David Foster, The Triangle Torch and The AAL

07/24/2017

While there hasn’t been any confirmation yet, it appears as if the Supreme Indoor Football League is folding. The Triangle Torch are confirmed for the AAL, and The Cape Fear Heroes are not far behind. While this is bad news for the SIF, it is undoubtedly good news for the AAL. David Foster, one of the owners of the Torch, said he is pretty excited for the opportunity to play in the new league. Among other things, this move will provide his team with more opponents and a consistently higher level of competition than what previously existed for his team. George Sutphen is out as owner, Foster said, “Harold Turner, Chris McKinney and I are the owners of the Triangle Torch. We took over about mid-year last year from George. I’m the Defensive Coordinator, and Assistant Head Coach. Chris is the Head Coach, and Harold is the GM.” Mid-season last year, there was a bit of controversy when the team visited Richmond Virginia to play the Roughriders. Foster said, “We had a quarterback who was sometimes hard to control on the field as well as off the field. It created image issues for us and brought the morale of the team down in the middle of that game.” QB, Garrett Sutphen, was reported to have used the N word towards at least one of the Richmond players. Up until halftime, the Torch had played even with the Riders, but after that, their momentum was gone and the team was soundly defeated. Foster continued, “That quarterback is absolutely not coming back.”

With that bit of controversy behind them, the team went on to face The Cape Fear Heroes in the SIF Championship game. Foster continued, “We were up by 14 at the half but ended up losing by 6. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t finish the game.” While he was vague about why his team lost he did say, “There were some things behind the scenes, but we should have won anyway.” Becoming more specific he said, “We didn’t have a good kicker. You’re just not going to finish games if you can’t kick from anywhere on the field. It’s especially important to have somebody who can kick the extra point after we score. If you can’t finish in the green zone you’ve got some issues to work on.” With that in mind, the Torch are hitting the road this off season to make themselves a better team. He said, “Lots of players are interested in playing for our team. We’re trying out 300 to 400 players. Then we’ll cut that down to 60 by February.” While that sort of manhunt used to be unusual in arena/indoor football, it is quickly becoming the norm. He continued, “I can tell you Columbus has done a great job starting all this with tryouts. What we’re doing, right along with Columbus, is trying to make our team and league better.”  

With the future of the AFL up in the air, the NAL is poised to become the big league in the sport. The AAL is hoping to rival them in quality of play, but they have a slightly different business model. The NAL is concentrating on raising their visibility through higher competition and expanding their league to every corner of the country. The AAL, on the other hand, seems to be working more along the lines of the CIF. The Champions Indoor Football League has concentrated its membership in the middle of the United States. The idea is to keep travel expenses down while creating r

The Torch competing at a high level

egional rivalries. Last year, for example, the league had several teams in Texas. The natural in state rivalry that has sprung up between the Amarillo Venom and the Texas Revolution from Allen, Texas has created a buzz around the country. The CIF is beginning to overtake the IFL as the premier indoor league. With the addition of IFL refugee Wichita Falls, it appears as if the Texas rivalries are set to become even more intense. The NAL will include some of those types of rivalries as well, but the AAL considers it to be of paramount importance. For the Torch, Foster said, “It’s

all about competition, and right now it looks like there’re going to be about 13 teams in the South And close to 8 – 10 teams in the North.” If the rumored expansion really does include Cape Fear, The Upstate Dragons in Greenville, the Winston-Salem Wildcats, and a couple of teams in Virginia, the Torch won’t have to go far to find the competition their ownership group craves. The Torch, like everyone else has their eye on the NAL, but for now with its lower travel costs and built in natural rivalries the AAL is the best place for them. Foster said, “The NAL is very strong, and I see a lot of teams eventually are going to be in it, but our focus is to help build the AAL and make it a prominent league.” As for the future, he said, “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to play the best, and we’re in it and we’re going to win it.”