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.
The San Antonio Commanders had to work hard for every yard on offense on Saturday against the Salt Lake Stallions.
In the end, the Commanders scored their second touchdown of the game with less than six minutes remaining in a 19-15 victory at the Alamodome.
The Commanders had 64 yards rushing. Almost a third of that, 19 yards, came from quarterback Marquise Williams off the bench in the fourth quarter. Trey Williams had 19 yards and David Cobb had 18.
The Commanders had 213 yards passing – 164 yards from Logan Woodside and 49 from Marquise Williams. Both quarterbacks threw one touchdown pass. Marquise Williams threw a 36-yard pass to Trey Williams for the winning touchdown.
Part of the plan for the Alliance of American Football is to give teams a regional flavor.
The San Antonio Commanders get plenty of that from their ball carriers. When the Commanders cut their 75-man training camp roster down to 52 for the regular season, the list of holdovers included all four running running backs from the state of Texas still on the roster.
“We like to be balanced. We want to be able to be able to run the ball,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “We feel like we have good runners. We have four guys who made the team, which is probably a little unusual. We felt like those were four of our best football players, so that’s the direction we went with them.”
All four of the running backs played high school football in the state: Aaron Green is from San Antonio and played in college at TCU, Kenneth Farrow II is from Hurst and played in college at Houston, David Cobb is from Killeen and played in college at Minnesota and Trey Williams is from Spring and played in college at Texas A&M.
“I think we’re all different in our way,” Green said. “I think we’re all extremely good. At any given moment any of us can take the ball to the house. Everybody in the backfield is pretty much a starter so it’s pretty much up to the coaches to look at our talent and give us roles.”
Green is also working with the punt return and punt coverage units.
“Anywhere they need me I can do it,” Green said. “Special teams is actually something I enjoy doing.”
His NFL game experience is two games seeing special teams action with the Rams in 2016.
San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston has lived through player cuts as a college and NFL player.
The former Dallas Cowboys fullback was on the other side of that on Wednesday when Alliance of American Football (AAF) teams announced their 52-man rosters, down from 75 in training camp.
“Today was one of the more challenging days I’ve been a part of,” Johnston said. “We started this journey several months ago. We’ve gone from 85 down into the 60s back up to 75 and now today we had to come down to 52. There were some really hard decisions we had to make. We think we picked a very competitive 52, but time will tell.
“They’re great guys. That was the thing that made it the hardest. We had good players but we had great guys.”
The Commanders kept three quarterbacks – Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside. The fourth quarterback in camp, former UTSA starter Dalton Sturm, did not make the 52-man roster. Johnston said the league recommends having three quarterbacks on the roster and AAF rules call for three quarterbacks to be suited up on game day. Vaughan finished training camp as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.
Johnston said some of the toughest roster decisions were at receiver, linebacker and running back. The receiver position was complicated by some players suffering injuries in training camp and a few players joining the team late in camp.
The decision at running back was influenced by how the team performed in practice games on Sunday and Monday.
“We were prepared to go in with three running backs,” Johnston said. “We saw how well we ran the football. We saw our physical the runners were. We decided four would be better. Then Trey Williams came up with a turf toe coming out of the game.
“Aaron Green did a great job on Monday night. I’m really impressed with him not only as a runner, but special teams is something that I don’t know how much of a part of his background that was, and he’s done a really good job of embracing special teams.”
Kenneth Farrow II, David Cobb, Green and Williams are the four running backs on the roster.
Update: I just heard from wide receiver Riley Smith, who is not on the 52-man roster. Smith said he is on the injured list and expects to be activated when he is fully healthy.
The San Antonio Commanders got a windy, chilly morning on Friday for the second day of workouts at mini-camp at the University of the Incarnate Word. That didn’t lighten the workload. Here Commanders running backs Aaron Green, Daryl Richardson, David Cobb, Josh McPherson, Kenneth Farrow II, Khiry Robinson and Max Mickey go through drills.
The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.