Memphis Express (1-5) at Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)
Final Score: Stallions 22, Express 9
On the first play of the Express first drive of the game, superstar edge rusher Karter Schult runs through the Memphis LT and sacks Zach Mettenberger. Unfortunately, Mett’s leg got caught under Schult taking him out of the game and probably out for the season. Backup QB Brandon Silvers came into the game. Although Silvers’ stats look good on paper, he could not sustain drives or convert 3rd downs. The Stallions run defense was able to smother the Express running backs to dominate that side of the game.
On the other side of the ball, the Express defense played a great 3 quarters, but by the 4th quarter, they just looked winded in the thin Salt Lake City air. The Stallions, finally get back in the win column and now have to travel to San Antonio to take on the West conference leaders. The Express, now equipped with shiny new weapon, hope to turn around their season against the Birmingham Iron in their home stadium.
The two opposing QBs had almost identical numbers. Memphis QB Brandon Silvers completed 23 of 37 for 242 yards and Stallions QB Josh Woodrum completed 24 for 37 for 243 yards. The difference is Woodrum tacks on 2 touchdowns and 2 two-point conversions. He was able to lean on his star TE Nick Truesdell who is still perfect on the season with 18 catches on 18 targets. Silvers moved the ball but failed to do so consistently because the Stallions defense was dominating.
The Stallions run defense is graded the highest in the AAF according to PFF and it showed. They held the Express running backs to under 50 yards total. They were lead by their dual-threat edge rusher Karter Schult who had 2 tackles for a loss. He combines that with 2 sacks and 4 QB hits. They Stallions defense was the deciding factor of this game.
Brandon Silvers (QB): 23/37, 242 pass yds, 6.5 ypa, 1pass TD, 0 INT, 3 rush yds.
Reece Horn (WR): 8 red on 10 targets, 129 rec. yards.
Daniel Williams (WR): 7 rec on 11 targets, 70 rec yds.
DeMarquis Gates (LB): 11 tackles (11 solo), 2 TFL, 2 FF
Salt Lake City Stallions
Josh Woodrum (QB): 23/37, 243 pass yds, 6.6 ypa, 2 pass TD, 1 INT, 2 pass 2-PT,l.
Joel Bouagnon (RB): 19 rush, 60 yds, 3.2 ypc.
Nick Truesdell (TE): 5 rec on 5 targets, 67!rec yds, 1 TD.
Karter Schult (DE): 4 tackles (4 solo), 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 QB hits
Written by: David Connors @connors_david
Arizona Hotshots (3-3) at Orlando Apollos (5-1)
Final Score: Hotshots 22, Apollos 17
This game featured the only remaining undefeated team in the AAF in the Orlando Apollos up against a middle of the pack team in the Hotshots. Orlando jumped on the board first in the first quarter on a five-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Gilbert to Charles Johnson. The Hotshots answered by outscoring the Apollos 11-3 in the second quarter capped off by a nine-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford to running back Jhurell Pressley to give them a 14-9 lead at the half. Both defenses stood strong in the third as the score remained the same going into the final quarter of play. Orlando started a comeback attempt as Gilbert connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall, which was followed by a successful two-point conversion attempt to take a 17-14 lead. Unfortunately for the Apollos, Arizona came firing back, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by Pressley, followed by a two-point conversion to go ahead with 5:21 left in the game. The Hotshots would hold on to win 22-17, handing Orlando their first loss of the season.
Orlando was once again led by the arm of quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who finished with 268 passing yards for two touchdowns and an interception. He benefited from a great performance from wide receiver Jalin Marshall who caught six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. On the other side, the Hotshots attacked the ground in this game. Tim Cook, Jhurell Pressley, and Justin Stockton each got over 12 carries. Cook led the trio in yards with 77 but Pressley stole the show as he finished with 57 yards and the game-winning touchdown and also had a receiving touchdown.
Garrett Gilbert (QB): 23/48, 268 pass yds, 5.6 ypa, 2 pass TD, 1 pass 2-PT, 1 INT, 15 rush yds
D’Ernest Johnson (RB): 9 rush, 43 yds, 4.8 ypc, 4 rec. on 6 targets.
Jalin Marshall (WR): 6 rec. on 11 targets, 98 rec yds, 1 TD
John Wolford (QB): 16/27, 162 pass yds, 6 ypa, 1 pass TD, 1 pass 2-PT, 14 rush yds, 1 rush 2-PT
Jhurell Pressley (RB): 13 rush, 57 yds, 4.4 ypc, 1 TD, 1 rec. on 2 targets, 1 rec TD
Richard Mullaney (WR): 6 rec. on 7 targets, 73 rec yds
Written by: Ryan Lippert
San Antonio Commanders (4-2) at Atlanta Legends (2-4)
Final Score: San Antonio Commanders 37, Atlanta Legends 6
The San Antonio Commanders dominated this game from start to finish. While neither team scored on the first drive, the Legends turned it over deep in their own territory not long after to set up an easy 13-yard touchdown from Kenneth Farrow II. From then on, it was all Commanders, no Legends. The first quarter finished within reason (only 6-0) but the Commanders exploded for 20 points in the second quarter, which included a 79-yard punt return by Greg Ward, Jr. After allowing a large comeback by Arizona last week, San Antonio instead took their momentum into the second half, stifling any and every attempt at an Atlanta comeback. An 87-yard pick six by Derron Smith with half a quarter left sealed Atlanta’s fate, as both teams began subbing in backups and looking onward to next week’s matchup.
San Antonio Commanders
Logan Woodside (QB): 17/23, 164 pass yds, 7.1 ypa, 2 pass TD, 1 pass 2-PT, 5 rush yds.
Kenneth Farrow II (RB): 9 rush, 35 yds, 3.9 ypc, 1 TD, 2 rec. on 2 targets.
Cam Clear (TE): 5 rec. on 5 targets, 35 rec yds.
Aaron Murray (QB): 30/41, 215 pass yds, 5.2 ypa, 1 pass TD, 14 rush yds.
Brandon Radcliff (RB): 6 rush, 24 yds, 4 ypc, 5 rec. on 6 targets.
Keith Towbridge (TE): 5 rec. on 5 targets, 42 rec yds.
Written by: Kristen Mori
Birmingham Iron (4-2) at San Diego Fleet (3-3)
Final Score: Birmingham Iron 32, San Diego Fleet 29
The Birmingham Iron entered Sunday night’s game against the San Diego fleet on a two-game losing streak. Prior to the game on Sunday, the Iron made several adjustments on offense last week by starting backup quarterback Keith Price to improve on its overall production. On Sunday the Iron “Forged” a new chapter on the offensive side of the ball scoring a season-high 32points. In the first half Price got injured early in the game forcing coach Lewis to turn to his former starter Luis Perez. Perez entered the game and provided the passing spark that has been missing for several weeks. Perez threw for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns and executed the final drive to set up the game-winning field goal by Nick Novak to defeat the Fleet 32-29 in San Diego. The Iron offense also received contributions from wide receiver L’damian Washington who had a season-high 128 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Trent Richardson added 1 rushing touchdown and an additional receiving touchdown in the red zone to improve the Iron’s record to 4-2 putting them a game behind the Orlando Apollos in the Eastern division.
The player of the game was Luis Perez. Perez redeemed himself from last week poor performance against Orlando that cost him his starting job to backup quarterback Keith Price. He managed to show that he could stretch the field and challenge the San Diego Fleet secondary by throwing several passes beyond 10-20 yards down the field connecting with Washington for an 83-yard touchdown. Perez shook the criticism of being labeled “captain check down” and showed the Iron faithful that he can perform on a high level when needed.
Coach Lewis and the Iron continue their road trip next week by heading to Tennessee to take on the Memphis Express on March 24, 2019. Birmingham will be looking to sweep the season series against the Express shutting them out 26-0 in their first meeting.
Both teams had notable players who performed in a highly competitive game on Sunday that went down to the final seconds of the game. Luis Perez passed for 359 yds 3 TDs and 2Ints. Mike Bercovici production fell short passing for 311 yds 3 TDs 2INTs. L’ Damian Washington for the Iron and Dontez Ford (Fleet) both displayed their full potential as elite receivers in the American Alliance League.
San Diego Fleet
Mike Bercovici (QB): 17/34, 311 pass yds 3 pass TD 1 rush yds
Terrell Watson (RB): 8 rush, 38 yds, 4.4 ypc, 2 TD, 2 rec 17 yds
Dontez Ford (WR): 3 rec. on 182 rec yds, 0 TD
Luis Perez (QB): 27/49 359 pass yds 3 pass TD 28 rush yds
Trent Richardson (RB): 16 rush, 46 yds, 2.9 ypc, 2 TD, 7 rec 44 yds
L’ Damian Washington (WR): 4 rec 128 rec yds, 2 TD, 1 2PT
Written by: Andrae’ Perry