American West Football Conference

American football minor league
American West Football Conference
SportIndoor football
Founded2018
FounderPlatinum Events & Security LLC
First season2019
PresidentChris Reynolds
CommissionerBrandon Berner[1]
No. of teams2 (as of October 2nd 2023)
CountryUnited States
Most recent
champion(s)
Idaho Horsemen
Most titlesIdaho Horsemen and Tri-City Rush (2 each)
Official websiteAmericanWestFootballConference.com

The American West Football Conference (AWFC) are an inactive professional indoor American football minor league created in 2018 by Platinum Events & Security, LLC, the owners of the Idaho Horsemen. The league's inaugural season was in 2019.[2]

Players are paid $150 per game before taxes with no other benefits, although the teams help the players find host families during the season.[3] Teams' operating budget is $200,000 per season.[3]

The league had an inter-league scheduling agreement with the American Indoor Football Alliance.[4][5]

History

After being unable to join the Indoor Football League or Champions Indoor Football citing league instability, as well as financial and travel issues due to the distance from the rest of the leagues' teams, Chris Reynolds, owner of the Idaho Horsemen announced that his ownership group Platinum Events & Security, LLC, created a new indoor league, the American West Football Conference (AWFC).[6] The league was created to fill the void of a lack of west coast teams and leagues and to decrease travel costs of operating the regional teams.[2][7] The league was announced with four teams: the Horsemen, Reno Express, Tri-Cities Fire, and the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks. The AWFC later added the Sacramento Spartans, but the team's facilities did not meet league standards and was removed a month before the start of the season.[8]

The first game in league history was the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks at the Idaho Horsemen on March 23, where the Horsemen won 33–22.[9] The season's first forfeit came on May 4 when the Skyhawks did not travel to play the Reno Express, who instead played a local semiprofessional team in order to fulfill its lease agreement. The following week, the only scheduled game was also postponed citing travel issues with the Tri-Cities Fire visiting Idaho, but was made-up on June 19. Idaho went undefeated and won the championship game 40–20 over Reno.

For the 2020 season, the league announced expansion teams in Yakima, Washington,[10] and the San Francisco Bay Area,[11] although the Bay Area team never launched.[12] In February 2020, the Reno Express was removed from the schedule[13] and the Tri-Cities Fire folded,[14] which led to the Idaho Horsemen and Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks both announce they would play independent schedules.[15][16] The league then announced it would be playing the 2020 season with three teams — Idaho, Wenatchee, and Yakima — while looking for non-league teams to fill in the lost games including the minor outdoor team, Tri-City Rage, filling in for the Fire's six scheduled away games.[17]

On March 13, 2020, the AWFC announced on its website that the 2020 season would be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, citing the high number of cases reported from Washington, one of two states that had a team in the league.[18] On July 31, 2020, the AWFC announced the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the unavailability of arenas during the pandemic.[19] On September 28, 2020, the league announced a new expansion team in the state of Oregon for the 2021 season[20] called the Oregon High Desert Storm.[21] On November 13, 2020, the Tri-Cities were announced as the league's new franchise named the Tri-City Rush.[22][23]

On November 22, 2022, league champions Tri-City Rush announced they were folding after their home arena in Pasco shut down for the 2023 season[24] and not meeting their financial goals.[25] With only three teams for the 2023 season, the AWFC announced they would play non-league games with four teams from the American Indoor Football Alliance, and the Cali Gold (San Francisco Bay area) from the American Arena League 2.[26] The Idaho Horsemen defeated the Oregon High Desert Storm 42–20 on July 2, 2023, to win the league championship.[27]

On September 21, 2023, the Horsemen were announced as joining the National Arena League for the 2024 season.[28] With only two teams as a result, the league took the 2024 season with hopes of returning in 2025.

Teams

2023

Team Location Arena Capacity Founded Joined Head coach
Idaho Horsemen Nampa, Idaho Ford Idaho Center 12,279 2017 2019 Chris Reynolds
Oregon High Desert Storm[29] Redmond, Oregon First Interstate Bank Center[30] 4,000 2020 2021 Keith Evans
Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks[31] Wenatchee, Washington Town Toyota Center 4,300 2018 2019 Meadow Lemon
American West Football Conference is located in USA West
High Desert Storm
High Desert Storm
class=notpageimage|
Location of AWFC teams

Former teams

  • Washington Elite/Northwest Elite (N/A) – Travel team in 2022.
  • Idaho Horsemen (Nampa, Idaho ) – left for the National Arena League in the 2024 season.
  • Reno Express (Reno, Nevada) – played the 2019 season but withdrew from the 2020 season.[13]
  • SoCal Redtails (City of Industry, California) – originally the San Diego Red Tails; joined for the 2022 season but never played.[32] The independent Cali Gold was scheduled to fill in for one home game against the Oregon High Desert Storm.[33][34]
  • Tri-Cities Fire (Kennewick, Washington) – played the 2019 season and folded before the 2020 season.[17]
  • Tri-City Rush (Pasco, Washington) – played the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Folded in November 2022.[25]
  • Yakima Canines (Yakima, Washington) – joined for the 2020 season before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, played the 2021 season, and the franchise was revoked prior to the 2022 season due to not meeting league minimum operating requirements. The Canines were replaced by the Washington Elite travel team to fill the rest of the league's home schedule.[24]

Seasons

2019 season

Standings

Final standings.[35]

2019 American West Football Conference
Team W L PCT PF PA GB STK
yIdaho Horsemen 12 0 1.000 597 331 W12
xWenatchee Valley Skyhawks 6 6 .500 461 381 6 W2
xReno Express 6 6 .500 339 396 W1
Tri-Cities Fire 0 12 .000 303 592 12 L12

y – clinched regular season title

x – clinched playoff spot

Playoffs

Semifinal Final
3 Reno Express 20
3 Reno Express 28 1 Idaho Horsemen 40[36][37]
2 Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks 27

2021 season

Standings

Final standings.[38]

2021 American West Football Conference
Team W L PCT PF PA
xTri-City Rush 8 2 .800 621 329
xOregon High Desert Storm 7 3 .700 456 349
xIdaho Horsemen 6 4 .600 517 346
Yakima Canines 1 9 .100 198 565
Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks 0 4 .000 69 272

y – clinched regular season title

x – clinched playoff spot

Playoffs

Semifinals
(August 30)
American West Bowl II
(September 4)
3 Idaho Horsemen 27
3 Idaho Horsemen 55 1 Tri-City Rush 36
2 Oregon High Desert Storm 37

2022 season

Standings

Final standings.[39]

2022 American West Football Conference
Team W L PCT PF PA
xTri-City Rush 9 0 1.000 392 114
xIdaho Horsemen 6 3 .667 356 279
xWenatchee Valley Skyhawks 5 4 .556 239 233
Oregon High Desert Storm 4 5 .444 231 353
SoCal Red Tails 0 8 .000
Northwest Elite 0 4 .000 40 279

y – clinched regular season title

x – clinched playoff spot

Playoffs

Semifinals
(June 26)
American West Bowl III[40]
(July 10)
3 Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks 32
3 Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks 80 1 Tri-City Rush 57
2 Idaho Horsemen 70

References

  1. ^ "NEW AWFC COMMISSIONER". AWFC. October 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "HISTORY". Official Website. October 15, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "These long-shot Horsemen dream big: 'I think, until we can't, we're football players'". Idaho Statesman. May 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". 26 December 2022.
  5. ^ "The AWFC & the AIFA partners for 2023".
  6. ^ "A DECISION HAS BEEN MADE". AWFC Insider. October 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Castete, Aaron (October 21, 2018). "Western US based indoor football league forming for 2019". Arena Football Talk. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "LETTER FROM THE COMMISSIONER". AWFC. February 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Mike Prater: These Horsemen don't appear headless". The Idaho Press. March 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "YAKIMA CANINES JOIN AWFC". AWFC. September 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "A NEW AWFC TEAM IN THE BAY AREA". AWFC. November 15, 2019.
  12. ^ "AWFC Facebook post January 13, 2020". Facebook. January 13, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Yakima Canines set for arena football at the SunDome". Yakima Herald. February 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Tri-Cities Fire Facebook post February 26, 2020". Facebook. February 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "Idaho Horseman Facebook post February 26, 2020". Facebook. February 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks Facebook post February 26, 2020". Facebook. February 26, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "THE TRI-CITIES FIRE UN-EXPECTANTLY CLOSES UP SHOP!". AWFC. February 28, 2020.
  18. ^ "2020 AWFC Season Postponed due to Coronavirus". www.americanwestfootballconference.com. March 13, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  19. ^ "THE AWFC CANCELS THE 2020 SEASON DUE TO COVID-19". American West Football Conference. July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  20. ^ "THE AWFC MOVES INTO THE STATE OF OREGON". AWFC. September 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "OREGON'S TEAM NAME AND LOGO REVEALED". AWFC. October 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "THE AWFC IS HEADED BACK TO THE TRI-CITIES". AWFC. November 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "TRI-CITIES TEAM NAME AND LOGO REVEALED". AWFC. November 14, 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". 31 October 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Tri-City Rush Fold".
  26. ^ "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". 16 January 2023.
  27. ^ "IDAHO HORSEMEN CLAIM VICTORY IN AMERICAN WEST BOWL IV". AWFC. July 3, 2023.
  28. ^ "IDAHO REVEALED AS THE NEXT NAL FRANCHISE TO JOIN IN 2024". NAL. September 21, 2023.
  29. ^ "OREGON'S TEAM NAME AND LOGO REVEALED". AWFC. October 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "Coming to the Expo!". expo.deshutes.org. October 20, 2020.
  31. ^ Darby, Uriah (October 9, 2018). "Evening News October 9, 2018". NCW Life Channel. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  32. ^ "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". March 21, 2022.
  33. ^ "May 28th Storm will host Cali Gold (Bay Area)". May 11, 2022.
  34. ^ "2022 season schedule". AWFC. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  35. ^ "AWFC Standings". AWFC. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  36. ^ "Express v Horsemen (first half)". Facebook.
  37. ^ "Express v Horsemen (second half)". Facebook.
  38. ^ "AWFC Standings". AWFC. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  39. ^ "AWFC Standings". AWFC. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  40. ^ "American West Bowl III - #1 Tri-City Rush vs #3 Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks; Full Game Shortened". Facebook.

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