Written by Rachelle Colston, Ray Bentley, Ethan Kye and Matthew Slinn

Images by Jonny Law



Birmingham Fuel
Birmingham remains the only undefeated team in the SFLm, and what a way to get there! The Fuel had a hard-fought contest up in Ottawa this weekend, as the Cavalry pushed the top-ranked team into overtime and a dangerous situation with a perfect goal-line punt. Those hoping for a 'safe' ending to the game were disappointed though, as Birmingham was able to escape and rocket a deep ball to Stephen Walker to put the game to bed. Interesting to note that the Fuel's offense was almost completely one-sided, as only 18 of their 463 total yards came from Randy Squarebush, running back. This high-flying attack was a risky and almost costly one, as Christian Brown tossed 4 picks for the day, but it's all moot when it comes down to securing another win for the Fuel. Defensively, strong safety Tom Creeg was able to grab his own interception, with a non-contract securing the other for Birmingham, while linebacker Josh Farnzy was downright frenzied with 11 tackles and 4 assists. Birmingham remains on the road in Week 5, travelling to Madison to take on the first-ever SFLm champs, the Lynx. Will they finally run into a feline-shaped stop sign, or is it a green light into the postseason for this team?


Ottawa Cavalry
The Cavalry fought a gallant battle, but in the end, came up short against the unstoppable Birmingham Fuel. It's a heartbreaker to lose at home, but to lose when you post a better completion percentage than the opponent AND take the ball away twice as much (Ottawa nabbed 4 interceptions to Birmingham's 2) has to sting. There are bright spots in the loss, however, as Ottawa is now the only team to push the undefeated Birmingham to their absolute limit and take them into overtime. Their punting game is unbelievably strong, as evidenced by their goal-line kick in the aforementioned OT. There's really nothing much for me to pin down as the reason they lost - when it came time to make the big plays, they were able to deliver, but the Fuel just delivered more. Foruntately for Ottawa, they remain home this week to take on the Tacoma Grizzlies; if they present the kind of obstacle they were this past week, they should be able to dust themselves off with a W. Time will tell, however - and time for the season is starting to run out.


Maddison Lynx
The 2-1 Madison Lynx stand pat in the third spot in our power rankings as results around the league didn't do much to dissuade us from thinking that they are one of the better teams in the SFLm this season. Week 5 gives the reigning champs the perfect test to prove that they belong in the playoff picture as the Lynx take on the undefeated Birmingham Fuel. The Fuel are coming off a huge 26-20 OT victory over the equally strong Ottawa Cavalry, so the Madison crew had better expect their confidence to be high. The Lynx will have to be at their very best in Week 5, although homefield advantage and the knowledge that two teams have pushed Birmingham into overtime games should give them hope.
Albuquerque Atoms
(▲ 2)
Albuquerque unleashed some atomic energy upon the Salt Lake City Rustlers this past weekend, winning decisivly 16-26. The Atoms were the first team to light up the scoreboard, but a blocked extra point and a responding touchdown from SLC had them trailing in the first quarter. That's when PJ Slaughter and company took over and didn't look back, scoring an impressive 20-unanswered points and keeping the Rustlers from the promised land until the very last minute of the game. All the credit shouldn't just go to the offense, however, as the defense were the ones keeping Salt Lake City out of the endzone for almost three entire quarters, with John Stamango putting up seven tackles and an interception. The Atoms now sit at 2-1 for the season, and will host the Memphis River Runners, with each team looking to capture their third win (and an above .500 record) for the season.
Memphis River Runners
(▲ 2)
Oh boy, this could be a season-defining victory for the now .500 Memphis River Runners. After struggling for most of the game against Annapolis, trailing heavily going into the 4th quarter, Memphis rallied bravely, scoring a pair of late touchdowns to win the quarter 14-3, also securing an unlikely 20-23 victory over the Annapolis Navigators. The victory was spearheaded by former Salt Lake City running back, GP Wells, who toted the rock for over 120 yards and a score. Wells has looked great since joining the River Runners and may be the missing piece that they were looking for. Joseph Green also had a good game, throwing efficiently whilst also passing a TD to receiver, Michael Hammer, whilst defensively, Mike Ryan was everywhere at strong safety. Ryan tallied 15 much-needed tackles against Annapolis' dangerous running game. Week 5 sees Memphis travel to the 2-1 Albuquerque Atoms, with victory putting them in great position for a run at the post season.
Annapolis Navigators
(▼ 1)
It seems like such a long time ago, but Annapolis were once kings of #1 in these power rankings. Fast forward 2 weeks and they find themselves down in the 6th spot with a '500 record and on the wrong end of the 2-game losing streak. It could have all been so different as well. Last week's loss to Salt Lake was disappointing, but Week 4's defeat on the road in Memphis will leave a very sour taste in the mouth. After playing so well and building up a deserved 2-score lead, the Navigators weren't able to get anything going in the 4th, succumbing to a rejuvenated Memphis team. Individually, the players come out of the game with good stats. LA Reaux was excellent at QB, tossing the ball for over 210 yards and a couple of scores. Despite not crossing into the endzone, Balyee O'Shaugnessey ran superbly, gashing the Memphis defence for over 150 yards. In the end though, that lack of TD on the ground would prove to be the difference between winning and losing. Week 5 brings with it welcome reprieve for the Annapolis squad as they lick their wounds during a bye week. Let's see how well this mid-season bye allows them to get back on course.
Tacoma Grizzlies
(▲ 1)
The Tacoma Grizzlies managed to finally get their first win of the SFLm season against the San Jose Flight. The way the Grizzlies came out battling is what you expect to see more out of them. QB Jay Cue had himself a day as he would complete 27 of 34 passes thrown for 353 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. RB Brad Jones had a decent day as well as he rushed for 52 yards on 22 carries and 2 rushing touchdowns. TE Ziggy Hronec showed of some feats of speed as he would get 4 receptions for 107 yards. FS R.D. Smith had 7 tackles and an interception and LB Keenan Samuels had 6 tackles 2 assisted a tackle for a loss and a interception himself. Look for the Grizzlies to charge ahead and pull off another win in their next outing.
Salt Lake City Rustlers
(▼ 4)
Salt Lake City took their second loss of the season to the hosting Albuquerque Atoms this week, 16-26. The Rustlers played a close game in the first quarter, keeping a one-point lead over the Atoms after they blocked an extra point, but it was all downhill from there. Defensively, Salt Lake City just couldn't put a stop to Albuquerque, as the Atoms were able to put up 20 unanswered points before the Rustlers were able to respond with a field goal. Even worse, their final touchdown of the day to Kingston Ellington was met with a dropped 2-pt conversion, essentially rendering their comeback within the final minute of the game moot. The Rustlers will have to dust off as they take on the San Jose Flight on the road. If they can keep the spirit of their first quarter alive through the entire game, they might just rustle up a .500 record.
San Jose Flight
The poor San Jose Flight sit at the bottom of the power rankings and also at the bottom of the SFLm standings. It seems like the flight got their wings snipped and can't seem to get off the ground at 0-4. QB Colin Pierce has been doing everything he can to get things rolling but it seems defenses are sniffing out the play calling as Colin would go 23 of 36 for 221 yards and 2 interceptions. HB Jimmy Hazzard would prove to be a threat on the ground as he had 17 carries for 112 yards. Both WR Jeff Banfield and TE Will Todd would have over 80 yards receiving each. WR Jeff Banfield had 11 receptions and TE Will Todd had 4 receptions. LB's Gary Clem and Devin King would combine for a total of 16 tackles 5 assisted tackles 2 tackle for losses and 1 pass deflection. The Flight are looking to get their first win very soon and you know now would be the time to do it with half the season already behind them.