By Various Writers

Mexico City Aztecs @ Vancouver Legion         By Jeff Melinyshyn

If you want to talk about a team who had a great game plan going into Week 10 and executed to perfection, look no further than the game Vancouver played on ‘Friday Night Lights’. Vancouver did exactly what they needed to do in order to pull off the upset. Their defense was flying all night long, their offense made plays, they even overcame the opening kickoff going for a touchdown by Jeffrey Daggs. Led by quarterback Mark Biddix, the Vancouver offense was virtually unstoppable all night. Throwing for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, Biddix looked dialled in. Rookie running back Kody Hill had another dominate game on the ground, rushing for 116 yards and a score. Remember early in the season when he couldn’t buy a score? Kody Hill now has 5 rushing touchdowns to his name. Legion receiver Brett Killian also stepped up huge as he finished with 126 receiving yards and a score, along with hauling in 10 catches. Marquis Reed, Vancouver’s linebacker-turned-strong safety led the way on defense with 8 total tackles and an interception.

Meanwhile on the losing side, Mexico City never seemed to regain control following the opening kickoff touchdown. Quarterback Matt Willson threw for 189 yards but for most of the game he was under 100; very pedestrian numbers for someone who we have come to expect more from, which is a credit to the Vancouver coaching staff and scouting department. Running back Ray Bentley also had a mediocre night according to his style of play; he only had 65 yards, scoring no touchdowns. Again, credit to Vancouver for stopping the bruising running back. Receiver K.L. Barrett finished with 72 yards on 5 catches whilst fellow receiver Richard Montague finished with 80 yards on 7 catches. Linebacker Jack Brown led the Aztecs defense with an outstanding 12 tackles. Jeffrey Daggs, along with his opening kickoff return, had an interception as well. Kole Varner stayed perfect on the season, going 3 for 3 in field goals.

With the loss Mexico City is now 5-4 and tied for 3rd in the Western Conference. With the win, Vancouver moves their record to 3-6 in the West, tied with Denver for 5th. Vancouver has San Francisco, Indy, and Sioux Falls remaining on their schedule. They have a chance against San Francisco and Indy but Sioux Falls will be a tough matchup. Meanwhile for the Aztecs, the remaining schedule is Sioux Falls, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Mexico City looks to have a good route into the playoffs, but you just never know how a team will scout and what kind of game plan they will face. As we saw with Vancouver, you never want to take a team lightly, but that Las Vegas matchup could be for who gets in and who does not.

Houston Hyenas @ Dallas Lobos                       By Dylan Aciel

This cross state matchup ended up being much closer than many people expected. The biggest surprise came in the amount of passing yards that came from Kentez Johnson and Shabazz Psynergy, with a total of 932 passing yards in the game. In stark contrast, Dallas managed only 4 yards on the ground, making this a game to watch for passing purists. Both offenses were clicking early, showing off holes in the secondaries of both teams. As the game went on, however, the turnovers began to stack up for Dallas, with Shabazz Psynergy uncharacteristically throwing 5 interceptions. This,  along with the lack of rushing yards, was a key part of the Houston victory.

Ryan Michaels and Eddie Gauge led the Houston secondary, both getting two interceptions. Mike Osayi had the star performance of the game, bringing in 18 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown. With both offenses focused upon a strong passing attack, this game looked to be close, and it certainly ended up being that way. Says wide receiver Crash Combs, “It was a hard fought game, Houston played great defensively with 5 turnovers and damn that Hail Mary was crazy”. It certainly was, and was a perfect way to end such a tightly contested game.

Baltimore Vultures @ Queen City Corsairs      By Chris Colon

“To Sweep? Or not to sweep?”

It was Week 10 of Season 11 in the SFL. The Vultures took a short plane ride to Western New York; Buffalo City to be exact. Baltimore faced off with the league’s first dynasty, the Queen City Corsairs. It was Baltimore who  scored first on a poorly thrown pass that overshot a Queen City receiver. Former Carolina Skyhawk safety Giovanni Bolt snagged one out of the air, tracking the ball and snuffing out the route. He then ran the pick all the way back for a pick six. As a response, Queen City scored a TD of their own to tie the game at 7 in the second quarter. Later in the quarter, Baltimore would score on a field goal to go up by 3 to bring the score to 10-7. The first half was played more like a defensive struggle than an offensive showcase. Both offenses were heating up but the game would go into halftime. Both teams played a really good first half but were clearly feeling each other out, testing each other’s defense.

Out of the half, Baltimore came out of the gate running the ball, only passing when needed. T.Roy Gaines was gaining major yardage, eating and chewing up yards. Finally, out of nowhere, quarterback Mike Dazzo threw an interception to safety Achilles Franke allowing Queen City to end a seemingly brilliant drive. Baltimore’s defense would respond by forcing a 3 and out. Queen City’s defensive line would also bring the pressure and the secondary would force a controversial, wonkey circus interception at the 2:34 mark of the game. No challenge was called on the play,  however the Vulture defense would force another 3 and out and stop Queen City from scoring off the interception. After receiving the punt in favorable field position, Dazzo would get a beautiful throw off into Malone’s hands on the 1-yard line, after which the 3rd quarter would come to a close. Starting the 4th quarter, the Corsairs would pick up a sack, pushing the Vultures back. A couple plays later, the Vultures would score on a controversial touchdown pass. The Corsairs were down 17-7 with both teams fighting hard on defense. Queen City would eventually score on a field goal midway through the 4th cutting the lead to 17-10. Queen City would force a huge 3 and out and take over with 3 minutes and change left. Queen City’s confidence was rising now as they were marching. The two minute warning hits as queen city moved up field. Out of nowhere, like a bomb, the stadium erupted as Queen City scored on a touchdown pass on 4th down. The game was tied up at 17 all less with than 2 minutes left. Baltimore marched up field and were in sync as the seconds ticked away. Baltimore goes for a timeout with 3 ticks left. After the timeout, the Vultures set up the field goal and scored the game winner. The Vultures won the game and swept Queen City. The Eastern drama continues as Queen City falls to 7-3. The Vultures improve to 6-3. Both teams are in the thick of the playoffs seedings, as the Skyhawks play Chicago next week to avenge their first loss of the season. You can see lots of change these last three weeks. Coming up in the final two weeks of the season, both the Vultures and the Corsairs face off with Carolina. All three can potentially finish the season at 9-3 or 8-4. Tune in next week as Queen City is on their bye week while Baltimore heads home to host the Dallas Lobos. Carolina will be at home to host the Chicago Wildcats.

Las Vegas Fury @ San Francisco Sharks          By Rob Roby

The San Francisco Sharks got off to a very aggressive start versus the Las Vegas Fury with a blocked punt that set up a 1st and 10 at the Fury 30. Halfback Ogun Zulu found some momentum on the ground and got the Sharks closer to the end zone which set up a touchdown pass from quarterback Rob Roby to Mickey Martino to put the Sharks up 7-0. At the start of the 2nd quarter Roby through a 55-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Manning to put the Sharks up 14-6. The second quarter became a tightly contested defensive game as neither team could put up consistent scoring drives. Fury quarterback Thomas Ramen and halfback Robert Redford led the team to its first touchdown of the day, late in the 4th quarter with just 2 minutes left in the game. This made the game 14-13 Sharks. With under a minute left, a Roby interception returned the ball back to the Fury which set them up for a last minute field goal to snatch the lead from the Sharks and make the game 16-14 at the half.

The Sharks created more trouble for themselves when a fumble by Roby set Fury up in the Sharks red zone. The Fury capitalized off of the error with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ramen to wideout John Blaze. Down 14-23, Roby and Sharks did not give up. The team went on a relentless scoring drive. Roby connected with wideout Mickey Martino for a 45-yard touchdown pass to bring the Sharks within 2 points of the Fury. With the game 23-21 in favor of the Fury, the Sharks defensive back Dean Maddox stole an interception from Thomas Ramen and set the Sharks up for another drive up the field for a 55-yard touchdown on the legs of Ogun Zulu making the game 28-23 Sharks. The Sharks led by as many as 8 points with just 4 minutes left in the game. Brett Funk responded with a 75-yard reception from Ramen. The Sharks, up 31-29 received the ball back with three and half minutes left in the game. They were not able to hang onto the ball and ended up punting the ball back to the Fury with under two minutes left to play. Thomas Ramen and the Fury drove downfield and converted a game-winning field goal and took the lead 32-31. The Fury as still in the hunt for the playoffs as the Sharks dropped to 2-8 on the year.

Tulsa Desperados @ Atlanta Swarm                By Matt Burnham

The Desperados (4-5) went down to Georgia like the devil, looking desperado-ately to defeat the Swarm (4-5). Needless to say, there was a lot of buzz as the game went underway in the Georgia heat.

The Desperados
The Tulsa offense looked strong and usually had pretty solid drives but were consistently held at bay by Atlanta. Tulsa wasn’t able to score until the middle of the second quarter, which by then Atlanta had put up 13 points. Quarterback Michael Martin had his second highest yards passing of the season at 326 and came away with a 30/41 completion rating and 2 touchdowns. On the flip side, he threw 3 picks which were devastating to their momentum. Receviers Andre Godspeed (12 rec, 158 yards) and Stephen Bush (8 rec, 117 yards, 1 TD) were key offensive targets, while slot guy Kourey Jones delivered a TD even while only being targeted twice. Halfback Sonzo Robinson took 26 carries for 91 yards which is consistent with his average. Despite the stats, Tulsa was unable to bring this power until the second half and was not able to catch up, suffering from 2 missed field goals and stalled drives. The Desperados defense was shredded by tight routes and great ball placement, as well as excellent O-line blocking that allowed Hollewood to make large gains rushing. With no interceptions and one sack, when it comes down to it Tulsa’s defense wasn’t bad by any means – they were simply outplayed by Atlanta’s offense.

The Swarm
The Atlanta offense was really clicking this game, with a very impressive showing from Halfback B.D.G Hollewood, who took 23 carries for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Passer Marcus Dunhill did not disappoint either, going 19/27 for 224 yards and 1 TD (no INTs), hitting mostly receviers, Siege Falco (5 rec for 90 yards) and Boo Chisholm (8 rec, 79 yards, 1 TD). Dunhill didn’t have as good of a game as Martin, but backed up by Hollewood the offense was solid as a cohesive unit; you could say, like a flock. Or a gaggle. What’s the word I’m looking for?
The Swarm defensive line managed one sack against Martin, while the secondary pulled 3 interceptions out of the air. When the QB is throwing for 326 yards, an interception is bound to happen. But with 2 from corner Pat Ketza alone, the secondary was reading and jumping routes all night.

The Gist
Both teams played a good game, but the distinct difference between them was when. Atlanta was consistent in both offensive drives and stops on defense – an overall well-rounded game for them even though the Desperados really picked up the pace in the second half. Tulsa has the more impressive passing stats, but with more interceptions thrown as well as 30 points allowed for the game, neither side of the ball was consistent enough to give them the edge.
The Desperados will load their six-shot revolvers and raid The Lion’s Den, looking to give Tallahassee a blow to their Pride. Meanwhile, the Swarm will gather around the queen inside The Hive awaiting the New Orleans Pharaohs, who have dealt with and lost to this plague of locusts back in week 6. All coming up this week.

New Orleans Pharaohs @ Oklahoma City Renegades                                                            By Hunter Jones

The New Orleans Pharaohs took down the Oklahoma City Renegades,34-24, behind the Pharaohs’ electric rookie duo of quarterback Xander Gold and wide receiver Matt Wolfe.
Pharaohs running back Donk Bonkers seemed to struggle a little bit running the ball on the day, getting 25 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown on a 3.3 yards per carry. However, Bonkers was very effective in the passing game, catching 10 passes for 41 yards and finishing the day with 123 all-purpose yards.

Wolfe had another career game at the expense of the Renegades defense, catching eight passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. This is Wolfe’s second two-touchdown game of the season (he had two touchdowns also against the Renegades in Week three), and his third 100-yard game this season. His two longest receptions of the season (60 and 70 yards) were also against the Renegades. Wolfe just seems to be a Renegade killer and will probably haunt Renegade defensive backs for a while.
Renegades quarterback Deacon Nickens struggled again against the Pharaohs secondary. Nickens has now had two of his three ‘three-interception’ games happen when facing the Pharaoh defense. Running back J.W. Doyle had a great game, running for 144 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown on 7.2 yards per carry.

Where the Renegades really lost the game was in turnovers. The Renegades forced one interception compared to the three thrown. After a great defensive effort against the Lobos, this was not the performance the Renegades needed to get back into the hunt for an elusive playoff spot in an incredibly tough Southern Conference. The Renegades can still sneak into the playoffs with some help, with big games against Houston, Atlanta and Tulsa to end off their season.
The Pharaohs end their season with a road trip to Atlanta before taking on Houston at home and ending the season with a Week 13 road game to Dallas that could very well decide their fate in the playoffs.

St. Louis Gladiators @ Chicago Wildcats        By Ethan Kye

In a match up of 1 of 2, the Chicago Wildcats faced off with the St.Louis Gladiators. The big question in the beginning was, could St. Louis be the upset to Chicago’s wild ride into the playoffs? Well the answer was, NO.

The Wildcats were on fire with Willis running all over the Gladiator’s defense, scoring touchdown after touchdown leaving the Gladiators wondering what happened to their defense. Well there is a simple answer for that. They decided to go bold and leave the playbook at home, but on a positive note, corner Colin Douglass would get his 7th interception on the season.

Sorry if there isn’t all the goodies I normally write, but I was a little late getting this in and the fact was the Gladiators didn’t show up, but Willis blew open up the Gladiators Def and the Gladiators couldn’t get anything going on the offense.

Alaska Storm @ Sioux Falls Sparrows             By Jeremy Vega

In the Week 10, Western Conference clash, there were many playoff implications involved. The Storm entered Sioux Falls undefeated and up one over the Sparrows from their Week 3, 37-3 win. The Sparrows entered the game on a 3-game win streak & looking to continue their run as they head down the final stretch of the season. As usual, the Storm continued their dominance over the league as they won a great, hard fought game over the Sparrows to complete the conference sweep.

In the first quarter the Sparrows went up on the Storm 14-3, playing great defense throughout. In the second quarter, the Storm put it into the next gear as they flipped the script and scored two touchdowns of their own to go into halftime with a 17-14 lead. The third quarter was mostly empty aside from a field goal by Brad Brechett. He went a solid 3/3 in the game. The fourth quarter was all Alaska, as they scored another 17 points to the Sparrows 7. The Storm didn’t play great at all aside from their big time wideout Optimus Cline, who grabbed 14 balls for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite a very solid game from the Sparrows on both sides of the ball, it still wasn’t enough to give the Storm their first loss of the season.

It begs the question, what does it take to defeat the Storm? Well, the Denver Nightwings will look to answer that in Week 11 as they Host the Storm in their Final home game of the season. The Sparrows will head to Mexico City to take on the Aztecs for their last road game of the season as that game will be filled with even bigger Playoff implications that are sure to reverberate throughout the league.

Tallahassee Pride @ Carolina Skyhawks         By AJ Francis

Introduction/First Half:
This matchup between the Tallahassee Pride and the Carolina Skyhawks pitted two former division rivals against each other, as well as two playoff contenders this season. Coming into this matchup, the 7-1 Skyhawks had historically been beaten down by the 8-0 Pride, but with a monumental turn around this season, the game was expected to be one of the best of the year. A mere 12 seconds into the game, on the first play from scrimmage, Skyhawks quarterback Jacques Luyindula found Jalan Miller for a 71-yard TD to put them up 7-0. On the very next drive however, the Pride would strike back with a 28-yard Christiansen touchdown pass to Ken Gossett. At this point, it looked like this matchup would be the one everyone expected: a shootout between two teams with a combined record of 15-1. This would not last for long though, as the Pride went on a 17-6 run after those first two drives on the back of quarterback Christian Christiansen who had three touchdown passes and 261 yards and Greyson Willis who had 156 yards and 2 TDs, making the score 24-13.

Second Half:
The second half continued to be more of the same as the Skyhawks never threatened to make this a game, only being able to muster 3 points in the entire second half. The Pride continued to roll though as Christiansen continued his dominance, throwing two more touchdowns passes to make his total 5 on the day. The score for the second half was 14-3, making the final score 38-16. The Pride continue their historical dominance over the Skyhawks and stay undefeated for the season. The Skyhawks took their second loss of the year to move to 7-2, but remain strong playoff contenders. There is a very strong chance of a rematch in the playoffs as both teams look to finish off their seasons on a high note.