By Various Writers
Queen City Corsairs @ Indianapolis Red Devils By Jeremy Vega
The Red Devils hosted the Corsairs in a rematch of the Week 4 thrashing the Corsairs gave the Red Devils at home. Eric Barkley and his team entered this game on a 3 game win streak sitting at 5-1. On the flip side, James Eichards is having a sophomore slump as his group was 1-5 and on a 4 game skid. With the Red Devils desperately needing a win to get them back on track, Queen City wasn’t the best team to start that turn around against. Queen City once again found a way to pull off a close win on the road and continue their pursuit to 5 championships.
On the Corsairs opening drive, runningback Ash Odom busted out a 60 yard TD run to put his team out in front early. For the next three quarters of the game, it was all defense for both teams as neither gave up any touchdowns. Sloppy play by quarterback AJ Caswell, who threw 5 interceptions, really kept Indy in the game. Cornerback, Von Seniuk made 3 of the 5 interceptions and Indy was able to turn 4 of those into field goals. The Indy offense seem to stall out every single drive, and if not for the interceptions their dominant secondary took, they may have never made it into field goal range. With just 15 seconds left and the Corsairs sitting at the opponents 15 yard line, you would think they would run and get the kicker into great position for the game winning kick. Instead, Coach Barkley tried gambling as Caswell threw a corner post and was nearly intercepted by Von Seniuk again. Senuik leaped as high as he could to snag his 4th interception and win the game for his team, but the ball was just outside his fingertips, and he dropped it. Queen City then came out and knocked through the game winning field goal to win 13-12.
Defensive Player of the Game goes to Von Seniuk for his hat trick of interceptions and Offensive player goes to Ash Odom who put on a show with 27 carries for 172 yards and a single score.
A very close game indeed, but Queen City was able to pull of this win despite the offensive struggles. They will head to Atlanta to take on the Swarm. Indy will continue to rethink and adjust their offense to salvage something from this all but lost season. Indy heads on over to the dangerous Baltimore Vultures.
Thanks as always, One Love
London Knights @ Carolina Skyhawks By Chirstopher Colon
The London Knights came into town looking for a fight – looking for some payback for a Week 3 loss to Carolina at QueensWay Stadium. Coming off a bye week, Carolina needed to show they had not lost a step of momentum from an undefeated season through five weeks of play.
In the first half it was all Carolina. London chipped in with a couple field goals. Their defense fought hard despite allowing four TD’s in the half. Quarterback, Jacques Luyindula was firing on all cylinders. Already in midseason form, Luyindula connected with Harish Prasad and Jalan Miller for TD’s. Running back, Aj Francis would have a modest two TD game for 74 rushing yards. London, after allowing four scores, buckled down and fought hard to come back in the game, finally scoring a TD midway through the 3rd quarter. That brought the score to 28-13, Carolina still in the lead, though London started to gain some confidence. Their defense still allowed some big passes by Luyindula and Francis pounded the rock when he was needed; Luyindula just had a certain aura about him. He was poised all game. He and Prasad would go on to connect nicely as Prasad would have himself a “career day” as said by the play by play commentator for the game, James Richards. London was able to force a field goal to bring the score to 31-13. If Luyindula was having a spectacular game, then Nathan Lee was having a great game himself. Connecting on throws with his receivers and fitting throws Into tight windows, scoring another TD on a pass to Donnie Hands going into the 4th quarter. The score was now 31-20. London continued to gain confidence as more throws were completed. Linebacker, Phil Hall was having himself a career game of his own. He was all over the field. Forcing drops and picking up clutch tackles though Lee was still finding ways to get the ball down field. Forcing a field goal, the Carolina defense denied a huge TD drive into just settling for 3. This brought the score from 31-20 to 31-23. Carolina, gaining their confidence back was fueled up to score more points and went for “the throat” as said by Mr Richards himself, as Prasad scored his second receiving TD of the game, bringing the game to 38-23. Carolina would eventually score 45 and ultimately win the game. London fought a hard one. The score doesn’t say it but London nearly had a comeback – it was just not enough. London now heads home to host a hungry St. Louis squad as Carolina heads to Chicago and will try to keep their undefeated ways alive.
St. Louis Gladiators @ Denver Nightwings By Ethan Kye
This was a game where two teams each need a win. Both the Gladiators and Nightwings came into this game 2-4. Both were trying to move up in their division.
Denver kicked the ball to St. Louis and the Gladiators would do a little and then punt the ball to Denver. Denver would go on to score on their first drive, giving Jarrod McChesney his first touchdown of
the season. Denver would kick off and St Louis would move the ball down the field not being able to score, but punting and putting them deep in their own half…
Denver would score and Gladiators would answer back. That would end the first quarter. Going into the second quarter, Denver would score on another Jarrod McChesney touchdown and the
Gladiators would answer back with a Martin field goal ending the second quarter 21-10.
St. Louis started off by kicking off to Denver. The Nightwings would move the ball down the field and score another Jarrod McChesney TD, his 4th in the game bringing the score to 28-10 in favor of Denver. The Gladiators would get the ball kicked to them and move the ball down the field to score again from a Martin field goal. Denver would get the ball back and move the ball down the field to the St. Louis redzone, where Ethan Kye would pick off Josh Miller and down it.
Going into the 4th quarter, Denver would move up to 35-13 due to a Jockamo Jones touchdown.
The Nightwings would score again while the Gladiators had trouble moving the ball and scoring. The Gladiators need to work on their defense and offense if they wish to move forward to the playoffs. I think it is possible. The game ended 42-20.
Dallas Lobos @ Tallahassee Pride By Christian Pundt
Tallahassee entered the game at an undefeated 6-0 at the top of the Southern Conference, hosting the 1-4 Dallas Lobos. The game was a battle of offensive juggernauts as they both ranked near the top of the league on that side of the ball (Dallas most noted for their air raid and Tallahassee most noted for the league’s leading rusher in Jaye Eniola).
The game wound up following up a familiar pattern to what the league has grown accustomed to with the Pride. To the tune of 150 yards on the ground for Eniola and 329 yards through the air for Christiansen and the Pride’s dynamic duo, they were able to outpace the vaunted and dynamic Lobo offense that put up 413 yards through the air for Shabazz Psynergy of their own. Not to be understated, the Pride’s defense had a field day of their own, recording ten sacks (Hale 3, Bane 1.5, Norwood 2.5, DeCue 4) and for large periods of time, owning the pocket. Additionally, Tallahassee CB Mathew Sprous recorded his first interception of the season. Conversely, Dallas corners Dante West and Iverson Gamble both recorded interceptions of their own. Arguably the defensive player of the game for Dallas in Cain Vasquez recorded 13.5 tackles, which were often times used to clean up underneath routes and Eniola when he busted into the second layer. Dallas was able to get going once the Pride pulled their starters in the fourth quarter and burned the Tallahassee backups for three touchdowns.
At the end of the day, there was a lot of room for both teams to be proud of and build of for the rest of the season. The Pride saw their overwhelming defensive line back in play and their offensive stars move the chains, but they could stand to make a more efficient offense. Meanwhile, Dallas again saw large output from Shabazz Psynergy and Mike Osayi (who torched the Pride to the tune at 12 catches for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns) but had more defensive troubles and had zero run game (four carries for three yards).
New Orleans Pharaohs @ Houston Hyenas By Ryan Michaels
Houston was coming off their bye week looking to bounce back from a loss to the Tallahassee Pride in Week 5 as they played host to the New Orleans Pharoahs, a team also looking to have a better game after their loss to the Atlanta Swarm in Week 6, 10-6.
Both teams were nearly identical in game stats, except for one huge difference; that difference was New Orleans running back, Donk Bonkers. Although Bonkers didn’t have a great day on the ground, with 28 carries for 100 yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average, he did manage to get himself into the end zone once and he was crucial in getting key third down conversions for firsts throughout the game. Another key part of that third down game for New Orleans was wide receiver, Matt Wolfe who had himself a great game with 9 receptions for 140 yards and a 15.6 yards per reception average.
The Houston offense didn’t have a terrible game stat wise, but there was one glaring number for the Hyenas that needs to be corrected and that is their third down efficiency. The Hyenas only converted 33 percent of their third downs for first downs; compared to New Orleans 64 percent – that just isn’t going to cut it. The disparity in third down conversions led to a huge difference in time of possession as New Orleans nearly doubled Houston’s time, 27:22 – 15:52. Still, even with the limited time having the ball on offense, Houston was able to get themselves into the end zone with rookie quarterback, Kentez Johnson throwing for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 of 39 passing. The big target this week for Johnson was D.R. Sim, as he had 8 catches for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns for a 16.6 yards per reception. One possible reason for the Hyenas’ lack of third down conversions could have been the anemic run game, as they only had 9 rushing attempts for 36 yards for the featured back, Warren Murray.
Next week the Houston Hyenas go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take on the Tulsa Desperados, looking to gain another victory over Tulsa and help solidify their potential playoff resumes when the time comes. As for the New Orleans Pharaohs, they head back home to play host to the San Francisco Sharks, who have been on a short 2 week losing streak against the top 2 seeds in the Western Conference; a win for Tulsa could go a long way in their attempt to get back into the playoffs as they are right in the thick of the Southern Conference with Houston and Atlanta.
Atlanta Swarm @ Tulsa Desperados By Marcus Dunhill
Atlanta started the game with the football although their first drive wasn’t very effective and ended up being a 3 and out and they punted the ball back to Tulsa. In Tulsa’s first drive, they struggled to pass the ball initially, however Sonzo Robinson was able to pick up the opening first down of the game. Tulsa continued to move the ball up the field with a few passes to the sideline and a run from Robinson to pick up another first down. The Desperados were able to move the ball up to the 11 yard line but were not able to convert on 3rd down and settled for a 28 yard field goal. On Dunhill’s next drive, he made one good pass to his WR, Siege falco for 21 yards, however he also overthrew some wide open WRs as well. With the overthrown passes the Swarm had to punt the ball back to Tulsa. On the following drive, Sonzo Robinson broke a 19-yard run. A nice pass over the middle from Martin would set up a 45 yard field goal that Tulsa missed. The first quarter would come to an end with a couple of short runs by BDG Hollewood. Atlanta would not find success on this drive, as Marcus Dunhill threw an interception to corner, Nate Hezlep. Tulsa would start their first drive in the second quarter with a 27 yard pass to Andre Godspeed. Robinson would follow this play up with a nice 16 yard run. Sonzo Robinson would punch it into the endzone for Tulsa’s first touchdown of the day, moving the score, Tulsa 10 Atlanta 0. With two nice throws Marcus Dunhill was able to move Atlanta into Tulsa’s half of the field. After an Atlanta pass was dropped in the endzone, Dunhill was sacked on 3rd down by Rhett Sawyer. Atlanta proceeded to kick a 47 yard field goal. After moving up the field, Michael Martin faced a 4th and 1. Tulsa decided to go for it and threw an incomplete pass. Atlanta took over with 52 seconds left in the first half. Dunhill drove up the field to the one yard line but was out of timeouts. With the clock winding down Atlanta decided to kick the field goal making the game 6-10 at the half.
Tulsa received the second half kick off and on the first play of the drive, Michael Martin threw an interception to Aaron Lee. On Atlanta’s first play of this new possession, Marcus Dunhill handed the ball off to BDG Hollewood and 26 yards. They were not able to get any further and settled for a 27 yard field goal. Charles Ball caught the kickoff and returned the ball up field 35 yards for Tulsa. An efficient drive by Tulsa ultimately stalled out at the Atlanta 24 yard line. Wheeler then kicked a 41 yard field goal for Tulsa. Dunhill answered by throwing an interception to Charles Ball. Michael Martin started moving Tulsa down the field and then threw an interception in the endzone to Mahmoud Ajlouni. Atlanta could not move the ball after the interception and punted the ball back to Tulsa. With a quick succession of passes, Martin threw a 21 yard touchdown to Andre Godspeed. On 3rd down, K.T. Taylor sacked Dunhill to bring up 4th and 15. After punting the ball to Tulsa, they went 3 and out and punted the ball back to Atlanta. Marcus could not connect with any WRs and they punted back to Tulsa. Charles Ball returned that punt for 23 yards. Michael Matrin, trying to take advantage of the nice field position, threw an interception to Aaron Lee. Dunhill, with 4:30 seconds left, was looking to make a desperate comeback but threw another interception to Espnn Ry’Ale. Tulsa was able to move the ball to the Atlanta 10 yard line and drain the clock to 2 minutes. They kicked a 26 yard field goal to make it a 14 point game. Moving the ball efficiently down the field, Dunhill ended the game by throwing his 4th interception of the day to Nate Hezlep. Tulsa won, 23 to 9.
Vancouver Legion @ Alaska Storm By Rob Roby
The first half of the Vancouver Legion and Alaska Storm game kicked off with a 5-minute drive resulting in a field goal from kicker Eric Walsh of the Legion. Just 3 and a half minutes into the 2nd quarter, fullback Jason Williams trotted a 3 yard run into the end zone which put the Storm up 7-3. On the Legion’s next possession, quarterback Mark Biddix threw an interception to the Storm’s cornerback, Evan Carrol, which set up a Ron Cockren passing touchdown to wide receiver, Jeff Comeau making the game 14-3. The half would end with the Storm up 17-3.
Ron Cockren led the Storm on another drive and ended it in the end zone on another 3-yard scamper for Williams, putting the Storm up 24-3. The Legion’s running back, Kody Hill created a spark with an amazing 80-yard rushing TD to make the game 24-10. With tenacious defensive presence, the Legion’s offense scored another TD from Biddix to receiver, Trevor Ferrill putting the Legion closer to the Storm at 24-17. Late in the 4th, Biddix heaved a 35-yard passing TD to WR Brett Killian which separated the Legion from the Storm by 3 points at 27-24. With 1 minute and 39 seconds left, the Legion started a drive from their 20-yard line and down 30-24. Biddix converted a huge pass to Ferrill, then another to Killian in 30 seconds which put the Legion at the Storm’s 30-yard line. Biddix threw another dart to Ferrill which put Vancouver at the Storm 17-yard line. With 6 seconds left in the game, Biddix got the snap off and threw to a wide open receiver who dropped the potential game-winning touchdown pass. Alaska survived the Legion’s late 4th quarter assault, 30-24 and improved to 7-0 on the year.
Mexico City Aztecs @ San Francisco Sharks By Matt Burnham
Football was in the air and the crowd at Shark Bait Stadium were on their feet as the sun began to set. The 4-1 Aztecs were about to take on the 2-3 Sharks in their own territory. Quarterbacks, Rob Roby and Matt Wilson, eyed each other up; they had both put in the time, watched the footage, studied the plays. Now it was time to execute. The Mexico City Aztecs elected to receive the kick off and the game was underway.
Throughout the game, the Aztecs made excellent use of the no huddle in order to tire out the Sharks’ defense, using the altered beast that is Ray Bentley to batter his way through to multiple first downs. Kole Varner chipped in with a perfect 3/3 on field goals. Matt Wilson’s throwing game really began to shine later into the first half, and even while facing heavy pressure from the Sharks’ defensive line, he remained calm and hit multiple targets – TE Mike Daggs, WR Richard Montague, and WR K.L. Barret in particular – for big yards. A 20 yarder to K.L. Barret in the endzone was his only offensive touchdown, while a sexy 69-yard run by HB, Ray Bentley was the only rushing touchdown of the game. Interestingly enough, Wilson almost managed one on a 10-yard sneak to 1st and goal in the first half. A tough and veteran Aztecs defense continually held San Francisco to field goals, preventing a single offensive touchdown as well as keeping Sharks HB, Ogun Zulu in check.
QSan Francisco held strong on the defensive front while the offense struggled to get things going, especially in the air. Kicker, Rahzaterian Sloan was their life blood, going 2/2 on field goals. WR Gabriel Manning made a stunning 99-yard touchdown return, following his blockers and juking his way into the endzone. The Sharks were looking good with a kick six and an extra point, but there would be no offensive touchdowns for them this entire game. At the start of the second half, Rob Roby hit Gabriel Manning for 29 yards over the middle of the field. Little did San Francisco know, that this play would end up hampering their offense for the rest of the game; Manning had the wind knocked out of him and had to be pulled for all of the 3rd and most of the 4th quarters. The X-Factor had been lost. After this, the San Francisco offense would continue to be plagued by interesting coaching decisions, including multiple runs on 3rd and long that were immediately stuffed. One can speculate that Roby felt less comfortable with Manning still injured, but regardless the Sharks would be unable to get anything of note going offensively for the rest of the game – even after a pick from rookie SS, Christiano Torres late in the 3rd quarter. The Sharks were ultimately unable to utilize their strong offense and were soundly defeated.
This one seemed like a game of defenses and field goals; San Francisco’s relatively new defense showed a higher level of achievement than in past games which proves that, while not perfect, things are coming together for them. Meanwhile, their offense struggled in ways that were genuinely frustrating – both on their side of the ball and against a tough Aztecs defense. Rob Roby put up 146 passing yards – which has been the second lowest for him all season – with zero picks. HB Ogun Zulu put up 116 yards rushing. Matt Wilson and his core of receivers managed 226 yards passing – the second highest yards passing for him this season – and one pick. Even while golden snitch, Ray Bentley was heavily stifled on many plays by the Sharks’ defensive line, he still managed 163 rushing yards (his highest all season) and a touchdown. However, the amount of 3-and-outs and drives held to field goals is a testament to these defenses and the power that they have behind them. This was a slugging match, and Mexico City came out the victor.
Next Week, San Francisco will head to New Orleans to take on the Pharaohs, and Mexico City will head home to meet the undefeated Alaska Storm in their own territory.
Oklahoma City Renegades @ Sioux Falls Sparrows By Hunter Jones
Sioux Falls Sparrows rookie sensation, running back Colin Hart, bounced back after a disappointing Week 6, running for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading the Sparrows past the Oklahoma City Renegades, 30-10.
The Sparrow offense showed up against the Renegades. After not posting more than 30 points in a game since Week 2 and being shut out by Mexico City the week prior, the Sparrows scored 30 and moved the ball in whichever way they wanted to, posting 266 passing yards and 169 rushing yards as a team.
While Hart was undoubtedly the player of the game, Sparrows quarterback Julian Tyree had a decent game in his own right. Tyree threw for 266 yards on a season-high 75% completion but no touchdowns and one interception.
The Sparrow defense continues to shut down offenses. In six games this season, the Alaska Storm are the only team to score more than 20 points on this Sparrow defense, when they scored 37 in Week 3.
The Renegade offensive struggles continue. Since Week 3, the Renegades have failed to score more than 20 points after making a case for having arguably the best offense in the league in the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, with the struggling offense the defense has also been noticeably picked on this season. Through 7 games this season, the Renegade defense has only held opponents under 30 points twice.
For the second consecutive week, Renegade quarterback Deacon Nickens has failed to break 200 passing yards, throwing for 198 against the Sparrows with one touchdown and one interception. Nickens also started the beginning of the season strong, throwing for over 300 yards in the first three games this season. He hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards since.
Despite 4.4 yards per carry in the game, running back J.W. Doyle only got 12 carries for 53 yards. He did, however, also catch 7 passes, tied for the most among Renegade pass catchers on the day, and added 18 yards to his total. That’s 2.6 yards per catch. Even that was inflated by a long 26-yard gain on a reception.
The Renegades will need to pick it up in their next match.
Chicago Wildcats @ Baltimore Vultures By Jeff Melinyshyn
The last of the ‘double dose’ Monday slate was the Chicago Wildcats traveling to Baltimore to take on the Vultures. Chicago was the clear underdog in this match up and they did not disappoint. Chicago could not get any key stops when they needed it most. They never even recorded a sack on Baltimore quarterback Mike Dazzo. Baltimore had a time of possession of 26:16 whereas Chicago could not even get into the 20’s.
Baltimore opened the scoring at the 6:35 mark of the 1st quarter when Dazzo handed the ball off to running back Troy Gaines and he carried it left, untouched into the end zone for a two-yard TD. On offensive play number 21 of the first quarter, Dazzo threw it to Gaines, who again found the end zone for his second score of the game. In the second quarter, Gaines continued his domination of the poor Chicago defense with another touchdown run at the 10:57 mark. This was his third total touchdown of the game. He took the hand off and went right and trucked the poor Chicago defender on his way to the end zone. Then Dazzo showed his brilliance on the next Baltimore score when he hooked up deep with Garren Malone for a 46-yard bomb. Dazzo found Malone yet again for a touchdown with just 23 seconds remaining in the first half, when the receiver made a beautiful one-handed grab. The first half was just a beautiful display of game prep. Head Coach Thomas Paterniti has something special and Baltimore is showing why they made that move and why no other team made that switch is mind-boggling.
Chicago, in the second half, finally started show signs of life when E.T. King hooked up with Tight End Shann Varner, who ran a 12-yard slant route and spun to miss a defender and out ran the secondary for a beautiful 73-yard touchdown pass. With 24 seconds left in the 4th, King hooked up this time with receiver Cory Carter, who ran a 7-yard out route and took it to the house for a 75-yard touchdown catch. It was a just a little too late as the final score was Baltimore 35 and Chicago 17. Baltimore QB Mike Dazzo threw for 243 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Chicago QB E.T. King threw for 285 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Chicago running back Jared Willis could not get going as he only rushed for 58 yards and had 15 yards receiving as well. Baltimore running back Troy Gaines rushed for 142 yards 2 touchdowns and had 22 receiving yards and a score. Baltimore receiver Garren Malone had 91 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Chicago receiver Cory Carter had 115 yards and a score on only three catches. Defensively, Chicago linebacker Dillon Roland led Chicago with 10 tackles. Baltimore rookie linebacker Aman Takess and rookie safety Giovanni Bolt both finished with 4 tackles to lead the Vultures. Bolt added to his pick total with another interception.
With the win, Baltimore is now at 4-3 and looking for a possible wildcard spot. With Queen City and Carolina winning respectively, it may be hard for Baltimore to move up the standings. The one thing that cannot happen is a losing streak. They need to stay as close as possible to those two teams. Baltimore’s next opponent is Indy, who beat them 30-7 in Week 2. Baltimore then plays Queen City, Dallas, London, and finish with Carolina. There are winnable games remaining, but they cannot overlook an easy opponent. We have seen that happen quite a bit in football. As for Chicago, the loss puts them at 2-4 respectively. The loss does hurt in terms of tiebreakers for the playoffs. They are sitting 4th in the East and ahead of a struggling St. Louis team. The schedule does them no favorsas they have two match ups with the East leading Carolina, starting Week 8. The remaining schedule is Indy, St. Louis, Carolina again, St. Louis again, and Queen City. This is a tough schedule, but there are games where they will be favored and they have to pull those out.