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

Image based on those created by JR Lawless



Albuquerque Atoms
(▲ 3)
The alliterative battle between Annapolis and Albuquerque was a fierce one indeed this past week, with the Atoms taking the lead and the tied-for-first 5-2 record for the season. A final score of 20-33 doesn't quite indicate a barnburner, but with almost 1000 total yards of offense between these two SFLm titans, it was as thrilling a game as anyone could have hoped for. New Mexico's premiere minor league team scored at least 6 points in every quarter, be it in the air, on the ground, or through the uprights themselves. Quarterback PJ Slaughter had 343 yards and only one pick against a stout Annapolis defense, while running back Douglas Brown was averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Defensively, Marco Swift was 'swift' on the uptake, as he was able to pick off Navigators QB Spencer Gordon twice with over 50 return yards. Syrok Black and Ryan Ray were unstoppable as well, grabbing 14 tackles between the two of them on their way to victory. This week, Albuquerque looks to secure the top postseason seed as they travel to take on not only their final opponent, but the only other team capable of taking #1: The Birmingham Fuel. Up and at them, I say!


Birmingham Fuel
A late-season BYE week for the Birmingham Fuel could have been exactly what the doctor ordered, as they get a much needed rest before playoff play commences, whilst not losing their lofty position in the standings. The early lead the Fuel built up over the rest of the league has paid dividends down the stretch as the rest of the league fight hard to catch up. A win in Week 9 will definitely secure a post-season berth, but the pressure is still on. The Fuel need to win to consider themselves safe, the win being even more important when you take into account the advantage of a home game in the semi-finals. Week 9's opponents come in the form of the red-hot Albuquerque Atoms, a team that have gone nuclear down the stretch. For sure, it won't be plain sailing, but the Fuel should be confident. They are undefeated at home, with no team (apart from Salt Lake City) even coming close to beating them in Birmingham. The Fuel deserve to be in the playoffs. Tonight is the time to make it stick.


Ottawa Cavalry
(▲ 4)
The Ottawa Calvary finally got their revenge for the loss they suffered at the hands of the Madison Lynx in the SFLm season 1 championship. They charged ahead to gain this victory with QB Scar Patterson leading the charge. He would complete 30 of his 42 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. RB Kevin Seay had 26 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. WR Ryan Rosevelt had 8 receptions for 67 yards and WR Deuce Fenech had 8 receptions for up yards and a touchdown. The Defense showed out only giving up a since touchdown. FS Emmanuel Blackman had 6 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, and a pass deflection. CB Andrew Roush had 3 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, a pass deflection, a tackle for a loss and a interception. LB Sean Moore had 5 tackles, 3 assisted tackles, a tackle for a loss, and 2 pass deflections. The Ottawa Calvary are looking to move into the play-offs but need a win over the River Runners. Both teams are looking to knock each other out of the running for that coveted play-off spot.
Annapolis Navigators
(▼ 3)
Annapolis fought hard this week against the Atoms, securing more first downs and being far more efficient on third down than their competitors (a 69% conversion rating is... very nice!), but victory was in unnavigable waters. Under center, Spencer Gordon threw for a mind-blowing 389 yards, but his performance was marred by three interceptions. Denzel McCray and Guy Clawson almost put up 200 of those yards themselves, but couldn't break the plane into the endzone against the Atomic defense. Free Safety Josh Rowe took the lion's share of tackles made this week with 8, but it was corner Len Jones who was able to nab his own takeaway for 29 yards. Annapolis now sits at 4-3 for the season and, with their game against Tacoma this upcoming week, has a chance to grab hold of one of the coveted postseason seeds with a win. The road to SFLm glory might be a rocky one, but never count the Navigators out: they'll find their way.
Maddison Lynx
(▼ 2)
Madison Lynx take a loss in a rematch of last season's championship game where they were the victor's. In this match up the Calvary said not this time and proceeded to lay it on thick after a defensive battle in the first half of the game. Madison played well even though they ended up losing this game. QB Eric Price had a rough night connecting on 16 of his 32 passes and throwing for only 91 yards and a touchdown. RB Charlie Biletsky had 21 carries for 99 yards and WR Kae Marion would have 5 receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown and WR Maximus Blue also had 5 receptions for 39 yards. Now on the other hand the defense did everything they could to keep the game in hand as LB Ronnie Watson had a busy night with 11 tackles, 4 assisted tackles, a tackle for a loss, a pass deflection and a interception. Both safties Julian Valliere and Ray Lenearl III combined for 13 tackles, 8 assisted tackles and 1 pass deflection. Over all this defense feasted, but it wasn't quite enough. The Lynx move on to face off against the Rustlers to keep their play off hopes alive and the Rustlers are looking to knock them out for their shot.
Memphis River Runners
(▼ 1)
It's never a good time to lose at home to the worst team in the league, but Memphis' Week 8 30-17 defeat at the hands of the previously winless San Jose Flight could be catastrophic for their playoff chances. Now, this is a maiden season for Memphis, a new team to the SFLm this year, but with the way they have been playing in the middle portion of the season, anything less than playoffs will feel like a grave disappointment. They just didn't show up against San Jose at any point of the game. Could we potentially call it complacency? The entirety of the offense had a quiet game. OJ Bruin at QB threw less than 60% and evened out his TD:INT ratio with 1 in each column. GP Wells barely made a yard each rush, a blast into the endzone the lone bright spot on his night. The River Runners' receivers looked too easy to cover too, none standing out against the San Jose defence. Defensively, Max Night was the only stand out, getting into the backfield to sack Colin Pierce twice. These performances will be heavily scrutinised by SFL GM's and owners as we creep towards the draft. Memphis' chances to make the playoffs hang in the balance, and things seem to have been tipped against them as they travel to Ottawa for the final game. San Jose should have all but secured them. As it happened, they may have been condemned to a long off-season.
Salt Lake City Rustlers
The (3-3) Salt Lake City Rustlers hosted the (1-5) Tacoma Grizzlies this week. Tommy Utah passed for 340 yards with one touchdown pass to his receiver Kelsey Brown who ended the night with 110 receiving yards. Brooke Beissel rushed for 90 yards. Despite the high passing and rushing yard totals, the Rustlers had issues in the red zone where they where forced to attempt 5 field goals. The defense forced two turnovers and held the Grizzlies to 17 points in regulation play and the first overtime. The Rustlers had a chance to put the nail in the coffin during the second overtime, but their field goal kicker choked and missed the game winning 35-yard field goal. On the next drive, the Grizzlies would end the Rustlers playoff dreams with a 40-yard touchdown pass to their TE Ziggy Hronec. The final score was 17-23. The Rustlers will host the (4-3) Madison Lynx.
Tacoma Grizzlies
This game had a little bit of everything going for it. Interceptions, high flying offenses, descent running games and sacks. The icing on the cake was the double overtime. The (1-5) Tacoma Grizzlies went on the road to Salt Lake City and blew up their playoff hopes by defeating the (3-3) Rustlers 23-17 in double overtime with a 40-yard pass to their TE Ziggy Hronec. Jay Cue finished the evening with 323 passing yards and two touchdowns. Chris Lee had an exceptional night with 183 receiving yards and one touchdown. Brad Jones had 57 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Grizzlies defense, led by RD Smith with 10 tackles, forced two turnovers and kept the Rustlers out of the end zone most of the night by forcing them to attempt five field goals. Let us see if the Grizzlies can play spoiler one more time next week when the host the (4-3) Annapolis Navigators.
San Jose Flight
Finally! It happened! The San Jose Flight won their first game with their last outing this season, not to mention in a confident display on the road against the playoff chasing Memphis River Runners. We couldn't be happier for the players and coaching staff who have worked so hard all season. Platitudes aside, let's have a look at how exactly the Flight finally broke their duck. It started with a rapidly built lead and a solid second half performance. Colin Pierce had about as accurate a game as any QB could hope to have, hitting his receivers over 90% of the time, chucking 1 TD and over 220 yards. That particular touchdown was lobbed to tight end, Will Todd, who has been a bright spot on a struggling offense this season. Running back, Jimmy Hazzard, also had a blistering game, nearly reaching 150 yards on the ground and getting in the end zone once for a TD. Monte Wyatt had another great game from the safety position, possibly cementing himself as the most exciting player on the San Jose roster, and experienced linebackers, Devin King and Gary Clem, also held the Memphis running game to under 30 yards. Expect King and Clem to be high picks in the Season 16 SFL draft. Well, that's it for the San Jose Flight season - the last chance for the players to take the field and impress before the draft this winter. It'll be a nervous wait for these players now, but one thing is for certain...if I know these guys and this culture, even if they don't get picked for the SFL, they will stick around to come back to San Jose for the SFLm Season 3.