Houston Pourin Up… Playa You need to sit down you outta ya league
We are getting closer and closer to the 10th anniversary season of the SFL with a record high 18 teams formed. Training Camp Battles are coming up and we have Free Agents eager to join teams.
Then I ask, Liam “so what does it all entail being a SFL Beat writer?”
Like I stated previously, I started officially in Season 6. We had rookie draft classes for the new expansion teams and the Hyenas, with owner Demond, were looking to make the the 1st pick in the 1st round. There was so much talent in the draft and everyone was nervous. I spoke with a couple of owners and interviewed with teams as the music was playing before the announcement of the 1st pick. Usually, new teams go looking for the Quarterback and draft one. Houston was different. Cam’s voice come on: “With the 1st pick in the 2015 Expansion Draft, the Houston Hyenas have selected safety, Kanye Rockafella.” I was helping make SFL history! I was so happy and blessed, I could not believe it! Sim didn’t stop there. He then drafted another defensive player, CB Aaron Arrington, and then he went and got LB DJ Majesty. Houston was building a defense right out of the gate. Contracts were long term, at the time, with 2-3 seasons terms. The debut of the Hyenas made history against Louisville Wolkpack as RB Darnell Black set a record of 424 rushing yards and 5 TD’s in the 1st half. That season, the Hyenas finished 7-5 and made it to the 1st round at home beating TAL 42-36 in OT. Houston would then advance on to the 2nd round to meet Louisville on their home turf. Houston was the only loss that season for the Wolfpack, as they finished 11-1. The drama is real in this game. Sim and I got a little emotional reminiscing during the phone call on this interview. I got an interception and then the quarterback, Coleman, would come in to make Cam go Ham! Midfield with 49 seconds left to advance to the Championship. HOU/LOU were .500 against each other during the regular season. It was anybody’s game with the score at 14-20 LOU. Coleman gets us down near the 20 with his first completion, leading to a 1st down with 19 seconds left. Four WR’s on the field and Coleman does it again with another completion. 14 seconds, time is ticking without no timeouts and 1st and goal. Coleman is keeping cool and calm with 5 seconds left with two WR’s and a TE. Coleman avoids an easy sack, I mean he should have been down! Coleman throws it to DR Sim for the game winning TD! Houston won by 1 point and went on to face QCC for the SFL Championship. QCC would go on to win the SFL Championship.
In Season 7, HOU came in as Teal Conference Champions, but now what? Different staff came in, and Sim bought in a star TE Eric Vinson, as well as a star DE. That season, the Hyenas failed to return to the big dance, finishing 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the conference. The Maulers would win the Season 7 title. Hyenas lost to the Maulers in the regular season.
Houston had enough. In Season 8, the Hyenas would bring in RB Dion Hawkins and WR/Co-Owner Greg Corky. He would turn into the DC to get things boiling. They would finish up the conference a 4-4 with a 7-5 overall. They would lose in the 1st round to the Alaska Storm 34-37. QCC would win another championship title.
In Season 9, Dr. Sim would have to rebuild the RB, FS, and WR. Corky decides to get his own franchise. I honestly think that if Corky would have stayed, Houston would of went to the championship. Sim broke records and ended up being in the 1st round of playoffs, only to lose to the current champion Mexico City Aztecs. They beat the Aztecs in Houston 31-24 in the regular season. Hyenas finished 7-5.
I went ahead and reached out to the team, got them in a corner to discuss this season.
Staff: Dr Sim 80- Owner / Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator / Eddie Gauge- Defensive Coordinator
SEASON 9 RECORD AND FINISH 7-5 / 7-6 Playoff Loss 1st Rd.
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KR: How do you feel about the team?
Ahmed Cheema: I like the team a lot and I think the sky is the limit for our squad.
KR: What do you want the league to know about you? Who is the leader of this team?
AC: I want the league to know that I’ll do anything Dr Sim asks of me. If he wants me to be a leader, I will. As of now I plan on helping this team in any way.
KR: I wanna know how you feel about schedule, team? How do you think you guys going to do etc.? We can chat on discord or jump on a call?
Ryan Michaels: The schedule the league set up for us is gonna be a hard one. I’m looking forward to those two games against the San Francisco Sharks. Ryan Moats put together a very formidable squad on paper and I’m very curious to see how his Star FB instead of Star HB plan is going to unfold during the course of the season. I really love the fact that we start the season out with 3 out of 5 home games but it’s gonna be a tough road on the back half of the schedule having to go away from home 3 out the last 5 to close the season.
KR: Yassss, give me more homie! You da man in Houston! You are responsible for shutting down high value players. Do you think you’ll be able to do that? You remind me of a young Kanye but instead of safety like I started he put you in as a CB.
RM: Yeah. My owner, DrSim and I got together early in the offseason and really hashed out how we wanted to play this season. He wants me to be the shut down corner that can take the top target for opposing QB’s. Do I think I will be able to do that?
Absolutely. I put everything I was given into making sure that I can stick with any Receiver no matter how fast or how agile they may be. You give me a man to cover and the only time he is seeing the ball is either when I’m catching it or knocking it down.
KR: That’s Huge! He is counting on you and making you a star.
RM: I love that he is counting on me. As a Rookie, it puts a little more pressure on you to make sure you don’t let your owner down, and I’m gonna do by best to go beyond even his highest expectations.
KR: Who you ready to face and beat up? Anying you wanna tell the SFL Nation? Do you think your future in Houston is bright?
RM: I’m ready to face anyone in this league and shut them down.. but if I had to choose just one person I would probably say Optimus Cline over in Alaska. On paper he looks like he should be tough to shut down but I want to truly put that to the test and see if he is for real or not. I think my future in Houston is very bright. DrSim knows he can count on me to what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. When we first started our talks in the offseason I came out and told him upfront that any team I sign with I want to try to spend my whole career there. Now I’m here and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. It’s time to bring that Championship back to Houston.
KR: Word… Please if anything else holla, cause I think I got ya’ll all season. I apologize to Sim cause I left ya’ll out my initial article. So I gotta make up for it. This the team I started with for christ sake?! Sorry! So sorry! Anything you like the SFL Nation know? Do it! Cause people are not talking bout ya’ll and ya’ll been to playoffs.
RM: Haha its ok.. they can underestimate us all they want. It only makes the victory that much sweeter. You ever have any questions you want someone to answer hit me up.
KR: How you see the team this season. Are you excited about starting with a new team?
Badr Ajlouni: In my eyes, I see the team for this season going to the top of our division and that we can go to the playoffs. Also I am very excited to start with a new team, especially Hyenas. D.R. Sims is really nice and the players are too.
OWNER & COACH SPEAK
KR: What can we expect out of Houston Hyenas this season?
DR SIM: Better passing game this season. I have a QB that’s 6’5 that can see over the line and get the ball to receivers. For a couple seasons we had Cantrell throwing too many interceptions. Better pass defense, better stops against the run, better passing out of the backfield. It’s the processing of each season taking away from it positive prospective. Gotta get out of first round, have not been back in a couple of seasons. We have to get more involved in the locker room, keep it pumped! Know your history and mishaps and how to get better at winning, Build comradery.
KR: Who is your Offensive coordinator and Defensive coordinator?
DR: I’m the OC and Eddie Gauge is the DC.
KR: Who are your defensive leaders and/or captain? Do you have any scouts?
DR: Ryan Michaels has been helping out with and he is the Captain. We don’t have scouts. There have been no days off in this league. I had to handle some football business and get back focus this off season, but now as DT Chad Takkul would say “Dr. Sim don’t play.”
KR: Is it fair to say that RB Murray is another Black?
DR: Murray is another Black, he has some similar abilities as Black did. We will be a run first offense utilizing different packages. He is going to turn it around and be a great back and forth option in Houston.
KR: How do you feel about this season?
DR: Well I got Eddie Gauge and he has been around the league for a while and I originally met him from the CAG league and if you ever played him in CAG his specialty is defense and it was really difficult to score on him. Badr really is an active player a great addition to the team. He is a tall guy that is 6’2, 215 lbs. We got back DJ Majesty out of retirement. He is 6th overall for over 100 tackles. He led the league in tackle losses and he had a 65-yard interception for a TD. We have a No-Fly Zone mentality with shutdown DB’s that like to swarm to the ball with big 6’3 dudes, long frames. Cheema seem pretty amp, a great QB, 6”4 – 6’5 accuracy is nice. If his accuracy stays on point we can keep the completions up and interceptions down. Controlling the turn over margins.
KR: Around the league there seems to be little or no talk about you guys, how do you feel about that?
DR: I love it that they’re not talking about us. But, hey I don’t know, and I like to stay under the radar. Season 6 started out losing against Carolina but we stayed at the top 5 defense and to me it’s all about staying in the top 5. Great question! We just continue to be humble!
KR: What team are you looking forward to facing the most? What’s the record?
DR: Alaska is without a doubt the team I’m looking to battle. They’re the #1 team to face and to me we are like Balt/Tenn in the NFL. 9 & 3 possibly. 6 games above 500 I’ll be very proud.
KR: Special teams is very important in SFL, you know it and I know it. Why didn’t you take a kicker?
DR: Well, I wanted one. But I had to make a decision on whether to go with a third wide receiver or better our defense. Because it’s all about field positions. Have I thought about it? Sure, but it is what it is.
KR: What happened to your TE package?
DR: Defense was a need, if you look at the game the AI targets, the 1st & 2nd WR the most, the 3rd WR/TE don’t get looked at what seems most of the time. After season six,I started looking 2 WR and a TE playing slot. The AI had the TE on the line of scrimmage and there was a 4/6 defense on the line not tightening in on the slot. Just watch some games see what teams are doing.
KR: What would you like to tell SFL nation?
DR: We’re playing smash mouth type of football. We run in packs! Hard nose smashing. I want my team to be great in defense. We average 27 points off., and defense averaged 10 points . No one has animation, straight ratings.
KR: Defense in the CAG league I was told you were dope. How will that help you in the SFL. What you think about the team/ new team? Any particular schemes you wanna share? What you want the nation to know about Gauge and Hyena football? Etc. any particular record you think?
Eddie Gauge: Ahh … LOL. I used to play football. Started out in pee wee league. I played both LCB and RCB, FS, SS, Will backer, and believe it or not one quarter at RG. So that experience helps with reading keys and play calling. Who told you that?
KR: Oh, lol gotcha.Got it from Sim when we talked.
EG: Dr Sim is giving me full control of the defense so I am excited about that. As far as my new team, I don’t know much about them at all. I’m learning on the fly with help from Dr Sim who has given me a bit of history about them. From what I was told the offense has been pretty good, but the defense has continued to surrender big leads. Which is where I come in
As far as schemes … I love the variations of cover 3 schemes. That was the base defense I played out of and I love it. But I also mix it up to keep people honest. One thing about the CAG league … guys are quick to adapt at what you do so you have to keep people guessing. I’m not going to predict a record. But the first item on the agenda is winning the division.
KR: Gauge I gotta use this.Thank you. Good stuff! Anything else you wanna add?
EG: About me … football junkie! When I played I was an avid in film study. Favorite quote, “Great offensive teams boost ticket sales. Great defensive teams win games.” Umm … nothing I can think of at the moment. Just thankful to be a part of the league and waiting for things to get crackin’!
Dad, these dogs are so friendly and nice always laughing.UHH… son those are no dogs… Those are Hyenas!
Dr Sim, who’s value is, as Mighty stated, “the same as his jersey number,” is returning to the league with some new quality team members and some savvy veterans. He is ready to start cooking again and has bought in a new QB in Ahmed Cheema who is ranked in the same tier with some playoff caliber QB’s. A rookie RB Warren Murray that comes in at 6’2 220. Badr Ajlouni came in from the folded Cleveland franchise and another SFL developing WR Garren Malone.
#loadinglegends- DR Sim leads the league in active user players in receiving yards. (4500+)
You have to build a defense and this season it may be coming strong from where it all started. SS Eddie Gauge comes in as the DC and as one of the most established veterans in the SFL. This guy has been in the league and playoffs since Season 3. Third year veteran CB Tyleek Jones is back for his 2nd season. FS Blake Chance making his 2nd year start with the Hyenas. OLB DJ Majesty came out of retirement after being gone for 2 seasons to help re-establish this defense and help bring a title to Houston.New faces of the franchise.CB Ryan Michaels is a Captain. DT Chad Takkul is the 2nd highest value in West, and OLB Dook Buttley is eager to shoot on out and get dirty and nasty.
#loadinglegends- Eddie Gauge is the 6th SFL Player and first user player to have over 400 solo tackles.
SCHEDULE OPPONENTS AND RECORD AGAINST
Western Conference W-L
SAN ANTONIO 1-1
VANCOUVER LEGION 1-1
SIOUX FALLS 3-0
ST. LOUIS 2-0
FINISH UP ALREADY
I think Houston is a really talented team, of course. They can control games on both sides on the ball. If they could control the turnovers that have plagued them for the past couple of seasons, make opposing teams go 3 and out, and add to their leads, they could possibly hang in that competitive Western Conference. On the real, I thought they would be the team last season that Chicago would have met. You talking about a huge dream scenario for ya boy. That would have been mad crazy, sorry I regress. Demond has always had the traditional builds on his team. Remember when I stated “you have to build a defense and this season it may be coming strong from where it all started”? Well, Sim, Gauge, and Jones all come from the old Baltimore Crabs franchise. Sim has always believed in going for the ball, and gang tackling. With the help of Eddie and placing their players in the right position, this belief should come to fruition. I think we will see a developing, explosive build here. Again, my concern is that in this league accuracy is so important and Houston has had a history of throwing more INTS than TDS. Cheema needs to be a good decision maker. You need to have that pocket protected and a QB should know how to fire into the seams. The underrated Majesty has been around and knows what his responsibility is. The middle tier RB will need to be the sleeper for the Hyenas. If he is used like Sim likes to run and help relieve the pressure off his QB, you better watch out. DT Takkul isn’t Sim’s first DLineman and he will be making a effort to stuff the run. Newcomer Ryan Michaels is the highest CB value in the league, and should make plays starting out the gate. I think him and Sim, along with Gauge, could help make this team solid in commitment from players such as the likes of the Sparrows, Aztecs, Swarm and a few others. The goal for Houston should be to finally take a shot and get over the hump of the Storm and have a strong start at home with the first three games. Win two out of next four games, you should have an idea on how to play the remaining schedule on how to finish strongly.
Thank you Hyenas! Sim, Ryan, and Ed good luck this season! Put your H’s up!