San Diego Strike Force 48 Arizona Rattlers 57
Strike Force quarterback Nate Davis continues his aerial assault in this game, doing everything he can to win this game, unfortunately, this game had a similar result to his time in Duke City. The Rattlers and Drew Powell were just too good today, and Davis’s two interceptions helped seal the deal.
Rattler’s quarterback Drew Powell continues the path of destruction he has been on since coming back. His 268 yards and 7 touchdowns likely locked up offensive player of the week. Wide receiver Isiah Scott led all receivers with 7 catches for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jamal Miles managed 6 catches for 56 yards, but his 4 touchdowns also put him into POTW consideration. On defense, Dillon Winfrey’s 6 tackles and an interception likely helped secure the win.
For the Strike Force, Nate Davis was good, but not entirely what we are used to. He was only 18 of 38 for 186, with 3 touchdowns, and an uncharacteristic 2 interceptions. However, Kentrez Bell’s 6 receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown add to an already fantastic season. In addition, fellow wide receiver Carlos Thompson added 40 yards on 4 catches and 2 touchdowns.
The Rattlers improve to 9-4 on the season and lock up a playoff birth in the western conference. The Bay Area Panther’s loss (more on that later) also puts Arizona in the lead for home-field advantage. They will have a tough match-up this weekend when they travel to take on Jimmie Robinson and the Massachusetts Pirates.
The Strike force fall to 5-8 on the season, currently in 5th place in the west. They are one game behind last year’s champion Wranglers for the final seed in the west. They are off this week but will travel to take on the Bay Area Panthers in week 17.
Tulsa Oilers (1-12) 24 Massachusetts Pirates (9-3) 43
This felt like the most lead pipe lock of the weekend to me, the only real question is whether or not the Pirates would cover the spread. They took a 34-18 lead into the half and seemed more or less on cruise control in the second half. The big news in this game for the Pirates was the return of first-string quarterback Ale Bennefield for the first time since his injury. It remains to be seen what this means going forward, as Anthony Russo was having a great season in his own right.
For the Pirates, Russo went 5 of 8 for 70 yards and a TD before getting pulled. Bennefield would finish the game as the leading passer, with 14 or 20 with 115 and 2 TDs. He would also add another 30 yards on the ground and another TD. Jimmie Robinson continues his MVP-caliber rushing season, adding another 69 yards and 2 TDs to his league-leading total. Fabian Guerra led all receivers with 5 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Nothing this season has gone quite the way the Oilers had in mind, but Andre Sale continues to look like a bright spot. Against a tough Pirates D, he performed rather admirably, throwing for 125 yards and 4 touchdowns. Joshua Crockett and Alexis Resario were the beneficiaries of Sale’s passing attack. Crockett had 3 receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, despite Resario’s 17 yards receiving, he caught 3 touchdown passes.
The Pirates improve to 9-3 on the season, trying to keep the pressure on the Frisco Fighters, who have yet to lock up home-field advantage through the playoffs. However, they have to travel to Arizona to take on the red-hot Rattlers(Sunday 5:05 CT), who’s only lost one game since the return of Drew Powell. The Oilers fall to 1-12 on the season, still trying to figure it out. They host the Green Bay Blizzard this weekend, hoping to potentially ruin the Blizzard’s shot at the playoffs.
Iowa Barnstormers 35 Quad City Steamwheelers 63
What a difference a week makes. Last week, nothing went right for the Quad. They gave up 80 points in an embarrassing fashion. This week, they looked like the team that played for the league championship. E.J. Hilliard was the dominating quarterback we all expect him to be. His 10-13 for 121 yards, 50 rushing yards, and 5 touchdowns pad the already gaudy numbers of the Steamwheeler signal caller.
Running back Shane Simpson shared in the beatdown, having one of his best games of the year. On 8 carries, he managed 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. His contributions also found their way into the receiving game as well, adding 30 yards. Jeremiah Hollowman caught most of E.J.’s passes, with 6 receptions for 97 and a touchdown.
For the Barnstormers, Daniel Smith continues to help this team improve every week since his signing. While his team lost badly, his play was phenomenal. on 19 of 31 passing, he threw for 143 yards and 4 touchdowns. Antonio Winbush was another bright spot in the loss. The Barnstormer running back rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown and caught 5 passes for 38 and another 2 touchdowns.
The Quad City Steamwheelers improve to 8-5 on the season, a half-game ahead of the Sioux Falls Storm for the third seed in the east, one game ahead of the 5th-place Green Bay Blizzard. Quad City is off this weekend before hosting the blizzard next weekend. The Barnstormers fall to 3-10 on the season. Any chance of making the playoffs is long gone, but they have a chance to send some others packing. Unfortunately, they will have to wait till next week to play spoiler when they host the Sioux Falls Storm.
Green Bay Blizzard 45 Sioux Falls Storm 47
The lone game on Friday night, this one had the feel of an instant classic on our hands. The Storm took what looked like a very secure 41-26 lead into the fourth quarter before the Blizzard mounted a furious comeback. 3 Max Meylor fourth-quarter touchdown passes gave us a 47-45 game with under a minute left. A challenge on the final two-point conversion was the only thing that kept us from overtime.
For the storm, Lorenzo Brown continues to play at a high level. He was 13 of 15 for 116 yards through the air, his one interception the only bad play in an otherwise efficient game. He would add 26 yards on the ground, and 5 rushing touchdowns. Running back Bryson Denley led the storm with 49 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, with another 15 receiving.
For the Blizzard Max Meylor continues to develop at quarterback and is looking amazing in the process. I’m not sure where this leaves the Blizzard when Ja’rome Johnson comes back, we may have a quarterback battle in the midst. Against the storm, Meylor had 6 TDs (4 Pass, 2 Rush) on 160 yards passing and 59 yards rushing. Steve Newbold and Marquise Irvin came up big in the Blizzard receiving room tonight. Both managed 2 touchdowns, Newbold on 74 yards, Irvin on 41. On Defense, Tre Claybourne was the blizzard of the game with 6.5 tackles and an interception.
The win improves the Storm to 7-5 on the season, one game ahead of the Blizzard for the fourth spot. However, the storm faces a tough task this weekend, they travel to take on the number one seed Frisco Fighters. The Blizzard falls to 6-6, but this weekend could get very interesting. The Blizzard have a matchup against the Tulsa Oilers that could put them right back into the thick of it.
Bay Area Panthers 38 Frisco Fighters 45
This week’s Battle of the Titans absolutely lived up to what we expected. The Panthers had their chances to win this game taking an 8-point lead into the 4th quarter. However, a T.J. Edwards 3-yard run early in the 4th would tie the game, and a 22-yard run from Martez Carter with just over 4 minutes left would seal the game. This game offers up some hope though for the Panthers, Dalton Sneed was unavailable this game and backup Felix Harper took the snaps.
The Panther’s defense did a commendable job of keeping T.J Edwards in check, he only managed 127 yards through the air, and 16 on the ground, and 3 touchdowns. Definitely not what we have come to expect from the Fighters Star.
Running back Martez Carter ran for 51 yards and 2 touchdowns, none more important than the 22 in the 4th quarter to give them the lead for good. Jerminic Smith, one of the IFL’s best, had another strong performance. His 10 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown puts him at number 2 in the IFL for receptions. Wide Receiver Charles Headen also came up big on special teams, with a 58-yard kickoff reutrn for a touchdown after the Bowers scoop and score.
Felix Harper played well against the league-leading Fighters. His 5 total touchdowns (4 passing, 1 rushing) represented 30 of the Panther’s 38 points. Wide receiver J.T. Stokes continues to be a weapon for the Panthers coming up with 55 of Harper’s 95 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense, Wesley Bowers was an absolute monster. He scored the first touchdown of the game on a fumble return (9 yards), and would another interception to his resume.
The Fighters improve to 11-2 on the season, clinching a playoff berth, but not quite home-field advantage. They host the Sioux Falls Storm this weekend with a chance to make the battle for that final seed very interesting. The Panthers fall to 8-5, one game out of the first seed in the west. They are off this week before hosting Nate Davis’s San Diego Strike Force in week 17.
Tucson Sugar Skulls 42 Northern Arizona Wranglers 28
This game had every bit the look of a defensive battle, and it didn’t disappoint. Much like the Fighters the Tucson Sugar Skulls took this game in the 4th. Early in the 4th, this was a tie-ball game before Ramone Atkins found Carrington Thompson 3 yards out to take the lead. with 8 minutes left, linebacker Julian Marcantel would put the final dagger in the reigning champions by intercepting Garrett Kettle and taking it 27 yards for a touchdown.
Ramone Atkins earns player of the game nod for his 182 total yards, (122 passing,60 rushing) and 3 total touchdowns. Mike Jones added another 34 yards rushing and a touchdown on 8 carries. Wide receiver Tim Lucas led all Skulls with 59 yards receiving, and Carrington Thompson caught yet another touchdown pass, giving 20 on the season. That is currently good for 3rd in the IFL.
Garrett Kettle really struggled this week against the Skulls tough defense, and backup Nick Watson wound up seeing time in this game. Kettle was only 8 of 15 for 110 with 2 interceptions to match his 2 touchdowns. Jarrod Ware Jr. did have a pretty good game on the ground, with 74 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries. Ryan Wisniewski led all receivers with 68 yards and a touchdown on 3 catches.
The win put the Skulls to 7-5 on the season, in a 2-game lead over the Northern Arizona Wranglers for the 3rd seed in the west. While the Skulls haven’t clinched yet, one more win should do it. They will have a great opportunity to seal it, traveling to play the Vegas Knight Hawks. The Wranglers fall to 6-7, and look more like a team looking for answers than last year’s champions. They are off this weekend, but host the Pirates in week 17 looking for a win to give themselves some cushion.
Vegas Knight Hawks 30 Duke City Gladiators 53
Watching this game reminded me of the Kansas City- Houston playoff game a few years back. Halfway through the second quarter, Duke City is struggling mightily, down 20-2. They would however outscore the Knighthawks 51-10 the rest of the way in route to the victory. This game also felt like a revenge game, after Vegas blew out with the Gladiators in their first game without Nate Davis.
Gladiator quarterback Charles McCullum was good but not great in this game, throwing for 121 and a touchdown. The rushing duo of Demry Croft and Tim Whitfield would gain 49 yards, but 5 touchdowns. Whitfield with 3 scores and Croft managed 2. Tyrone Laughinghouse led all receivers with 56 yards and a touchdown. Laughinghouse also managed a 7-yard scoop and score on a Knight Hawk fumble.
Knight Hawk Davonte Sapp Lynch was the star of the Hawk offensive attack. His 36 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns would have been talked about more in a game that wasn’t a blowout. Quarterback Daquan Neal was a mixed bag only completing 9 of 19 for 117 and a touchdown, and rushing for another 61 and a score.
The battle for last place in the West ends with Duke City improving to 5-8 on the season, while the Vegas Knight Hawks fall to 4-9. The Knight Hawks are out of playoff contention, and just trying to ruin someone else’s season. They will have their chance this weekend when they travel to take on the Tucson Sugar Skulls. The Duke City Gladiators sit at 5-8 on the year, one game behind the Wranglers for the last playoff spot. They will more than likely need to win out and have some help, but they are not out of it yet. They are off this weekend, but host the Sugar Skulls in week 17.