Banner image by J.R. Lawless
The second largest city in Oklahoma, and forty-fifth largest in the United States, Tulsa is known for its delicious BBQ, being the birthplace of Route 66, and their first e-sports team, the Tulsa Desperados. Tulsa joined the league as an expansion team in Season 10 owned by former Chicago star Dion Hawkins, and quickly made a name for themselves by capturing the Season 10 Unofficial Championship and making the postseason. Unfortunately, Oklahoma and the playoffs seem to have a negative trend, and they were out as soon as they had gone in. Now, back in the playoffs since that season, things have changed. Just ask quarterback Ashley Jackson:
“I am glad that we made it to the Wild Card game in the playoffs. At the beginning of Season 13, we started off struggling a bit, but we were able to turn it around and now I have a chance to go for the gold. We are working diligently to make sure that we can go all the way this season and become the Champions that I know that we are.”
The team’s season has definitely been an interesting one. As the only break-even team for all of the Simulation Football League’s 13th season, the Desperados snuck into the postseason on the 9th seed. However, many of their games were last-minute thrillers with the luck of the draw going against Tulsa, so opponents vying for championship gold shouldn’t just write them off due to their seeding. This is a team that has a chance to shock a good portion of the league with their second postseason berth. Here are a few more things you should know about the Tulsa Desperados:
– Quarterback Ashley Jackson is ranked 6th in yards for the season, 7th for total touchdowns and 8th overall for QBR, making her a well-rounded top-ten quarterback
– Charles Ball is once again balling out, showing that #WeBall in Tulsa with 3 kick return touchdowns (tied for 3rd place for the season) – and with almost 27 yards per return, he’s also ranked third in efficiency on kickoff
– Tulsa is bringing two non-contract rookies to the postseason this year, #55 LB Ben Davis Jr. and #7 K Mark Melo
– Every receiver on the team averages at least ten yards a catch, so the Desperados can move those chains no matter what Jackson reads in the defense
– Speaking of defenses, they’re averaging one pick a game, spread evenly among their corners and safeties; overall, they’re ranked 9th in the league.
Sophomore quarterback Ashley Jackson is leading the charge as the head of the Desperado offense. With a positive (+4) touchdown to interception differential and quarterback rating of 90.6 (8th overall for the league), she commands a unit that’s hungry for playoff glory. Sonzo Robinson, ever reliable in the backfield, has been averaging a pleasant 4 yards a carry; nothing spectacular, but with 11 touchdowns (8 rushing, 3 receiving) he’s more likely than not to find the endzone at least once. The wideout corps, consisting of Khoury Jones, Mike Osayi, Steven Bush and tight end Anthony Moseley have a combined 3,060 offensive yards, as well as 21 touchdowns. Tulsa’s offense has been making plays all year long, and now it’s their time to shine.
But it’s not just Tulsa’s offense that deserves the credit. Defensively, the Desperados have been having a modestly successful season as well, with 12 interceptions spread out among the six defensive stars. Defensive end Gib Leedo is successfully pressuring opposing teams, getting at least one tackle for loss per game, while free safety and league veteran Kanye Rockafella has been telling balls to sit on down all season long. Corners Dante West and Nate Hezlep have almost half of the entire team’s interceptions between them, and linebacker Espnn Ry’ale is averaging 8 tackles a game. Opponents also have to deal with Charles Ball not only covering them as a corner, but as the team’s special teams expert. With three return touchdowns for the season, you can understand why #WeBall is catching on in the locker room.
The Desperados are a team that not many had expected to reach the postseason given their rocky start. Tulsa, on the other hand, loves a good challenge; they wouldn’t be the Desperados if everything was just handed to them on a silver platter. And for the only .500 team in the playoffs this season, they’ve already got an uphill battle in front of them to escape the Wildcard round. That’s just how the team likes it though; when everything on the line and the dust finally settles, Ashley Jackson and company might very well be the last ones standing. High noon is approaching for the Swarm; it’s time to saddle up and ride.