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Salt Lake Stallions (0-2) vs. Birmingham Iron (2-0)
Final Score: Iron 12, Stallions 9
Recap: Saturday’s matchup between the Salt Lake Stallions and the Birmingham Iron can be summed up in one of two ways; a pessimist might say it was uneventful, but I’d prefer to call it a game dominated by the defensive side of the ball. The Stallions were missing their starting quarterback Josh Woodrum who injured his hamstring week one against the Hotshots. The Stallions went with former Razorback QB Austin Allen but the Birmingham defense spoiled his AAF debut, holding him to only 114 yards through the air. Salt Lake would jump out to a 9-0 lead in the second quarter by heavily relying on their backfield duo of Joel Bouagnon and Brandon Oliver to get the job done. If not for a Matt Asiata fumble inside the 5-yard line, Birmingham could have easily been down 17-0.
In the second half, it was the opportunistic Iron defense and special teams that would come up big in Birmingham. Stripping wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El on a punt return and taking it the house for 6 points. They also sacked Allen multiple times and held Salt Lake to 3-14 on 3rd down. A 2-yard Trent Richardson touchdown run with 4:48 to go in the 4th would prove to be all she wrote for the Stallions and comeback victory for the Iron.
Notable Performances: Iron QB Luis Perez didn’t light up the stat sheet by any means, but he did enough when his team needed in order to get another win. Perez’s 63.1% completion percentage can be attributed the QB’s ability to throw accurately on intermediate routes and in the middle of the field. It was certainly the difference maker as Trent Richardson averaged a measly 2.2 yards on 19 carries but managed another 50 yards receiving on 6 receptions. He led the team in touches, rushing, and receiving. The usage hasn’t necessarily matched the production, but either way, Trent’s still a hard man to bring down. The Stallions have seemed to find a nice one-two punch between RB’s Branden Oliver and Joel Bouagnon who combined for 161 of their team’s 256 total yards. On defense, several players had stood out but it was Salt Lake defensive end Karter Schult who lead the game with 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 QB hits, and a forced fumble.
Salt Lake Stallions
Austin Allen (QB): 15/31, 114 yds, 3.7 YPA,
Joel Bouagnon (RB): 11 rush, 70 yds, 6.4 YPC, 1 TD, 1 rec on 1 target, 11 yds
De'Mornay Pierson-El (WR): 4 Receptions on 6 targets, 28 rec yds, 0TD, 0 2PT
Karter Schult (DL): 6 tackles (6 Solo), 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 QB Hits, 1 FF
Luis Perez (QB): 24/38, 184 yds, 4.8 YPA, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 2PT
Trent Richardson (RB): 19 rush, 41 yds, 2.2 YPC, 1 TD, 6 rec on 7 targets, 50 rec yds
Quinton Patton (WR): 3 rec on 7 targets
Jeremy Faulk (DL): 4 tackles (4 Solo), 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 2 QB Hits, 2 PD’s
Written by: Jack Bourgeois
Arizona Hotshots (2-0) vs. Memphis Express (0-2)
Final Score: Hotshots 20, Express 18
Recap: These teams came into this Week Two matchup riding on completely different opening week outcomes. Arizona was coming off an outstanding win over Salt Lake while Memphis was shut out by Birmingham. With that being said, I came into this one thinking that the Hotshots could run away with things. Memphis looked good early as running back Zac Stacy was looking very impressive on the ground, scoring on a nine-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Express also tacked on two field goals by Josh Jasper to go into the half with a 12-0 lead.
Arizona finally got on the board in the third on a 16-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford to Rashad Ross. That was followed by the Express with a 4-yard touchdown run by Christian Hackenberg. Unfortunately for Memphis, that would be their last sign of life as the fourth quarter was dominated by the offensive attack of the Hotshots. They scored on a 45-yard touchdown run by Justin Stockton which was followed by a successful two-point conversion run by Wolford. Arizona would get the ball back and score the go-ahead touchdown with just over seven minutes left on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Wolford to Tim Cook. Arizona would hold on to win this one 20-18 and stay undefeated to start the inaugural AAF season.
John Wolford (QB): 14/22, 194 yds, 8.8 YPA, 2 TD, 2 INT
Tim Cook (RB): 13 rush, 73 yds, 5.6 ypc, 1 reception on 1 target, 4 rec. yds, 1 rec TD
Rashad Ross (WR): 4 rec on 4 targets, 67 yds, 1 TD
Steven Johnson (LB): 6 tackles (6 Solo), 4 TFL, 1 FF
Christian Hackenberg (QB): 14/25, 102 yds, 4.1 Yards per Att, 2 INT
Zac Stacy (RB): 19 rush, 101 yds, 5.3 ypc, 2 rec on 2 targets, 8 rec. yds, 1 rush TD
Reece Horn (WR): 5 Receptions on 6 targets, 56 yds
Channing Stribling (CB): 5 tackles (5 Solo), 3 PD, 1 INT
Written by: Ryan Lippert
Orlando Apollos (2-0) vs. San Antonio Commanders (1-1)
Final Score: Apollos 37, Commanders 29
Recap: This matchup had all the makings of already being one of the best games in the AAF season, and boy it did not disappoint. The fans showed up in droves, breaking their own AAF attendance record from the first week with over 29,000 screaming fans making their presence felt in the Alamodome. We had a back and forth game throughout the entirety of the game with lots of momentum swings, but we also saw the Apollos QB continue his strong start to the season.
Garrett Gilbert became the first 300-yard passer in AAF history and almost broke the 400-yard barrier as well. He showed his vertical passing ability, unleashing three 50+ yard passes in this performance. His main target was Charles Johnson, who came close to accruing 200 yards receiving. Johnson actually accrued more receiving yards in this game than any player has over two games so far this year. The Commanders QB, Logan Woodside, made multiple impressive throws even as his coach insisted in breaking his rhythm by bringing in the backup for a few series. Demarcus Ayers flashed his ability to get open from the slot early and often, but a critical pick-6 by Woodside to Apollos CB Keith Reaser effectively swung the momentum into the Apollos’ favor. I would not be surprised to see these two highly skilled teams in a rematch in Las Vegas for the AAF Championship.
Garrett Gilbert (QB): 19/28, 393 yds, 14.0 YPA, 2 TD, 1 2-Pt, 3 rush for 5 yds.
Charles Johnson (WR): 7 rec on 10 targets, 192 yds, 1 TD
Jalin Marshall (WR): 3 rec. on 4 targets, 84 yds, 1 TD
Keith Reaser (CB) 2 tackles (2 Solo), 3 PD, 1 INT, 1 TD
San Antonio Commanders
Logan Woodside (QB): 20/39, 223 yds, 5.7 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 2-Pt, 3 rush for 8 yds
Kenneth Farrow II (RB): 13 rush, 74 yds, 5.7 ypc, 2 rec. on 2 targets, 25 rec. Yds., 1 rush TD
Demarcus Ayers (WR): 5 rec. on 8 targets, 80 yds
Jayrone Elliott (OLB) 1 tackle (1 Solo), 1 sack, 1 QB Hit, 1 FF
Written by: Roy Countryman
Atlanta Legends (0-2) vs. San Diego Fleet (1-1)
Final Score: Fleet 24, Legends 12
Recap: The Fleet returned home to San Diego with hopes to regroup after their loss to the San Antonio Commanders, but it was the Legends who looked poised to bounce back from a brutal game in Orlando as they open the first quarter with a 9-0 lead over the Fleet. Atlanta opened the game with a long, methodical drive starting from their 25 yard line and stamping it with a 29 yard field goal. Six plays later, Legends CB Carlos Merritt snagged an interception from Fleet QB Philip Nelson, putting his offense in ideal field position to start their second drive. Atlanta QB Matt Simms took advantage of the field position with two deep passes, one to WR Montay Crockett and the second to WR Malachi Jones for a touchdown. However, the Fleet brought the game back within 3 with two field goals to close the first half.
In the second, half the Fleet came out strong for their home crowd, taking their first possession down the field for 3 points, tying the game. From that point on, San Diego took over the game. Running backs Ja’Quan Gardner and Terrell Watson ran all over Atlanta for the last two quarters of play. They combined for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards a carry. The Legends had no answer for this tandem, and they head back home 0-2 to take on the 2-0 Birmingham Iron. The Fleet would like to take their momentum and get revenge on the San Antonio Commanders. The bell rings for round 2 in San Diego for these rivals at 8 pm on The NFL Network.
Matt Simms (QB): 17/25, 160 yds, 6.4 YPA, 1 TD, INT, 4 rush, 1 yd
Akrum Wadley (WR): 8 Rec on 8 Targets, 70 yds,
Malachi Jones (WR): 3 Rec on 3 Targets, 33 yds, 1 TD
Ed Reynolds (S): 6 Tackles (6 Solo), 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 QB Hit, 2 PD
San Diego Fleet
Philip Nelson (QB): 14/30, 142 yds, 4.7 YPA, 1 INT, 6 rush, 28 yds
Ja’Quan Gardner (RB): 15 rush, 104 yds, 6.9 ypc, 1 rec (2 targets), 7 rec. yds, 2 Rush TD
Nelson Spruce (WR): 4 rec on 6 Targets, 58 yds
Shakir Soto (DE): 3 Tackles (3 Solo), 1 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 QB Hits
Written by: David Connors @connors_david