By Various Writers
Sioux Falls Sparrows @ Mexico City Aztecs
By Jeremy Vega
Sparrows vs Aztecs
This was a great Western Conference matchup late in the season between two of the league’s top teams, both coming off losses from the previous week and needing a win to bolster their playoff chances. It was also the SFL’s 800th game, which is a huge milestone. It was the perfect game for such an event between two proven coaches in this league, whose teams contain some of the league’s biggest stars, ready to put on a show. Unfortunately, the league got what it paid for. Two top notch defenses and two offenses built around their stud halfbacks. It was a slow and very low scoring game that featured only one touchdown the entire contest.
The first half ended in a 3-3 tie. Neither offense could get anything going as both defenses really buckled down. Halfbacks Ray Bentley & Colin Hart were both featured heavily early, but neither player could break off a signature run that we are used to seeing from them. The second half featured a little more offense from the Aztecs, mainly due to their defense creating turnovers. They forced the Sparrows QB to throw 4 interceptions on the day, while also holding him to just 162 passing yards. Ray Bentley scored the only touchdown of the night as he managed 34 carries for 119 yards and that one 6-pointer. Kicker for the Aztecs, Kole Varner, will get my MVP nod as he went 3/3 with a long of 43 yards. Kole continues his MVP season as he still remains perfect on the season.
With the 800th game down and many, many more games to come, the SFL will continue to grow and provide bigger and more exciting contests, especially as we head into the final two weeks of the regular season, where teams are jockeying for position in each conference.
The Aztecs snap a 3-game skid and will stay home to take on the San Francisco Sharks, who currently sit at the bottom of the West. Sioux Falls will head back home for a rematch against the Denver Nightwings, who were blown out at home by the Sparrows earlier in the season. Good luck to all teams over the next two weeks and welcome to all the new rookies joining the league, just in time to watch the playoffs. Thank you for all the support of the SFL Beat team.
London Knights @ Las Vegas Fury
By Max Jackson
The London Knights, led by quarterback Nathan Lee and tight end Tristan Carr, met the Las Vegas Fury, led by quarterback Thomas Ramen. After a beginning drive and a 44-yard field goal, London’s defense got off to a good start, forcing a Las Vegas three-and-out. But then, as the first quarter came to an end, the Fury moved into the red zone and Robert Redford ran it in; an 87-yard drive that lasted 5 minutes, 54 seconds. Carr made a 7-yard catch into the end zone look easy to give London a 10-7 lead early in the second. Matt Rage would respond with a 47-yard field goal, but it wasn’t until Dustin McRack put London on their own 4 yard line that things got exciting.
Pressure from Fury’s sack leader Mike Johnson, helped Harley Stone get a safety on Nathan Lee. Matt Rage would once again get called out to make another field goal, putting the Fury ahead 15-10 going into the half and increasing Rage’s streak of 21 straight field goals made.
It would become a back and forth battle from this point forward until midway into the fourth. London would make their second field goal, putting themselves closer to playoff contention. Interceptions by Max Jackson and two from Anthony Wyo, both star safeties on the Fury, kept the London offense at bay. The final score 15-13 as London turned over the ball on downs.
St. Louis Gladiators @ Indianapolis Red Devils
By Chris Colon
It’s Week 11 of the Season 11 Regular Season of the SFL. That is the Simulation Football League. The Gladiators of St. Louis came into town to battle with the Red Devils of Indianapolis. Well, at least we thought it would be a battle. It really wasn’t, as the Red Devils came away with a blow out victory over the Gladiators. Runningback Keith Swearingen had himself a heck of a game, pulling off 228 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. Defensive players EZ Tempel, Ashley Rose Finch and Blake Craize had fantastic games as well. Tempel had himself an 8.5 sack game and ten tackles for loss. Ashley Rose had a two total tackles and a sack game as well as a pair of passes deflected. Craize however, was all over the field, picking up clutch tackle after clutch tackle, 18 total for the game. The Gladiators were only able to manage a solitary touchdown and extra point to end their night. Despite a single sack from Shane Masters and single Int from Colin Douglas, the Gladiators were taken off their game. Nothing seemed to click unfortunately. The fans were expecting a competitive match up, but instead bared witness to a slaughter. After the game, the Gladiators had a look of shock on their faces, while Indy’s fans were left with many questions. One fan in particular was heard asking ‘where was this earlier in the season?’
The player of the game honors went to Swearingen as well as the game ball. Players from St. Louis had no words to say to the reporters. No miracle in this one as the Red Devils defeated St. Louis 40-7. Coming up in Week 12 we’ve got the Vancouver Legion heading to The Ninth Circle to take on the Red Devils, while the Wildcats will head wildly into St. Louis to challenge the Gladiators. The Gladiators will look to bounce back in that one as they will look to finish their tumultuous season strong, while the Wildcats continue to fight to keep their playoffs hopes alive. This is Chris Colon reporting, recapping for the SFL beat team. Goodnight for our early birds and good morning for those night owls.
Chicago Wildcats @ Carolina Skyhawks
By AJ Francis
Coming in with a 7-2 record, Carolina was an automatic playoff contender with losses only to Chicago in a previous week and Tallahassee. Chicago was 5-4, just barely slipping into the playoffs with the 10th seed if the season had ended that week. There was lots of intrigue surrounding this game: Would Chicago be able to go 2-0 against Carolina despite Carolina being the #3 seed in the SFL? Would Carolina defeat Chicago and knock them out of playoff contention? After a relatively slow first quarter, ending in a 3-0 lead for Carolina, the Skyhawks tacked on another field goal and a touchdown courtesy of a 37-yard run by AJ Francis early in the second. Chicago then put themselves on the board with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver JC Torres, making the score 13-7. Immediately after the Wildcat’s score, the Skyhawks put together a long drive ending in a second AJ Francis touchdown to end the half at 20-7 Carolina.
The second half proved to be a much different story then the first. In what possibly was the biggest mistake of the game, Carolina attempted a bold strategy of running out the clock on the entire second half, not throwing a single pass in the third quarter until 1:19 was left and they had just allowed a score. Chicago took advantage of this and put together a drive that led to a second 20-yard touchdown pass by ET King to put the Wildcats down by 6 only. On the ensuing possesions, both teams led long drives down the field to put up field goals. After an onside kick with 3:48 left in the game, it was now Carolina’s turn with the football. Starting on the Chicago 38, the Skyhawks were in prime position to either score or run out the clock. They wound up completing neither of these tasks, as the Wildcats defense stifled them and forced a 3 and out while only allowing 46 seconds to come off the game clock. On 4th and goal from the empty set, King dropped back and found Buchanan Simons for four-yard touchdown to take the lead by one point with 27 seconds on the clock. Carolina possessed the ball one more time, unable to make anything happen, completing Chicago’s last second comeback. Chicago moves to 6-4 and makes them a very real contender in the playoffs. Carolina drops to 7-3, losing 3 of their last 4 games.
Oklahoma City Renegades @ Houston Hyenas
By Ryan Michaels
Houston played host to the Oklahoma City Renegades in Week 11 of Season 11 of the SFL. Houston needed a win to keep themselves in the 2nd seed position in the tight Southern Conference playoff race. Oklahoma City need a win to keep their wildcard hopes alive.
Oklahoma City’s offense came into the game looking to get their rookie running back JW Doyle into a nice flow and be able to control the pace of the game. Even though he amassed 27 carries, Doyle was only able to muster 82 yards on the ground for a 3.0 yard per carry average and finished the day with no touchdowns. Thru the air, Deacon Nickens would try his hand to take over the game, but with only 2 more passing attempts than the offense had rushing attempts (27 pass – 29 rush) he didn’t prove much more effective, throwing for 201 yards on 19 completions and 1 touchdown. 68 of those yards came on one completion – a long throw to Hunter Jones for the only touchdown on the day for the Renegades offense.
The Houston Hyenas went into the game trying to keep a balanced attack, much like the Renegades. However, their running back Warren Murray proved to much more efficient on the day with his 17 carries, going for 111 yards and a touchdown at a 6.5 yard per carry average. Rookie quarterback Kentez Johnson continued to be very efficient with his passes as he completed 80 percent of them, 24 of 30, for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns without any interceptions. As well as being efficient, he was very consistent, spreading the ball to everyone as each receiving threat on the Hyenas roster garnered at least 3 catches, the most effective on the day being the tight end Yasin Clifton with 4 catches for 95 yards.
Houston took a 21-0 lead to the locker room at the half and wouldn’t look back from there, allowing the Renegades just 10 points thru the remainder of the game while scoring another 7 themselves.
Final score Oklahoma City Renegades 10 – Houston Hyenas 28
Houston looks to keep their win streak alive and their playoff chances solid in their next game against the surging New Orleans Pharaohs. Oklahoma City will venture over to Tulsa to take on the Desperados in a game that will be more about pride than a playoff spot for either team, as both teams are eliminated from the playoffs.
New Orleans Pharaohs @ Atlanta Swarm
By Ethan Kye
In a game of two teams looking in from the outside for a playoff spot, we had the New Orleans Pharaohs facing off against the Atlanta Swarm at the Hive. This game was shrouded in mystery, magic, and who knows what. It would seem that the Pharaohs used some of that New Orleans Voodoo, so let’s get this recap started on one of the wildest games of the season.
The Pharaohs started off by kicking off to the Swarm and from there Marcus Dunhill would throw his only interception of the game off the first play. Xander Gold and company would move the ball down the field to the red zone where are the Atlanta Swarm put up a defensive stance and made the Pharaohs settle for a field goal. New Orleans would kick the ball to Atlanta for a second time. Dunhill and Company would go
into a no huddle offense to move the ball down the field where Dunhill would throw a strike to Boo Chisholm in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. The score would be Atlanta 7 New Orleans 3 at this point.
It would be at this point the team’s, the announcer and the league would realize that Aaron Arrington, owner and cornerback for the Pharaohs, had vanished, but let’s get back on pace. Gold and the Pharaohs would move the ball down the field. The Pharaohs would score as Gold hit Leroy Brown with a bullet just as Gold himself was getting hit. The score would be 10 to 7 in favor of the Pharaohs. The Swarm would get the ball back from the Pharaohs and move the ball down the field, using BDG Hollewood most of the way. Dunhill hit Siege Falco with a pass for another Atlanta touchdown, bringing the score to 14 to 10 in favor of Atlanta. New Orleans would utilize Donk Bonkers and he would take off for a monster run and a touchdown bringing the score now to 17 to 14 in favor of the Pharaohs.
Atlanta would get the ball and not be able to move it down the field and have to punt the ball away and on the first play after the punt, Gold handed off to Donk Bonkers who would then again run it in for another touchdown. At this point, he had 6 touches, 129 yards. The score would be 24 to 14 again in favor of the Pharaohs. Atlanta would receive the ball from New Orleans and move the ball down the field again but would have to settle for a field goal bring the score up to 24 to 17, Pharaohs and ending the first half.
Going into the second half l, Atlanta kicked off to the Pharaohs and they would proceed to move the ball down the field; Gold would throw a pass out to Donk Bonkers who would walk it in for a touchdown. The score would be 31 to 17 Pharaohs. Atlanta would get the ball and leave it to Midfield where they would punt the ball away. This was
where we saw the elusive Aaron Arrington who would come back to the game to return a punt back for a New Orleans touchdown making the score 38 to 17, Pharaohs win.
San Francisco Sharks @ Vancouver Legion
By Rob Roby
The San Francisco Sharks traveled to Vancouver in Week 11 where they met a fired up Legion team. The Legion scored early on a 30-yard pass from quarterback Mark Biddix to Brett Killian to go ahead 7-3. Quarterback Rob Roby and the Sharks fired back on a 20-yard pass to the tight end Matt Burnham, to go ahead 10-7 in the second quarter. Biddix and company put together a late drive in the last couple of minutes in the first half. This drive ended with a TD from Biddix to the non-contract TE to go ahead 14-10. With under a minute remaining in the game, a pass-heavy Sharks team went into the two-minute drill to get downfield and set themselves up for a field goal at the end of the first half.
The Legion got off to a quick start that ended in a field goal extending its lead to 17-13. The Sharks were never able to recover. At the start of the 4th quarter, halfback Kody Hill took a 12-yard run into the end zone, making It a 24-13 game. A slow 4th quarter picked up in the last minutes of the game with Hill taking a 55-yard run to the house and extending the lead to 31-13 in favor of the Legion. The Sharks were able to string up a late touchdown on the legs of Roby but were unable to defeat the Legion this week.
Neither team has had an impressive record this season, as the Sharks and Legion split games at one a piece on the year. The Sharks had 332 total yards, while 293 came from the passing game. The Legion tallied up 428 yards, 210 came on the ground as halfback Kody Hill rushed for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Alaska Storm @ Denver Nightwings
By Matt Burnham
The Alaska Storm (10-0) swept its way into Colorado to take on the Denver Nightwings (3-6) Sunday night. This game would decide Denver’s playoff chances as well as give Denver a chance to finally give Alaska a loss. Buckle in and blaze it up, people. Don’t worry, it’s legal there.
Quarterback Ron Cockren threw for 340 yards with a 32/42 completion rating and 2 touchdowns. His main targets were receivers Optimus Cline (9 rec, 110 yds), Jeff Comeau (8 rec, 109 yds) and Robert Merril (8 rec, 80 yds, 1 TD). Merril had an absolutely stunning touchdown in the second quarter, wherein he broke a tackle and then put the spin cycle on two defenders to make his way into the endzone. He is most certainly more agile than the Opera star. Non-con tight end Jason Julienne even came away with a touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
Fullback Jason Williams had quite possibly the best game of his career so far, bringing 106 yards on 21 carries for 2 touchdowns. One of those touchdown runs was an impressive 60 yarder on the first Alaska drive of the game. Kicker Brad Brechett went a perfect 2/2, and in fact is 26/27 on the season for field goals. Non-con corner Kris Paul came away with Miller’s only interception in the 2nd quarter. The Alaska defensive line, including contributions from defensive tackle Alex Dominquez and linebacker Andrew Francis, also came up with 4 sacks for a loss of 15. The secondary’s contribution to stopping Miller’s passing game cannot be understated for this game.
Quarterback Josh Miller threw for 253 yards with a 27/34 completion rating and 1 touchdown. His main targets were wideouts Jockamo Jones (7 rec, 124 yds) and Logan Keel (10 rec, 91 yards, 1 TD). While this wasn’t his strongest showing, it still was a solid performance; unfortunately, not enough to save them. Halfback Jarrod McChesney had a bit of a quieter game than usual, going for 66 yards on 18 carries and 1 touchdown. Unfortunately, a broken nose “took him out for the rest of the game” late in the second quarter, until he miraculously reappeared in the 3rd quarter. SFL administrators are currently investigating the possibility that Denver has acquired cloning technology.
The Nightwings defensive line had an absolute field day against Cockren, bringing him down 6 times for 25 yards lost. Cornerback Osiris Pelican also grabbed himself an impressive pick 6. However, the secondary was unable to make enough stops through the air to really count against this powerful Alaska passing attack.
Alaska all around played a better game than Denver – from offense to defense. 87 more passing yards, 34 more rushing yards, longer time of possession. However, these final stats don’t tell the whole story. With the final score at 34 – 21, Denver found itself defeated in the midst of a very enjoyable and well-played game. We all know how powerful the Storm are, but the Nightwings played a solid game that they should be proud of. From here, Denver’s playoff dreams are crushed, and Alaska takes a whopping 11-0 on the season.
Next week, the Storm will anchor down in Anchorage and in hopes of quenching the fire of the Las Vegas Fury. For Denver, it’s the battle of the birds as the Nightwings take on the Sioux Falls Sparrows. Someone call Alfred Hitchcock.
Dallas Lobos @ Baltimore Vultures
By Dylan Aciel
AN INTERVIEW WITH CRASH COMBS
Dylan: Hey Crash. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
Crash: No problem, thanks for having me.
Dylan: What’re your thoughts on Psynergy’s performance?
Crash: Psynergy had a solid game, Baltimore just had a good game plan and got some key turnovers.
Dylan: Let’s talk more about those turnovers. Do you think that was the key to the game?
Crash: I think in any game where you are negative in +/- stat of turnovers you are more than likely to lose those games.
Dylan: What do you think of the ground game this week?
Crash: Royce always takes advantage of the limited attempts he gets. Always a big help in the passing game. Against Baltimore I thought we had a very good game plan and had multiple players on Gaines but I think the man is made of rubber. Multiple times we had 3 or more players hit him and he just kept going. Pretty sure T Roy is a T1000.
Dylan: At the very least some kind of robot. Or is he a cyborg at that point?
Crash: I’m pretty sure Baltimore brought him from the future and instead of killing John Conner he just destroys linebackers.
Dylan: I’m sure it pays better. And that explains the name too. T Roy = T-1000. Shows how far the league has fallen. They really need to step in and do something about the robots in the league.
Crash: Gonna need a metal detector at the entrance of the stadiums.
Dylan: Opposing teams are gonna put magnets in their gloves. He just ends up dragging them all over the field, he’s running with 5 guys flopping around behind him with their hands stuck fast to his back…
Crash: Turf burns from hell.
Dylan: Oh that would hurt. Anyways thanks for taking the time out to do this interview.
Crash: Anytime man.
Tulsa Desperados @ Tallahassee Pride
By Christian Christiansen
The 4-6 Tulsa Desperados entered a must-win game at the Lions Den to take on the 9-0 Tallahassee Pride in a critical week 10 matchup. Then Jaye Eniola happened – again. The MVP candidate put up the fifth highest amount of rushing yards in a single game last weekend by putting up 351 rushing yards (and four touchdowns) to give the Pride their tenth win of the season.
The game was pretty close through the first half as the Pride lead Tulsa 10-7 and the game never became more than a one possession contest until the third quarter when Eniola really took over. In the second half, the Pride ran away with the game as they lead 31-14 at the end of the third quarter.
Taking away the all-time performance the league’s premier running back, Tulsa outplayed a Tallahassee team that struggled throughout the game compared to their dominant performances in other weeks. Michael Martin lead the way by putting up a more-than-respectable 28/35 280 yard, two touchdown, and one interception statline. He spread the ball out well (Robinson 7/22/1, Godspeed 8/92/0, Bush 2/63/0, Jones 6/60/0) and opened for a strong run game (Robinson 28/95/0) that gave Tulsa the advantage in time-of-possession (22:27 vs 21:33). Additionally, the Tulsa defense played exceedingly well in pass defense with two standout players. DT Rhett Sawyer controlled the pocket for much of the game, record 7.0 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and 4.0 tackles for loss, while in the backend CB Kyler Murray recorded 4.5 tackles, one pass deflection, and two interceptions. Murray was particularly impressive, as he was charged with matching up WR Ken Gossett and was one of the only defensive backs to truly consistently beat Gossett.
Those two players forced last season’s MVP to his worst game of the season. Christian Christiansen was a detriment to his team last week, going 8/18 for 81 passing yards, with 2 interceptions, and zero touchdowns. This was one of the few times all season a QB failed to break triple digits, however this didn’t wind up mattering all that much in the end as Eniola went crazy on his 34/351/4 statline and the defense played a good contain/prevent bend-but-don’t-break game and that didn’t allow the game to get back within two possessions until garbage time.
With that game, Tallahassee locked up a top two seed in the playoffs, being a half-game behind Alaska (11-0) for the #1 seed. It is expected that the Storm will wind up with the #1 seed by virtue of strength of victory in a more top-heavy Western Conference, but the Pride have none-the-less been an impressive team to date. Tulsa follows up their recent undefeated month of play with three straight losses, bookended by decisively-decided games against the top two teams in the league. The Desperados have thus fallen to 4-7 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. However, Tulsa should serve as a model to teams that struggle out of the gate, as they channelled their resiliency to return from 0-4, to rise back into the middle of the playoff picture. Dion Hawkins has a quality and respectable outfit, as does Frank Goodin.