The San Antonio Commanders’ hopes of clinching a playoff spot were put on hold Sunday night.
The Arizona Hotshots dominated defensively in a 23-6 victory over the Commanders at the Alamodome.
The Commanders could have wrapped up not only a playoff berth, but the home field in the first round with a victory.
The Commanders did not score a touchdown. Their points came on field goals of 54 and 35 yards from Nick Rose – who has not missed a field-goal attempt this season.
Hotshots quarterback John Wolford passed for 216 yards including a 58-yard touchdown to Rashad Ross. The Hotshots Tim Cook ran for touchdowns of 6 and 20 yards.
Logan Woodside started at quarterback for the Commanders. He completed 4-of-9 passes for 32 yards and an interception and was sacked once.
Marquise Williams came in at quarterback late in the first half. He led both Commanders scoring drive. Williams completed 17-of-23 passes for 130 yards with no interceptions and was sacked three times.
It’s something that the San Antonio Commanders talked about since training camp.
Trey Williams has explosiveness.
If you get the ball to the former Texas A&M running back in space, magical things can happen.
Saturday night the Commanders got the ball to Williams in space. Winning things happened.
The Commanders and Salt Lake Stallions were tied 9-9 at the Alamodome with less than six minutes left. Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams had the ball in a run-pass option and threw the ball out to Trey Williams.
Commanders receivers Greg Ward Jr. and De’Marcus Ayers made blocks on the outside. Tight end Evan Rodriguez got off the line and made a block.
After that, Stallions defenders kept chasing Trey Williams – but the outcome of the play was already set. He headed down the right sideline and dove into the end zone to make it 15-9. The Commanders led the rest of the way.
Marquise Williams had seen some playing time at quarterback this season for the San Antonio Commanders.
But not much, and not in a while.
That changed on Saturday night as the Commanders took on the Salt Lake Stallions in an AAF West matchup at the Alamodome.
With the Commanders struggling on offense in the second half and starting quarterback Logan Woodside taking a hit on his shoulder, Williams got the call in the fourth quarter.
Williams – and the Commanders offense – responded in what turned out to be a 19-15 Commanders victory.
“Our guys kind of just brought it together enough to make a great drive and win the game,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “Marquise was so poised going into the game. Logan had hurt his shoulder a little bit. (Williams) went into the game and did a nice job obviously and just kept his poise and made plays and it was a beautiful thing to see.”
Williams used his feet to make things happen. He had an 8-yard carry that picked up a first down.
The former North Carolina quarterback completed 2-of-3 passes for 49 yards.
“I was thankful that Marquise had been in the games,” Riley said. “We played him early on. We’ve said from the beginning we really liked our quarterback room. He kind of just proved everbody right tonight, including himself.”
The key play was a screen pass from Williams to running back Trey Williams with less than six minutes left in the game. Trey Williams broke it for a 36-yard touchdown with 5:25 remaining. That broke a 9-9 tie and gave the Commanders a six-point lead.
Marquise Williams passed to Greg Ward Jr. for the two-point conversion, putting the Commanders in front 17-9.
“He has won a lot of games in his career as a quarterback,” Riley said. “To go in there in those circumstances as hard as it was to do anything, I was really, really impressed that he made some plays to help us win the game.”
The San Antonio Commanders recorded their first defensive touchdown in franchise history in Week 2.
Here is the scene Sunday:
The Commanders had just boosted their lead to 21-17 over the Orlando Apollos in the third quarter after a Nick Rose field goal. The Apollos have a second-and-16 at their own 19-yard line.
Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert drops back in an obvious passing situation. Commanders linebacker Jayrone Elliott gets to Garrett from his backside, hitting Garrett in the right shoulder and arm. Garrett, who was set to throw, has the ball jarred up in the air.
Joey Mbu, moving in from his defensive line position, gets around the pile of Garrett, Elliott and Apollos offensive lineman Aaron Evans. The 332-pound Mbu scoops up the ball and takes off for the end zone – setting off a celebration in the Alamodome.
The touchdown and the successful two-point conversion gave the Commanders a 29-17 lead with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
That, however, was the last time the Commanders scored. The Apollos put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to take a 37-29 victory.