Iowa Barnstormers 80 Quad City Steamwheelers 41
If there were an award for the worst take of the week, it would belong to me. previously, I said that Quad City should take care of business. I could not have been more wrong. The Barnstormers blew out the Steamwheelers at home 80-41. After taking a 26-20 lead to the half, the Barnstormers outscored Quad City 54-21 in the second to secure their third victory of the season.
For Iowa, quarterback Daniel Smith was on fire. He finished the game with 292 yards and 5 touchdowns and led the Barnstormers with 54 yards rushing and another touchdown. Antonio Wimbush added another 22 yards, but more importantly 4 touchdowns on the ground. Wimbush also caught 9 passes for 66 yards, and another touchdown. LaQuv Gonzalez led all Barnstormers with 7 catches for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns. Iowa’s defense had one of their better performances all season, forcing 3 turnovers, and intercepting E.J. Hillard twice.
For Quad City, E.J. Hillard just did not look like what we have come to expect. He was only 14 of 25 through the air for 216, and 3 touchdowns, but also the aforementioned 2 interceptions. He would also lead all rushers with 2 touchdowns and 40 yards. Wide Receiver C.J. Windham had 97 yards and 2 touchdowns in the losing effort.
Quad City falls to 7-5 on the season, and Iowa improves to 3-9. Quad City won’t have to wait long for a shot at revenge though, Quad City hosts the Barnstormers this weekend (Saturday 7:05 CT).
Bay Area Panthers 56 Vegas Knight Hawks 41
This game went pretty much as expected, the Panthers took a 30-14 lead at the half and did what they could to make sure it never got close. Dalton Sneed didn’t have to do much in the air, throwing for only 97 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 attempts. The old-school rushing attack was alive and well here. The Panthers ran for 136 yards and 6 touchdowns. Justin Rankin had 95 and 3 touchdowns, Sneed had 40 with 2 scores. Even J.T. Stokes would get in on the rushing brigade with a 1 yarder of his own. He added to his 62 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.
The Panther’s defense had a problem with Daquan Neal. He was only 15 of 30 for 178 but had 4 TDs. He added another 2 rushing scores along with 99 yards rushing. Caleb Holley’s performance led all receivers with 8 catches for 103 yards and 3 TDs.
The Panthers improve to 8-4 but don’t gain any ground on the Rattlers in the conference (more on that later). Vegas Falls to 4-8, still in a tie with the Duke City Gladiators for last place in the conference. The Panthers will have one of their biggest tests all season, traveling to host the other number-one seed Frisco Fighters (Saturday 7:05). Conversely, the Knights travel to play the Gladiators (Saturday 7:05 CT) in a battle to get out of the cellar.
Sioux Falls Storm 35 Tulsa Oilers 34
In another game that was way closer than the experts thought, the Storm managed to hold on to beat the Oilers. With 2 minutes left in the third, Storm running back Xavier Jackson scored on a 2-yard run to give them the lead for good. Lorenzo Brown was only 10 of 22 for 105 through the air and just one touchdown. Brown and Xavier Jackson would combine for most of the storm 122 yards rushing. Brown would manage 56 yards, Jackson 45, and 3 touchdowns. Finally, Draysea Hudson caught Brown’s only touchdown pass, along with a Storm-leading 39 yards. On defense Byron Edwards’ 7.5 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, and a 46-yard pick 6 were POTW-worthy.
For the Oilers, Andre Sale had an outing he would rather forget. His 17 of 32 for 178 and a touchdown weren’t terrible numbers. However, his 3 interceptions in a one-point game loomed large. Tulsa as a team only managed 19 yards rushing but had 4 rushing scores (Andre Sale 2, Dalton James 2). Alexis Rosario led all Oilers with 5 receptions for 56 yards.
The Sioux Falls Storm improve to 6-5 on the season, tied with the Green Bay Blizzard for the last playoff spot. This tie won’t survive this weekend, however, as the Storm host the Blizzard this weekend (Friday 7:05 CT). The Tulsa Oilers fall to 1-11, they will look for their second win, going to Massachusetts to take on the Pirates (Saturday 6:05 CT)
Frisco Fighters 37 Northern Arizona Wranglers 29
In a low-scoring defensive battle, The Frisco Fighters managed to outlast last year’s champions. T. J Edwards only managed 72 yards and 1 Int against a tough Wranglers defense. However, the Frisco rushing attack was almost unstoppable. Martez Carter and T.J Edwards combined for 163 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground ( Carter 126, Edwards 37 yards, 5 TDs). Wide receiver Jerminic Smith caught 6 of Edwards’ 7 completions for 61 yards. Defensively, Royce See led a strong defensive performance with 4 tackles for loss.
The Fighter’s defense frustrated Garrett Kettle all game. The Wrangler’s quarterback was only 6 of 22 for 76 yards and 2 TDs. He was pulled midway through the 4th down 34-15 for Nick Watson. Watson didn’t fair much better. He did have 2 touchdowns and made the score a little more respectable, however, it was on only 2 of 6 passing. Ryan Wisniewski and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman both had 2 receiving touchdowns, Bowman on 40 yards, and Wisniewski on 49.
The Fighters improve to 10-2 on the season, number one in the eastern conference. This weekend they will take on the number 1 seed in the west, the Bay Area Panthers (Saturday 7:05 CT). The Wranglers fall to 6-6 and are currently in the 4 seed, 1 game ahead of the San Diego Strike Force. They will look to get back into the winner’s bracket this weekend, hosting the Tucson Sugar Skulls (Saturday 8:05 CT).
San Diego Strike Force 59 Tucson Sugar Skulls 54
When asked what happened in this game, I can sum it up with Nate Davis. Davis torched the usually steady Skulls’ defense with 207 yards and 5 touchdowns, completing 17 of his 24 attempts. Running back Edward Vander added 2 touchdowns rushing, along with 23 yards. Wide Receivers Carlos Thompson and Kentrez Bell each had 2 touchdown days. Carlos Thompson managed 64 yards on 5 receptions and Bell 44 on 3 catches.
For the Skulls, Ramone Atkins kept them in the game with 137 yards passing, 42 yards rushing, and 5 total TDs. Running back Mike Jones added another 38 rushing yards and 2 scores. Dylan Person was the leading receiver with 63 yards and a touchdown on 3 receptions. The Skull’s special teams got in on the action as well. Returner Dequan Dudley gave the Skulls a 7-0 lead on the opening kickoff with a 50-yard return for a TD.
The Strike Force improves to 5-7, one game behind the Wranglers for the last playoff spot in the west. They will travel to Arizona this weekend to take on the Rattlers (Saturday 8:05 CT), desperately needing a win in the west to keep pace as the season dwindles to an end. The Tucson Sugar Skulls travel to take on the Northern Arizona Wranglers (Saturday 8:05 CT). Safe to say the Strike Force will be pulling the Skulls this weekend.
Arizona Rattlers 57 Duke City Gladiators 34
In what felt like one of the most predictable outcomes this week. The Rattlers take care of business blowing out the Duke City Gladiators. Arizona took a 27-14 lead to the half, then never looked back. Drew Powell, looking to win yet another MVP, added to his cause today. The dual-threat quarterback had 192 passing yards, 42 rushing yards, and 5 total TDs.
Jager Gardner added 2 rushing touchdowns on 51 yards. Isaiah Huston continues to be a force through the air, this week managing 118 yards on 7 receptions and a touchdown. Linebacker Connor Taylor got in on the scoring action as well, getting a safety in the 4th quarter on a sack of Quarterback Demry Croft. Arizona special teams left their mark as well when Jamal Miles blocked a Gladiator field goal attempt, and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
Switching gears, the Gladiators just continue to struggle. Charles McCollum was only 5 of 14 for 61 yards and a touchdown. He also turned the ball over twice, once on an interception, and the second on a fumble sack, which is the last he would see of this game. Demry Croft would come in to finish the game but did not fare any better, throwing for 54 yards on 3 of 9. Croft would also add 2 TDs on the ground, leading Duke City with 14 yards rushing. Xavier was the lone Gladiator standout, leading his team with 62 yards receiving and a touchdown. Amey would also manage a touchdown on a fumble recovery late in the 4th.
The Arizona Rattlers improve to 8-4, still tied with the Panthers for the number one seed. The Rattlers have a solid chance to claim it outright this weekend when they host the San Diego Strike Force (Saturday 8:05 CT). The Gladiators continue to struggle falling to 4-8. They matchup this weekend with the Vegas Knight Hawks in a battle of last place teams (Saturday 7:05 CT)