By Jeff Melinyshyn, Hunter Jones and Matthew Slinn
Offensive Player of the Season
Jaye Eniola, Running Back, Tallahassee Pride
Jaye Eniola has been an absolute wrecking ball all season. In 11 games, he’s racked up 2,203 rushing yards, 22 rushing touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, all of which lead the league. To beat Eniola’s 2,203 rushing yards, it would take a performance the likes of which we’ve never seen. Ash Odom, who is second in rushing yards, would need 426 rushing yards to overtake Eniola as the rushing yards leader. And even then, Odom would have to pray that Eniola doesn’t get a yard because he still has one more game this season.
Ron Cockren, Quarterback, Alaska Storm
To “everyone’s surprise”, the Storm have largely rolled through the season unharmed. Aside from a couple of games coming down to the wire, the Storm have looked as impenetrable as ever. A big reason for that has been the steady play of quarterback Ron Cockren. Cockren’s 4,354 yards are second in the league to Shabazz Psynergy (4,729), however Cockren has 93 less attempts than Psynergy. Where Cockren really shines is his league leading 76.1% completion percentage. If that holds through this last regular season game, it would be a career-high mark for the season for one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league. His 99.6 QBR is tops in the league (probably).
James Hands, Wide Receiver, London Knights
On the surface, this spot should probably go to Mike Osayi. He has 62 more receptions and 362 more yards than Hands. However, Hands has a significantly higher yards per reception with 15.9 compared to Osayi’s 11.8 and they both have 13 touchdowns. Hands has as many 200-yard games (3) and double-digit receptions as he does games without scoring a touchdown.
Defensive Player of the Season
Alex Dominguez, Defensive Tackle, Alaska Storm
Why? Dominguez leads the league in sacks with a whopping 38.5. With that sack total, he has the highest amount of tackles for a defensive linemen as well with 51. If you play Alaska, you need to scheme for this guy. He can single handedly take over a game at any point. He can shut down your run game. Barring a major game from EZ Tempel against London, Dominguez will have the most sacks in the league, again.
Giovanni Bolt, Free Safety, Baltimore Vultures
Why? Want to talk about a no fly zone, look no further than Giovanni Bolt. This dude has been intercepting quarterbacks all season long. He leads the league with 10 interceptions. One of those interceptions went for a touchdown as well. He also has 80 tackles. He may get some first-place votes, but he may need a big game in order to overtake Alex Dominguez.
Max Jackson, Strong Safety, Las Vegas Fury
Why? Someone who is right on the heels of Giovanni Bolt is Las Vegas Fury strong safety, Max Jackson. Not only does he contribute defensively, but also on special teams. On special teams, he has a lesgue leading 4 kick return touchdowns. Defensively, he may be even better than Giovanni Bolt, despite being 1 interception behind him. Jackson has 9 interceptions but has more tackles with 83. Jackson also has a higher tackles per game with 7.5 compared to 7.3 for Bolt.
Offensive Rookie of the Season
Kentez Johnson, Quarterback, Houston Hyenas
Season 11 has proven just how difficult it is for a rookie quarterback to enter the SFL and have consistent success, illustrated by the fact that no first year signal-caller has a positive touchdown to interception ratio: except one. Kentez Johnson has built in confidence throughout the season, and after a slow start, has thrown his way to 25 touchdowns to 19 interceptions, whilst also getting his Hyenas team into the playoffs. Johnson has also stacked up well against the mire experienced QB’s in the SFL, coming amongst the top 5 in every major statistic, including yards and completion percentage. Other rookies may have turned more heads with flashy play, but Johnson has excelled in the hardest position on the field.
Colin Hart, Running Back, Sioux Falls Sparrows
Speaking of flashy play, no rookie has turned more heads than Colin Hart, a 237-pound mini-tank with speed to burn. Hart has virtually carried the Sparrows’ offense on his back all the way to the playoffs, torching defenses for 1617 yards and 20 touchdowns, adding 2 scores through the air. On only two occasions has Hart been held under 100 yards (by Alaska and Mexico City repsectively) and it’s no surprise that Sioux Falls lost both of those games. Hart has handled the pressure of being the ‘main man’ masterfully, and it wouldn’t surprise me if many in the SFL community had him at the top of their list.
Junior Senior III, Wide Receiver, Dallas Lobos
A somewhat distant yet deserved third in the Offensive Rookie of the Season race, pass catcher Junior Senior III – JS3 – has been an extremely reliable target for quarterback Shabazz Psynergy this season, acting as the #2 receiver alongside Mike Osayi. Senior III is 3rd in the league in receiving yards (1470), in the top 20 in yards per reception (which is impressive considering Dallas’ short pass game) and joint 3rd in the league in touchdowns (10). Yes, you could argue his numbers are inflated by the Lobos’ Pass heavy offense, but Senior still has to get open and make the plays something which he has done faultlessly. I don’t think he is favourite for the award, but he’s certainly in the conversation.
Defensive Rookie of the Season
EZ Tempel, Defensive Tackle, Indianapolis Red Devils
While we were all in awe over the unstoppable force that has been Alex Dominguez, another monster has been biding his time, waiting for the right time to show his true colors. In Week 11, that monster decided it was time. In a performance that can’t be summed up with just words, EZ Tempel was like Godzilla on an unsuspecting city, destroying everything in sight. When the dust settled, Tempel had 8.5 sacks and 10 TFLs. He followed that unholy performance with a four-sack game against the Vancouver Legion. Indianapolis’ quarterback Tom Pepper probably thanks God that they’re on the same team.
Achilles Franke, Free Safety, Queen City Corsairs
Achilles Franke has one of the more unique stats of the rookie season. In every game he’s had an interception, he always has two. I’m not quite sure how he’s able to pull it off, but to each his own. He’s been a consistent force behind one of the best secondaries in the league. If Franke gets an interception in a game, expect him to come down with another later in the game. While he has yet to record a 10-tackle game this season, it can’t be understated how important he is to this Corsairs defense with his innate ability to force multiple turnovers in a game.
Ethan Kye, Strong Safety, St. Louis Gladiators
Ethan Kye might be the antithesis of Achilles Franke. Kye plays strong while Franke plays free and Kye consistently gets an interception a game (has one two-interception game) while Franke only gets interceptions in bunches, which, to be fair, is also consistently. The biggest difference in the two, however, are tackles. Franke has 73 total tackles on the season while Kye has 97 total tackles. Kye was even able to grab a sack this past week against the Chicago Wildcats.