Written by Baylee O’Shaugnessey, Josh Farnzy, Stefaun Forge, Rae Colston and Matthew Slinn

Images by Axel Raven and Hubba Kimbrel

 

RANK: 1
TEAM: Baltimore Vultures, 5-0 MOVEMENT:  -0

What more can be said about the Baltimore Vultures, “awesome”, “amazing”, “most complete team in the SFL”. The list goes on and on. Through 5 weeks they are 5-0 and have been very impressive in doing so. That being said, here are some things no one is talking about. 2 of their wins are against teams currently in the bottom 6 of the league standings, 3 of their wins are against teams currently with losing records. I know you play who is on your schedule. However when compared to the other undefeated Queen City who has 3 wins over teams currently in the top 7 in standings, all 5 of their wins are against teams in the top 16 of the standings (yes 2 of their wins have come against teams currently with losing records), it leaves room for debate. However if the Vultures continue on their present course and finish atop the standings they could end the debate. The great thing is they play each other week 11 in Baltimore.

The Vultures latest victory was a dominating 34-0 performance over Las Vegas. Shutouts in the SFL are rare, dominant ones like this are even rarer. Interestingly Baltimore dominated this game on offense by passing. They only ran for 58 yards but had 2 TD runs. Normally in dominant performances, it is the run game that leads the way by controlling the ball and demoralizing the opponent, a tribute to their completeness. QB Jack Wigmore had a stellar game 36-44 418 2 TDs 1 INT. WR Ivory Ervin was unstoppable racking up 16-239 and 2 TDs. The Defense, OH THE DEFENSE! They came out looking like that other Baltimore team’s defense from the year 2000. Intercepting 5 passes and limiting the Fury to 255 yards of total offense for the game. Keep in mind 255 yards is a quarter for teams in some games. The Vultures will take their destructive forces on the road this week to DC to take on the stumbling Dragons who have lost 2 in a row. Last year’s Vultures-Dragons game came down to the final play, what could happen???

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TEAM: Queen City Corsairs, 5-0MOVEMENT: ↑1

Two second quarter touchdowns by Jett Zero and excellent control of ball possession allowed Queen City to defeat the Houston Hyenas 7-20, keeping this surprise undefeated streak alive and also keeping pace with the Baltimore Vultures in the North. The defense kept Houston out of the end zone for most of the game, but it was Zero who was the star. Scoring a powerful short run at the start of the 2nd, Zero went one better, rumbling his way to a 35-yard touchdown, barrelling through three Houston defenders on his way. The former fullback has had his critics since his transition to running back, but this season has proven to be a very successful one so far. AJ Caswell made no mistakes, managing the game nicely, and the defense made Dave Burr look like the rookie he is, picking off the QB three times, one of those coming from fellow rookie, Cody Griffin. Griffin has looked more than comfortable back there at #2 CB this season. Queen City have looked every bit the 4 time champions that they are. A tricky Week 6 trip to Tulsa will test their mettle even more.

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TEAM: LA Lycans, 4-1MOVEMENT: ↑3

The LA Lycans proved that Vancouver aren’t the only team in the Pacific who can make big play after big play as they outlasted the aforementioned Legion 24-47, taking a commanding grip hold of the division. Trailing 14-3 and 21-10 early on, the Lycans stayed in the game through the legs of Robert Johnson, the powerful running back seemingly attempting to break some sort of World record for broken tackles in a quarter. Johnson would eventually slow down significantly in the 2nd half, but you can forgive him after a 32 carry, 256 yard and 3 touchdown performance. Vancouver’s defenders were powerless to avoid his piston-like stiff arm, tackler after tackler mercilessly getting planted into the turf. Almost as impressive as Johnson’s performance was the resolve of the defense, who gave up three huge plays early on, only to recover and render Vancouver to just a solitary field goal for the remainder of the game. LA’s defensive effort was capped off by a superb Buddy Blaze pick 6, his second in two weeks. This was a statement win for the Lycans, who have looked excellent since their well-publicised coaching change. Week 6 brings the Fort Worth Toros. An epic clash awaits.

RANK: 4
TEAM: Mexico City Aztecs, 4-1MOVEMENT: ↓2

Small margins turn into large ones at the top of the SFL, something that the Mexico City Aztecs found out on the road this week against the Florida Storm. Despite being within a touchdown going into the 4th quarter, a couple of silly mistakes on offense proved fatal, condemning the Aztecs to a heavy 29-46 defeat. This was the Aztecs’ first loss of the season, although not many go into Florida and come away unscathed. Matt Willson had a bad day. Anytime you throw 5 interceptions, it’s a bad day. A touchdown pass to young receiver Nate Ritters and nearly 400 yards will be small consolation to the Mexico City coaching staff who felt the ferocity of the Storm’s secondary all afternoon. Phoenix Jones and Ray Bentley were their typical destructive selves, but as the Aztecs were often a step behind their opponents, they weren’t used nearly enough. With Jones and Bentley, MXC have a perfect opportunity to control the clock. The issue? Florida simply don’t let you. Dan Tritz showed flashes of why he is one of the best young DT’s in the SFL with a couple of sacks and Jeremy Menefield had a wonderful early pick 6. The 4th quarter blitz was too much for the road team to handle however, and Mexico City fell. Another road game follows for the Aztecs as they look to get back on track, travelling to St. Louis for Week 6.

RANK: 5
TEAM: Florida Storm, 3-2MOVEMENT: ↑4

A huge hit in the 4th quarter by Andrew Francis proved to be the momentum swing for the Florida Storm as they used that energy to pull away from the Mexico City Aztecs and romp to a 29-48 victory. Up to that point, the game had been a back and forth battle, both teams scoring on defense and keeping it within a touchdown. But Francis, who had already returned a pick for a TD – this first of his career – laid his shoulder into rookie receiver Nate Ritters and dislodged the ball, leading to a late Charlie Biletsky TD. Biletsky would again score a 4th quarter TD from a turnover, the running back showing a great engine to have zip and tackle breaking ability in the late knockings. It had been a high scoring, turnover happy, barnstormer of a game until that point. Ron Cockren’s two touchdowns were cancelled out by a pair of interceptions, but Biletsky’s nose for the end zone negated any negative effects. Experienced defensive back Ryan Tobin had a big day, picking off Wilson 3 times, including a late pick to ice things. The Florida Storm are looking less convincing than a season ago, but a great victory against a previous undefeated team has done a lot to silence doubters. An important trip to a falling Houston Hyenas team follows. The Storm is slowly building.

RANK: 6
TEAM: Atlanta Swarm, 3-2MOVEMENT:  ↑5

An almost inconceivably great performance by Jack Napier shot the Atlanta Swarm to a 24-34 victory over the London Knights, also thrusting them up our Power Rankings. This was a game of sweet revenge for the Swarm – a chance to get one back against a Knights squad that defeated them in a Week 1 thriller. Whilst Napier was the main story, BDG Hollewood had himself a good day despite not gaining many yards, crossing the end zone 3 times for a hattrick of touchdowns, helping the Swarm to an unassailable 21-3 lead after the first quarter. It was desperately needed too, Bryant Dynasty ironically having one of the worst games of his career in victory, throwing 3 picks and barely 200 yards. One positive for the passing attack was the nice play of young receiver, Ryan Rosevelt. The day was all about Napier though, who snagged 4 INTs from his cornerback position and returned one for a brilliant TD. It’s safe to say that Jonny Pichler will be having nightmares about Napier, and won’t want to test him anytime soon. Atlanta enter Week 6 to face the Louisiana Revolution, a crucial divisional contest.

RANK: 7
TEAM: Portland Fleet, 3-2MOVEMENT: ↑8

“Attention, SFL, Portland has arrived.”

That was the call on the broadcast after cornerback Chris Stach raced 52 yards with the nail-in-the-Nightwing-coffin pick-six in the waning moments of a 38-23 win against the defending champions. The broadcast may just be right. The 3-2 Fleet showed a ferocious defense – limiting Denver to field goals until later in the contest. Portland had three interceptions and a pair of sacks to bend-but-not-break. Quarterback OJ Bruin threw a 70-yard strike to Jean Valentine and showed poise after a late interception to Jose Fuentes threatened to get Denver back in the game, but three turnovers should be points of emphasis in practice this week. Regardless, Ezekiel Love continued his solid play and a clutch punt with one minute to play to pin the Nightwings on their own 1-yard-line highlighted what Portland Season 17 football seems to be – big plays in key situations in all phases of the game. The Fleet slip into a tie with Vancouver for second place in the Pacific Division. They’ll try to remain there this weekend as they host London. They have, indeed, just arrived, SFL. Be on alert.

RANK: 8
TEAM: Vancouver Legion, 3-2MOVEMENT: ↓3

On a day that started so positively for Tom Pepper and his Legion, the metaphorical wheels came off as each minute ticked by – the much admired highly powerful offense stymied by a determined LA Lycans defense. Big plays initially looked on the cards as per usual, Pepper finding Kendra Hall twice early on with big pass plays, an even longer pass to Dan Daly also going for 6. 21 quick points were answered and surpassed by LA, and the Legion had nothing left. Robert Redford looked zippy but couldn’t quite get free of the Lycans’ linebackers. Pepper, as previously mentioned, was effective but also rattled, throwing a couple of picks including a late pick 6 to Buddy Blaze. Vancouver now need to wait until Week 11 to gain revenge. We had better believe they will be ready for it. San Diego come to town in Week 6 after their first ever franchise win. They will be in high spirits – Vancouver will be hoping to capture that positivity and use it to devastating effect.

RANK: 9
TEAM: Houston Hyenas, 3-2 MOVEMENT: ↓5

The Houston Hyenas fall down our rankings to a spot nearly outside of the Top 10 after a 2-game losing streak and a poor performance on the road against the Queen City Corsairs. There isn’t too much we can say about the Hyena’s performance against Queen City other than it was soft. Dave Burr, who has been exemplary so far this season, took a step back, throwing three picks throughout the game to only one late touchdown with the game all but wrapped up. The TD pass to running back Warren Murray showed nice poise late on, but it proved far too little too late. Houston’s offensive woes were a shame as the defense gave them a chance, limiting a strong QCC offense to just 20 points and only a couple of Jett Zero TDs. Brody Gulch was solid at LB and Josh Rowe had a good game, but the Hyenas didn’t carry any bite today. A missed kick by Sunny Jay summed things up really. The Hyenas travel back home to face Florida in Week 6. After a 3-0 start, things have cooled off somewhat. Florida are trending in the opposite direction. It’s time for Houston to stop this blip from becoming a slide.

RANK: 10
TEAM: London Knights, 3-2 MOVEMENT: ↓3

The London Knights could not do the double over the Atlanta Swarm this season, going down 24-34 in the reverse fixture on the back of a 5 INT performance from Jonny Pichler. Pichler, who had a famously tough season last time out, has looked much more at home in the London Knights offense, but this week, the turnover bug came back with force. Pichler had 4 of his passes picked off by Jack Napier, one by Jay Miraculous as he tried to will the Knights back from a 3-21 deficit after the first quarter. Robert Merrill was essentially a non-factor on the ground, so Pichler’s 55 attempts seemed almost necessary. It wasn’t all bad for the London offense, Mike St. Green and Vin Calia both troubling the end zone, but it was all too little too late. London’s defense didn’t play badly at all, limiting Dynasty to just over 200 passing yards and zero TDs, making INTs and keeping BDG Hollewood quiet (apart from the 3 touchdowns he scored). This Week will hopefully be an aberration for the Knights as they try to keep pace in the North.  They are a better team than the one that lost to Atlanta. Week 6 sees a tough trip to Portland. This is shaping up to be an excellent game.

RANK: 11
TEAM: Louisiana Revolution, 2-3 MOVEMENT: ↑7

A mature performance from rookie QB Tommy Utah helped the Louisiana Revolution to take down the DC Dragons in a tight game, 10-16. Utah’s accuracy was his major strength, hitting on nearly all of his pass attempts, the only blemish being an INT to experienced safety, Kanye Rockafella. In a contest that was more about field position and sustaining drives than scoring points, Utah’s laser-sighted arm proved crucial. The Revolution’s only TD came in the form of a short but powerful Reggie Streeter run, the back breaking a tackle before scooting into the end zone. Possibly the fan favourite moments of the game came when Bash Brothers, Brian Craven and Doug Day both found themselves making big defensive plays, the former returning his pick for 41 yards to set up Louisiana in good field position. There are things to improve on for the Revolution, who relied on the leg of Otis Boudreaux a little too much, but the trend is going up. The Revs’ road trip to division rivals Atlanta in Week 6 would be a great time to accelerate that trend.

RANK: 12
TEAM: Fort Worth Toros, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↑4

The Toro defense just kept coming. And once the offense finally found the end zone, there was no looking back. Held under wraps for most of the day, the Fort Worth offense found their swagger just once – and the end zone – with five minutes left to beat the Predators, 16-13. Wide receiver Stephen Hacker made a sliding catch near the far sideline to give Fort Worth the decisive score. As the offense was challenged by a feisty Predator defense of their own, Fort Worth clamped down thwarting second half drive after second half drive. The defense allowed only 280 yards of offense for Charleston – keeping them to mostly field goals on the rare occasion they found themselves driving into Fort Worth’s side of the field. Delaney Nash (eight tackles, INT) and EK Vinson (nine tackles, sack) were among the standouts that frustrated the Predator offense. And what a win it was for Fort Worth. They move to 2-3 on a mini-two-game-win-streak. A Monday night showdown in primetime against Los Angeles looms large.

RANK: 13
TEAM: Denver Nightwings, 2-3MOVEMENT:↓3

2-3. There is something simply odd seeing the Nightwings with a losing record. Ever. Unfortunately, for fans near the Rocky Mountains, a determined Portland Fleet squad proved to be too much this weekend, besting Denver 38-23. The offense was kicking field goals while Portland’s was able to find the end zone to stake themselves to an early lead they simply never relinquished. Down 15 late, Jose Fuentes gave Denver late life on an interception deep in Portland territory. The Nightwings’ sophomore receiver Riley Quintero would catch a touchdown pass with 1:24 left to cut the lead to eight. The defense would force Portland into a punt, but a great punt would pin them to their own 1-yard-line with 1:01 left. A scrambling drive would eventually hit a final wall when Chris Stach would intercept a deep desperate pass and race down the left sideline for a game-sealing pick-six. So, 2-3, Denver. It’s strange, but doesn’t have to last long. Vice Wars is upon us Friday night for a chance to return to .500.

RANK: 14
TEAM: DC Dragons, 2-3        MOVEMENT: ↓2

A late 4th quarter touchdown catch by rookie receiver Mike Churchill was not enough to inspire DC to victory in Week 5 as they fell 10-16 to the Louisiana Revolution in a defensive affair. The only previous score for the Dragons came in the form of a 27-yard FG by Paw T Pawtai, proof of the struggles DC has moving the ball. Nothing much of a positive note came from the offense, Shabazz Psynergy held under 70% completion rate added to a couple of picks. Kevin Seay was effective on the ground and in the short passing game, but he wasn’t utilized enough for our liking. Seay’s sheer power and pace could well have won this game for the Dragons had he been used more. Defensively, despite not giving up many points, the Dragons’ secondary couldn’t stop Tommy Utah from hitting receivers, Kanye Rockafella’s INT proving to be the Revolution’s QB’s only incompletion. DC need something to wake them up from this low key performance. Enter the Baltimore Vultures.

RANK: 15
TEAM: Lone Star Glory, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↑6

Lone Star’s season has gotten off to an inglorious beginning. Their early schedule was brutal with MXC and Vancouver to open the season leaving them at 0-2. A stunning 30-27 OT victory over Carolina in week 3 when the Convention Curse struck Harish Prasad again as he fumbled away the opening kickoff of OT leading to the Glory’s game winning FG. That was followed up by a 37-24 demolition job by Louisiana (It was 31-10 after 3 qtrs) on the Glory in a game where 3 prominent former Glory players met their old team for the first time. This left the Glory at 1-3 heading in this matchup with Sioux Falls.

The way the inglorious way this game started had Lone Star staring at 1-4 with a loss to a BACKUP QB and a lot more questions than answers. Down 21-7 at the half and seemingly mesmerized by magic of Willie Beamon, the Glory snapped out of their funk and came out in the second half in a blaze of Glory. Led by Ace Fenech and Ike McBride, Lone Star scored 14 straight points to tie it at 21-21. Then came a moment that may be a defining one if the Glory turn their season around. Sioux Falls had a 1st a goal from the LSG 4 and chance to re-take the momentum with a TD, the Glory defense rose up and held them to 3 yards in 3 plays forcing a FG. The stand stunted the Sparrows momentum and maintained Lone Star’s. From there the offense took over scoring the final 10 points of the contest leading Lone Star to the 31-24 win. Up next for the Glory the 2-3 Charleston Predators come to town in the midst of a 3 game losing streak. This looks to be a must win game for both teams to maintain hopes of a wildcard birth.

RANK: 16
TEAM: Carolina Skyhawks, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↓3

The thrill of a late fourth quarter touchdown drive – complete with a gutsy fourth down conversion with under a minute to play to send the game to overtime – gave way to heartbreak in that very same end zone moments later, as Tulsa walked off against Carolina, 30-24. After yielding the lead with about three minutes to play, quarterback Matt South led Carolina down the field, and after taking a sack at the 2-yard-line, stood composed, got his team to the line and found Logan Jack for the tying score with eight seconds left in regulation. Carolina had its chances in overtime – getting as far as the Tulsa 37-yard-line – just outside of field goal range. Tulsa’s offense would get a giant deep slant to Khoury Jones to move into decent field goal range. Three plays later, Jay Cue would find DJ Hume for the decisive touchdown pass. Despite allowing a 90-yard touchdown drive to end the game, the Skyhawk defense was solid for most of the contest – picking off Cue three times. The loss drops Carolina out of a three-way tie for first in their division, but fear not Carolina fans, plenty of season to make up that difference. They’ll try to get back to .500 this weekend as they travel to Jacksonville.

RANK: 17
TEAM: Tulsa Desperados, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↑3

Wanted: Cardiac wellness professionals in the greater Tulsa area.

Sure, they were in field goal range, but after a costly sack made the kick challenging, quarterback Jay Cue decided to end things with the kicker on the sideline. Cue found DJ Hume on a deep post on 3rd & 12 in overtime for a walk-off touchdown to beat Carolina, 30-24 in overtime. Cue led the Desperados 90 yards – much of those chunks of land coming on a deep, 40-yard slant play to Khoury Jones. None of the celebrations would have meant anything had the defense not kept Carolina out of field goal territory (which they did) to begin the extra frame. The victory capped a wild end of the game, where Tulsa took the lead with about three minutes to play and watched Carolina drive down the field and score on a Logan Jack touchdown with eight seconds remaining. Cue distributed the ball well despite three interceptions that slowed down their momentum earlier in the contest. Rickey Thornton (14 tackles, two pass deflections) was crucial on the defensive side of the ball. They’ll need both sides to continue playing well, as they prepare to welcome 5-0 Queen City to Oklahoma.

RANK: 18

TEAM: San Diego Mavericks, 1-4 MOVEMENT: ↑6

It was a historic night in San Diego! One that was 16 games in the making. After all the misfortune and heartbreak. All the blood sweat and tears. The San Diego Mavericks FINALLY got their first win in franchise history. Defeating the Arizona Scorpions 27-19. An achievement like this deserves special recognition so to commemorate the occasion I put them #1 for this week in my personal rankings. The Mavericks have had a well-documented, tortured existence but they have persevered, endured and finally overcome. They are a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive.

This game was a total team effort. QB Javier Vasquez was flawless 19-25 288 2 TD and 0 Ints. RB Jaylin Wells only had 71 yards on 27 carries but he added 4-62 and 1 TD through the air. His 27 carries were sledgehammer blows to the Scorpion defense. Liam Hammer came up big at WR 5-109 including the game-breaking TD in the 4thqtr to extend the Maverick lead to 27-12. The Maverick defense was stout all game long limiting the Arizona offense to only a FG in the 1st half. They never let the Scorpions get rolling. San Diego, though, has little time to enjoy this historic victory as they head to Vancouver who is looking to right their season after 2 straight losses.

RANK: 19
TEAM: Arizona Scorpions, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↓11

Arizona came to town looking to stop a 2 game losing streak and get back to form they showed early in the season. Instead they wound up as the answer to the question, “Who will be the first team to lose to San Diego?” While this loss was especially painful for the Scorpions, it feels like a turning point in their season. It feels like this is the bottom and the long rise out of it is ready to begin. Arizona is a proud organization with strong leadership from Owner and HoFer Eddie Gauge and QB and GM Ashley Jackson. There is little doubt that they will rebound and be in the playoff hunt by season’s end.

This game for the Scorpions boiled down to the fact that endzone proved elusive for much of the game. Of course the Mavs D had a lot to do with that. QB Ashley Jackson 29-40 278 2TDs and 1 Int and the Hands Bros, Donnie 7-84 and James 10-138 1TD put on their usual show and while the yards piled up the points did not follow. The Scorpion D which is always tough, was tough in this game too. They made the Mavs earn every yard and every point and they even chipped in to the Arizona scoring with a safety. The Scorpions will look to get back on track against Sioux Falls who will be desperate to stop their own 4 game losing streak.

RANK: 20
TEAM: Charleston Predators, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↓6

Another week, another heart-breaking loss that has quickly turned a 2-0 start for the Predators into an uphill climb needed to regain their spot at the top of the division. The Toros outlasted the Predators, 16-13 in a defensive gem. Charleston’s offense just couldn’t find the right play at the right time. TD Drew was accurate – going 25-for-30 – but had few big plays to turn drives into six points. The defense was stunning: two interceptions, six tackles for loss, two sacks and a first-class performance from Josh Riese. The Predators limited Fort Worth to 16 points and only 330 yards of total offense. The loss marked the second three-point defeat in a row after getting the better of those tight-knit contests early in the season. The Predators look to turn the tide (Because they’re whales, get it? I’ll show myself out.) of their three-game skid as they hit the road against Lone Star this weekend.

RANK: 21
TEAM: St. Louis Gladiators, 2-3MOVEMENT: ↓4

A late interception by their very own Nicholas Warner proved to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing for the Gladiators this week, as his end zone pick turned into an offensive drive starting at the goa line. Warner triumphantly plucked the ball out of the air, one of four INTs off Marcus Dunhill on the day, but was unable to get his knee down before the Jacksonville offense tackled him into the field of play. The result? A lot of pressure on the shoulders of Christian Brown and a Gladiators offense that was stuttering. Predictably, Brown couldn’t drive down the field and the Kings managed to grab a late score to make it a 24-27 game, despite defensive heroics. This will be a very frustrating loss for the Gladiators staff as they looked to have the beating of a winless Kings team. The turnover battle was won and Eagle Mondavi proved once again that he is elite, going off for over 200 yards and 2 TDs. Too many times, St. Louis proved that they struggle to close out games. Kairo Martinez barely ran the ball and didn’t look good when he did and the defense gave up points at crucial times, not to mention conceding an opening play kickoff return to Kingston Ellington. This game was there for the taking. The Gladiators just missed their chance. They can’t afford to miss again next week against Mexico City.

RANK: 22
TEAM: Jacksonville Kings, 1-4MOVEMENT: ↑1

This young Jacksonville Kings team showed maturity beyond their years as they overcame late adversity to deny St. Louis a chance to get above .500 whilst also securing their first victory of the 2021 summer season. A very late Marcus Dunhill touchdown pass, on 4th down, coupled with a clinching interception of Christian Brown sealed the narrow 24-27 win. A few minutes prior, times looked bleak as Dunhill threw his 4th INT of the afternoon on a goal line push and star RB Jared Willis suffered an untimely injury. But, defense and offense came up clutch after an inconsistent game fraught with mistakes. Dunhill played pretty poorly in truth – his throws weren’t always accurate and he took unnecessary chances against a ball hawking Gladiators secondary. Jared Willis was an enigma before his injury, continuing a less than stellar season. The true hero of the game came in the form of Kingston Ellington, the young receiver returning the opening kickoff for a TD, points that would prove crucial come the end of the contest. Ellington also had 5 catches for 52 yards in what is probably his most influential game to date. Jacksonville have finally secured that elusive win. Now they have a great chance to double it up, taking on Carolina at home in Week 6.

RANK: 23
TEAM: Las Vegas Fury, 1-4MOVEMENT: ↓4

Sin City has not been Sim City so far this season. The Fury seem awful but a closer look reveals an absolutely brutal schedule compounded by a team that is still trying to find itself and recapture the magic of last season’s strong finish. Facing Charleston and DC the first 2 weeks before both began to stumble recently. Then a stretch that would test any team to its limits:  @Mexico City, vs. Vancouver and @ Baltimore. 3 teams in the top 10 in the standings, 2 of which are in the top 5 with a combined record of 12-3. Ouch. Their stunning 2 OT home upset of Vancouver in week 4 was the high point of their season so far. They have struggled on both sides of the ball. The offense only averages 15 ppg and has been held under 7 twice already. Their defense is giving up 29 ppg and has only held 1 opponent under 27 points. All that being said this team was 2-4 last season and got hot and made the playoffs plus as we all know anything can and does happen in Las Vegas.

As for the game against the Vultures, rumor has it that game film was stuffed in the trunk of a car, driven out to the middle of nowhere, cut to shreds and thrown in a hole in the desert. If you have seen the movie “Casino” you get it, if not… watch it! It’s worthwhile. The Fury offense could get nothing going against Baltimore. Rookie QB Joseph Green threw 5 INTs. RB Scott Johnson coming off an MVP caliber performance (29-157 1 TD) in the win over Vancouver went nowhere against the vaunted Vulture D. Finishing with 12-62. WR John Blades and TE Tybeerious Bovine lead the receiving corps with 5-78 and 4-75 respectively. The Vegas defense was defenseless against the Wigmore to Ervin connection. It was just one of those days that started bad and just kept getting worse. Thankfully it ended mercifully after 44 minutes. The Fury travel to the Mile High City to take on the Nightwings next. Ordinarily this would be a worst case scenario but Denver’s season of transition has begun to look like exactly that. This an absolute must win game for the 1-4 Fury and it appears to be more winnable than in the past.

RANK: 24
TEAM: Sioux Falls Sparrows, 1-4MOVEMENT: ↓2

The Sparrows came into this game on a 3 game losing streak. Not having won since their week 1 victory over San Diego. Then after taking a 7-0 lead and driving for more starting QB Julian Tyree was injured and lost for the game leaving the Sparrows offense in the hands of back up QB Willie Beamon. If you have seen the movie “Any Given Sunday” you know what happened next. Channeling Jamie Foxx’s character from the movie Beamon stepped in hit 2 passes and had Sioux in the endzone and up 14-0 in the 1st Qtr. He finished the day with 274 and 2 TDs. (Rumor is he made a music video earlier this week after his star turn during the game. LOL!) Unfortunately the day ended on a down note for Beamon as he was not able to execute a stop clock play at the end of game with ball Glory territory and the Sparrows fell 31-24.

It was a tale of 2 halves for the Sparrows in this one.  The first half they dominated the Glory, led 21-7 at the half and looked well on their way to a 2nd win behind their magical backup QB. In the 2nd half the Sparrows could only muster 3 points while Glory took over the game and rode to victory. One positive that came out of the game for Sioux Falls is that they now know that have a back QB who can flat out play if/when he is needed. That being said expect Julian Tyree to resume his normal QB duties when the Sparrows take the field in Arizona to take on the reeling 2-3 Scorpions in a must win game between 2 desperate teams.