Written by Jason Miller
Graphics by Jason Miller
What’s up SFL Nation. This is SFL Reporter Jason Miller, back here once again with the fourth instalment of the Miller Report. We have hit the halfway mark of Season 16 and I, for one, am excited about this article. This will be a long one for sure as I tackle some of the big news items this week and then hand out some hardware at the end. So, no time like the present – Lets get nasty.
So, the Hyenas are in a “new era” with Shann Varner as the OC and they came out firing. ET King threw for 337 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs and completed 86% of his passes – by far his best game all season. It probably helps that he has his former owner controlling the offense. It wasn’t just King that played great. Warren Murray had 3 TDs in the game and DR Sim went off for 13 catches and 150yards. Not to mention this defense! 5 INTS! Holy Hyena they played good. I haven’t seen Josh Miller (no relation) play this bad since I have been covering the SFL. To me, Houston came in with the perfect game plan on how to stop Denver. Don’t look now, but Houston has won three games and are looking to continue to get themselves back into the playoffs.
FISH AND CHIPS GALORE IN STL
The other big shocker of the weekend involved the other undefeated team – the St. Louis Gladiators, who lost to the London Knights. The story for this game, to me, was that the Knights finally got Robert Merrill going. He had 14 carries for 83 yards and 1TD! Fun stat for all you stats junkies – Robert Merrill, in this game alone, matched his total rushing yards the entire season. He had a stunted 83 total rushing yards coming into this game. The changes made in the running attack of the Knights worked in their favor. In the first half, London rattled off 14 points in less than 2 minutes thanks to a pick 6 from Barry Barkley. Now the Gladiators will have to go back to the drawing board as they have a tough matchup against the Florida Storm to come.
SPARROWS FLYING AGAIN?
Congrats to the Sparrows on their first victory of the season. Going up against a tough Florida team, they showed the SFL what they can do. It didn’t start pretty, as Storm WR Steven Bush took one to the house on the first play – but the Sparrows fought back. They played really well on the defensive side of the ball thanks to the play of DE Jonathon Kamph and FS Jay Ringgold. Now that they are back in the winning column, they will pretty much have to win out the rest of the way in order to even sniff the playoffs. This team has not finished worse than 6-6 the entire existence of the franchise. I’m sure the Sparrows will be trying everything to maintain that statistic.
MAVERICK DOWN, TORO UP
Does anyone know what is going on in San Diego? I mean, were they aware that a game was going on in Fort Worth? Did they go to the famous Fort Worth Stockyards and get lost? ‘Cause the scoreboard tells that they didn’t show up. I know they’re an expansion team, but to me DC is hands down better off right now. They will need to mix it up on the coaching side if they want to get a victory this season. Fort Worth had their way with this team. Cameron Curtis played out of his mind, throwing for 358 yds and 5 TDs – an excellent game by the first year QB. RB Jason Williams had a fantastic game as well, with 19 carries for 178 yds 1 TD. This team in my rankings are #2 in the SFL and they could easily be the top team.
THE WEEKLY FLEET PART OF THE REPORT
It’s time for my weekly report on the Fleet. I can’t seem to go a week without talking about these guys. I called them out to impress me by getting a win. Now, I’ll admit, they did come out and get 30 points against Arizona – but they gave up 36. They played a good game offensively for sure, but it’s still that story where I need to see them beat a good team before I stop talking about them. If they can keep Matt South from throwing picks, then this team can compete.
AXIS AFTER DARK
Commissioner Cameron Irvine joined Axis Live on Tuesday to break down the first playoff scenarios for this season. There were some surprising things that were said. First off, Vancouver was not on the list. Vancouver is currently on a 3 game losing streak and I am sure they are going to bounce back into those rankings. London was on this list as the last team in the playoffs, which, if you are a London fan, then you are really excited to see. They have been inconsistent this season, so if they can string some more wins together I could see them sneaking in for sure.
Now it’s time to hand out some hardware. I am handing out 5 mid-season awards. Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, OROTY, DROTY & Comeback Player of the Year. I will list the name and give a reason for it.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR – QB ANGUS MCCLAINE (LONDON)
To me this is a clear answer. Angus McClaine is the Comeback Player of the Year. In Season 14 he threw 34 INTs. Last season he threw 31. This season through 6 games, he has thrown 10, which is 6th best in the SFL. A guy that was known to throw a lot of picks seems to be keeping that number down. It could be due to offseason workouts and new coaching staff in place that limits his risks. London is playing better football due to this, so in my mind it’s because of him.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – CB RALGAR LAWE (HOUSTON)
This was tough to call. I could easily see DT Dan Tritz (MXC) get this as well. I have to go with Lawe on this one. Ralgar was the 34th pick in the draft. I had him as a first round talent in my Miller Mock and the stats show why. Tied for 2nd with 6INTs and only one back of the lead, he has proven that he is one of if not the top picks in this draft. I believe Houston would not be on this current streak if it was not for Ralgar Lawe.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – QB Cameron Curtis (Fort Worth)
Talk about a guy that is a clear cut winner of this award. Cameron Curtis has shown the entire SFL world his skills. Here are some key stats. 74% completion (5th) 8INTs (2nd). Now, he only has 8 TDs, but the way this team has played by running the ball and through defensive solidity, he doesn’t need to sling it. As a rookie, he shows the leadership, toughness, and maturity, that most rookies don’t have yet. This team is good and they will only get better as Curtis gets more time under his belt. I can probably speak for the entire SFL when I say “Hopefully he has peaked already” ’cause if he hasn’t, LOOK OUT.
DEFENSIVE MVP – DT WILLIAM DAVIDSON (LONDON) AND DT DAN TRITZ (MXC)
I know what you are all thinking. “Wait Jason 2 Defensive MVPs?” – You’re damn right there are two of them. There is a reason I didn’t pick Dan Tritz as my DROTY. It’s because he deserves to be recognized. He is 2nd in sacks and TFLs. He has been dominant for the MXC defense. But as I wrote this, I saw one name at the top – William Davidson. He has been on a surge lately and he is the leader in sacks and TFLs. Since I couldn’t decide on who should win the mid season award, I decided to split it. People will argue this for a while. I could have gone Troy Lowshaw from Baltimore who has been stellar this season. But to me, these two guys have been dominating the defensive side more than any others.
OFFENSIVE MVP – JARROD MCCHESNEY (DENVER)
This one was also tough to call. A lot of big names are producing strong season, but I’ve gotta go with McChesney here. He is the leading rusher in the SFL, 2nd in TDs, and 2nd in YPA. He has clearly been dominating this season and leading Denver to a 5-1 record shows that. Look for Jarrod to continue that in the second half of the season.
So, there you have it. We have laughed, we have cried, we have handed out some hardware. This first half of the SFL Season 16 has been fun to watch. I can’t wait to see the second half where we finally get to hear those sweet words from Cam when he comes back to the broadcast booth…KICK IT!