by Mahmoud Ajlouni, Vancouver FS

I’m back again, this time with my former team who had an amazing 2nd season in their franchise history. The Atlanta Swarm, who managed to make it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, had a great season no matter what anybody says. They finished the season strong at 8-5 in a wild ending to the first double OT game in SFL playoff history. One thing I want to point out is the astonishing defense, led by Eric Vinson, who is making the switch to FS for the coming season. They were ranked 4th in Points Allowed (26.08), 4th in Yards Allowed (389.3), 1st in Rushing Yards allowed (89.0), 1st in 3rd Down Conversion (43%), and 1st in Takeaways (34). So as you can see, they finished as one of the best defenses last season. With a new secondary (Aaron Lee – SS, E.K Vinson- FS, Pat Ketza – CB) all joining CB Jerry Forth, expect this secondary to do nothing more than just looking down on their opponents and repeating last season’s performance. Mark Chisholm, owner and head coach has done a wonderful job turning this team into a playoff contender after a disappointing 5-7 season in the first year of the Swarm franchise. Luda Cris will be missed as they brought in rookie DT Andrew Hankins. He will be filling in for big shoes. A big question mark was when they released QB Malcolm Mandel right before the deadline who had a decent start to the season in favor of Demar Woods. The losses of TE Kody Taylor and Eric Vinson will be missed, but with rookies TE Jay Frontz and WR L.B Allen III, it should be no problem to get this offense fired up right off the block. WR L.B Allen had this to say on the upcoming season:

“Well I plan to come in and make an impact from the jump. I trust that Mark knows best how to use the new pieces including myself. I plan to bring a reliable target capable of being a complementary guy to Boo and BDG. I feel like having those guys around me will open up some opportunities for me to make plays.”

The Atlanta Swarm are bound to make the playoffs again despite landing a gruesome Eastern Conference. They open up “The Hive” against the first year team London Knights and then heading to Tallahassee and Sioux Falls before returning to host Max Paul and the Alaska Storm. In my opinion, that might be the toughest stretch of the schedule before a later stretch of Mexico City and Queen City in back to back weeks. Mark Chisholm had this to say to say on his dangerous offense:

“We come to make big plays in the air as well as the ground.”

Mark Chisholm believes his team can finish 8-4 and I agree with that maybe even having a chance to finish at 9-3. Don’t forget that they have BDG Hollewood in the backfield whose name is up in the air as who is the best back in the SFL. On the outside lined up is BOOOO Chisholm, who is definitely a top 3 wide receiver in this league One thing that you don’t want to do is doubt the Chisholm led Swarm. After a lopsided smacking of the Pride 38-13 (in Tallahassee by the way), they went on and almost took down the Chicago Wildcats. After conducting my interview with Boo Chisholm on what he expects out of the new rookies stepping up for last year’s guys, this is what he had to say:

“I set the bar very high for myself and I expect my teammates to do the same.   Dedication, hustle, and execution on every single play will let the new youngsters know that we can’t settle for anything less. We must leave it all out on the field every night if we want to advance into the postseason.”

I expect this team to have the same performance as last year. With a few new tools, it’s just a matter of time before they step up and perform and help this team win. Good luck to Mark Chisholm and the Swarm and I wish them the best this season!