November 7, 2019
By Daniel Cohen
From high-flying blocks to game-changing integrity calls, the 2019 AUDL season was filled with defining moments from start to finish. We saw rookies make names for themselves, good players rise to stardom, and established vets shine in big moments. The following are 10 plays that not only defined the season, but often altered the 2019 AUDL landscape.
Babbitt vs. Raleigh
Week 12 of the 2019 AUDL season featured one of the best games of the year, as the undefeated New York Empire traveled to North Carolina to take on the 7-1 Raleigh Flyers. For the duration of the season, the Empire were the number one power-ranked team while Raleigh quickly ascended to number two following their season opening loss to the Dallas Roughnecks. The game seemed a likely championship preview.
A back and forth game throughout, the Empire and Flyers went to double overtime despite the former being down two goals with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Raleigh receives the pull and after some quick handler movement, Allan Laviolette finds a wide open Bobby Ley who catches the disc about 20 yards short of the end zone with no one in front of him. A quick look to his right, and he sees teammate Jacob Fairfax with a step on New York’s Jeff Babbitt sprinting towards the end zone. Looking to upset the undefeated championship favorites, Ley puts a backhand out down the near sideline into end zone. And Babbitt, sprinting full speed, leaps and extends to make the statement play of the Empire’s season.
The Empire would of course go on to win just a few throws later on a Jack Williams huck to Beau Kittredge. Babbitt’s game-saving D cemented New York’s spot as the top team in the league, while Raleigh got a heat check as their seven-game win streak was cut short. New York rode the momentum of their toughest test of the season all the way through Championship Weekend, as they went on to claim their first ever AUDL title. Raleigh, on the other hand, reminded fans of their inability to finish high pressure games, perhaps foreshadowing their later third consecutive South Division Championship loss to the Dallas Roughnecks.