Written by Stefaun Forge
Thoughts from the Forge: Edition 2
Welcome to Thoughts From the Forge, Week 4 edition. This column is simply some of my thoughts and opinions as relates to the SFLm. It is in no way designed or intended to offend or disparage any player or team. The content will change every week based on how the season progresses. Please enjoy it.
Let’s start this week with teams that made #statements! Madison, Salt Lake and Memphis – Hello! All 3 teams put on standout performances, Salt Lake and Madison stepping forward with impressive wins and Memphis, even in defeat, put out a reminder of just how good they are. Salt Lake City made a very loud announcement in their manhandling of Lexington. They held the Miners to 212 total yards and 6 points on 2 FGs while corralling Baylee O’Shaugnessy (10 carries, 58 yards, 0 TDs) in a dominating performance en route to a 22-6 win. Even more impressively, they did so without star RB Brooke Beissel for almost the entire game. In her absence, QB Tommy Utah stepped in to fill the void with a masterful performance – 32-39, 274, 1 TD and 0 INTs.
Madison and Memphis faced each other in a game that looked like Madison was going to win in a walk…until the 4th quarter, when Memphis rekindled their offense that scored 41 points in Week 1 and almost pulled it out. They outscored Madison 17-3 to nearly erase a 28-12 deficit. The recovered an onside kick with just under 2 minutes to go, down 31-29 but the ensuing drive stalled. Madison could not run out the clock because Memphis had 2 time outs and Memphis got one last chance with 19 seconds left, but their final long pass was stopped inbounds at the Madison 45 as time ran out and they came up 2 points short, 31-29. Trey Fenech led the way for Madison with 31 carries for 156 yards and 1 TD. Memphis RB GP Wells matched Fenech yard for yard, with 25 carries 178 yards. Both teams showed that they are in it for the long haul. All 3 teams made it clear that still undefeated Albuquerque (4-0) has plenty of competition. San Jose was on a bye but are right there at 2-1 as well. A special shout-out goes to Birmingham who once again showed that they are better than their record by giving the undefeated Atoms a rough ride to victory. In late breaking news, the Fuel will start Week 5 with a new QB, Gene Struthers. It will be interesting to see what he can do.
Has anyone else noticed, how deep and talented the SFLm LB group is? (Yes I am a LB too but put on the film of any SFLm game this season and tell me I’m wrong…). It seems like every week a new LB appears on the scene making play after play. Meanwhile, established LBs continue to flourish and grow. Ratings don’t seem to matter with this group either – they all just go out and make plays. You could build a really solid defense of nothing but SFLm LBs… *pensive pause envisioning that statement* Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of a big stretch, but still, it is an amazing group. I can’t name them all, otherwise it would be the whole article, suffice it to say there are a lot of future stars in this group.
I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the SFL Season 16 Championship Game. WHAT A FREAKIN’ GAME! That, ladies and gentlemen, is what a championship football game is supposed to look like!! The 2 best teams going head to head, play for play, right down to the very last play of the season! Stars on both teams stepping up in the biggest game, on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights. Absolutely unbelievable! The ending was right out of Hollywood, K Kramer Jackman on his final play of his SFL career, cementing his legacy as one of the best kickers of all time with a championship winning FG as time expired. RB Jarrod McChesney cementing the fact that he IS the season 16 MVP with another standout performance and QB Josh Miller coming up huge in the clutch. When it was winning time on the final drive, he was flawless! Storm RB “Bullet” Biletsky, making a case as a top RB heading into next season, while capping off a very strong rookie season with several dynamic plays including a long TD run to bring about one of the seemingly hundred twists in the game. Ron Cockren played the savvy veteran game at QB that he is known for, leading the Storm offense smartly up and down the field all game long. Storm WR Steven Bush came up huge with big catch after big catch and big play after big play! The Coaches of both teams put together perfect game plans, matching each other masterstroke for masterstroke, always seeming to have the right play installed for every situation. If there is such a thing as a “perfect game” in football… This WAS it! A-MAZ-ING!
That’s all my thoughts for now. I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to next week’s! Best of luck to everyone in Week 5!