as a legit threat this season. He's Shifty and fast fast with a solid arm. The Ryderz will have to hope their sneaky good defense can contain him. If they can keep this guy in the pocket and pressure him up the middle then Ryderz can slow the canes offense to a crawl... But can the Ryderz offense get the points needed to out score the Canes? What makes this game so interesting is the promise of a solid county to county rivalry.
- Prediction - This one may be too close to call. I don't think either offense will get rolling. either team, 15-12.

Ohio Gladiators at Cleveland Cobras
                OOOoh boy this one is possibly one of the biggest games of the regular season. Will the Glads talent still carry over from last year and amount to success? Will the swarm of new talent brought in by the cobras translate to the powerhouse everyone is expecting. This is a huge challenge for both teams. By week 4 the Cobras should be confident and sitting pretty in the standings. although The gladiators may still be renting a room in the back of the cobras minds after outscoring them 56-0 over two games in 2022. Quarterback..? I feel like there is two glaring questions about who will be taking snaps in this game... Who will be the Cobras starting QB and How old is Danny skalecki really? Does any of that matter? Personally I think it'll come down to which O-Line can slow down the other team's pash Rush.
- Prediction - If i'm watching this game live (hint: I will be) then all i am looking at is the trenches. I expect both teams Offensive tackles to be tested to the max. It may come down to who can get penetration up the middle. Who the hell knows who'll win this one, but once the film is posted on the TPFL youtube channel...you better take notes.

Week 3 – June 17th:

Ohio Gladiators at Mountain State Outlaws
                The reigning Buckeye Division Champion Ohio Gladiator may have made it to the TPFL Championship last season, but fell short in the final game. Head Coach Chris Ballentine led the Glads to a undefeated regular season and built the TPFL’s top offense (30+ ppg) and top def (less than 7 ppg allowed). The Gladiators are returning with nearly every single player from last year and some added talent to boot. For the third week in a row, the Outlawz are in one of our games to watch. This game pits two of semi-pro’s original social media trolls. Coach Ballentine and Coach Cole helped build and cultivate the social media hype and trash-talking that is now a permanent ingredient in semi-pro football culture. By week three we should know if the Outlawz are continuing the winning pedigree from the once great Storm teams from a couple years ago. This week will also mark the first real challenge for the Gladiators and may set the tone for the remainder of their season.
- Prediction - The Gladiators travel really well and should go down to the Outlawz at near full power. I expect a great game in all facets, but Glads by 10.

Cleveland Cobras at Port City Spartans
                Jessie Caldwell’s Cobras have easily been the most active team in semi-pro in our area. He’s brought in a ton of new talent from failing area teams for Head Coach Adam Rogerson to put to good use. As one of the top teams in the TPFL last year and now considered one of the favorites to hoist the trophy in August… they take the season’s longest drive for any TPFL team. Portsmouth’s Port City Spartans are the only team in the TPFL that’s been around as long as the Cobras, maybe longer. Either way there is almost 40 years of combined existence between the two teams. The Cobras are excited to compete at the historic Spartans Municipal Stadium, once home of the NFL’s Portsmouth Spartans in the 1930’s. Coach Robinson of the Spartans will be ready and waiting. At this point the Cobras are on the minds of any team that has them on their 2023 schedule, so there won’t be any surprises here. Both teams will come out strong at the start.
- Prediction – The Cobras travel on long hauls better than any team in the TPFL. So this game will be as close to full rosters as possible for both teams. The Spartans will know what they are up against. I think this game will come down to who has the better game plan and applies it. Both staffs seem to be really good… Close game and whoever wins will squeak by in overtime.

Week 2 - june 10th:

Steel City Bobcats vs Cleveland Cobras
               for the second week in a row the bobcats are featured in our "games to watch". this time they are facing another top tpfl team from 2022. the cobras have made it no secret that they have been adding talent from all over the cleveland area. with the demise of the pfa's outlaws and the peekaboo rams folding and resurecting within a month... the cobras had a ton of talent at their doorstep. the bobcats will have their work cut out for them. this game puts one of last year's pfa playoff teams up against a tpfl playoff team that should be on the rise.
prediction - if the cobras' new parts are all clicking as a unit then this could be a blowout, if not then cobras by 10 in a back and forth battle.

Tri-State Longhorns vs Mountain state outlawz
               The battle for charleston! will the outlawz come into this game riding high from week one, or might they come in slumping from a loss to their cross-river rival... the spartans? The outlaws will be facing a second year tpfl team touting a new face. Gone are the wv black Knights and in their place is the TS Longhorns. The longhorns have proven to have more heart than almost any semi-pro team in recent years and you will never see this scrappy team give up. They ended 2022 with a strong foundation and a lot to build on. Winning this game would make the L'horns catch fire and a high like that could prove to be a legit task to knock them down from. Fittingly this game gives a "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" feel. Will the underdog shock the favorite?
prediction - i think the outcome of this game could depend on the results of week one, but a betting man would say outlawz win by 17.

Week 1 – June 3rd:

Mountain State Outlawz at Port City Spartans
                Both of these teams are new to the TPFL, but neither team is wet behind the ears. The Spartans are a tough and talented team and their two decades of experience is telling them that the Outlawz may be their toughest competition in the Mountain Division. On the other side of this long-time rivalry is the Outlawz who are led by semi pro stalwart, Billy Cole. Expect this game to be an old-fashioned slobber knocker with a serious dose of ground and pound.
- Prediction – Either team by a score or less

Steel City Bobcats at Pittsburgh Saints
                The reigning Keystone Division Champion Pittsburgh Saints look to improve on a great 2022 season by steadily adding talent and continuing their consistent and even approach to team building. Look for a more explosive offense this year from second year Offensive Coordinator, Savon Tipton. A young Bobcats team joins the TPFL after a relatively successful season in the PFA in 2022. Capitalizing on that young energy and staying disciplined will give them their best chance to come out on top in their first TPFL game. Having two Pittsburgh teams clash is enough to be a game to watch, but this game may provide us with a subtle hint about the competition in other leagues around our area.
- Prediction – High scoring game for both teams, but Saints hold on to a lead late in the game for the win.