Jack Brown, Jett Zero, Merrick Itera, Mike Improta, Ray Bentley
Banner Image by Andy Hamilton
That was an incredible week of simulation football. The SFL is gaining so much popularity, week after week, not even COVID-19 can stop our momentum, and in case you were wondering, SFL subscriptions push towards 2,000!
Vince Lombardi stated, “The achievements of an organization are the combined effort of each individual.” He also said, “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” Providing the SFL with Power Rankings are our habit! The SFL Beat always gets up and gets to work, we’ll never quit! #makeanimpact
Remember: Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes. Watch your attitudes; they lead to words. Watch your words; they lead to actions. Watch your actions; they lead to habits. Watch your habits; they form your character. Watch your character; it determines your DESTINY.
Week 10 led to some deep soul-searching and intense emotional turmoil during the pecking-order process of the Power Rankings, but we’ll continually put ourselves through a mental-ringer if we can get games like this every week. This IS OUR DESTINY!
Let’s get to it!
|If there was ever a statement to the teams in the SFL the Atlanta Swarm are notifying the rest of the league to either, ‘Lead…Follow…Get the #&@%*# out of the way…or just get Stung!” Any questions about how good this team is? Please go back and watch the replay of the beat down Atlanta gave to Queen City Sunday night on the road. If it wasn’t B.D.G., it was Dunhill. If it wasn’t Dunhill, it was Falco. If it wasn’t Falco, it was B.D.G. The Atlanta Swarm piled up an enormous 531 yards and crushed the Corsairs 37-20. Queen City started optimistic. The score was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Home-town crowd was rabid, and the Wasps were going to be extinguished… Yeah, right. B.D.G. Hollewood crushed the Corsair defense rushing 25 times for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns. This was against a Defense that ranks number one in the league, only giving up a little over 17 points per game and only allowing 99 yards rushing to opposing teams. Hollewood didn’t flinch and neither did the rest of the Swarm. Marcus Dunhill was flawless, completing 73.3% of his passes for 315 yards and a TD. When he wasn’t handing the ball to Hollewood, he was throwing it all over the field, mostly to wide receiver Seige “Rock Me Amadeus” Falco to the tune of 9 catches, 195 yards and a TD. This is the SFL’s “Big 3,” and they “Balled-Out!” Atlanta is 9-1 with the best record in the league, along with their best record in franchise history. Not only because of the ‘Big 3,” but also because of the “Buzz” around defensive players like Linebacker, Aquantis Shyne. Shyne had 14 solo tackles against Queen City and is now second in the league in total tackles with 110. Defensive Tackle Joshua Williams Has 13 sacks and 20 total tackles for losses, Strong Safety Aaron Lee leads the team with 6 interceptions, and the entire Defensive Unit is second (behind QCC), with only giving up 18.5 points per game. These Bees are swarming. They get the reeling Skyhawks in the Hive for Week 11 and Carolina better bring an overload of peppermint, lemongrass, and any other pest control they can find. The Wasps are looking unstoppable, already in the playoffs wanting to lock-up the #1 seed. Falco sang, “Rock me all the time to the top.”|
|This is the true meaning of “bend but don’t break.” When the other team controls the ball for 5 minutes more, your defense gives up 163 yards on the ground, and you give up 545 total yards, you probably don’t think the outcome is going to end in your favor. However, when you ‘bend’ in Baltimore’s case, it’s to ‘stretch’ the opportunity for your defense to create turnovers and increase the lead. Although the numbers statistically would indicate otherwise, Monday night provided “The Wake” with a dominant 38-16 win over the Tulsa Desperados. The Outlaws from Tulsa gained 25 first downs and moved the ball for 382 yards through the air but it was to no avail, as they came away with three field goals and four giveaways to the Vulture Defense. It seemed that each time Desperado QB, Deacon Nickens took his team into scoring position, the Baltimore ‘D’ came up with interception after interception. Four different players seized Nickens’ passes, including linebackers Joe Dazzo, Aman Takess, and Safeties Tony Willis, who also led the team with 11 total tackles and the electric, Giovanni Bolt, who not only picked off a pass, but also sealed the victory with one of his trademark punt returns for a 66-yard touchdown. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention T-Roy Gaines who ripped-up the turf for 9.3 yards per carry, going for 167 yards and three TDs. He continues to plow through defenses and is carrying the offense down the stretch. The ‘Big Bullies’ on the Offensive Line have only allowed a league-low 10 sacks, and Vulture QB Mike Dazzo leads the SFL with an impressive 75.65% completion percentage. Ivory Ervin is the team’s best Wide Receiver, and he continues to fill the stat sheet averaging 7 catches per game to go along with 8 total touchdowns on the year. The Vultures fly into the Eye to take on the Storm for Week 11. Florida better keep their ‘eye’ on the flight pattern of these birds because Baltimore looks ready to start circling their way towards another win.|
|Is it just the SFL Beat, or is the entire SFL overlooking the Sparrows of Sioux Falls? This team has quietly powered themselves into the post-season with a 7-3 record to go along with THE BEST ‘1-2 punch’ run-game in the league. The backfield of Colin Hart and Jaylin Wells continues to pound opponents on and into the ground, averaging a league-best, 171.6 yards per game and the most rushing touchdowns in the SFL with 18! Hart ranks third overall in rushing, with 1,308 yards and is second in yards per carry with 6.3 and second in rushing touchdowns with 15. Although Quarterback Julian Tyree is last in the SFL with pass attempts, he is first in completion percentage at 75.81% (188 for 248). The Sparrows efficient and don’t waste possessions. They are second best in the league converting 59% on third-down and are 100% on 4th down conversions. Defensively, they’re third in the league against the pass and fifth verse the run. They are 3-1 at home and 4-2 on the road. The City of Sioux Falls is fired up! The entire state of South Dakota is excited! The numbers don’t lie, and neither do the results! The Big Sioux River is flowing, the atmosphere is vibrant, and the Sparrows are soaring high above The Old Minnehaha Courthouse. They’ve won two in a row on the road and look to end the end the season with their final two at Liberty Park. The Dead Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt) of Mt. Rushmore, high-above the north endzone have awoken. Their eyes are glowing, and their smiles are wide. Is this the beginning of Rushmore Peak or the start of a Sparrow Surge? This is certainly the time Sioux Falls Owner, Jacen McGee, could create SFL history. Will his head be the next edition carved high into the side of the mountain as Sioux Falls’ next historic hero? Only time will tell. Their next opponent is a Jacksonville team who roams north for Week 11. The Lions are looking to eat and secure a spot in the playoffs. Will it be a feast of feathers, or will the Sparrows be the ones who are flying atop the “Shrine of Democracy?”|
|Whoa! What was that!? The Legion were ready to take out the last place Hyenas in Houston as a -17 favorite on the road, but it was the Legion who played like the underdog. Houston whacked the Canadians putting up 55 points to the Legion’s 45 and left the frost…defrosted. Vancouver’s defense looked frozen. They gave up 529 yards of total offense to the Hyenas, allowing Houston QB Kentez Johnson to throw for 310 yards and 4 touchdowns, and running back Warren Murray to chop-up the frost for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Vancouver’s impact players on offense did what they normally do, putting up 45 points. Captain Canada himself, Tom Pepper, went for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sudo “Twinkie” Nakai rushed for 108 yards and caught 8 passes for a combined 2 touchdowns. Wide Receivers Brett Killian caught two TD’s and Rich Pratchard chipped in with another. 45 points wins games! Not in Houston. Pepper also threw four interceptions, and they were costly. The biggest coming when Hyena linebacker Rodney Panani took one back 33 yards for a pick-six. That’s where the momentum swung after the first quarter, and the Legion looked like they were playing like the last place team and Houston like the first. Rookie linebackers Doug Day and Brian Craven melted in the Houston Heat, Lee Adam was ‘hard-Lee’ a factor. The team north of the border falls one game behind the number one ranked Atlanta Swarm in the playoff race, and hopes to hang on to the second seed with only two weeks left in the regular season. The Eternal Frost hosts the Nightwings in Week 11, who are coming off a Mile-High victory over Chicago. At 4-6, Denver is fighting for a playoff birth. Can the Legion recover from their frostbite in Houston, or will it be a two-game slide, creating a potential avalanche in Vancouver?|
|Queen City has clinched a postseason berth, and not a moment too soon, either, as they were mercilessly stung by the top-ranked Atlanta Swarm repeatedly last Sunday - worse yet, in their own stadium! Yes, the Corsairs are sailing into the playoff picture after the close of action in Week 10, but they hit a patch of chop this week called the Swarm that has murkied up the waters as far as seeding goes. Offensively, there weren't many problems from the green and black, as they posted no interceptions and even got fullback Jett Zero a touchdown to add to his resume. Star receiver Stephen Hacker, on the other hand, didn't have one all game, though he racked up 16.5 yards a catch. Atlanta's red-zone defense was too much for the Corsairs, who also ended up having an extra point blocked. Queen City is a hearty bunch, so they can brush this loss off like an errant wasp, but to add a fifth championship to their booty, they'll need to bring their A-game in the postseason. Clearly, this was their Bee game.|
|THE PRIDE IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE KINGS. Really... should have used that line to start the season out, but boy, it sounds good. Jacksonville welcomed the London Knights to town this past Tuesday, presumably to show off how many touchdowns Christian Christiansen can throw. Turns out: four! Against the London Defense, the former MVP was in fine form, though he did throw out 3 picks to compliment his scores. The game itself was a lopsided affair, with each team having drawn straws to choose who would score in what quarters, with London scoring in the 1st and 3rd and Jacksonville scoring in the 2nd and 4th. It was their unanswered 21 points in that quarter that put them over the top for good. While they haven't quite yet clinched a playoff berth, the likelihood of the Kings missing out in their inaugural season in Jacksonville is extremely low. Perhaps the fresh air and new location have done the team good - they've got the best passing attack in the league at the moment. If their defense can help stop the spread of opposing team scores (really, by doing the opposite of social distancing) then we might be kissing the ring of a new leader come the end of the Championship. For Frank Goodin, the King in Jacksonville, it's about time.|
|Charleston was unfortunately part of the strange anomaly that swept the league last week of stellar losing offensive performances. The Predators had more first downs, more passing and rushing yards, and also, seven less points than the Florida Storm at the end of the day. While the game was trending in Charleston's direction for the majority of the time, it was a pick-six from T.D. Drew that put the game away for Florida. Some will say that the Predators will need to tighten things up for their rematch against the New Orleans Pharaohs, who handed them a loss just two weeks back. I say to that: posh! Any given Sunday, and all that - and a game-sealing Pick-Six doesn't happen every week. While the Pharaohs might also be vying for a postseason spot in the gigantic mix of 4-6 teams, Charleston will be playing with at least three chips on their shoulders: The first, their Week 8 loss to New Orleans. The second, their Week 10 last-minute loss to the Florida Storm. The third? They're ready for the postseason, and haven't quite yet punched their ticket. These apex sea hunters can work as a team to take down their prey; can they shake off their woes and rise to the top of the food chain again?|
|Things are getting desperate in the Sooner State, as the Desperados dropped a game to the playoff-bound Baltimore Vultures to even out their Season 14 record. Tulsa's offense was running circles around the Vultures, but maybe that was part of the problem - quantity over quality. Deacon Nickens operated as a virtual cannon this last week, notching over 380 passing yards against the Vultures; part of the risk in such a heavy air game, though, are interceptions. Having said that, five interceptions to one touchdown is downright funky. Defensively they had no answer for the Vultures, who jumped out into an early lead and kept hammering away for the remainder of the night. Things aren't all gloom and doom for the Sooner State veterans. They play host to the limping Mexico City Aztecs this week, and one of Tulsa's five wins was a road victory in Estadio Azteca. A win at home would all but seal the postseason fates of each team, but to count out the Aztecs would be a mistake this late in the game. If Dion Hawkins' team can weather the waters of Charleston afterwards? It might be a shoot-out at the OK Corral in the playoffs.|
|Mexico City this week took a big ol' trip to the Big Easy to play New Orleans in the "We beat Charleston in the past two weeks" bowl in a pivotal game for their playoff hopes, as the perennial playoff participators are struggling to even gain a wildcard spot. But here… they came up short. 9 points short, to be exact, in a 22-13 defeat. The Aztecs scored a grand total of 1 Touchdown through 4 quarters, coming from the halfback and man who controls every word I say, Ray Bentley. Two Kole Varner field goals supported the operation… while Pharaohs kicker Austin Powers kicked 5 field goals that gave him player of the game (spoiler for that entry, by the way). Matt Willson himself didn't have much of a stellar game tossing the ball for 184 yards but having 2 picks to boot which helped carry New Orleans to victory. The defeat however has cemented the Aztecs into the "Holy Moly" pile of 8 teams looking at a total of 1 playoff spot available maybe. Mexico City, as it stands, is not that one team sitting pretty at Seed 10, and is currently 15th in league standings. The path doesn't get any easier for the Aztecs this week. Continuing the road trip to Tulsa to play a 5-5 Desperados desperate (I'm here 'till Thursday, folks) for some playoff security. If the Aztecs want any chance to make it in, a win here is of the utmost importance.|
|Now enters yet another team into the 4-6 fight, the defending champs! Yes, who woulda thunk it that the defending champs who went 11-1 would lose 6 times as many games with the season not even finished yet! But all jokes aside, the Nightwings played a damn fine game last week at home against Chicago, being able to hold off a second half charge from the Wildcats and walking away soaring to victory 37-31. Jarrod McChesney himself having a 100 yard day at the office and punching in a TD to boot. Quarterback Josh Miller as well had a great day, slinging the rock for 329 yards with 3 TDs to throw in. The Nightwings defense as well took the ball away twice. The Nightwings, to put it succinctly, had a good game. That game was so good that it put them at the Top of the 4-6 sifter and at the 10th seed in the playoffs thanks to their strength of schedule. That spot isn't secure by any means, they need a key win to secure it. But boy, the next game isn't in their favor: a trip to Vancouver taking on a bloodthirsty Legion looking to prove they're a title contender once more. The win is needed, but it won't be by any means easy.|
|Coming in to week 10, the Wildcats were looking for some sense of playoff security in their road trip to Denver. Rather unfortunately for them, not even a second half charge could bring them a sense of comfort, and they fell to the city their in-game logo comes from 37-31. However as the previous sentence implies, it's not due to lack of trying, as they outscored the Nightwings 21-13 in the second half. The defense as will did its part by securing 2 picks by Ryan Yosef, with 1 being returned for a 49 Yard pick 6. The Wildcats did every little thing they could to keep themselves in and win a pivotal game. But they didn't, and fell to 5-5. Now there really is no turning back, they need to win. Luckily for the Windy City Kitties, they got a rather easy opponent up on the docket, playing host to a Seattle Tyrants team at this point just limping across the finish line for the season and running for the holy number 1 draft pick. So Chicago should have that security afforded to them. Granted, most all of us thought Vancouver would beat Houston… so maybe we'll be wrong again.|
I'm very sorry for doubting you during the middle bits of the season when I had to write about you towards the bottom of the list. For as my Charleston Predators came to town, we thought it'd be a good chance to get a big win. But hey, you guys are still good and I gotta say, you've really righted the ship from the disastrous Richards era. The offense at times had moments where it just seemed to click. JW Doyle went off during the first half racking up nearly 4 YPC for the game (which is not bad for a FB) while Cockren did what he needed all throughout the game, the Storm showed they still have it in them. Now I can't talk about this game without talking about the play that beat us: the 90+ yard Pick 6 from Jeff Melinyshin that honestly, if that play had gone any other way, we here at Charleston would've won the game. But hey, that play happened, and y'all won. Congrats. Your reward? A trip to the 4-6 frenzy! This time you sit squarely at 13th place, a lucky number, I know. But now if you guys want in, you better get a win this week or else your chances may be kaput. Upon the docket? Baltimore. Fortunately for you you're in the eye, but you need this win, it's certainly a tall task, but you can do it.
|Now here's an anomaly. Mexico City had more total yards on offense than the Pharaohs, but New Orleans still captured a 9-point win at home over the visiting Aztecs. Zuh-whaaa? While the higher numbers usually side with the game winner, this time they coincide with an excellent defensive performance from the Big Easy, as they forced a fumble out of the Aztecs and picked them off twice as well. Xander Gold might not have had the yardage of his counterpart across the field, but he got the yards that counted, setting up Pharaohs kicker Austin Powers to boot five out of five field goals through the uprights. While it may not be the flashiest victory. New Orleans is now in the monstrous mix for the final seeds with their 4-6 record. If they can travel to Charleston for Week 11 and escape with a victory, there may very well be a journey into the postseason set in store for these Pharaohs after all. Without it, they might all be swept away like sand in the wind.|
|What's going on in Las Vegas? Back in Week 7, they blew the doors off the undefeated season for the Vancouver Legion, notching a high-profile victory against the (at the time) top ranked team in the league. Afterwards they traveled home to post a confident desert victory win over their southern rivals, the Arizona Scorpions, but since? A loss to the Corsairs in Week 9 could have been brushed off, but now the Fury are staring at 2-week losing streak, with the latest coming from the Carolina Skyhawks. To be fair to Las Vegas, a 17-20 loss isn't a backbreaker in normal circumstances, but seeing as how it leveled the playing field for the postseason (one of the games that gave us eight teams with a 4-6 record) it didn't necessarily help, either. Tom Ramen was the heart of the offense, tossing 2 scores through the air for the Fury, though also throwing 3 interceptions to the Skyhawks as well. The combination of Truezman and Redford was able to rack up 10 more rushing yards than the Skyhawks all night, but were unable to break through the plane and put points on the board - concerning, considering offensive guru Steven Mullenax's golden touch with previous running games. When all is said and done, Vegas is still in the mix, but will need to tighten up their offensive capabilities if they want to make a run for the gold. To be fair, though, it's Vegas - never tell them the odds, kid!|
|St. Louis, if your franchise-best 5th victory eludes you this season, you won't be the only frustrated ones. The Gladiators drop three spots this week after losing a game at-home to the low-ranked Arizona Scorpions. Once again, as in the case of Mexico City, the Scorpions technically had the worse offensive numbers all night, posting almost 50 less yards than the Gladiators. Efficiency, though, was the word of the night, as quarterback Jonny Pichler tossed 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions to his counterpart Ashley Jackson's 4 touchdowns and 2 picks. Offensively, things are chugging right along in the Gateway City, with Pichler and running back Diesel Dawson making for a great combination, but the defense needs to pick up the pace if the Gladiators want to capture that 5th win. Fortunately for St. Louis, they too are in the Monster Mash of eight 4-6 teams, meaning their shot at postseason glory is still entirely possible. If the Glads can tighten up their defensive capabilities, they could very well be this season's Cinderella Story going into the playoffs.|
|Meanwhile, Arizona jumps three spots on the strength of their effective, and yes, efficient victory over the St. Louis Gladiators. Ashley Jackson, this week's Offensive Player of the Week, was stinging the Gladiators all night long with her 300 yard, 20-for-25 and 4 touchdown performance. To be fair, they stung back in the form of 2 interceptions, but with a ten point victory when all was said and done, it could have been worse. So now that Eddie Gauge's inaugural season is almost at a close, can we write the final chapter and shut the book on it? Not quite. With their resounding 34-24 victory in St. Louis Sunday night, the Scorpions have joined the melee of 4-6 teams vying for the final seeds in the postseason. Some remember last year when Eddie's defense in Houston surprised the league and punched their ticket all the way into the quarterfinals, but if his offense in the desert keeps clicking the way it did this week? Could sting a bit for opposing teams trying to clinch their own berth. It all starts with a rematch in the desert against the Las Vegas Fury, with major playoff implications on the line for both teams.|
|Just when you think you know a team, they go and give the smoke to somebody else! Carolina jumps into the absolutely insane 4-6 fray this week with a thrilling 4th quarter win over the Las Vegas Fury. Now, here's the fun: check out the stats for the game, listed here. Carolina won the game with no recorded star offensive touchdowns, one kick return touchdown, and one backup running back touchdown. There's gotta be some kinda scoragami for a game like that somewhere. Logan Jack and Sully Richardson were able to summon a win in the fourth quarter off the strength of their kicker Wally Herman's foot, as his two total field goals were the difference maker in this game. Defensively, Carolina has been shining all season long as a diamond in the rough, with standout players like Zane Doty and Shravan Prasad getting it done. As stated earlier, their win puts the Skyhawks into the swirling vortex of 4-6 teams vying for the tenth seed in the postseason, so it is possible that we could have 19 other teams wanting to know what the Smoke is like come season's end.|
|Houston, we have a problem. Specifically: where has this team been since the start of the season? If we weren't at Week 10, this victory might have jumped the Hyenas far more spots, but unfortunately the Playoffs loom large and have started slowing down movement on these lists. Regardless - Houston just put up the second highest score of the season on one of the two teams to surpass eight total wins. Just in case the gravity of that situation didn't hit, let me put it this way: the team ranked dead last had a barnstormer shootout against the #2 ranked team in the league and came out on top by two scores. Lets get to some of the details: Kentez Johnson had himself a game, with 310 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also posted half the amount of interceptions (2) than his Legion adversary (4), which is an impressive turnaround from weeks past. Their run game was also on point, as Warren Murray had a staggering 7.7 yards a carry against the 4th best rushing defense, with another 2 touchdowns on top of that. Houston is teetering on the edge of elimination, but if you look at them this time last season... uh oh. With their remaining games in London and Seattle, the Hyenas have a real shot at recapturing their Season 13 record - but will they recapture the magic? If they keep playing like this, it's hard to say no.|
|The Championship Hangover is supposed to be for the team that wins the championship, you guys. The Seattle Tyrants have been declared extinct from the playoff race, with a 5-7 record the best they can do. While Houston proved last season it was possible, with so many teams in the 4-6 mix the probability of it is fairly low. Onto the good news: while they did drop a home game to put them under .500, they were able to keep it close against the now third-ranked Sioux Falls Sparrows, 24-21. Jacques Luyindula was pound-for-pound the better quarterback on the field Tuesday night, with an 86.21% completion rating and a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Linebacker Slinn Shady is, as he always has been, a tackling machine, with 12 to the game - EK Vinson was behind him with two-thirds of that total with 8. Unfortunately for the Pacific coasters, their league-best run defense was nowhere to be seen, allowing Colin Hart to effectively triple their average amount of rushing yards allowed with a staggering 8.3 yards per carry. He even blasted off on a nice 69 yard touchdown run! With two remaining contests against the Chicago Wildcats and Houston Hyenas, it could be a rough go of things for the Tyrants - but life, as one handsome scientist once put it, uh.... finds a way.|
|The London Knights have fallen down, officially eliminated from postseason contention for Season 14. While normally they swear fealty to the Queen, this past Tuesday saw them bowing down to the Jacksonville Kings to the tune of 27-35. To be fair to the Knights, when the offense gets going, it's definitely clicking, as Angus MacLaine and Jason Williams combined for three touchdowns throughout the game. However, MacLaine's 3 interceptions and 5 sacks show that there are clear holes in the front line being exploited to rush him into making risky throws. Now out of the playoff picture, perhaps it's time to hunker down in these final two weeks and assess the positives while sloughing off the negatives. The British have a stiff upper lip, and are able to weather the most severe of storms. Come Season 15, they could very well be claiming new lands and territories for team owner Liam Crowter, but for now, it's back to Ye Olde Drawinge Boarde.|