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.
San Antonio Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside is currently No. 3 in the AAF in passing yards with 1,025 after five games – one yard behind No. 2 John Wolford of the Arizona Hotshots. The Orlando Apollos’ Garrett Gilbert is No. 1 at 1,357.
The Commanders’ Mekale McKay is No. 3 in the league in receiving yards at 317. Alonzo Moore is second on the team in receiving yards with 178 and De’Marcus Ayers is third with 165.
The Commanders are coming off a 29-25 road victory over the Arizona Hotshots that saw Woodside pass for 290 yards and two touchdown and earn AAF offensive player of the week honors.
“We had a good game plan going in,” Woodside said. “The receivers made plays. I think we’re just clicking as an offense in general. We stalled out some drives in the third quarter, which you can’t have three-and-outs. But the defense did a great job starting out, especially with Derron (Smith) on the pick six to start the game.
“We’ve just got to continue to get better. I think that as we continue to get to know each other, the more that we’re with each other, we going to continue to get better. We’ve just got to continue to work hard throughout the week and prepare because ultimately that’s the only way you can go have success.”
On a new team in a new league, Demarcus Ayers finds himself in the role of a veteran.
The wide receiver from the University of Houston spent time with three NFL teams and is one of the most experienced players in the San Antonio Commanders’ training camp.
He saw action in two regular-season games and two playoff games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2016 season. He was signed to the New England Patriots practice squad in 2017 and Chicago Bears practice squad in 2018.
Ayers can see the Commanders coming together in the week and a half since the players reported to camp.
“The grind of camp right now, we’re like eight days in,” Ayers said. “Guys are starting to get the details down. I think the offense as much as we’ve been trying to put stuff in, the strengths and stuff like that, I think we’ve been doing a good job overall as a staff and as professional athletes.”
While with the Steelers, Ayers caught six passes for 53 yards and one touchdown in the regular season. He had three catches for 27 yards in two playoff games.
He entered the NFL draft after his junior season at Houston. In his final college season, he led the American Conference with 98 receptions. He had 1,222 receiving yards in 14 games.
Ayers was a star quarterback in high school. His senior year he led Lancaster (just south of Dallas) to the state title game. He rushed for 1,337 yards and 16 touchdowns and passed for 1,823 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Now a 5-foot-9, 182-pound receiver, Ayers believes his quarterbacking experience continues to benefit him on the field.
“Just the knowledge, the whole understanding of football,” Ayers said. “You have to know everything in every situation with the protections, how to get open, the timing from the quarterbacks, the blocking, the running backs’ paths and how to be be on the right shoulder to know he pops off a big run.
“It’s a very unique thing and it takes a lot of poise and a lot of knowlege playing the quarterback position so when you’re in other positions it makes the game a lot smoother for you.”
Andrew McDonald’s pro football record shows more teams than games played. From 2012 to 2016 he was signed by the Dolphins, Panthers, Seahawks, Colts, Browns, Chargers and Texans. During that stretch his only playing time came in two games with Seattle in 2014.
Houston cut McDonald in 2016 and he hasn’t been on a roster since.
But that’s just the football part of his life. He was diagnosed with cancer – and beat it. He spent two years and ministry school in Indiana and might go back and finish that when his football career is over for good.
For the moment, McDonald’s life is focused on football again, specifically on San Antonio Commanders training camp.
“First week goes by quick,” said McDonald, a 6-foot-5, 314-pound offensive lineman. “Man, it’s so good to get back into it. It’s been awhile. Two years since I’ve been back. But man so good.
“All the camaraderie of the teammates, actually putting on pads, hitting people. It’s a good feeling. I feel like we’ve really bonded together.”
McDonald started every game at left tackle for Indiana University his junior and senior seasons – 2010 and 2011.
With the Commanders, he is currently seeing more time right tackle but also working some at the other positions on the offensive line. As part of a new team, he is part of a group that is trying to come together quickly.
“Everybody is new so we’ve all got to really learn each other, find what kind of people we are,” McDonald said. “You’ve got to be able to trust the teammate next to you, especially offensive line.
“It’s working out. Everybody here on the offensive line, I love them. We’re a pretty tight knit group. Obviously you’ve got to take steps, but it’s coming along pretty well.”