By Hunter Jones, Matt Burnham, Shea Carroll and Matthew Slinn
In sport, we’re obsessed with greatness. We’re captivated by those players who reach the pinnacle, and thrive. The Beat Writers are no different, and to celebrate the achievements of these ‘elite few’, we knocked out heads together and formed the ‘All-SFL’ Teams – a celebration of excellence. Granted, this is an opinion piece, and we encourage readers to form their own teams to rival ours – we aren’t perfect afterall. So sit back, read on, and mull over what you might have done differently, in our shoes.
ALL-SFL 1st Team
Ron Cockren, Alaska Storm – 432/568, 4,354 yards, 35 TDs, 25 INTs, 99.6 QBR
Ron Cockren was a huge part of Alaska’s perfect season, winning his second consecutive championship MVP, completing 34 of his 45 passes for 373 yards and a touchdown in the thrilling championship game. Cockren also led the league with a 99.6 quarterback rating.
Jaye Eniola, Tallahassee Pride – 330 carries, 2,387 yards, 7.2 YPC, 22 TDs
The MVP had a season for the record books. His 2,387 rushing yards are nearly 450 more yards than the second highest (Queen City Corsairs’ Ash Odom) with only five more carries. His 7.2 yards per carry and 22 rushing touchdowns also led the league.
Jason Williams, Alaska Storm – 190 carries, 838 yards, 4.4 YPC, 36 receptions, 264 yards, 10 total TDs
Originally a bit of a headscratcher as to why Alaska would elect to draft a fullback in favor of a running back, Jason ‘Thrilliams’ didn’t make us wait long to see why. In his rookie season, he was a vital part of one of the best offenses in the league, putting up over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns.
Cody Scott, St. Louis Gladiators – 49 catches, 991 yards, 20.2 YPC, 6 TDs
One of the more forgotten names when bringing up top tight ends, Cody Scott put up numbers worth a first team All-SFL nod. His 20.2 YPC led the league (not just tight ends) and his six touchdowns are tied with Oklahoma City’s Tybeerious Bovine for the highest in their position, despite 26 less catches. In a previous article, Matthew Slinn called him a ‘Secret Superstar’ – Not anymore.
James Hands, London Knights – 97 catches, 1,544 yards, 14 TDs, 15.9 YPC
James Hands has the third highest receiving yards this season, putting up 1,544 yards to go along with 14 touchdowns, second highest in the league. Hands is also the only wide receiver with over 1,400 yards on less than 100 receptions.
Mike Osayi, Dallas Lobos – 167 catches, 1,913 yards, 11.5 YPC, 15 TDs
Mike Osayi led the league in catches, yards and touchdowns. He was a consistent threat for the Dallas Lobos offense and his strong finish to the season brought up what was originally a lackluster yards per catch, finishing with 11.5 YPC.
Optimus Cline, Alaska Storm – 113 catches, 1,521 yards, 13.5 YPC, 9 TDs
Optimus Cline’s 113 catches were the third most in the league and his 1,521 yards were the fourth most in the league. He was another vital part of a deadly Alaska offense and was huge in their perfect season.
Carolina Skyhawks – 13 sacks allowed, 6.1 YPC (AJ Francis)
The Carolina Skyhawks offensive line allowed a league-low 13 sacks and helped running back AJ Francis to a third-best 6.1 yards per carry this season.
Alex Dominguez, Alaska Storm – 38.5 sacks, 46 TFL
….. Do I even need to explain this one??? Dominguez’s 38.5 sacks are nothing short of otherworldly and his 46 tackles for loss also lead the league.
EZ Tempel, Indianapolis Red Devils – 24.5 sacks, 27 TFL
Another monster up the middle, EZ Tempel was already quietly putting up a great season, until an eight-sack game late in the season thrust his originally quiet numbers into the spotlight. His 24.5 sacks trail only Alex Dominguez and his 27 TFL are third in the league.
Taqwuan Hale, Tallahassee Pride – 41 total tackles, 3.4 tackles/game, 18 sacks
Taqwuan Hale has been an absolute beast, pulling in a defensive end record of 18 sacks in the regular season, in addition to 41 total tackles and hauling in the #2 ranking at his position. Any offensive line would be scared to face this man.
Abner St. John, San Francisco Sharks – 39 total tackles, 3.3 tackles/game, 9 sacks
Abner St. John has been a mainstay for the San Francisco defensive line and is all around a very versatile player. With 9 regular season sacks and ranked 3rd overall amongst defensive ends in tackles, St. John has more speed than most of his counterparts and has been able to consistently force pressure in the pocket.
Slinn Shady, London Knights – 142 total tackles, 11.8 tackles/game, 2 interceptions for 8 yards
The #1 overall ranked linebacker in the league, Slinn Shady has been a staple of the Knights’ defense for two seasons. Tied with Aquantis Shyne for most tackles, his affinity for stuffing runs and plays in the backfield has been a delight to watch.
Aquantis Shyne, Atlanta Swarm, – 142 total tackles, 11.8 tackles/game
The #2 overall ranked linebacker in the league for Season 11, Shyne has proved that the old guy’s still got it. A player since Season 6, his performance this season has been phenomenal for the Swarm, taking in 142 tackles to tie only with Slinn Shady for most tackles by a defensive player.
Jack Brown, Mexico City Aztecs – 137 total tackles, 11.4 tackles/game, 0.5 sacks
Brown is the #3 overall ranked linebacker, and the stats show it best. 137 total tackles and averaging just below the top two with 11.4 tackles/game, Brown has been able to make a name for himself amongst the best of the best.
B.J. Armstrong, Denver Nightwings – 76 total tackles, 6.3 tackles/game, 8 interceptions for 61 yards and 1 TD
One of the most important parts of the Nightwings’ secondary, B.J. Armstrong has had an incredibly strong season. Ranked the #1 overall cornerback in the league (according to this writer at least), his versatility and ability to read routes has pushed him to greatness.
Pat Ketza, Atlanta Swarm – 61 total tackles, 5.1 tackles/game, 8 interceptions for 95 yards
Pat Ketza is a name we’ve heard called in big moments every time the Swarm play. He’s made the list for his ability to jump routes and make interceptions happen. Even if he’s lower on tackles and average per game, this pick threat deserves a spot on the All-SFL team.
Max Jackson, Las Vegas Fury – 98 total tackles, 8.2 tackles/game, 1 sack, 9 interceptions for 122 yards and 1 TD
Tied with Aaron Lee for the most interceptions in the position, Max Jackson has been a constant threat in the secondary beyond his work as a kick returner for the special teams unit. Behind the highest amount of tackles this season at his position by only 8, his ability to read routes and make interceptions is something to behold.
Jeffrey Daggs, Mexico City Aztecs – 95 total tackles, 7.9 tackles/game, 10 interceptions for 182 yards and 1 TD
Jeffrey Daggs has been a key player in MXC’s secondary, managing 10 interceptions over the regular season and 182 return yards. This impressive display has been a thorn in the side for many teams who thrive through the air, as MXC was 4th in passing yards allowed in the regular season.
Kole Varner, Mexico City Aztecs – 31/31 FG’s
Kole Varner has been the definition of consistent during his tenure with the Mexico City Aztecs. Varner has only missed a total of eight field goals on 91 career attempts.
Dustin McRack, Las Vegas Fury – 26 Pints Inside the 20
Dustin McRack has done a ton to back up opposing offenses, having his punts downed inside the twenty 26 times on 65 total punts this season. That’s a down inside the twenty once every 2.6 punts.
ALL-SFL 2nd Team
Kentez Johnson, Houston Hyenas – 3573 passing yards, 72.33 completion %, 30 TD’s, 98.0 QBR
He put on a show for the entire season, even if his team didn’t win it all. He ended up 4th in passing yards, 8th in completions, and 2nd in QBR to cap off this magical rookie season. I have no doubt he will end up as an all-time passing leader, if he carries on in the same vein.
Ash Odom Queen City Corsairs – 1949 yards, 6.0 YPC, 17 rushing TD’s
Odom put up insane numbers for the Corsairs. He had almost 2,000 yards on the ground, and combined with receiving yards it put him over the mark with 2020 yards total. This man was a unsolvable problem for any defense that had to play him.
Tristan Carr, London Knights – 110 catches, 1152 yards, 5 TD’s
After coming off quite a lacklustre season with Vancouver, Carr showed us what he is worth by leading all tight ends in receiving yards, as well as getting 10.5 yards per reception. Whoever snatches him up in Free Agency will be happy with those numbers for sure.
Ken Gossett, Tallahassee Pride – 77 catches, 1191 yards, 10 TD’s
The leading receiver on a championship calibre team, Gossett had over 1100 yards and was getting 15.5 yards a catch, which helped propel his team to the championship final and he will continue to perform wonders for a while to come.
Junior Senior III, Dallas Lobos – 116 catches, 1616 yards, 10 TD’s
Coming of a monstrous rookie season, the OROTS-nominee was 2nd in receiving yards and had over 100 receptions – one of only 5 players to put up that type of stat-line. Dallas can look back on this rookie and be proud of what he accomplished.
Gabriel Manning, San Francisco Sharks – 103 catches, 1413 yards, 5 TD’s
A bright spot in a bleak season for the Sharks, Manning was an all-star calibre receiver who put up 1413 receiving yards, putting him in 5th on the season. With 13.7 yards a catch, he definitely is a piece San Fran will want to build around if they want to succeed.
Tallahassee Pride – 19 sacks allowed, 7.2 YPC
This O-line is partly why Eniola was the MVP. They put up the most rushing yards a game, and let up close to the least amount of sacks in the SFL. The boys protecting CC did their job, and more.
Chad Takkul, Houston Hyenas – 44 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 29 TFL’s
The big man in the middle of Houston’s defensive line built on his impressive rookie season by dominating on the inside against both the pass and the run. Takkul consistently stuffed rushing plays, using his huge frame to good effect, but he also showed impressive acceleration when getting to the quarterback, illustrated by his 16.5 sacks.
Christopher Colon, Carolina Skyhawks – 42 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 23 TFL’s
Just pipping Mike ‘Fats’ Johnson for a spot on this team, Colon was unlucky not make the Pro Bowl. Aswell as getting up to double digits in sacks, the 300lb’er stood strong in a hard-nosed rushing conference like the East, hitting running backs 11 times in the backfield. Colon is a half step below the true ‘elite’ talents in this league. Maybe Season 12 will see him make that jump.
William Davidson, London Knights – 35 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 23 TFL’s
A freak on the edge for London pretty much the entire season, William Davidson made the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end seamlessly, showing his effectiveness as a pass rusher. Despite being undersized, Davidson has next level technique, and he used it to beat his man for fun, every week.
Kevin Bane, Tallahassee Pride – 45 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 TFL’s
A different type of player to the aforementioned William Davidson, Kevin Bane is all about brute force. Bane hits like a sledgehammer and doesn’t apologise for it. Many a quarterback and running back have woken up bruised because they dared run into the right end’s shoulder. Bane has tested the Free Agency market. Look for him to make an impact on his new team.
Nick Fargo, Sioux Falls Sparrows – 122 tackles, 21 TFL’s, 1.5 sacks
Since joining the Sparrows from Carolina a couple of seasons ago, Nick Fargo has gone from strength to strength – his partnership with Alex Parker one of the best in the SFL. Fargo is always a factor in the running game and shows excellent sideline to slideline pursuit. Not the biggest of hitmen, Fargo uses his 6’3 length and solid technique to bring down ball carriers. Not much slips his grasp.
EK Vinson, Dallas Lobos – 116 tackles, 25 TFL’s, 8 pass deflections
Did you want a crucial tackle for a loss this season? You should have picked up EK Vinson in the off-season then. That’s what Dallas did, and they will be ecstatic with the outcome of that decision. Vinson played as a tough tackling safety in Atlanta, but saw an opportunity and has transitioned to linebacker beautifully. Another undersized guy who hits like a truck, Vinson found himself bringing down runners in the backfield for fun this season.
Blake Craize, Indianapolis Red Devils – 111 tackles, 18 TFL’s, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions
It’s ‘Craize’ how well the young linebacker has played in his Rookie season. Coming in after the draft and without a pre-season under his belt, Blake Craize is one of a new breed of linebacker in this league – a ‘backer who gets around the field makimg plays in both the running game and passing game. A quintessential All-rounder, Craize should have even better numbers next season, as he gets a full off-season under his belt.
Colin Douglas, St. Louis Gladiators – 54 tackles, 13 pass deflections, 8 interceptions for 70 yards
Has anyone ever seen Colin Douglas have a really bad game? ‘Mr Consistent’ has had to experience the lows of St. Louis’ soul-destroying run this season, whilst playing at an elite level himself. 13 pass deflections and 8 interceptions is low key on of the best seasons a cornerback is likely to have. The Gladiators need to rally behind their defensive leader and take his example to heart.
Ryan Michaels, Houston Hyenas – 55 tackles, 7 interceptions for 70 yards and 1 TD
In another close call, Ryan Michaels just pipped Michael Sprous and Queen City’s standout rookie, Oskar Dunklee to the second cornerback position. Michaels has had two playmaking seasons with Houston and is a big reason why the Hyenas have had success. A big game player for big moments, Michaels embodies what the SFL is all about, and as such, deserves a spot on this roster.
Aaron Lee, Atlanta Swarm – 98 tackles, 9 interceptions for 103 yards and 1 TD
Atlanta’s best kept secret, Aaron Lee has been elite and then some this season. The crafty 4-season veteren formed a brilliant partnership with the retiring Mahmoud Ajlouni this season, and his unbelievable stats show that. There can’t be many player in the history of this league that have nearly hit 100 tackles and 10 picks in a single season. Lee is low key one of my favourite players to watch.
Anthony Wyo, Las Vegas Fury – 111 tackles, 8 interceptions for 123 yards, 1 sack
Anthony Wyo. Big personality, big heart, big hitter. The Las Vegas safety seems like the perfect mix of a strong and free safety. Excellent against the run with a good eye for the ball and great hands, Wyo has been up there with the best in Season 11. His partnership with Max Jackson is probably the best safety tandem in the SFL. If Wyo can keep producing, Vegas will return to the playoffs.
Brad Brechett, Alaska Storm – 28/29 FG’s; 8/8 FG’s in the playoffs
For me, the biggest snub of the Pro Bowl, Brad Brechett has been ‘Mr Clutch’ this season. Yes, he did miss a kick in the regular season, but when it counted, Brechett led his team to a championship on the accuracy and strength of his leg. There is a reason why Head Coach Max Paul swears by kickers.
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