By James Chambers Contributing Writer
The Wichita Force improved their game in week 2 against the Texas Revolution. Even though the team gave the Revolution multiple first downs that came on fourth down attempts, fans seen a drastic improvement over week one. The first score of the game went to the Revolution, when Robert Kent Jr. threw a four-yard strike against the Force. That play defined the rest of the game.
However, the Force did make it a competition by only losing by 10 points by game end. Aside from the defensive penalties, the Force managed to improve as a team after a 50 point loss to the Duke City Gladiators. Joe Hubener finished the game with 197 yards and four touchdown passes. Eventually, the Force would end the game trailing by ten with a final score of 47 - 37.
Week three the Force played the Flying Aces in Enid, Oklahoma. The Force received the first kickoff. They would hold on the ball for an unprecedented six minutes before running back Jack Tomlinson rushed in with a five-yard scamper into the end zone.
The Aces looked like they switched places with the Force starting the game out with mis-snaps making it difficult for quarterback Joshua Floyd to handle the ball. After throwing an initial 15-yard pass to Joshua Steward Floyd fumbled the snap with the Force recovering. The Aces defense initially held the Force to a three and done possession, forcing a field goal attempt that was blocked by the Aces defense. Consequently the Force recovered the blocked football ten yards up the field yielding a first down. Additionally the Aces defense came up strong, making the Force settle for a 22-yard field goal attempt giving the Force a 10 - 0 lead.
The second quarter was time for the Aces to start their comeback attempt. The Aces put together a ten play offensive escapade that led to a touchdown with help from three penalties on the Force defense. The Aces went into the locker room at half time with a 20 - 13 lead.
The start of the second half the Aces received the first kickoff. Floyd again fumbled the throw and Wichita recovered fumble the ball again and recovering in the end zone for the tying score. Aces offensive line was flagged for a holding call on their next possession, causing their next possession to be cut short and missing a field goal attempt. Joe Hubener would help lead the Force offense down the field and throw a 19-yard toss to make the score 27 - 20.
The Aces next possession would eventually land them on the two-yard line where Floyd scored the touchdown on a quarterback keeper to close the gap just before the third quarter came to a close. The Aces missed the extra point, leaving the Force a one-point lead.
The Force answered the touchdown with a field goal giving them a four-point lead to start the fourth quarter. Floyd, determined to score selected the quarterback keeper to score another two-yard touchdown to put the Aces up by two points. Wichita’s offense proved to be too much to handle for the Aces defense. Wichita went on to score three consecutive times against the Aces. Winning the game with a score of 42 - 32. A Marcus Carter interception put the game at rest and allowed the Force the ability to seal the victory.
Next up for the Force they travel to take on the Omaha Beef who currently holds a similar one and two records. This game will be one to watch with both teams fighting for second place in their respective divisions.
by Chris Mabry
Last Night, the IFL kickedoffed week 7 with a rivalry from the days of the AF2 is quickly heating back up. The Quad City Steamwheelers are traveling to Green Bay to face the Blizzard.
To show that these two teams still had a rivalry, the Blizzard started the game off with a dart that was completed for a 80-yard touchdown. In total, the Green Bay Blizzard scored a total of 6 touchdowns, 6 PAT’s, and a rouge for a total of 34 points. Blizzard Quarterback Lenorris Footman became the leading passer for Green Bay. Footman went 10-13, 141 YDS, and 4 TD’s. The teams leading rusher for the game is also Lenorris Footman. He carried the ball 8 times, went for 26 yards, and a touchdown. As for the leading receiver of the game, that honor belongs to Kezlow Smith. He got the ball three times for a total of 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Two Blizzard players got personal foul penalties that resulted in a warning and the referee also gave a warning of possible ejection to the PA announcer and the Blizzard sideline.
On the other side of the ball is the visiting Quad City team. The Steamwheelers scored a total of 4 touchdowns, and 3 PAT’s. They even tried with a field goal but missed out on three points. Quarterback E.J Hilliard went 12-15, 145 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Hillard is also the leading rusher by only running the ball once and going for a total of 40 yards. As for the leading receiver, that player is Keyvan Rudd. He went 89 yards on 4 attempts that accounted 2 touchdowns.
Quad City Steamwheelers next game is on April 20 at home against the Tuscan Sugar Skulls. For Green Bay, the Blizzard will take on the Nebraska Danger next on April 13
By Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer
The series of plays that led to this week’s AFT Network’s Play of the Week began when the Green Bay Blizzard got the go-ahead touchdown vs Sioux Falls. With twenty seconds to go in the game, Green Bay’s Lenorris Footman found Kezlow Smith for the game winner.
The play call took advantage of Sioux Falls’ Cover 2 Sky Coverage. Formationally, the Blizzard stretched the field as much vertically as they did horizontally. The rules clearly that there must be four men on the line of scrimmage (LOS). The LOS is the imaginary line from the back tip of the football and extends from sideline to sideline. In the figure below, X is the fourth man on the line with the three down linemen. The right lineman is an eligible receiver but is kept home to block on most situations. This is why the linebacker is aligned over the right side.
Both motion men were aligned on the right side which is the wide side of the field. This makes contact at the snap difficult because the receivers have the space to avoid the block.
The pass concept is a 15 yard “In” route by X, “post” by Y, and a “go” route by Z. This is a classic concept that is geared to take advantage of Cover 2 Sky coverages. The Cover 2 concept means that there are two man covering the deep routes. In an ideal world, this means the free safety has from the middle of the field to the left sideline, and the cornerback has the middle of the field to the right sideline. See the figure below:
Z’s go route forces the CB to play more to the right of his zone. As Y heads toward the middle, the free safety’s responsibility is to cover the middle and to not get beat deep because he has no help behind him. The routes run by Y and Z stretch the defense vertically, leaving larger seams between the zones covered by linebackers and safeties. The 15-yd in by X “high-lows” the free safety as he becomes the quarterback’s read. Cover Y deep, and the 15-yard in opens up. Cover the X; and Y beats him deep.
As with last week’s column about Jimmy and Joe, a great individual effort by Smith helped make the score happen and led to the eventual game winner. Prime time players will make prime time plays. Included with the play of the week this week are two additional fantastic plays that made the win possible.
A great onside kick recovery and a great passed defensed made the win possible. Many can say it was a lucky onside recovery, but luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. The onside kick recovery was a prepared and practiced play, as evidenced by its peculiarity. Rather than kicking the ball the traditional ten yards to make the ball accessible to the kick off team’s fastest players; the ball was kick thirty yards downfield!
Onside kicks do not happen by telling the team, “Go downfield and recover the ball!” It’s a part of the weekly game plan. The kicker needs to know where to kick the ball. The kick off team needs to know where the kicker is kicking it. Every player has an assignment, between knocking receiving team’s players off the ball, to the actual recovery. Far too often, I will see a coach berating his players for not watching enough football. I can watch a movie, but that doesn’t make me a screen writer. Kudos must be given to the Blizzard coaching staff for preparing their team for this situation, and of course, the win.
By Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer
An early Saturday afternoon game in Macon, GA, saw the Georgia Doom lose their season opener 48-32 to the Carolina Havoc. The Havoc improve to 3-0.
The Havoc utilized a two quarterback assault. Daryll Clark and Tymere Zimmerman shared duties behind center to help lead the Havoc undefeated start.
The Doom got the early lead as kicker, Jed Soloman split the uprights on the opening kick for his first uno of the season.
Each team got shut down on their first series when the Havoc moved downfield to the Doom eight-yard line. A Doom interception and return to their own 12 ended the Havoc series to remain scoreless.
The Havoc defense would start the ball rolling, when Martel Moore would make an interception to remember. On the return, when Moore would seemingly be ready to fall at the Doom 10-yard line, he would flick the ball back to an unsuspecting Christian Russell who would scamper the rest of the way for the touchdown and an eventual 7-1 lead.
In the second quarter, a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Doom an important first down. Antwuan Cutts would catch a Nate Sammas strike for 8 yards and the Doom’s first touchdown. Soloman would convert the kick. He would then expand the Doom lead with his second uno of the night to make it 9-7 Doom.
A second Clark interception would not amount to much as the Doom missed their 56 yard field goal attempt. Clark would find Rashad Carter on the next drive for 30-yard catch and run and a 14-9 lead. Sammas would find Cutts for their own 30-yard touchdown to regain the lead. A two point conversion would give the Doom a 17-14 lead with 4:00 to go in the first half.
Zimmerman would call his own number and run the ball for 8 yards and a Havoc 21-17 lead in the back and forth battle.
On the Doom’s next series, Victor Hampton picked the Sammas pass and returned it 26 yards for the Havoc’s second defensive touchdown. The ensuing series for the Doom would not be much better as the three and out gave the Havoc excellent field position. That would result in Zimmerman finding Trevonte Long to expand their lead going into halftime.
The Doom started the second half on fire. A circus catch by the Doom’s Bryan Robinson for 15 yards brought the score to 24-34 and Soloman hit his third uno bringing the deficit to 8 points. The Doom’s defense would come up big and make another interception to set up the Chris Slaughter touchdown to bring the score to 34-31. Soloman’s fourth and final uno of the game would make it 34-32 and that would be the last time the Doom score.
Hampton would catch the Zimmerman screen pass and scoot for a 15 yard score to start the fourth quarter onslaught. Zimmerman would make run for a touchdown, this time for 4 touch yards and the final score of the game.
The Doom will take on the Carolina Predators at home on April 7. The Havoc will take a week off and then play the Jensen Beach Tigers in a non-league matchup on April 14.
Written by Chris Mabry
In Illinois, the Quad City Steamwheelers were hosting the Green Bay Blizzard. This is first of two meetings for these two teams. These same teams will meet next week in week seven this time in Green Bay.
From the Start, the Quad City Steamwheelers took the lead even with missing a field goal after scoring their first touchdown. As for Green Bay, the Blizzard throughout the game, they quickly caught up to only being six points behind with only a few seconds left in the game.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter, the Green Bay Blizzard scored a touchdown and completed the 2-point conversion making the score 29-26 with 26 seconds left.
When the Steamwheelers recovered the onside kick from Green Bay, they were attempting to stage a comeback and hopefully win the game. Unfortunately, they couldn't have a game-winning touchdown and lost 29-26.
These two teams will face off next week in Green Bay Wisconsin. Make sure you keep up to date with all your indoor/arena football content here on Arena Football Talk.
By Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer
Nebraska Danger had a late lead with twenty-nine seconds left. Iowa Barnstormers quarterback Daquan Neal avoided a safety and had two Danger linemen collide with themselves to buy enough time to heave the ball over to Connor Hollenbeck for a 47 yard touchdown. How did this breakdown happen? This is a prime example of the coaching saying, “Coaches don’t win games, players do.”
Defenses are taught, for the most part, that pass coverage needs to cover as deep as the deepest threat, and as wide as the widest threat. This can be done is several ways, including man and zone coverages, but at the end of the day, when a defense is trying to protect a one-score lead with little time remaining, they are almost willing the offense to attack the middle. The game clock will stop on plays that go out of bounds, and incomplete passes. Allowing shorter passes or runs in the middle allows the clock to continue running and become a factor in the game. It is significantly easier to execute, be it play calling or running a route, or blocking a defensive player when not dealing with the pressure of time. It is in these situations that time is an ally for the defense.
The Danger defense rushed two linemen and the other was kept as a spy. The spy’s assignment is to now allow the quarterback to escape the pocket and run downfield. Using a defensive lineman to spy also frees up a safety or linebacker to go into coverage. The sole linebacker in the game, Davonte Sapp-Lynch was locked in to Barnstormer running back, Jamal Tyler. This leaves one safety and three defensive backs in coverage. Though, there is a numerical advantage for the defense, the offense is allowed two men in forward motion – and that is the real advantage.
Man or zone coverage is designed to last four to five seconds. Run anything long enough, and it begins to break down exponentially as time passes. The Danger seemingly had the play in hand, when both ends, Chris Martin and Adolphus Barnes did an excellent job of beating their man and headed toward Neal. However, Neal’s athleticism allowed him to avoid the sack, buy time, and force the defense into conflict. Neal already rushed for 71 yards and 3 touchdowns. A defensive back’s difficult decision to remain in coverage or to pursue Neal had to made.
When the pursuit came to contain Neal, it broke down the coverage. The widest man, Hollenbeck, was left wide open, but the play does not end there. At the tail end of the play, the Barnstormer’s Ryan Balentine made a key block that allowed Hollenbeck to go into the end zone. This was selfless play. Arm chair quarterbacks can say that’s an expectation – and it is, but to get it done is a different thing. Because of ego, all too often, it becomes, “I didn’t get the ball, why should I do anything?” Or they watch in admiration, how their teammate caught the ball and gets tackled.
Balentine did what every winner does, and sacrificed for the betterment of the team. He is third in the league in receptions, but eleventh is yards per catch. This means he is the inside receiver who makes the crucial catches at the risk of quick hard tackles from the defense. It would have served his best interest to save himself from another hit, and he did not. That block at the end of the play was the game-winning block and that touchdown is as much his at it is his team’s.
The individual efforts of Neal buying time, Hollenbeck carrying a defender into the end zone, and Balentine’s block cannot be found in any playbook, call sheet, or game script. This is why coaches say, “Coaches don’t win games, players do!”
By James Chambers, Contributing Writer
The NFL season is over and the beginning of the CIF season started Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Wichita Force played the defending Champions, the Duke City Gladiators in Tingley Coliseum located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wichita Force started the game receiving the opening kickoff. On the first attempt for the Force they miss-snapped the ball with the Gladiators recovering,and that set up the first score of the game.
The Force defense failed to slow a championship defense giving up a whopping 28 points in the first half. The young defense was no match for high power offense of the CIF Champions. Led by QB Donovan Porterie, the offense was just to much to handle for the Force defense. Wichita Force had a problem with low snaps on offense throughout the whole game, but the biggest problem is a defense that failed to stop the champs.
The second half kickoff the Gladiators returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was a statement that they were not slowing down their scoring campaign. Therefore, by the end of the third quarter, the score was 49- 3 Gladiators. The Force would not score their first touchdown until the fourth quarter. Wichita did try to mount a comeback scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
There were many fans who worried about such a young team playing the champions. There were sparks on offense that may produce better offense later in the season. Jack Tomlinson shows promise as a wideout along with Gary Jovelet. Tomlinson ended the day with 10 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, while teammate Gary Jovelet ended the day with five grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown. Joe Hubener ended his day with 21 completions out of 33 attempts and 191 yards with two touchdown passes. Running back Dontaye Rivera would add a score from five yards out.
There is not much to say about the defense who struggled the whole game to stop the Gladiators offense. In the end, the game would end with a score of 76 - 24. The defense is young and played against a very good offense. Only time will tell how this defense will come together for the rest of the year. It does make fans wonder if the defense would have been better off keeping a few more veterans like Chris Hemphill and Kendrick Harper. Chris Hemphill signed with the Orlando Predators in the National Arena League. Having a few more veterans on the team may help guide and develop the defense.
The Force will have the opportunity to show a home crowd what they are capable of Saturday, March 30, 2019. They will be hosting the Texas Revolution. According to the Wichita Force, there are some Kansas City Chiefs who will be attending the game. Chris Jones and Dustin Colquitt will be in attendance for the showdown between these rival teams. Having some pro players in attendance may be exactly what the Force needs for motivation.
By Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer
The Carolina Havoc defeated the Peach State Cats 54-13 Saturday night at Days Inn Field at the Florence Center. The Havoc defense gave a dominating performance as they imposed their will to eight sacks, six turnovers, and forced eight bad snaps. The defense limited the Cats to six points. The Cats’ other points came off an interception return for a touchdown and an uno, which is when the kick off team kicks the ball through the uprights.
Quarterback Jesse Scroggins got the starting nod and contributed a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. Last week’s starting quarterback, Daryll Clark, and some others were given a rest this week, in an effort to evaluate the level of depth they have. Kicker Kevin Weber also had a chance to shine as he had three field goals and two unos for the night. Those were his second and third unos for the year.
Including last year’s playoffs, this is the fourth consecutive victory for the Havoc. They will take on the Georgia Doom next week in Macon. The Doom are the last team to defeat the Havoc when they were known as the Atlanta Havoc. They opted to not participate in the playoffs for undisclosed reasons. The Peach State Cats will play the Carolina Cowboyz.
By Brice Burge