Honor Roll: Championship Weekend

August 28, 2023
By Evan Lepler

Throughout the 2023 season, the AUDL’s weekly honor roll will be revealed each Monday, honoring seven players whose individual exploits merit recognition. The players are listed alphabetically by last name.

Jeff Babbitt, New York Empire

The AUDL’s most unguardable end zone cutter only played 17 points across New York’s two wins, but Jeff Babbitt still made an indelible impact on the Empire’s Championship Weekend success. Are you ready for maybe the most insane stat ever? When Babbitt was on the field, the Empire only allowed one goal across two games against two other division champs. And he was playing almost exclusively on the New York D-Line! Meanwhile, he personally scored 10 times, six on Friday and four more on Saturday, mixing his deadly horizontal burst toward the pylon with his skyscraping vertical dominance. After being forced to miss the East Division final due to lingering concussion symptoms, Babbitt still led New York in goals at Championship Weekend, an astonishing feat when you consider that he only started a single meaningful O-point all weekend.

Joel Clutton, Salt Lake Shred

After an all-time play, Salt Lake’s big man earns Honor Roll inclusion amongst an all-time team. Aside from the Empire’s spectacular all-round excellence and a superb showing from the Minnesota fans, the defining moment of Championship Weekend was unquestionably Joel Clutton’s desperate deflection, the epic tip toward teammate Elijah Jaime that enabled the Shred to miraculously tie their semifinal at the fourth quarter buzzer. Soaring above the entire pack with the game on the line, Clutton delivered the most iconic play of the entire AUDL season, which immediately surged onto the short list for most thrilling moments in AUDL history. Although he did not even join the 2023 Salt Lake roster until July, Clutton became of the Shred’s most important players in the postseason. He officially recorded one goal, two assists, and three blocks this past weekend, but of course those numbers don’t include any mention of perhaps the single most stunning buzzer-beating sequence we’ve ever seen in the league.

Antoine Davis, New York Empire

Simply stating that Antoine Davis registered five blocks and three assists in two games is pretty impressive, yet it barely scratches the surface in terms of describing his influence on the Empire’s 2023 championship run. It’s way more illuminating to look at his impact through the lens of the guys he was guarding, a pair of All-AUDL talents that were virtually silenced by Davis’s defense. On Saturday night, Salt Lake’s Jordan Kerr, who entered the evening with 42 goals and 60 assists in 14 games, was basically a non-factor. One day earlier, Austin’s Kyle Henke, coming off an incredible run of clutch moments to help the Sol reach Championship Weekend, did even less. Combined, Kerr and Henke tallied just one goal and two assists against New York, and their collective offensive units were understandably flustered when those two dynamic playmakers found themselves marooned on Davis Island. He finished the season with multiple blocks in five of the Empire’s final six games, an outrageous defensive output in the league’s current possession era. Surrounded by several other former and future MVPs, Davis clearly deserved the premier postseason individual honor on Saturday night. 

Ryan Drost, New York Empire

Steadiness, consistency, and an undeniable knack for seizing the moment have conspired to transform Ryan Drost from a promising player into the AUDL’s all-time leader in blocks, a distinction he now holds alone after surpassing his twin brother Mike over the weekend in Minnesota. He recorded two blocks against Austin to reach the 200 mark, then added two more against Salt Lake, including a first-quarter Callahan that felt like an early dagger to the Shred’s collective spirit. Saturday was the 60th time in his career that he’s recorded multiple blocks in a game, and he’s registered at least one block in seven consecutive contests at Championship Weekend, dating back to 2019. Appropriately, the new king of blocks also holds the record for postseason Ds, with 24 blocks in 20 career playoff games. 

Ryan Osgar, New York Empire

It was not the cleanest weekend for the Empire offense, and Ryan Osgar was not immune from mistakes, but he still completed six of his eight hucks in the swirly TCO Stadium wind, finishing with eight assists, two goals, and over 700 total yards across the two games to help lead New York to its second straight perfect season. Often, when disc movement stagnated against Austin or Salt Lake’s defensive pressure, Osgar would take charge, finding an opening as a cutter and ending the point as a thrower, frequently seeking out his Minnesota buddy Ben Jagt in the deep space for a seemingly routine score. Since the start of the 2022 season, Osgar’s produced 148 assists and 62 goals in 29 games, all victories. 

John Randolph, New York Empire

He’s the youngest member of New York’s active 20, but describing John Randolph as one of the team’s future rising stars would be foolishly inaccurate. To the contrary, he’s already a rock who would likely be a league-wide MVP candidate if he was on virtually any other team. On the Empire, though, he has accepted a reduced role and still makes a massive impact, sometimes subtly, and other times emphatically, showing off his phenomenal mix of athleticism, disc skills, and ultimate IQ. In Saturday’s title contest, he tossed four scores and completed all 32 of his throws, adding two other hockey assists as the Empire broke the Shred nine times. Against the Sol on Friday, he tallied two first-half blocks that dramatically helped to swing the momentum back in New York’s favor following Austin’s 2-0 start. 

Bretton Tan, New York Empire

Consistently getting blocks at Championship Weekend is not nearly as easy as Bretton Tan’s life might suggest. On Saturday night, the 25-year-old Tan—he’ll turn 26 this Thursday—registered four blocks in the final against Salt Lake, the most Ds in an AUDL title game since 2017, when his then-Toronto Rush teammate Mike Mackenzie produced six in a 30-29 loss against San Francisco. Tan was just a 19-year-old at that final four, but his block-hunting ways seemingly carried over from 2017 to 2023 as if there was no six year gap. Overall, Tan’s recorded 10 blocks, six goals, and one assist in four games across two Championship Weekends, truly spectacular production that’s indicative of his immense abilities as a game-changing force on the D-line. 

2023 Weekly Honor Roll