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

Images by JR Lawless



Maddison Lynx
(▲ 2)
Madison showed that the defending champs are not going down without a fight, handing the first loss of the season to the Birmingham Fuel this week. Quarterback Eric Price and running back Charlie Biletsky kept Birmingham's defense on their toes all night long, as the former was able to find the endzone twice and the latter managed 83 yards and a touchdown. While Maximus Blue was Price's favorite target, Kae Marion is the unsung hero of the game, racking up 111 yards on only 5 catches, something that definitely swung in the Lynx's favor to keep them scoring all night long. On the defensive side of things, the Lynx were able to confound and puzzle the only undefeated team in the league for the entire game, only allowing a single trip into the endzone in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Ronnie Watson was the thorn in Birmingham's side, with six tackles (including two for a loss), while DT Dan Tritz (I see what you did there) was racking up the sacks like they were on sale. The Lynx haven't been saddled with the championship hangover that most teams are associated with, and with their record sitting at 3-1, they too will be clawing their way towards the #1 seed for the remainder of the games. Next up: can they navigate the choppy waters of Annapolis, or will the Lynx sink against the coastal elite?


Birmingham Fuel
(▼ 1)
The Birmingham Fuel finally met their match (and then some!) against the defending champs this week, as they lost their first game of the season to the Madison Lynx. Christian Brown and company just couldn't get anything going against the formidable Lynx defense, only managing a fourth-quarter touchdown to future SFL superstar Riley Quintero; had it not been for their third quarter field goal, this would have been the Fuel's first single-digit scoring game, as well as loss! Running back Randy Squarebush was also held to a measly 6 yards for the entire evening, limiting Birmingham's offensive options. Defensively, the Fuel were able to pick off Lynx quarterback Eric Price twice - always a nice feeling, but ultimately moot as the team wasn't able to make much out of the takeaways. Fortunately, Birmingham's odyssey away from home ends this upcoming week against the Tacoma Grizzlies. For fans down in Alabama, they hope it's not just a return to their stadium, but to form, as they still are racing towards the #1 seed in the postseason.


Ottawa Cavalry
Ottawa fall a spot in the rankings this week, despite getting a somewhat routine victory over the Tacoma Grizzlies in Tuesday's game. The sole reason for the drop is the stellar play of Madison, who have jumped right up to the top spot in the rankings. With that caveat explained, let's get to the game. The Cavalry pretty much bullied Tacoma in this one, shooting out to a 20-3 half time lead, never relinquishing that margin during a defensive second half. Emmanuel Blackman had an excellent game from the free safety spot, tackling well and getting himself the only interception of the game by a star player. Achilles Papatonis was especially effective against the run, whilst linebacker Sean Moore chipped in with a few solid tackles too. Offensively, Scar Patterson didn't have to work too hard to martial the victory because Kevin Seay put the team on his back. The 2nd year RB gashed Tacoma for 155 yards at a 7 yard per carry clip, hitting the end zone on a single occasion in the first half. Ryan Rosevelt also had an exciting game, showing up as Patterson's favourite target with 10 catches and a touchdown. All in all, the Cavalry will be pleased they did as expected. However, they can't rest easy as they travel to a tough Salt Lake City team next week. A win there may pretty much guarantee their post-season credentials.
Memphis River Runners
(▲ 1)
The Memphis River Runners are proving they have what it takes to compete, knocking off one of the toughest defensive teams in the SFLm. QB OJ Bruin would complete 25 of his 30 passes for 226 yards and 1 touchdown while being dropped in the backfield 4 times. HB GP Wells had 18 carries for 46 yards. The star of the show was WR Michael Hammer who had 9 receptions for 168 yards. He had 1 touchdown with a long pass from Bruin for 89 yards. The River Runners defense was just as stout as the Atoms, but they stood just a bit stronger and kept the Atoms from the endzone. SS Mike Ryan had 9 tackles 2 assisted and a tackle for loss. FS Vernard Smith IV had 6 tackles, 3 assisted, 2 pass deflections and the only interception of the game. What a great way for Memphis to head into their bye week.
Albuquerque Atoms
(▼ 1)
Albuquerque Atoms took a tough loss against the Memphis River Runners as they struggled to find the endzone several times. This was a very defensive battle to watch and one that the Atoms offense just struggled to score in. QB P.J. Slaughter went 21of 35 for 248 yards and threw an interception. On the ground, HB Douglas Brown had 25 carries for 67 yards. WR Nate Ritters had 8 receptions for 120 yards and WR Kyle Finamore had 6 receptions for 90 yards. Defensively, the Atoms needed a turnover pretty badly to keep them in the game but it wouldn't happen. The pressure was there as QB OJ Bruin would get sacked 4 times in the game, 2 and half of those sacks coming from DE Cliff Grizzly, who had 3 tackles 1 assist, 2 and a half sacks and 3 tackles for loss. The Atoms face off against a struggling Flight team who seem to be struggling to get off the ground. Albuquerque will fancy their chances to get back to winning ways.
Annapolis Navigators
The Annapolis Navigators set down their anchor this week as they had time to rest up and watch everybody else battle it out. The Navigators needed it too after a 2-game losing streak saw the early leaders slip quickly down the rankings. They are back to action in Week 6, hosting the #1 seed, Madison Lynx. The Navigators and the Lynx have a history of big games. We wait with bated breath to see if LA Reaux and co. can overcome the odds and come away with a victory that will squeeze them over .500.
Salt Lake City Rustlers
(▲ 1)
The #7 ranked (1-2) Salt Lake City Rustlers travelled to San Jose to take on the #9 ranked (0-4) Flight. Quarterback Tommy Utah finished the evening with 223 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wide Receiver Kingston Ellington had 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Rustlers defense and special teams really showed up tonight. The special teams forced a fumble on a punt return that would result in a touchdown a few plays later. Free Safety Peanut Seay led the defense tonight with 11 tackles, but it was the pick 6 near the end of the game by cornerback Jahrad Brodie that really sealed the deal for the Rustlers. The Rustlers beat the Flight on the road 27-22 improving their record to 2-2. The Rustlers will host the (3-2) Ottawa Calvary next week.
Tacoma Grizzlies
(▼ 1)
Tacoma travelled to Ottawa in Week 5 of the SFLm schedule, and the tough road game wasn't made to look any easier by the Grizzlies' performance. The offense just couldn't get off the ground as they struggled to a measly 152 total yards during the 4 long quarters. Johnny Reno had possibly his worst game of the season, throwing less than 50% including and interception to the Ottawa free safety. Running back, Brad Jones, tried his best to get something positive going, including a 31 yard scamper, but his 73 yards were for nought as the Grizzlies had to settle for 6 points, only troubling the scoreboard twice. Defensively, things looked more positive but the time of possession for Ottawa told in the end. Keenan Samuels had a busy day at the linebacker position, and DT Exodus O'Brannon got himself into the backfield for a nice sack, but it wasn't enough to stop a solid Cavalry from charging to the end zone. Tacoma need to go back to the drawing board and lick their wounds and quickly get ready for another difficult trip next week: away at the 4-1 Birmingham Fuel.
San Jose Flight
The #9 ranked (0-4) Sane Jose Flight hosted the #7 ranked (1-2) Salt Lake City Rustlers. Quarterback Colin Pierce had an outstanding night with 367 passing yards that included a 71 yard touchdown pass to his wide receiver Jeff Banfield. Although the high flying offense marched the ball down the field all night long, they just could not punch it into the end zone when it mattered and had to settle for 5 field goals. The special teams also coughed up the ball on a punt return that resulted in a touchdown for the Rustlers a few plays later. The game was still winnable at this point; however, a pick six thrown late in the game by Peirce sealed the Flight’s fate as they would drop another heartbreaking loss 22-27. The Flight will host the (2-2) Albuquerque Atoms next week. It will be exciting to see if they can get their first W.