The first season of the Jack Cleveland Football League turned out to be a great mix of tradition and young talent. The league's elite teams emerged: Arkansas Defenders; Jacksonville Juggernauts; Montana Charging Bison; Chula Vista Chupacabras. But it was the Canton Bulldogs who showed everyone how it's supposed to be done.
Drew Brees earned the league's first-ever MVP, leading in scoring for all positions with 680 points on the season. Brees also earned Player of the Week honors twice, and was named to the National Conference Jack Bowl Team, and the All-League Team.
Peterson was Canton's second-leading scorer this season with 426 points, averaging over 30 points a week. For his work, he was awarded Player of the Week honors in Week 10 and selection to both the National Conference Jack Bowl Team and the JCFL All-League Team.
As if having Peterson in the backfield weren't scary enough, adding Reggie Bush to the package helped make the Bulldogs virtually unstoppable. The second of three running backs to win Player of the Week honors for Canton, Bush averaged close to 20 points per game before being forced to end the season early with an injury.
Joshua Cribbs, the former quarterback from Kent State University, proved to be a definitive presence on the Bulldogs' roster this year. He averaged just under 20 points a week, including a Player of the Week performance in Week 9, when he earned 62 points (just five points short of the league record).
How do you stand out on a team that captured five weekly scoring titles? How about racking up almost 300 points all by yourself? That's exactly what the receiver from The Ohio State University did.
What do you get the team that has everything? Eddie Royal, the league's leading wide receiver, with nearly 350 points on the season and a 25-point weekly average, fits the bill. Royal was one of four Bulldogs selected to the All-League Team, and one of five who made the National Conference Jack Bowl Team.
Gates never played football for Kent State, where he led the basketball team to an Elite Eight appearance. But that hasn't stopped him from quickly becoming one of the best tight ends to ever stomp his cleats on NFL turf. After a slow start due to injury, Gates gave the Bulldogs 151 points and earned a spot on the National Conference Jack Bowl Team.
Sporting defenders who played their college days at Ohio State, BYU, and Kent State (owner John R. Amatangelo's big three), and touting one of the most consistently solid defenses, the Packers were an easy pick for the Bulldogs. They contributed over 500 points to the championship season.
Not to be outdone by his younger teammate, the 44-year-old Carney was 33-for-35 on field goals (a long of 46 yards), and 39-of-39 on extra points this season, giving Canton 123 points, and giving himself a spot on the National Conference Jack Bowl Team.
Reid had anything but an easy season in the NFL, finding critics and doubters at every turn. In the JCFL, he contributed 39 points to the championship team, won Coach of the Week honors twice, and ended the season ranked fifth in scoring among league coaches.
Though his Jaguars struggled this year, Garrard was a consistent force off the bench for the Bulldogs, averaging nearly 30 points a week.
As a rookie out of the University of Delaware, Joe Flacco was supposed to be the third-string quarterback for Canton. When he won the starting job for the Ravens, he ended up adding nearly 350 points to the Bulldogs' championship campaign.
A mid-season acquisition for the Bulldogs, Rhodes turned out to be exactly what they needed, contributing a solid 215 points this year, including five weeks with over 20 points.
At 5' 6", Sproles knows how hard it is to get respect in a land of giants. As he picked up the injury-forced slack from his marquee teammates, he quickly changed the public's view of small backs, becoming one of the most impressive forces this year. He cleared over 26 points a week for Canton, and earned Player of the Week honors with a league-record 82 points in a single week.
Randy Moss was intended to be the headlining receiver for the Canton Bulldogs this year, and though he found himself behind Royal, Ginn, and Cribbs on both the depth and scoring charts, there were still flashes of the Moss everyone expected. He scored over 20 points seven different weeks, including 37 in Week 5 and a season-high 46 in Week 12.
Holmes, a receiver from The Ohio State University, knows how to make big plays. But he also showed he can be a reliable go-to player, averaging nearly 14 points a week for Canton.
Another receiver from The Ohio State University, Jenkins saw more catches as he and rookie Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan began to click. He picked up over 10 points a week for the Bulldogs off the bench.
Coming off the bench for the Bulldogs, "consistent" is admittedly not a word that readily fit Lewis this season. Nevertheless, he earned his spot on the team and Player of the Week honors in Week 6, giving Canton 18 points in its victory over the Texas Bandits.
Who cares if the guy is nearly 40 years old in a league that is increasingly populated by younger players. If a guy can kick like John Kasay, you keep him on the roster until he starts missing, or he becomes an octogenarian—whichever comes first. This year, Kasay made 92.3 percent of his field goals, missing only two out of 28 (going 1-for-3 from 50-plus yards).
How do you back up a solid defense/special teams? Land yourself another power punch that averages nearly 40 points a week.