The three conference champions will submit their Week 17 lineup to the Commissioner before the games begin. The conference champion with the highest combined score over Weeks 16-17 will be crowned OIL Champions, have their name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy, and receive a custom team mini-helmet.
SHAWNEE — What a way to finish off a championship season. After a star-studded season that included a 10-3 record, Kevin Pyle and Lucky Enuf rode rookie QB Sam Darnold and free-agent signing C.J. Anderson to a championship Sunday, beating the Whackers 163.95-154.30 for their third championship in 13 seasons. The matchup was a re-match of the very first OIL Bowl in 2006.
After winning the inaugural OIL Bowl in 2006, Pyle had to wait until 2012 before learning he'd been recognized as a co-champion for 2008. Lucky Enuf and SoonerJack famously tied in the 2008 OIL Bowl, but the passing yards tiebreaker gave the title to Bruesch. Four years later, a re-count using fractional scoring showed Pyle would have won. In the years since, Pyle has been cursed by that asterisk: ridiculed by fellow managers and snakebitten in the playoffs. But, as he put it on Twitter, he finally has that monkey off his back.
Lucky Enuf had seemed a cruel moniker in recent seasons, as this season marked the fourth in a row that he lost players to season-ending injuries during the playoffs. This year, Pyle lost QB Carson Wentz and RB Todd Gurley to injury and WR Josh Gordon to imminent suspension. But Pyle shrewdly started rookie QB Sam Darnold in relief of Wentz and off-the-street free-agent RB C.J. Anderson in place of Gurley. Lucky Enuf was rewarded with 35.45 points from Darnold and 23.30 points from Anderson. Rookie WR Robert Foster started in place of Gordon and posted a respectable 9.20 points.
The win brings Pyle's career record against Morgan to 9-5. He ends 2018 at 12-3, lifting his 13-year OIL record to 107-76, with three championships. But Pyle isn't forgetting the heartbreak of the past. "I'm genuinely about to jump out of my skin with excitement, but the previous three or four seasons are keeping me humble," he said.
We'll see how humble he feels when he sees his name engraved on the Lawson Memorial Trophy again.
Morgan, the 2007 champion, was in the title game for the third time. He has now lost the OIL Bowl to Pyle twice. The Whackers were led by 27.60 points from fill-in RB Jamaal Williams and 26.50 points from first-round RB Alvin Kamara.
When reached for comment, Morgan was not bitter. "I thought I had it, but that's why they play the games," he said. The Whackers end the season at 10-5, dropping their 13-year OIL record to 85-96-1 with one championship and two runner-up finishes.
The commissioner has placed the orders for the championship mini-helmet and championship jerseys. Because the 'Mericans already have a helmet, their manager gave the prize to the Liberty Bowl runner-up Boomtown Brawlers. The Redlegs finished third in the Liberty Bowl. Below are the mockups for the helmet and the three conference champions' jerseys. View previous years' helmets and jerseys here. The helmets are made by HelmetNation.com and the jerseys by HopcoSports.com.
The 2015 championship jerseys have arrived, and they look fantastic. As always, Earl at Hopco Sports did a great job. Congratulations to three-time champion Jack Bruesch, two-time champion Jimmy Venable, and first-year champion Zack Brake. You can check out all 13 championship jerseys here.