Graphics By @RobRobGraphics
Orlando Apollos (5-0) at Birmingham Iron (3-2)
Final Score: Apollos 31, Iron 14
This game was hyped up the entire week of being a showdown of two of the top teams in the AAF, and all we saw was the Apollos show up and flex their muscles as the class of the AAF. They jumped out to an early lead with an impressive drive that ended with a nice TD pass, and then the defense that is affectionately known as the Freaks and Athletes flashed with a pick-six. The Apollos are known to have the Sun’ N’ Gun offense, but it was a steady diet of the running game that allowed them to establish there fortitude and pull away from the Iron.
The Apollos got a steady performance from Garrett Gilbert, and he hit his favorite target, Charles Johnson, for a TD and a 2-Pt conversion. He also rewarded all the great blocking performances by Scott Orndoff with a receiving TD. The combination of the powerful downhill running of De’Veon Smith and the versatility of D’Ernest Johnson helped keep the Apollos lead out of reach of the Iron because former Washington Husky QB, Keith Price relieved a struggling Luis Perez who just gave up a back-breaking pick-6 to shutdown CB, Keith Reaser. Price provided a spark to a stagnant Iron offense, but they still struggled to consistently move the ball on the talented Orlando defense. Trent Richardson tacked another rushing TD to his ledger, thus extending his league lead to 8, but he has yet to have a game where he averaged over 3 yards per attempt. He has put in quality work though as a pass catcher so far which has helped offset his lack of breakaway plays. Going into week 6 Birmingham will need to figure out what QB gives them the best opportunity to snap the drought of passing touchdowns while Orlando gets to head home and faceoff with a talented Arizona Hotshot’s team.
Garrett Gilbert (QB): 23/35, 286 pass yds, 8.2 ypa, 2 pass TD, 2 pass 2-PT, -2 rush yds.
De’Veon Smith (RB): 14 rush, 119 yds, 8.5 ypc, TD, 0 rec. on 2 targets.
Charles Johnson (WR): 6 rec. on 10 targets, 83 rec yds, 1 TD, 1 2PT.
Keith Reaser (CB): 1 Tackle (1 Solo), 2 PD, 1 INT for TD.
Keith Price (QB): 18/29, 234 pass yds, 8.1 ypa, 1 pass TD, 1 pass 2-PT, 15 rush yds.
Trent Richardson (RB): 8 rush, 21 yds, 2.6 ypc, 1 TD, 4 rec. on 5 targets, 37 yds.
Wes Saxton Jr. (TE): 3 rec. on 4 targets, 75 rec yds.
Beniquez Brown (LB): 8 Tackles (8 Solo).
Written by: Roy Countryman
Salt Lake Stallions (1-4) at San Diego Fleet (3-2)
Final Score: Fleet 27, Stallions 25
What a game! It may not have been pretty but the Fleet and Stallions put on a thriller of a back and forth showdown. San Diego took the early lead on their opening drive with a field goal but trailed Salt Lake 8-6 going into the second halftime. Thanks to Kameron Kelly’s 3 interceptions, including a pick-six, along with a scoop and score from DB Jordan Martin, the Fleet were up 24-11 with 9:26 to go in the 4th quarter. After committing a total of 5 turnovers, Josh Woodrum and the Stallions offense rallied back on two straight drives to take the lead 25-24 with just over a minute to go. Sadly for Salt Lake, the lead wouldn’t last as San Diego drove down the field in a matter of two throws and kicked the walk-off field goal three plays later.
The QB play in Saturday’s matchup was a combination of impeccable and atrocious depending on which quarter you may have tuned into. Josh Woodrum somehow went from throwing Nathan Peterman-like head-scratchers to dime deep balls in a matter of minutes. San Diego quarterback Mike Bercovici made some great throws downfield throughout the game. But it was a perfectly thrown 45-yard pass down the sidelines to deep threat Dontez Ford in the final minute that would prove to be the clutch, game-sealing throw his team needed. Former Tennessee Titans running back Bishop Sankey made his AAF debut but totaled 20 yards on 7 touches. Kam Kelly obviously got the Fleet’s game ball, and there’s no doubt that he is the favorite to be named Blitzalytics’ Defensive Player of the Week after completing the hat-trick with 3 INT’s, taking one to the house.
Salt Lake Stallions
Josh Woodrum (QB): 31/48, 380 pass yds, 7.9 YPA, 1 TD, 3 INT’s, 1 2-PT
Joel Bouagnon (RB): 11 rushes, 36 yds, 3.3 YPC, 2 TD’s
De'Mornay Pierson-El (WR): 8 rec. on 9 targets, 130 rec yds
Karter Schult (DE) 5 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
San Diego Fleet
Mike Bercovici (QB): 22/43, 304 pass yds, 7.1 YPA, 1TD, 1 2-PT
Bishop Sankey (RB): 5 rushes, 11 yds, 2.2 YPC, 2 rec on 3 targets, 9 yds
Dontez Ford (WR): 3 rec. on 8 targets, 94 yds
Kameron Kelly (DB): 5 tackles, 4 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 1 TD
Written by: Jack Bourgeois
Memphis Express(1-4) at Atlanta Legends (2-3)
Final Score: Legends 23, Express 20
The stakes could not have been higher for these two teams in Atlanta. Both the Express and the Legends were coming off their first wins and looking to put themselves back in the playoff picture with another win. Atlanta got a huge interception on a tipped pass, drove the ball down the field, and put a game-winning field goal through with 9 seconds left on the clock.. Now the Legends are one game out of the 2nd playoff spot in the East Conference after a bumpy start to the season. With half the regular season left, they are poised to make a postseason push.
Although the game was close, the score was not indicative of the way it played out. The Legends controlled the tempo of the game with a solid running game behind RB Tarean Folston and Brandon Radcliffe. The Legends defense was shut down against the Express offense, besides a few big splash plays including a game-changing catch and run from RB Sherman Badie. As time ran down in the 4th quarter, the Express were driving down the field to take the lead. Unfortunately, QB Zach Metteberger placed a throw just a little too far in front of WR Gerrard Sheppard and it slipped through his fingertips into the waiting arms of Legends S Tyson Graham Jr. Legend QB Aaron Murray drove his team downfield to give his kicker Younghoe Koo a short game-winning field goal.
Zach Mettenberger (QB): 9/17, 181 pass yds, 10.6 ypa, 1 INT, 3 rush yds.
Zac Stacy (RB): 13 rush, 41 yds, 3.2 ypc, 2 TD, 2 rec. on 2 targets, 45 yds.
Sherman Basie (RB): 2 rush, 3 yds, 1.5 ypc, 1 rec. on 1 target, 56 rec yds.
Corey Vereen (DE): 2 tackles (2 solo), 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits.
Aaron Murray (QB): 27/43, 306 pass yds, 7.1 ypa, 1 pass TD, 1 2PC, 13 rush yds.
Tarean Folston (RB): 11 rush, 83 yds, 7.5 ypc, 1 TD, 6 rec on 6 targets, 23 yds, 1 rec TD
Seantavius Jones(WR): 5,rec on 6 targets, 89!rec yds.
Tyson Graham Jr (S) 4 tackles (3 solo), 2 PD, 1 INT, 1 FF
Written by: David Connors @ connors_david
San Antonio Commanders (3-2) at Arizona Hotshots (2-3)
Final Score: Commanders 29, Hotshots 25
What started out looking like a blowout almost turned into an epic comeback as the Commanders hung on to take the Western Conference lead, while the Hotshots find themselves in 3rd place after a 2-0 start to the season. The Commanders dominated Arizona in the 1st half, scoring 26 points and holding the Hotshots to 0. John Wolford was under pressure all game and threw two interceptions while rolling out, more due to poor decision making rather than poor accuracy, and tossing a third one that bounced off Freddie Martino’s hands. The Commanders, meanwhile sliced and diced the Arizona defense through the air en route to 26 first half points. The tide turned in the 2nd half, however, as it was Arizona’s turn to put up some points. After picking Logan Woodside off deep in their own territory, Wolford launched a 45-yard TD pass to John Ross. Arizona was able to hold the Commanders to just 3 points in the 2nd half, and with 3:34 left they scored a touchdown and the conversion to come within 10 points. Wolford threw a dart for the first down on the ensuing “onside kick”, but Marquis Bundy inexplicably fumbled it after picking up the first down. Arizona got the ball with time remaining, however, and Wolford drove them down for a touchdown once again. Unfortunately, Arizona had worse luck on their 2nd onside kick attempt, as Wolford was sacked before he could throw.
Arizona’s Rashad Ross continued his incredible touchdown streak, as he has now scored in every game of the AAF’s inaugural season. He also had 100 yards for the 2nd time this season. Running back Tim Cook tacked on a touchdown as well for his 3rd of the season. San Antonio QB Logan Woodside had an extremely efficient game, completing 21 of 27 passes with 10.7 yards per attempt. The Commanders won in the trenches of both sides of the passing game. John Wolford was consistently pressured and forced into 3 interceptions, while Woodside saw a clean pocket most of the day. San Antonio running backs Kenneth Farrow II and Trey Williams split carries almost evenly (12 and 10), but Farrow was the one who found paydirt. Commander Derron Smith had a big day, picking off Wolford twice.
San Antonio Commanders
Logan Woodside (QB): 21/27, 290 yds, 10.7 ypa, 2 TD, 13 rush yds, rush 2PT
Kenneth Farrow II (RB): 12 rush, 25 yds, 2.1 ypc, 1 TD, 1 rec. on 1 target, 43 yds
Mekale McKay (WR): 5 rec on 5 targets, 91 rec yds, 1 TD
Derron Smith (DB): 1 tackle, 2 INT
John Wolford (QB): 19/33, 246 yds, 7.5 ypa, 2 TD, 30 rush yds, rush 2PT
Tim Cook (RB): 12 rush, 33 yds, 2.8 ypc, 1 TD, 1 rec. on 2 targets, 7 yds
Rashad Ross (WR): 5 rec. on 6 targets, 106 rec yds, 1 TD, 1 2PT
Written by: Alexander Amir