Wow, I remember back just before Week 1 of the Alliance I heard people saying it wouldn’t make it past week two. Well here we are in week three and it looks to be a great one. As usual, my Hotshots Hot Take will be saved for the end.
The second game of the week was a matchup between the Orlando Apollos and the Memphis Express. The first points of the game came from an elusive run from Apollos RB D’Ernest Johnson. For the Apollos they continue to show just how overall dominate they can be, with Memphis Express QB Christian Hackenberg picked off by Apollo’s DB Keith Reiser, once again showing his athleticism. Early in the 2nd quarter, Express QB Hackenberg absolutely launches a bomb from his own end zone to Dontez Byrd for a 47 yard gain. Showing flashes of what he was destined to be in his NFL career. Unfortunately, the drive fizzled out of momentum and the Express couldn’t get any points on the board. Later in the same quarter, Hackenberg goes back to his old self, throwing another interception to Apollos DB Terrence Garvin. Garvin’s second of the year. Early in the 3rd quarter the Memphis Express make a smart change at QB putting in #8 Zach Mettenberger who almost immediately tried to take control of the game. Mettenberger comes up with a 33-yard touchdown to WR Devin Lucien to finally get the Express in the game offensively. Just a few drives later the Apollos flex their offensive muscle and show just how dominant they are with a 28 yard run by RB De’Veon Smith breaking not 1, not 2 but 3 tackles on his gauntlet like sprint. A few moments later, we find last week’s MVP Garret Gilbert in trouble as his pocket collapses he scrambles to the sideline and make a last-second throw to WR Rangel Hall for a 42-yard touchdown. In the 4th quarter Gilbert shows his legs again as he runs it himself from the 21-yard line into the end zone after breaking a tackle and getting the score. Halfway through the last quarter Zach Mettenberger lets everybody in the stands know that the Express may be down but nowhere near out as he lollipops a touchdown from the 40 to WR Gerrard Sheppard, the same drive Mettenberger made sure the two-point conversion was good, doing his best to beat the most dominant team in the league. In the end, the Express fell short. Final Score Memphis Express – 17 Orlando Apollos – 21. MVP of the game Orlando Apollos QB with 207 yards passing 43 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
The third game of the week was bought to you by the Birmingham Iron vs Atlanta Legends. Michael Vick placed the ball on the Atlanta 25 and the Legends took the first possession. The Legends start with an absolute grind from QB Matt Sims connecting on 7 passes and getting the legends on the 2-yard line, unfortunately, the Legends roll the dice and lose after dropping a catch in the end zone but giving their defence excellent field position. For the Iron, they struggled in their first drive, being absolutely cradled by the Legends and force a punt on the Irons 31 yard line. The first quarter ends scoreless but has definitely been some of the most exciting football I have seen from the Legends. This time on 4th down Atlanta decides to turn their brain on and kick it this time in the redzone. Younghoe Koo booted it through for 3 points giving the Legends and an early and delayed lead. For the Iron, their first big play came from QB Luis Perez running out of the pocket to connect with a blanketed Tobias Palmer for a 29 yard gain. The drive ends with a field goal from Iron K Nick Kovac to tie the game 3-3. The following drive ends suddenly for the Legends after QB Matt Sims is picked off by Iron DB Jack Tocho, but it seems to be a pattern in this game that either team cannot capitalise and the Iron punt it away early in their drive. It takes up until late in the 1st for a touchdown. Iron RB Trent Richardson powered through 5 yards of Legends defenders to break the deadlock with a touchdown. Iron QB Luis Perez looks a shadow of his week 1 self, unable to throw accurately with a defender within arm’s length of him. Costing his teammates valuable field position. At the end of the 3rd, the Iron once again find the end zone with Trent Richardson once again battering his way in for 6 points and then catching the 2 point conversion for a total of 8 points. Heading into the 4th and final quarter, Atlanta need an absolute miracle to get ahead with them trailing 20-6. Miracles appear to be on the horizon for the Legends as Perez throws an interception to Legends DB Carlos Merrit who then returns it for 10 yards. Unfortunately, the Legends can’t finish what was started and end up on a turnover on downs due to bad clock management and multiple dropped passes. Halfway through the 4th quarter, Matt Sims throws another interception this time to Iron defender Jamar Summers. Trent Richardson runs it in for 6 yards and 6 points, marking his 3 touchdown of the game. The Legends score a touchdown taken in by Montay Crockett for 6 points to make it a 14 point deficit. Simms does was he does best with another interception this time taken in by Iron DB Max Redfield.
Final score Birmingham Iron – 28 Atlanta Legends – 12. MVP of game Birmingham Iron RB Trent Richardson with 46 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The final instalment of week 3 of the AAF is a match up between the San Diego Fleet vs San Antonio Commanders for the battle of the Sans. The Fleet took the first possession of the game and on the very first play Fleet QB Phillip Nelson is picked off by De’Vante Bausby. The Commanders then take their first drive very seriously with a 1 play, 1 score throw from Commanders QB Logan Woodside going 47 yards in the air to WR Mekale McKay and converting on the points after to give the Commanders an 8 point lead in the first 20 seconds of the game. Commanders QB Logan Woodside throws an interception of his own but he must have eaten his lucky charms this morning with the a defensive holding penalty over ruling the play. However later on the drive he throws one that is intercepted by Fleet DB Jordan Martin. To get redemption on his prior interception Fleet QB floats a 43 yard pass to WR Laquvionte Gonzalez for an excellent flip of the field. Out of nowhere Nelson connects with fellow Fleet teammate WR Nelson Spruce for a touchdown. In the second quarter the first points come off a pick 6 by Fleet LB Aj Tarpley, giving the Fleet a 6 point lead after scoring on the conversion as well. Just before the 2 minute warning, QB Phillip Nelson once again connects with Nelson Spruce for another 6 points. For the Commanders it gets worse with a huge hit on Logan Woodside by Fleet DT Shakir Soto for a critical sack. Early in the 2nd half Commanders RB Trey Williams gets it kicked off with a huuuge 30 yard run before being taken down. But once again we find a team being unable to take advantage and the Commanders are then forced to punt it. Fleet QB Phillip Nelson is the best performer under pressure in the AAF. The most exciting point of this game so far was an 83 yard run into the end zone from Fleet RB Ja’Quan Gardner. In the 4th quarter Commanders QB Logan Woodside is taken out of the game for replacement Marquise Williams but for the Fleet their defence hold strong forcing a turnover on downs within the last 2 minutes.
Final Score San Diego Fleet – 31 San Antonio Commanders – 11.
MVP of game Ja’Quan Gardner with 12 runs for 112 yards and 1 touchdown.
Finally, the moment you have been waiting for it is the Hotshots Hot Take.
This week the Arizona Hotshots had a rematch against the hungry Salt Lake Stallions who are still looking for their first win of the season. Stallions take the first drive of the game. It gets off to a very dull start with either a QB pressure or a run stopped behind the line by the very talented Hotshots defence and relying on penalties for positive yards. However, for the Hotshots the first play on their offence isn’t that exciting either a tackle for loss by none other than Stallions DE Karter Shult. This drive mirrors the Stallions, resulting in an early punt. The first points of the game come from Stallions K Taylor Bertolet nailing one through the uprights to get the Stallions 3. Unfortunately, for the Hotshots at the final 2 minutes Nick Folk misses wide left on a 45-yard field goal for the Hotshots. The game stagnates until the 2nd quarter when the first TD is on a 24-yard reception from Stallions WR De’Mornay Pierson-El. After the failed 2 point conversion Stallions main guy Shult gets his first sack of the game on Hotshots QB John Wolford for a loss of 4. Finally, the Hotshots get on the board with a 1-yard pass with a connection between the always exciting Wolford and Reshad Ross for 6. The third quarter gets off to a disappointing start for the Hotshots as Stallions LB Greer Martini picks off John Wolford. Stallions RB Branden Oliver then runs in the ball for 6 points, capitalising on the interception. By the beginning of the 4th quarter, the scores are 12-15 in the Stallions favour, with the Hotshots giving up countless penalties when it counts. The last points of the game that mattered come off a converted touchdown run from Stallions RB Joel Bouagnon. Unfortunately, for the Hotshots, they ran out of heat in this one.
Final score Salt Lake Stallions – 23 Arizona Hotshots – 15. MVP of game Stallions WR De’Mornay Pierson-El with 8 catches for 90 yards and 1 touchdown.
MVP of the week Birmingham Iron RB Trent Richardson.
Overview for the week. 1. I understand penalties happen but it seemed there was a lot more this week. 2. If you’re not watching the AAF because “it’s not real football” you’re missing out big time.
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