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.
San Antonio Commanders kick Nick Rose hasn’t missed a field-goal attempt this year.
Punter Joe Zema made two tackles in the Commanders’ victory over the Stallions.
“I wasn’t necessarily surprised because he’s a football player,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “When it’s necessary we’d rather him not be the tackler, but when it’s necessary it’s good that he does.”
Along with long snapper Scott Daly, that group has quietly put together a solid season for the Commanders. Zema, in addition to punting, is Rose’s holder on field-goal attempts.
“We really like that group,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “From the very beginning those guys have been really diligent, very professional in their approach. I think fun, good teammates. I really appreciate them a lot. They sometimes go unnoticed until something bad happens, but they’ve been very consistent.”
Rose was making field goals of 50-plus yards on Friday at the Alamodome in the team’s last full practice before Sunday’s meeting with the Arizona Hotshots.
“There’s no doubt he’s in that 50, 60 range,” Riley said. “He can do that. He’s really got a great thump. I think the extra days extra off for him were good. He’s really hitting the ball well.”
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.
When the San Antonio Commanders needed the cavalry to ride to their rescue, Marquise Williams answered the call.
The Commanders’ backup quarterback entered the game in the fourth quarter and drove the team to the go-ahead touchdown on a 36-yard pass to running back Trey Williams. That broke a 9-9 tie.
Marquise Williams passed to Greg Ward Jr. for the two-point conversion to extend the Commanders’ lead to 17-9 with 5:25 left in the game.
The Commanders (5-2) finished with a 19-15 victory and extended their win streak to four in their first game in the Alamodome after a month on the road. A season high 30,345 fans gave the Commanders their loud support.
Even after the late touchdown, the Commanders still needed a key play on defense to wrap up the win. The Stallions scored a late touchdown and had a chance to tie the game with the two-point conversion. But on the conversion play, Commanders defensive back and turnover machine De’Vante Bausby intercepted a pass and returned it the distance the other way – not only keeping the Stallions from adding two points, but giving the Commanders two points when he crossed the goal line.
Logan Woodside started at quarterback for the Commanders and played most of the game. Marquise Williams came in to start the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. He immediately gave the offense a spark with his running. The touchdown to Trey Williams was a short dumpoff that Trey broke for the touchdown.
The Williams-to-Williams touchdown was the first time the Commanders scored in the second half.
The Commanders led 9-6 at halftime. The Stallions tied it 9-9 with a field goal in the third quarter.
The Commanders took their halftime lead on a Nick Rose 23-yard field goal with five second left in the second quarter. The Commanders had gotten to the 1-yard line on a drive that included three big penalties on the Stallions – one a roughing the passer penalty that wiped out a Stallions interception.
The Commanders’ Duke Thomas had a key interception when the Stallions were driving. The score was tied 6-6 at the time, so Thomas’ pick kept Salt Lake from grabbing the lead.
The Stallions moved the ball on the opening possession of the game and kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Commanders went in front 6-3 when Woodside hit Mekale McKay for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
San Antonio Commanders wide receiver Greg Ward Jr. scored on a league-record 79-yard punt return Sunday. The explosive play came in a 37-6 road victory over the Atlanta Legends.
Ward was named the Alliance of American Football special teams player of the week.
Here are the other players of the week from an AAF news release:
Offensive player of the week:
Birmingham WR L’Damian Washington.
Washington had four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in The Iron’s 32-29 week six win. The performance marks team single-game records in receiving yards and touchdown catches, while Washington became the first player in Alliance history with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
Defensive player of the week:
Salt Lake DE Karter Schult.
Schult tallied five total tackles, two sacks and four QB hits in The Stallions’ 22-9 victory last week. Schult, who leads The Alliance with seven sacks this season, anchored a Salt Lake defense that held Memphis to nine points and 239 total yards while racking up seven team sacks in the win.
After a day off from practice Friday, the team returned to the field at Central Catholic High School under clear blue skies and temperatures in the 60s.
It looks like Dustin Vaughan is the leader in the four-way quarterback competition. Riley said not so fast. There is no depth chart yet and nobody has publicly been named the starter or first quarterback.
“At this point we’ve got a group of players, it’s a first-year team, a beautiful thing to see take place,” Riley said of the competition in training camp. “I just want to leave the door open so that all of these guys can think of it as an opportunity. The real depth chart doesn’t have to take place for a while.”
Faces on the sidelines
Alliance of American Football (AAF) co-founder Charlie Ebersol and former Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher visited Commanders training camp on Saturday.
Two new players
The Commanders have added offensive lineman Mason Gentry from SMU and wide receiver Greg Ward Jr. from Houston to the roster. The Commanders also terminated the rights of defensive back Tre Dickerson.
From the Commanders daily news release:
Appeared in 45 career games at Southern Methodist University along the defensive line … transitioned to
offensive line after college … made 107 tackles in college, including 8.0 for loss, 4.5 sacks and four passes
defended … undrafted in 2018 NFL Draft.
Greg Ward Jr.
Played in 49 career games at the University of Houston … played wide receiver and quarterback as a freshman
before switching to quarterback full time as a sophomore … amassed 11,080 yards and 93 total touchdowns at
Houston … 2015 Earl Campbell Award winner … ranked third in total yards, fourth in passing yards and 10 in
rushing yards at Houston … member of the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles’ practice squad in 2017 …
undrafted in 2017 NFL Draft.