By Mike Twinscrew, Images by J.R. Lawless

As the inaugural SFLm season comes to an end, we look back at the 8 game season and over 150 rookies trying for a spot in the big leagues. Although there are four teams in the playoffs, the remaining four did some fantastic things on the field, and we wonder…Who was the best?

We’re going to look at the best of the best across the SFLm season. Not individually, but as a positional group…a group on the field. These are the ‘Major Breakouts From the Minors‘.

Quarterback / Halfback Combo

Passing, rushing, catches in the flat, pump fakes, hurdles, jukes, spins and all things that come with it. The diva’s of the team are relied upon for each play; to read the defense in a split second and make decisions on where to pass or which hole to hit. Here is the top Quarterback / Half Back combo in the SFLm:

18 – PJ SLAUGHTER – 4 Games – ATT/COMP: 76/105, 841 yards, QBR 97.4, 3 TD, 2 INT, 5 sacks
40 – CONNOR WESTON – 8 Games – 169 Carries for 620 Rush Yards, 3 Rush TD. 31 Rec for 137 yds

#18, PJ Slaughter, slinging the rock deep for the Atoms

Just barely missing the playoffs, this backfield are all in the Top 3 at their position in multiple stats, eventually leading their team to a 4-4 season. Although PJ Slaughter only played 4 games, averaging 197 yards passing would put him 150/210, almost 1700 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT and 10 sacks if he had played all 8. Weston finished as the #2 HB in the SFLm and his eye for a gap and tackle breaking ability cannot be questioned.

Wide Receiver / Tight End

Running Routes, acrobatic catches, spins and shifting gears. We always love the deep ball, ankle breakers or a good stiff arm while taking the rock to the house, but the best of the best consistently do it as a group of players throughout the season. Here are the top Wide Receiver and Tight End groups in the SFLm:

87 – Nathan Barnett – 49 Rec, 527 Yards, 3 TD
80 – Jae Moss – 51 rec, 512 Yards, 1 TD
88 – Tony Hall – 28 Rec, 358 Yards, 2 TD
26 – Conner Darian – 26 Rec, 256 Yards, 2 TD

Jae Moss taking the ball in the bread basket for one of many catches this season.

These guys had 216 more yards (1653), the most receptions (154), the most receiving TD’s (8), the most targets (242) than the next group of receivers. They also steangely had the only fumble by a receiving corps over the 8-week period. They definitely put the work in and balled out on the field this season! Although they didn’t make the SFLm playoffs, they should all do well in the draft.

Leading receiver, Nathan Barnett, really showed up for the Rattlesnakes this season.

Defensive Line

Stunts, twists, swims, bull rushes and sacks – the big uglies on the D-Line are busy pushing around the O-linemen to drop the QB or HB for a loss. The meanest D-Line in the SFLm is:

96 – DE – Jojo Schillizzi – 17 Tackles, 4 assists, 3.5 sacks, 11 TFL
75 – DT – Gary Birney – 17 Tackles, 6 assists, 7.5 sacks, 12 TFL
91 – DT – AK Jones – 19 Tackles, 3 assists, 3.5 sacks, 8 TFL
91 – DE – Buggy Mosley – 11 Tackles, 8 assists, 2.5 sacks, 5 TFL

Jojo Schillizzi beating his blocker – something that became a regular fixture of Boise’s games.

This ugly line had the most total tackles (85), 17 total sacks and 36 tackles for loss and was instrumental on Boise making the playoffs. They split the total tackles almost evenly between them (21,23,22,19 respectively). Domination on the line! They are surely the anchor for this defense and a huge part of why Boise were a playoff calibre squad this season.

AK Jones’ power was on display throughout the entirety of the 8 weeks.

Line Backers

Inside, outside, 3-4, 4-4 and shifts – these guys are the leaders of the defense, directing and connecting the line and secondary. A composition that is shooting the gaps, blitzing, covering in space to stop every offensive play that comes at them. Here is the top Linebacker core in the SFLm:

44 – LB – Gary Marx – 65 Tackles, 15 assists, 10 TFL, 2 passes defended
58 – LB – Clay Jones – 59 Tackles, 19 assists, .5 sacks, 6 TFL, 10 passes defended, 2 INT
55 – Digger Graves – 34 Tackles, 7 assists, 7 TFL, 2 passes defended

#44, Gary Marx’s hardnosed defensive play perfectly summed up how Boise State played when the opposition had the ball.

With 199 total tackles between the three of them, 23 TFL and 14 passes defended, they were excellent at backing up a D-Line that was just as destructive. Another huge part of Boise getting locked into the playoffs, these are a great group of rookies that should be happy come the draft.


Press, zone, man, defended passes and picks – these are the diva’s of the defense, who are guarding the fastest players in the league. Here is the top secondary in the league:

42 – CB – Josh Centini – 32 Tackles, 11 assists, 1 sack, 6 TFL, 4 passes defended, 2 INT
22 – FS – Zac Holldorf – 54 Tackles, 14 assists, 6 passes defended, 1 INT
48 – SS – Adam Jones – 41 Tackles, 15 assists, 5 TFL, 1 pass defended
26 – CB – Ryan Owens – 23 tackles, 17 assists, 1 TFL, 5 passes defended

Strong Safety, Adam Jones, was one of the best defensive backs in the SFLm against the run, shown by his excellent tackling stats and fearlessness in the box.

San Jose had a rough season, finishing up at 2-6, but this secondary was top notch! Over 200 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 16 passes defended and 3 picks – they were by far much better, stat wise, than any other SFLm team. All of these guys should make an SFL team come the draft!

Special Teams

Corner Kicking, dropping it on the 3, or a 50 yard field goal. It’s all about field position or points on the board. Here are the top Special Teams players in the league:

F/G – 14/14 – 100%
Longest – 51 yards

Although Nico and the Fuel didn’t make the post season, he scored 57 of the teams 147 points. His strong and accurate leg helped his team win 3 games in Season 1 of the SFLm.

I hope you enjoyed this look into which positional groups really stood out from the crowd over the course of the season, and I invite you, the community, to think about whether you agree, or would choose different personnel. Make sure to catch further SFLm content and I hope to see you all at the Championship game tonight.