By Various Writers
Vancouver Legion @ Indianapolis Red Devils
By Ethan Kye
The Vancouver Legion visited the Indianapolis Red Devils in the Ninth Circle. The Legion would start of by moving the ball down to the field well. Being unable to get 6, they settled with scoring a field goal. On
Indy’s drive, they moved the ball down the field and scored 6 with a Keith Swearingen touchdown. They would make the PAT.
Vancouver got the ball back and Kody Hill would do most of the work to work the Legion back down the field. Yet again, they would make it to the Red Zone and have to settle for another field goal. The Red Devils would get the ball back move it down the field using Tom pepper and Keith
Swearingen and settle for a 46-yard field goal. With less than 2 minutes left in the half , the legion would move the ball down the field to attend field goal range. Walsh would kick a 50-yard field goal. The Vancouver Legion would go on to kick another field goal bringing the score to 15 to 10 and
that is where the game would end. A defensive battle if you’ve ever seen one bit a great game for the purists.
Baltimore Vultures @ London Knights
By Shea Carroll
The Vultures were out getting a dose of British culture in London, and their game was no exception. Even though London is out and Baltimore was almost in, this was still a crucial game for both sides. London was looking for revenge, and Baltimore was looking for better seeding.
1st Quarter: Are we playing in Philly?
For those who are wondering, Philadelphia’s motto is “brotherly love”, close enough to T-ROY’s nickname, who dominated the first quarter. Rushing for 2 touchdowns, he helped get the Vultures off to an early lead. As for London’s offense? Well it was anything but special. Baltimore seemed like the greatest team to ever play, based on that 1st quarter.
2nd Quarter: Momentum starting to shift
To open the scoring this quarter, Daley Holder finished a solid drive midway through the 2nd quarter with a TD catch to increase the lead to 21 points. London did answer a little later with a field goal, showing some signs of life.
3rd Quarter: Even scoring
London started off the 2nd half with a touchdown, courtesy of Rex Ripley, getting his 1st career touchdown. The next scoring play was a little wonky. It looked like a regular play, then out of nowhere Garren Malone was in the endzone. I guess we really should start listening to Tpat after all. This made the score 28-10.
4th Quarter: London starts to heat up at the wrong time
The ‘Dude love train’ didn’t stop, as T-roy picked up his 3rd TD of the night, only for Jeff Melinshyn to return the kickoff for a TD, to quickly up the scoreboard to 35-17. It looked like London may have figured out what exactly to do with this team, but figured out too little too late. After a solid Baltimore drive, Shark Tarkington put it through the uprights for Baltimore’s last score of the night, making it 38-17. Then, James Hands slipped through the secondary for the last score of the night, making it 38-24 as the final score.
Oklahoma City @ Tulsa Desperados
By Rob Roby
The Oklahoma City Renegades came out swinging, scoring on a 45-yard receiving touchdown to wide receiver Hunter Jones. With the game 7-0, the Tulsa Desperados were determined to make this a competitive game. Halfback Sonzo Robinson took a handoff into the open field leading to a 57-yard touchdown and tied the game at 7-7. Tulsa quickly got the ball back after a great defensive stand. This allowed for the Tulsa offense to go down the field with a 35-yard passing touchdown to former OKC player Steven Bush, making the game 14-7. OKC quickly responded back with a 63-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Deacon Nickens to Deezer Powell to tie the game at 14-14. With what originally seemed like a shootout, the game quickly calmed down for much of the first half. However, OKC found itself up 24-14 after another Nickens passing touchdown to Tiberius Bovine. Tulsa battled back with Field-goals but still trailed 24-20 at the half.
The second half started out slow, but Tulsa emerged halfway through the 3rd quarter by taking a 27-24 lead after a 30-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Michael Martin to Khoury Jones. The tenacious Tulsa defense sacked Nickens multiple times to set up a 4th and 27. This gave Tulsa the ball back in field goal range. Robinson tacked on another rushing touchdown to extend Tulsa’s lead to 34-24. As the game progressed further into the 4th, Tulsa increased the lead to 41-24 over time and ended up defeating OKC. OKC fell to 3-8 while Tulsa improved to 5-7 on the year through a 378-yard passing day from Martin and 109 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns performance from Robinson.
Denver Nightwings @ Sioux Falls Sparrows
By Jeremy Vega
Week 12 action gave us a Western Conference rematch, between the Denver Nightwings & the Sioux Falls Sparrows. Earlier in the Season, the Sparrows went into Denver for the first ever meeting with the Nightwings and they were able to easily handle the Nightwings, winning 34-20. With the Nightwings being eliminated from making the playoffs, they looked to play spoiler as the Sparrows needed another win to help secure the 2nd seed in the West. The Sparrows were on a two game slide entering this Week 12 game. Losing to top Western Conference rivals, the Aztecs & Storm. Denver came in on a 4 game losing streak as there once hopeful season has come crashing down.
The Sparrows absolutely took it to the NIghtwings as they dominated almost every facet of the game. In the first half, rookie halfback Colin Hart racked up 200 yards rushing with 2 touchdowns. Carrying the offense while showing the league why he should win Offensive Rookie of the Season. Outside of Denver corner BJ Armstrong’s 40 yard pick six, the Sparrows completely held the Denver offence in check as they went into halftime with a 16-7 lead. The second half featured Sparrows passer Julian Tyree throwing a lot and completing a lot. Although he didn’t finish with a passing touchdown, he did collect 267 yards while completing 81% of his throws, connecting 10 times with Colin Hart as they mainly drained the clock. The Nightwings scored their only offensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Josh Miller connected with wide receiver Logan Keel. Miller had a good day through the air completing 76.5% of his throws with one touchdown & one interception. A tough game for the Nightwings who didn’t play bad, they just got out played by the Sparrows. The Final score ended up being 14-25 as the Sparrows knocked through three field goals & took the W at home.
Houston Hyenas @ New Orleans Pharaohs
By Ryan Michaels
In a game that held the very balance of the second seed of the Southern Conference in it, the 6-4 Houston Hyenas visited the 6-4 New Orleans Pharaohs in the 2nd game of their 2 game battle thru Season 11 of the Simulation Football League.
The Hyenas rookie quarterback Kentez Johnson came into the game having taken very good care of the ball over the last few games.This week was a little different against a stout secondary in New Orleans, as he was able to complete only 58% of his passes (26-45) with 3 interceptions, but he was also able to get the ball into the endzone 3 times. As for the run game, Warren Murray had what could be considered an average day, gathering 69 yards rushing on 15 carries but finding paydirt in the end zone twice. All 3 receivers for the Hyenas gathered at least 6 catches and 2 of the 3 managed to gain over 100 yards. All 3 receivers also pulled in a touchdown.
On the New Orleans side of the field, their own rookie quarterback Xander Gold had a more efficient day throwing the ball; completing 74% of his passes (31-42) but out of those 11 incompletions came 3 interceptions on the opposite end of only 1 touchdown. On the ground, a different story was told completely. Donk Bonkers rushed 16 times for an astounding 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. His longest rush of the day was a 80 yard touchdown scamper. While he dominated the ground game, he also dominated the receiving numbers for the Pharaohs; catching a insane 16 passes out of the backfield for only 56 yards, but still lead in receiving yards for the team.
The Hyenas dominated the early goings, jumping out to a 14 point lead in the first quarter before letting the Pharaohs retaliate and tie the game at 14-14 thru the second quarter. As the half drew near, the Hyenas took to the offensive and put up another 14 points to go into halftime leading 28-14. The only scoring in the third quarter was a New Orleans field goal. The teams traded a touchdown in the fourth quarter and New Orleans added a late field goal attempted an onside kick to try and get another offensive possesion to tie the game and send it to overtime but were unsuccessful.
Final Score: Houston Hyenas 35 – New Orleans Pharaohs 28
San Francisco Sharks @ Mexico City Aztecs
By Matt Burnham
It had been a little over a month since these two teams met, and last time they did, it was a victory for the Aztecs. The starving Sharks (2-8) were looking to play spoiler to the Aztecs’ (6-4) playoff aspirations. Tenochtitlan may have been a city on the water, but the Sharks found no home in the lashing currents of the sea.
Coming on to the field in blood red uniforms, the Sharks’ offense looked like they were strong and confident. The stats might tell you the same, but not the whole story. Quarterback Rob Roby threw for 345 yards with a 30/45 completion rating and two touchdown passes. Roby focused his arm on wide receivers Mickey Martino (7 rec for 100 yards, 1 TD) and Gabriel Manning (11 rec for 177 yards), who had a staggering 2 kick returns for touchdowns. Tim Brown Jr. even made a catch for a touchdown! What the hell kind of parallel universe is this? Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
Even with all this success, Roby suffered from poor coverage reads and ended the game with 3 crushing interceptions. With an abhorrent lack of halfback Ogun Zulu in the play-calling, the consistent passing was both a blessing and a curse that ultimately lost them the game. The Sharks’ defensive line turned Matt Wilson into Andrew Luck, taking him down a whopping six times for 27 yards lost. A solid showing from their secondary caused 1 interception by strong safety Christiano Torres, however it simply was not enough to stop consistently strong drives. They managed to hold Ray Bentley to 56 yards, but also allowed 2 rushing touchdowns from him in a frustrating show of inconsistency.
Repping the orange of the Santa Fe Gorillas, Mexico City’s offense, towards the beginning, seemed slightly more in the zone than San Francisco – even if the stats for both quarterbacks look similar. Matt Wilson threw for 329 yards with a 19/35 completion rating and 2 touchdowns. Targeting mostly wide receiver K.L. Barret (9 rec for 149 yards, 1 TD) and tight end Mike Daggs (3 rec for 107 yards, 1 TD), the passing game was strong and consistent. The difference came as Mexico City was also much more willing to throw their running back into the mix. Everyone was in awe of the size of this lad, Ray Bentley, as the absolute unit put up 2 rushing touchdowns. He was stuffed to 56 yards on 25 carries, but when he wasn’t, he really shone.
The Aztecs defensive line went to work against Roby with 5 sacks for a total collective loss of 27 yards. The secondary had an absolute field day, taking away 3 interceptions from Roby. Those were absolutely crucial to the Sharks’ eventual loss. Notably, Kole Varner is still running with a perfect 29/29 on the season, including a 51 yarder from this game.
The Sharks tried to be San Francisco-Pizarro but were ultimately unable to make it happen. This has been the story of their lives this season; both sides of the field unable to click and make the magic happen. At times they look stunning. Other times, they thrashed on the sandy shore, unable to return to the water. The inconsistency of this young team has been dire. Mexico City on the other hand, has been strong all season, and this game they really shone with a blinding, sickening, orange light.
In the coming final week of regular season action, the Sharks patrol the Bay Area hoping that the Nightwings will all get high and fly into the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, the Aztecs head to Las Vegas in an attempt to reconquer the lands lost in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). Time will tell whether this will be a Mexican Cession or not.
Las Vegas Fury @ Alaska Storm
By Ryan Michaels
The last time these two teams met, the game was decided in the waning moments of the 4th quarter, a field goal separating the two. Las Vegas was a then 1-2 team looking to upset the 3-0 juggernaut known as the Alaska Storm. Fast forward 9 weeks, Alaska is still undefeated at 11-0 and looking to go perfect for the regular season. Las Vegas is 6-4 and on the verge of making the playoffs in their rookie season.
This game had all the makings of an underdog team toppling the heavily favored team, a metaphorical David and Goliath if you will. And in the early goings, it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen. The Fury charged out to an early lead on the shoulders of the feature back Robert Redford (21 carries for 207 yards and 1 touchdown), taking the lead at the end of the first quarter 17-7 over the Storm. Rookie quarterback Thomas Ramen tried to play his part as best he could, but wasn’t able to get much going thru the air as he completed just 54 percent of his passes (14-26 for 154 yards) for 1 touchdown versus 2 interceptions. Top target John Blades had himself a decent day with 9 catches on 12 targets for 106 yards and 1 touchdown.
At halftime, the Fury lead the Storm 24-7 and at that point it looked as though Goliath would fall. Season 10 Championship game MVP, Ron Cockren had other plans. He came screeching back into the game, slinging the ball on Shabazz Psynergy type level of attempts and completed 64 percent of his passes (45-70 for 531 yards). With the huge volume of passes, he was intercepted 6 times by the Las Vegas defense, 1 of which was returned for a pick six by Fury safety Max Jackson, but he also threw for 5 touchdowns in leading his team in a monumental comeback to save their undefeated regular season; scoring 27 points over the final 2 quarters to tie the Las Vegas Fury at 34 and send the game into overtime, where the Storm would win it with a touchdown. All 3 receivers for the Storm caught over 10 passes and 140 yards receiving on the day, with the top target being Robert Merrill with 14 catches on 18 targets for 190 yards and 1 touchdown.
Final Score: Las Vegas Fury 34 – Alaska Storm 40
Tallahassee Pride @ Dallas Lobos
By Christian Christiansen
The Tallahassee Pride (10-0) entered The Hunting Grounds with their hopes set on a slim possibility of passing the Alaska Storm for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the possibility of Jaye Eniola breaking the single-season SFL rushing record, while the Dallas Lobos (1-9) looked to defend their homefield and play for team pride as their season wound down. The previous matchup between these two teams, just a few weeks ago, was a 41-27 victory for the Pride in Tallahassee.
The Pride rolled out of the gates much the same way they had the previous game, as Jaye Eniola secured two long touchdown runs on the first two possessions of the game and Christiansen managed to find Ken Gossett and Greyson Willis for a pair of scores. At the half, the Pride lead 31-10 and Eniola looked certain to break the record.
During the second half, the Lobos came out firing with a kickoff return touchdown by receiver Crash Combs and two additional touchdown passes versus a Tallahassee team that began to look too comfortable with the lead they developed at the half. Behind a 38/55 396 yard 3 touchdown 2 interception performance from quarterback Shabazz Psynergy and a 12/105/1 and 11/172./0 performance by receivers Mike Osayi and Junior Senior III, respectively, the Lobos came back to tie the game at the third quarter 31-all.
The fourth quarter continued to be a shutout for the Dallas defense as strong safety Cain Vasquez undercut two outroutes by Greyson Willis (on poor passes from Season 10 MVP Christian Christiansen) for interceptions. The first, of which, set up great field position for the go-ahead field goal around midway through the fourth quarter for the Lobos, and the second shutdown what the Pride hoped would be their response. The rest of the way, Dallas played keepaway and Tallahassee never pushed the ball downfield (via the run or the pass), and the Lobos pulled off the upset of the season by knocking off the previously undefeated Pride.
The Dallas Lobos rose to 2-9 after the game, officially pulling them out of last place in the standings. After trying out some new playbook ideas, it looks like the coaching staff might have really figured something out and this could represent a real building block moving forward for a franchise who really needs them more than any other team right now. Luckily for Tallahassee, the game looks to be largely inconsequential, as they were all but locked into the #2 seed (ironically enough, Las Vegas took into overtime as Alaska managed to complete a 24 point comeback, which if they had not completed and Tallahassee would’ve finished the job in the second half, as well as defeat a very good Houston team in Week 13, would have put the Pride in the first seed). This game tied the record for largest comeback ever in a game in SFL history at 21. The Pride only joined the record books for a few minutes, however, as Alaska completed the aforementioned 24 point comeback only moments later in what many would consider the Game of the Season (of which, Tallahassee @ Dallas is probably the runner up to). Essentially, the Lobos played a great game out of their air raid attack and managed to contain the beast in Jaye Eniola, handing them a much needed victory on this season.
Chicago Wildcats @ St. Louis Gladiators
By Chris Colon
Here we go! It is Week 12 in the SFL and the Wildcats come in to St. Louis looking to keep their playoffs hopes alive. Was it a rout or was it a classic? If you thought it was going to be a blowout, then on a normal day you’d be right. On this day, which was filled with all sorts of weirdness, this game was a classic. St. Louis was first to score in the first quarter on a nicely thrown pass in the middle of the end zone at around the 8:40 mark of the first quarter. That would be the only score of the quarter as both teams struggled to get something going. The 2nd quarter started and St. Louis continued driving as quarterback Dylan Aciel threw to the back of the endzone and the pass was intercepted by safety A.J. Barnes. After the interception early in the 2nd quarter, it was more of the same. The Wildcats kicked a punt which was fumbled by St. Louis’ Ethan Kye. Wildcats recovered only to be forced to punt again. St. Louis took over at around the 3:40 mark and were on a decent drive going past the two minute warning, though they eventually punted away. Chicago took over with less than a minute left and scored on a beautiful 48 yard TD pass with 25 ticks left in the first half. The special teams crew knocked in the extra point to knot it up at 7. The Gladiators took over with 19 seconds left in the half. Not much they could do with it as the half came to an end. It was a pretty even game soo far as the game was tied at 7 going into the third. The Gladiators however had given up two turnovers (Interception, fumble).
The 3rd quarter started as the Wildcats received the kickoff. Willis would rush for a 7 yard gain. The St. Louis defensive line were doing their best to control the game as the reached the Qb for a third time; DT Shane Masters reaching the qb as Chicago punted the ball. Both defenses were playing well forcing turnovers. St. Louis was moving well up the field. As they moved into the redzone, moving the ball to the 10 yd line they eventually scored on a nicely thrown ball. As St. Louis scored the extra point the Gladiators were up 14-7. St. Louis turned the ball over again as the Wildcats punted away and St. Louis fumbled the ball. Chicago recovered again and eventually scored on a field goal which cut St. Louis’ lead from 14-7 to 14-10. Both defenses played well as the third came to a close.
The 4th quarter started and the defensive chess match continued as most of the 4th was back and forth turnover on downs. Halfway through the fourth, Chicago reached the qb on a sack. Chicago was able to force a punt and moved the ball well upfield as qb ET King threw a beautiful pass to JC Torres with less than 4 minutes left. The ball was now in the redzone. The clock running down nearing the two minute warning. The Gladiators forced a turnover on downs with 2 minutes left. Seemingly, St. Louis looked like they were going to win the game. Chicago however, kept fighting as they needed to win to stay alive in the playoffs race. Forcing a punt with a minute and a half, Chicago now moved the ball up field. St. Louis DT Shane Masters reached on a second sack of the game. Seemingly distraught, a couple plays later and Chicago threw a beautiful pass deep into the redzone. The crowd stood on their feet. The ball on the 20 now as Chicago scored on td pass to Simons. Chicago completed the comeback with seconds left. Chicago, after the extra point, were up 17-14. The Wildcats defense was able to shut down St. Louis as the game came to a close.
That was it as Chicago improved to 7-4. Chicago ‘s playoffs hopes were still alive as they are now tied with the Carolina Skyhawks. Chicago now heads home to host another Playoffs hopeful. The number 3 seeded Queen City Corsairs.
Queen City Corsairs @ Carolina Skyhawks
By Hunter Jones (late replacement for AJ Francis)
The Queen City Corsairs took down the Carolina Skyhawks in a back-and-forth game by a final score of 41-34.
While both teams are more known for running the ball on offense, the passing game for both sides flourished. Corsairs quarterback AJ Caswell, had a season-high 311 passing yards for three touchdowns and just one interception, completing 17 of his 21 attempts. Skyhawks quarterback Jacques Luyindula, had his second 300-yard and four-touchdown game this season. While the passing game was the story of the day, both Corsairs running back Ash Odom and Skyhawk running back AJ Francis still racked up 100 yards rushing respectively. Odom was the only running back to score a touchdown.
The result moves the Corsairs to 8-3 and has them currently in the fourth seed for the playoffs, while the Skyhawks drop to 7-4 and own the ninth seed.