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Chicago Slaughter to play for CIFL championship

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photo.jpgWith 23 seconds left in the first half, wide receiver Donovan Morgan could be seen standing on the Chicago Slaughter bench, doing the pop-and-lock as the Jonas Brothers' "That's the Way We Roll" blasted over the loudspeaker.  But that wasn't the most interesting thing that happened at the Slaughter-Wisconsin Wolfpack playoff game Saturday night at the Sears Centre.

That honor could go to former Channel 5 reporter Amy Jacobson, who split the uprights for two of her three attempted field goals during a celebrity halftime showcase.

The honor could go to the throngs of kids wielding two-foot horns that they used interchangeably as musical devices and clubs with which to beat each other.

The honor could go to quarterback Russ Michna, who completed 16 of his 24 passes for 264 yards and six -- yes, six -- touchdowns and didn't bother to button his chinstrap for the second half.

But I have to say the most interesting thing I saw Saturday night was the clinic put on by the entire Chicago Slaughter team on the field, which resulted in a 63-19 shalacking of the Wolfpack. The Slaughter win earned the team its first trip to the Continental Indoor Football League Championship, to be played next Saturday at the Sears Centre.
And Slaughter coach Steve "Mongo" McMichael would really like it if you would come support his team.

If the Slaughter players are at all humble about their 13-0 record this season, they do a horrible job of showing it. For proof, take the following touchdown celebrations:

  • 42-year-old Nick Cosentino, after scoring one of the Slaughter's two rushing touchdowns, scurried to midfield where he pretended the ball was a can of beer, cracked it open, chugged it and beat his chest as he fake belched.

  • The third quarter ended with a scrambling throw from one sideline to another for a third Bobby Sippio touchdown. And just as I was asking myself what needs to be done to elicit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in this league, I got my answer. Sippio took the ball to the center of the field where he set it down to use as a pillow to rest his head as he curled up for a nap. But he wasn't done there. DeJuan Alonzo then joined him, Slaughter blanket in tow, and covered his snoozing teammate as the rest of the players from both teams waited to boot the extra point. There was a flag on the play.

BobbySippio.jpgBobby Sippio catches a pass during Saturday night's game against the Wisconsin Wolfpack. The Slaughter won 63-19. >>>>

After the game, however, Michna seemed for a brief moment to be genuinely humbled by the experience. He gave the credit for his success to Sippio, the former Kansas City Chief who finished with 8 catches for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Donovan Morgan, who chipped in 4 catches and 2 touchdowns.

"Most of the time, if they don't touch the ball it's because I made a bad throw," said Michna.

He did allow a bit of conceit to seep through when he was asked about his team's unblemished record.

"That was the plan from day one," said Michna. "We expected to come in and go undefeated."

Of course they did. The Slaughter snagged some of the Chicago Rush's top players in guys like Morgan, Michna, Sippio, defensive lineman Khreem Smith and hard-hitting linebacker DeJuan Alfonzo.

It's as if you and your buddies decided to get together for a game of pickup hoops and the Bulls' starting five happened to be there, challenged you to a game to 11 and talked smack throughout the massacre.

But it's tough to find anything to dislike about a guy like Michna who works a day job and, on the weekends, plays a bit of championship-caliber indoor football -- a guy who readily admits he's playing for no other reason but the love of the game.

"Any chance I get to play football," said Michna after the game, "I'm gonna take it."

Slaughter coach Steve McMichael was bursting with bombast during the post-game press conference, and perhaps rightfully so.

"This is the feeling I wanted these guys to have," he said of his players. "Just like in the 80s -- that defense I had with the Chicago Bears. There was an attitude there, a feeling, 'Here we come. Better fasten your chin strap.'"

Or, in Michna's case, don't bother to fasten it at all.

By all accounts, it seemed like a healthy crowd for a Slaughter game. Almost the entire lower south end of the stadium was full of fans. But McMichael, the always-outspoken '85 Bear, expects more from Chicago football fans. You have to hand it to him though -- the guy truly believes in the talent of the players that he and his staff have assembled to play for the Slaughter.

He says he recently told Bears' general manager Jerry Angelo at a golf outing, "If you think Rashied Davis is better than my two receivers sitting over here in Donovan Morgan and Bobby Sippio, maybe you ought to re-think your scouting department."

McMichael seemed genuinely hurt by "these blue-collar fans in Chicago that didn't show up," and urged reporters after the game to "write about what they're missing."

So, blue collar football fans of Chicago (and you know who you are), this is what you're missing if you weren't among the 8,400 or so exuberant souls in attendance at last night's Slaughter game:

You're missing the Steve McMichael Show -- in all its uncensored exuberance and unapologetic glory. And you're missing a guaranteed win from a Chicago football team -- something this city hasn't seen since, frankly, 1985.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on June 21, 2009 1:58 AM.

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