May 13, 2020 / 10:53 PM / 14 days ago

Defending champ Drini set for Madden Bowl wild-card game

Defending Madden Bowl champion Drini “Drini” Gjoka will face a stiff challenge Thursday when he kicks off wild-card playoff action in the Madden NFL 20 Bowl.

The $220,000 event, forced online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, began last week with 16 players competing in a round-robin group stage.

The top player in each of the four groups advanced to the quarterfinals, with the second- and third-place finishers from each group moving into the wild-card round.

Drini, a 20-year-old from Washington, D.C., who came in third place in Group B, will oppose Madden NFL 20 Club Championship winner Michael “VoLTeRaX” Bryant. VoLTeRaX, a 22-year-old from Williamstown, Mass., took second place in Group A.

The Drini-VoLTeRaX winner will advance to a quarterfinal against Shay “Young Kiv” Kivlen, a 22-year-old from Edmonds, Wash., who claimed first place in Group B.

Madden NFL 20 Challenge champion Noah “Noah” Johnson, a 17-year-old from Ellicott City, Md., who came in second place in Group C, will meet Wesley “Wesley” Gittens in a wild-card game, Wesley, a 21-year-old from Hiram, Ga., finished in third place in Group D.

Noah and Wesley will battle for the right to oppose Daniel “Dcroft” Mycroft in the quarterfinals. Dcroft, a 19-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., topped Group D thanks to a last-second touchdown on a kickoff return.

Henry “Henry” Leverette, who wound up second in Group D thanks to Dcroft’s walk-off heroics, will face off with Madden NFL 20 Challenge runner-up Dwayne “CleffTheGod” Wood in the wild-card round.

Henry, the Madden NFL 20 Classic runner-up, is a 17-year-old from Braidwood, Ill. CleffTheGod, who came in third place in Group C, is a 24-year-old from Oak Hill, Fla.

The Henry-CleffTheGod winner moves on to meet Justin “Lil Man” Barone, a 31-year-old from Toms River, N.J., who finished first in Group C.

Pavan “Pavan” Lakhat, the Madden NFL 19 Club Championship winner, will match up with Jordan “Millz” Thompson in a wild-card game. Pavan, a 19-year-old from Yuba City, Calif., took third place in Group A, and Millz, a 28-year-old from Dallas, place second in Group B.

Either Pavan or Millz will earn the right to play against Group A winner Raidel “Joke” Brito in the quarterfinals. Joke, a 26-year-old from West New York, N.J., is tied for second all time with 11 appearances in EA Major tournaments.

The wild-card games will be played Thursday from 5-9 p.m. ET, with the quarterfinals to follow on Friday in the same timeframe.

The semifinals and final will be air live Saturday from 5-9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

All matches are available for streaming on the EA Sports’ Twitch and YouTube channels plus the ESPN app.

Madden NFL 20 Bowl prize pool

2. $25,000

3-4. $20,000

5-8. $10,000

9-12. $7,500

13-16. $5,000 — Reginald “Boogz” Brown, Zack “Serious Moe” Lane, Mark “Schemin” Samuels Jr., Daniel “Rage” Loftin

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