by Mike Daggs

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Alaska1 - 0+ 3Alaska needed a strong start to defend their #4 preseason ranking... and defend they did! So much so that they're now our new #1 team. "Riverboat" Ron Cockren went ballin' and threw for nearly 500 yards and three touchdowns on the day. The biggest beneficiary of those passes was Optimus Cline who apparently can not be covered by anyone, ever. Cline hauled in nearly 20 receptions for almost 300 yards. He wasn't able to find the end zone but when you're averaging over 16 yards per reception and catch 18 of them, I think you can be forgiven. The defensive stats didn't have any major standouts this week but that was due primarily to the fact that they didn't need to be on the field a whole lot. The only surrendered 17 points and 237 yards on the day, so a job well done - stats or no stats. CB Ryan Davidson registered a pick and Alex "Big Sexy" Dominguez registered a sack and a couple tackles for a loss on what would be a dominating performance on both offense and defense all day. Other teams beware - you better have an elite game plan ready to go if you're facing off against the Storm. Good luck, Houston... Davidson echoed that sentiment and said "Can't wait to take the field this week in Houston. Hope we can repeat the performance we put on last week vs the Legion"
Atlanta1 - 0+ 3Ask anyone on the Atlanta roster if they thought that #5 was high enough in the preseason power rankings and they'll all tell you a resounding NO. So what did they do about it? They hosted rookie expansion team London.... and stung them to death. Atlanta's offense and defense were in control all game looking every bit of a top tier team. The passing game wasn't the greatest with DeMar Woods throwing only 13 completions on 18 attempts for 104 yards, no touchdowns and a pick.... but who needs a passing game when running back BDG Hollewood can put up over 200 yards and two touchdowns on the day? Hollewood also boasted a league leading 7 yards per carry on the day. The defense would allow the London offense to do absolutely nothing, completely shutting down the run game and making the passing attack look silly. Cornerback Jerry Forth picked one off and took it 48 yards to the house. Safety Aaron Lee also had a pick, and the defense managed a third pick on the day which also resulted in a touchdown. The Atlanta Swarm are out to prove that they deserve to be in the discussion for a powerhouse team this season and they're certainly off to a great start.
Queen City1 - 0-Queen City believes they're beginning the march for championship number five. What's the best way to prove that to the rest of the league? Head into the home of the defending champions and serve them up with a loss. And that the Corsairs did. AJ Caswell & company traveled to Mexico City and went home with a win. Queen City's stat line won't blow anyone away but they did enough to win the game, and at the end of the day 1 and 0 looks a lot better than 0 and 1. Caswell managed 16 completions on 21 attempts for under 200 yards and a touchdown, but only one pick. Receivers Memphis Blue, Chris Curtis, and Tight End Mike Daggs (hey, I know that guy..) all were under 50 yards but each had multiple receptions. Prize free agent running back Ash Odom rumbled for 126 yards and a touchdown but was under 4 yards per carry on the day. But that limited offensive showing plus a pick six from a non-contract corner (who needs star corners, am I right?) was enough to put up more points than Mexico City. Linebacker Avry King lead the defense with 11 tackles on what would prove to be a strong unit that held the Aztecs to only 17 points.
Tallahassee1 - 0+ 2I was really excited to see the Tallahassee running game and how it worked with the first tandem of a star running back coupled with a star full back. Unfortunately neither back was really able to get much going on the ground. Their carries were pretty evenly split but neither back would pass 30 yards or break 3 yards per carry. Fullback Caleb Connelley did find the endzone and ultimately the Pride did win the game but it was the passing game that got them there. QB Christian Christiansen chucked the ball for 372 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with receiver Duke Wilson for a majority of the yards and all three scores. The defense was stifling getting into the backfield all game long, registering multiple sacks and nearly double digit tackles for a loss. Add that to the two picks made by safety Alex Bond and you've got a dominant team all day. The only question to answer at this point is this: which receiver is better, Duke Wilson or Optimus Cline? I'm hoping Alaska can meet up with Tallahassee in the playoffs... can you image the yards and the final score?? For now I'll have to settle for watching them take on Atlanta, who beat up the Knights in week 1, in what is sure to be an epic battle. Defensive End Taqwuan Hale is looking forward to the match-up. He told me "This week against Atlanta will be our first meeting since they ended our playoff run, so we still have a chip on our shoulders and you can expect that emotion to be a big factor on Sunday."
Indianapolis1 - 0+ 9Our first huge jump in the power rankings for week 1. I mentioned in the preseason rankings that the Indianapolis secondary looked like it may be one of the best in the league. So, did they make a liar out of me? No sir - they did not. The Red Devils secondary brought in 4 interceptions on the day in week 1 and accounted for 17 of the defense's total tackles. If you weren't afraid of them before, you should be now. Not to be outshined by his defense, rookie QB Nathan Lee threw the ball for nearly 300 yards and a staggering FIVE touchdowns. I like to give completion percentages, but how about this instead - 19% of Lee's completions went for touchdowns. Nearly 1 in every 5 catches went to the house. I asked Lee about his performance and he said "We just have to ride the wave". Receivers Dan Daly and Eli McCormick each hauled in 7 catches, each had over 100 yards, and each had at least 1 touchdown on the day. An extremely impressive outing for the Red Devil offense and defense to kick off their SFL debut. Next week they host the St Louis Gladiators in prime time on Monday night - be afraid St Louis.... be very afraid.
Sioux Falls1 - 0+ 4Sioux Falls won their first game of the year, but it wasn't for a lack of trying to give their victory away. The offense was humming with QB Julian Tyree completing 70% of his throws for over 200 yards and a touchdown. Rookie running back Robert Redford didn't disappoint in his debut rumbling for 131 yards and a touchdown on a staggering 36 carries - clearly the Sparrows are leaning on the run game this season. Tyree did a nice job spreading the ball around completing nearly an even number of passes between receivers Shaun Harrelson, AJ Warren, Michael Moore, as well as Redford. They did just enough on offense to win, even though Tyree couldn't get out of his own way throwing three picks, one of which was taken to the house on what would be Houston's only touchdown against them on the day. Find some ball security on offense and you've got yourself a decent unit. The defense was giving Houston's offense fits all game... disrupting the backfield, making tackles, making sacks, defending passes, making picks. Linebacker Nick Fargo took the lead on defense registering 4 tackles, a sack, and a pick. This team can be good this year, they really can, if they can stop trying to give away their victories. They look to continue to put up wins in week 2 when they host a struggling Oklahoma City squad.
Tulsa1 - 0+ 9Our second massive jump in power ranking position - again by an expansion team. Tula was one of two expansion teams to earn a victory in week 1. Veteran free agent running back Dion Hawkins was largely kept in check on the ground all day managing only 56 yards on his 19 attempts (under 3 per carry!) but rookie QB Sir Charles Robinson more than made up for is slinging the rock for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, boasting an impressive 74% completion percentage. Receiver Khoury Jones had a field day bring in four of those passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Hawkins did about as much in the receiving game as he did in the running game and was also able to haul in a touchdown pass to put points on the board. Safeties Nate Helzep and Charles Ball want to make the case for best safety tandem and started off by each hauling in an INT and a combined six passes defended on the day. Ball also found his way into the backfield to register a sack, along with DT Griffen Brown and LB Espnn Ry'Ale who each got a sack of their own. Tulsa faces a tall task in week 2 as they head to Chicago to take on the defending runner up of the season 9 championship game.
San Antonio1 - 0+ 5The Vaqueros took the field in Dallas as underdogs, and left as the top dog of the day. Dallas kept the score close all game but San Antonio scored first and would never give up the lead. An impressive day from QB Joey Langdon (74% completion percentage, 247 yards, two TDs, only 1 pick) lead the way to victory for the team. Receiver Daly Hornish was the biggest benefactor of Langdon's performance with nearly 100 yards and both touchdown receptions. Running back Jason German was bottled up most of the day averaging only 2.3 yards per carry on 31 attempts. The defense didn't have mind blowing stats but they did enough to stop Dallas from putting up enough points to steal their victory. Strong Safety Scott Perez had a pick and Obi Okoye had a sack which both helped in shutting down the Dallas offense. The Vaqueros are looking to go 2 - 0 as they host a San Francisco team next week that got blown out in week 1. Langon seeked excited about the opportunity when asked and said "Punting, Passing and Kicking. San Antonio's got it all. In fact, if there was a competition involving Punting, Passing and Kicking, I bet we'd do well." OK.... Good luck...? I think?
Mexico City0 - 1- 8Oh how the mighty have fallen. Mexico City looked to defend their championship victory in Season 9 with a statement win over a tough Corsairs team. That win was not to be. Queen City came into town and took care of business with a victory over the Aztecs. Ray Bentley had a slow start and even bobbled a pass that was picked off and taken to the house, but later on looked true to form averaging 6.5 yards per carry, pulling in a total of 163 yards and a touchdown. QB Matt Willson was efficient (not a word most QB's like to be described as...) going 13 of 18 with a touchdown. He had a pick, but that was Bentley's fault - not his. Receivers Swann, Barrett, and Montague each hauled in multiple receptions but none would eclipse the 100 yard mark. The Aztecs will need to see more out of their defense if they hope to win a lot of games as the unit was unable to get a single sack and the secondary could not pick of the ball. Linebacker Landin Mack did manage to tally 11 tackles including one for a loss, but overall the defensive unit was slowly picked apart by the Queen City passing and running game all day and couldn't seal a win for the Aztecs. It could be a long road ahead for the champs.
St. Louis1 - 0+ 5St Louis looked at their #15 rank in the preseason and scoffed. They knew they could take on the runner up in the Season 9 Championship game and come away with a win. Or...... did they? Either way - that's exactly what they did. The Gladiators marched into Chicago and took the Wildcats head on in a defensive battle that put them to the test. Ethan Alexander only threw the ball 16 times all game for 47 yards but managed a touchdown and didn't turn the ball over even once. Running back Denzel Diaz carried the team on his back with 29 carries for 177 yards and a touchdown of his own. The secondary sealed the win for St Louis as safety Freeman Peltier and corner Aaron Arrington both came away with a pick each and safety Nick Daggs played stingey leading the team with three passes defended. It seems as though the SFL community doesn't quite trust them yet, making them the only team to win their game and still be ranked lower than a team that lost their game. Week 2 will provide the real test as they take on a red hot (no pun intended) Red Devil's squad. If they can win that game, maybe they'll get some respect.
Chicago0 - 1- 9Another titan takes a big fall - tied for the biggest of the week. Chicago hosted the St Louis Gladiators hoping to redeem themselves from their Season 9 Championship loss. ET King was slinging passes all day - 49 passing attempts with 34 of them being completed for over 300 yards and a touchdown. However three of those passes were picked off putting an end to those three drives. J Calvin Kim was consistently stuffed at the line gaining only 39 yards on 17 attempts with his longest scamper of the day stopping after only 12 yards. Kendall Gilbert was one of the lone shining stars on offense hauling in 5 catches for over 100 yards and the only touchdown of the day for the Chicago offense. Linebackers Clint Hendershot and Ajamu Afolabi combined for 17 tackles on the day (11 and 6 respectively) along with another six tackles from cornerback Kanye Rockafella. Hendershot was clearly the leader on defense with his team leading tackle total and two passes defended - the only two passes defended by the defense on the day. The defense did enough to shut down the passing game but were gashed by the run. They'll look to make some adjustments to fix that problem heading into week 2.
Dallas0 - 1- 4Dallas may have underestimated previously ranked #13 San Antonio as they hosted the Vaqueros for their home opener in week 1. The Ruffnecks were down on the scoreboard early and while they managed to keep the game close they never lead at any point during the game. QB Macc Wavy Jr had an average day throwing for 212 yards with a touchdown and pick (64% completion percentage) and spread the ball around fairly evenly to his group of receivers. Running back Mike Davis' stat line looks nice - 84 yards on 14 carries (nearly 6 yards per attempt average) with two touchdowns - but take away his one long run of 74 yards and his average drops to a half yard per attempt. I'd expect the coaches to be working feverishly this week to make some offensive and defensive adjustments as they're going to need to see a lot more out of their linebackers McDaniel Sr & Jr as well as their two defensive ends Maxx Blitz and Tee Cabell if they hope to stop the high flying Queen City offense in week 2.
Houston0 - 1- 4Houston and Sioux Falls found themselves side by side in the preseason power rankings right in the middle of the pack at #9 and #10. They faced off against each other in week one and the game truly represented two evenly matched teams just as the power rankings suggested. A low scoring defensive battle all day that resulted in Sioux Falls eeking out a win over the Hyenas. QB Ahmed Cheema was accurate on the day completing almost 70% of his throws but ended two drives on INT's that he wishes he could have back. RB Warren Murray ran the ball 20 times but only managed 39 yards out of those carries. His success came in the passing game as he hauled in 14 catches for over 110 yards, but he did cough up a fumble to add to the turnovers on the day. The receivers, however, were left out in the cold. Badr Ajlouni, Garren Malone, and D.R. Sim (yes THREE star receivers) registered a total of 3, 1, and 0 receptions between them. Cheema better be careful or I'm going to start referring to him as Captain Checkdown in these recaps. The defense fared much better than the offense. CB Tyleek Jones had 6 tackles, two picks, one of which he took 78 yards to the house (I love a good pick 6). Safety Blake Chance also snagged an INT and had double digit tackles. Safety Eddie Gauge had double digit tackles as well including THREE of which that went for a loss. The defensive unit looks strong, so if the coaching staff can make the appropriate adjustments on offense (cough cough - throw to the receivers - cough cough) they should be able to right the ship!
Carolina0 - 1- 2To look at Carolina's stat line for week 1 you have to ask yourself "how did they only get ten points??". Rookie running back AJ Francis had a good showing in his debut that lived up to expectations eclipsing the 100 yard mark and averaging over 4 yards per carry. But... he couldn't find the endzone. QB Mark Biddix threw 44 passes and had over 200 yards, but completed only 66% of those throws and, you guessed it, couldn't find the endzone through the air. What he did find, though, was the Tallahassee defense connecting with them for three drive ending INT's. Free agent receiver Jalan Miller did his part catching 5 passes for 65 yards but of course never made it into the endzone. The only touchdown on the day for the Skyhawks was a short scamper by Biddix taking it in on the ground himself. The defense struggled to stop the Pride offense all day. Safety Giovanni Bolt hauled in an INT and linebacker Phil Hall registered double digit tackles, but that's about where the stats stop on defense. Carolina's coaching staff has their work cut out for them as they need to focus on both sides of the ball. On offense - finishing drives and ball security. On defense, tackling, getting pressure, forcing turnovers. Their uphill climb continues in week 2 as they host the defending SFL Champion Mexico City Aztecs.
Oklahoma City0 - 1- 4Donk Bonkers is the highest rated member of the Oklahoma City squad. What did he bring to the table in week 1? 2.3 yards per carry on 15 attempts, and he lost a fumble. Not the outing he was hoping for. QB Deacon Nickens tried his best to make up for the lack of rushing offense by throwing the ball 56 times! He completed 34 of those attempts for over 300 yards and a touchdown, but threw two picks as well. The three costly turnovers are what helped Tulsa server the Renegades with a loss to kick off season 10. As I mentioned in the preseason ranking, OKC is the only team boasting a two star tight end set on offense. It looks like it may pay off as each had multiple receptions that averages 15 yards a pop. If they're able to make some adjustments where they can be more careful with the ball and not generate turnovers, and get a bit more out of their defense so they can get some takeaways of their own, this offense looks like it could do some damage. Safeties Bert Maclin and Al Clint did their part - each generating a pick - but is the offense keeps turning over the ball they're going to need to step it up even further if the Renegades hope to put some serious wins on the board this season. Nickens wasn't feeling the love from the media this week (I doubt my recap will help that feeling) and said "Media not giving our squad respect so we'll earn it no problem!". Show us what you've got Nickens.
Vancouver0 - 1- 9What can you say... Vancouver got stomped. Their 9 position drop in the rankings solidifies that. Cockren and Cline went to town on the Legion and made their defense just look silly. As a unit the defense registered 4 total passes defended and did pull in a couple of picks, but that was out of the 57 passes Cockren made against them that day. The defense surrendered well over 500 yards and five touchdowns (not to mention three field goals) on what would be a very disappointing start to the season for Vancouver. QB Tom Pepper completed just over half his passes and tossed in a couple of touchdowns but didn't even hit 200 yards on the day. The running game struggled with Jonathan Sanchez only managing 48 yards averaging 2.3 per carry. The defense did manage to make nearly a combined 40 tackles on the day but that was due largely to the fact that they were on the field for 60% of the game. It may be a long road ahead for Vancouver unless they make some adjustments on both sides of the ball. Strong safety Joshua Banner acknowledged the difficulties the secondary had. "We couldn't cover Cline for anything." Banner said. "It was big play after big play, and that is going to be a huge focus for our secondary." Free safety Mahmoud Ajlouni is looking forward to a rebound in week 2 and said "After a tough loss against Alaska, we're gonna go out there in London and take our anger out on them, and hopefully making the flight back home an enjoyable one!". Receiver Brett Killian also felt the same way. He told me "A win against the Knights will make the 4700 mile flight worth all of it".
San Francisco0 - 1+ 1San Francisco was dead last in the preseason power ranking vote, entering the league this season as one of the expansion teams. Unfortunately in their debut they looked every bit the part of a rookie squad. QB Jacques Luyindula struggled all day against the fierce Red Devil secondary completing only 59% of his passes. He managed three touchdowns but also threw a staggering four interceptions that would repeatedly add nails to the coffin around their game. I was curious to see how a team with no star running back and only a star full back would fare in the run game. Unfortunately, even though Moats had a noteworthy 4.4 yards per carry on the day, he couldn't manage to break anything for big yardage being held to only a 7 yard run as his long for the day. He only got 14 carries compared to the 46 pass attempts made by Luyindula, so I'd expect the coaching staff to take a look at evening out the run and pass game a little big more to see if Moats can make some progress on his ground attack. Receiver Gabriel Manning was targeted often and brought in double digit receptions for over 100 yards but failed to find the end zone. The defensive unit racked up an impressive 31 tackles, a sack, and a pick led by safety duo Max Jackson and Andrew Allen - but that was due in large part to the amount of time they had to spend on the field with the costly offensive turnovers. The Sharks hope to rebound in week two when they visit San Antonio.
London0 - 1- 1Rounding out the bottom is the London Knights. San Fran actually received most last place votes, but London had the most votes in the bottom three pushing their average vote into last place. The Knights were hoping for a strong start to their inaugural season but it was not to be. Quarterback Michael Martin struggled all day. Completing only 19 passes on 32 attempts, Martin failed to clear 200 yards and didn't get any touchdown passes. He did complete three passes to the Swarm defense though. Running Back Spencer Mair could do nothing on the ground accumulating only 17 yards on his 6 carries. Receivers Andre Godspeed and Jockamo Jones seemed to wake up in the second half, but it was too little too late. On defense, linebacker Slinn Shady looked like a potential MVP caliber player racking up a whopping 18 tackles, 5 of which went for a loss. Fellow linebacker Garrett Roland Sr joined the party with 7 tackles and 1 for a loss of his own. But it was the Daggs brothers who would score London's only points of the day. Safety Jeffrey Daggs was impressive on kick returns all day with over 200 kick return yards for the game - one of which was a 93 yard scamper for a touchdown. He currently leads the league in kick return yards and average by a large margin - keep an eye out on this kid. Big brother Zack Daggs kicked in two field goals and an extra point. But that was all the team could muster and was otherwise smothered by the Atlanta Swarm offense and defense, both of which scored multiple touchdowns against the London squad.