Daryl Johnston, Kenneth Farrow II on Commander’s run game

San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston watches Thursday's practice at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston watches Thursday’s practice at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders have been able to control the clock at times this season with their running game.

In Sunday’s victory over the Birmingham Iron, Kenneth Farrow II had the dominant performance in the game by carrying the ball for a league-record 142 yards.

The game gave the team the sense that their combination of an offensive line that is coming together is meshing with the running back crew of Farrow, Trey Williams, David Cobb and Aaron Green.

“The good thing about it is we’ve got a room full of running backs who can kind of make that happen at any time,” Farrow said. “Like last week, Trey (Williams) went off for 75 yards on a few carries. It’s kind of whoever has got the hot hand. Hopefully we can get a game where we’re all feeling it and we’re all busting it.”

Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston emphasized multiple benefits of the strong running game. The most obvious is to move the ball and dominate time of possession. The other is to create space and opportunities to hit passes for big gains.

“That methodical approach in the run game, that now you start to pull up a defense and you can get over the top,” Johnston said. “That’s what we’ve got to add this week. When people watch the film and see that we’re very competitive against Birmingham in the run game, a defense that’s pretty stingy, now if we can start to get more players added down into that box, we can start to get some favorable matchups on the outside. That’s what I hope the run game does.

“If people start to see that balance that we have, we should be able to pre-snap, be able to determine, because we’re going to the play at the line of scrimmage with multiple options in a run-pass situation that we’ll be able to choose the one best for that situation.”

For Farrow, who was slowed by injuries at the beginning of his pro career, there were no complaints about the workload after having 30 carries against the Iron.

“We got the win. That’s all that matters,” Farrow said. “It was fun getting in a rhythm and seeing the O Line have a good game like they did. It was definitely a fun day.”

Kenneth Farrow II finally healthy –
Greg Luca’s story in the Express-News:

expressnews.com

Logan Woodside, Mike Riley on Commanders’ win over Iron

San Antonio Commanders quarterbacks Logan Woodside (10), Marquise Williams (12) and Logan Woodside (5) at practice at Central Catholic High School on Wednesday as they prepared for the Arizona Hotshots in the fifth game of the season. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders quarterbacks Logan Woodside (10), Marquise Williams (12) and Logan Woodside (5) at practice at Central Catholic High School on Wednesday as they prepared for the Arizona Hotshots in the fifth game of the season. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders’ 12-11 victory over the Birmingham Iron on Sunday did more than snap the team out of a two-game losing streak.

The Commanders are now 1-1 on the road and 2-2 overall, putting them in a tie for the lead in the AAF West.

“There’s three of in the West that are 2-2,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “Every victory right now is really kind of important for that inching ahead.”

The Commanders earned their victory over the Iron by running the ball and putting together some long drives. Having to string together drives came in large part because they were often taking over the ball around the 10-yard line. The Commanders got their first possession at the 9, and drove far enough to get a Nick Rose field goal and a 3-0 lead.

“The first drive of last week, we didn’t get a touchdown but we came away with three points,” Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside said. “We held the ball for a while. I think that’s good for us because it gets our defense a chance to rest.

“The punter did a really good job. He had a really good leg. It’s tough but we had to start from the 10-yard line a few times. It’s just up to the offense to make plays and not make mistakes and go down and try to put points on the board.”

The offense chewed up the clock largely on the 30 carries for a league-record 142 yards by running back Kenneth Farrow II. Trey Williams also saw a little action at running back and ran for a touchdown.

“I think we came out and established the run game,” Woodside said. “The O line and Ken (Farrow) did a great job throughout the game and really made it easy on me. I was really happy and proud of those guys and proud of Ken for sure.

“I just had to do my job. I can’t control how the plays are called. When they are just execute them to the best of my ability. Had to make a few checks throughout the game in the run game. I think that helped us out, so it was good. I think that’s something I pride myself on during the week is getting the right looks and getting the run game because that can really help us out a lot.”

The Commanders’ defense held the Iron to one touchdown and also came up with critical turnovers. The turnover battle, which had hurt the Commanders in the their two losses, worked out on San Antonio’s side on Sunday.

“We were running the ball. It was really close to the vest,” Riley said. “One mistake by either team was probably going to lose the game. That’s what happened. They turned the ball over to over and we won the game.”

Wednesday’s practice at Central Catholic was the first for the team since Sunday’s game. The positive feeling from the victory seemed to carry over into practice.

“It was hard and we had to fight to win and everybody feels good when that happens,” Riley said. “It was a good football team, very, very solid Birmingham. So it took everything to beat them. I think they feel good about that because they know our team prepared well and we played hard – really hard – in that game.”

Commanders’ Kenneth Farrow II named AAF offensive player of the week

San Antonio Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow II played in high school at Bell High School in Hurst just outside of Fort Worth. - photo by Joe Alexander
Kenneth Farrow II, shown in training camp, earned AAF offensive player of the week honors. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow II was named offensive player of the week by the Alliance of American Football for Week 4.

Farrow rushed for an AAF single-game record 142 yards in a 12-11 victory over the Birmingham Iron on Sunday. Farrow had 30 carries and averaged 4.7 yards per carry against one of the league’s best defenses.

Memphis linebacker Drew Jackson was named defensive player of the week.

Memphis kicker Austin MacGinnis was named special teams player of the week.

Commanders vs. Iron: No room for mistakes

Kenneth Farrow II scored the Commanders' first touchdown of the game on a 15-yard run on Sunday against the Orlando Apollos. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow II has run for a touchdown the last two games in a row. – photo by Joe Alexander
Ask the San Antonio Commanders about the Birmingham Iron and a theme appears:

The Iron don’t make mistakes.

If you want to beat the Iron, you can’t make mistakes.

“I think they forced more punts than anybody in the league,” Commanders coach Mike Riley. “Then they’re just really, really solid. I think that’s their team. That’s why they’re undefeated.

“They’ve been in pretty close games. But they’ve won them because they haven’t beat themselves. I’m sorry to say we’ve beat ourselves. We’ve thrown two touchdown interceptions. Then we’ve had too many penalties. That’s kind of been the difference in the games.”

The Commanders (1-2) and Iron (3-0) play Sunday at 3 p.m. Central time. The game is televised on CBS Sports Network.

The Birmingham defense has made five interceptions, including two by Jamar Summers. The Iron defense allows a league-low 7.0 points per game. The Iron have given up only one rushing touchdown this season and no runs longer than 24 yards.

“Really good defense,” Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside said. “They have a really good linebacker corps. In the secondary they move around a whole lot. It will be a big challenge for us. I know they’re coached really well. So it will be fun to go down there and play against them.”

Birmingham quarterback Luis Perez has had modest stats but avoided turnovers. In three games he has thrown 102 passes with only one interception and no touchdowns. Woodside has thrown two touchdown passes this season, but also five interceptions including two that were returned for touchdowns.

“We’ve got too many mistakes, too many critical mistakes,” Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston said. “Some of these interceptions are game-changers. The two pick-sixes really changed the flow of that game each time. We gave up points in the red zone on another interceptions. Not only are they interceptions, but they’ve been costly.”

The Iron haven’t been putting up big rushing numbers either. Running back Trent Richardson, the most high profile player on the team, averages only 2.5 yards per carry. But Richardson has been tough to stop in short-yardage situations and has six rushing touchdowns. He has also caught 10 passes.

The Commanders have a stronger overall running game this season at 149.0 yards per game and 4.81 yards per carry. Kenneth Farrow II has run for two touchdowns. Trey Williams made his season debut last week and averaged 10.7 yards per carry.

But for the last two weeks, the Commanders have been hurt by turnovers and penalties and wound up with losses.

“I think we’ve had a good week,” Riley said. “I think the reaction to the last loss has actually been a good one by this group as far as their work. I think we’ve had three of our better practices of the year.

“That’s what a loss will do for you once in a while. I think enthusiasm for the work was maybe at a little higher level.”

A road victory Sunday would even the Commanders’ record to 2-2. A loss would give them a three-game losing streak with two more road games coming up before the team returns to the Alamodome.

“I think there is obviously a sense of urgency,” Riley said. “Nobody likes losing. I think the only way to dig is out of it is to really, really work at preparing and getting ready to play and the attitude is really the key to that preparation and preparation is the key to how you’re going to play. How you play is if you’re going to win. It dominoes.”

Commanders vs. Iron injury report for Friday

San Antonio Commanders helmet from image released by the AAF @theAAF on Twitter.From Commanders news release:

SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS

Pos Player Injury Fri. Participation Game Status
DT MATT GODIN HEAD DNP OUT
TE COLE HUNT LOWER LEG DNP OUT
OL FRED LAUINA ANKLE LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
WR MEKALE MCKAY LOWER LEG LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
CB JORDAN THOMAS WRIST DNP OUT

BIRMINGHAM IRON

Pos Player Injury Fri. Participation Game Status
DB TROVON REED R. ANKLE DNP OUT
WR AMBA ETTA-TAWO R. KNEE DNP OUT
C JC HASSENAUER KNEE DNP OUT
TE BUSTA ANDERSON L. HAMSTRING DNP OUT
LB XZAVIER DICKSON L. KNEE FULL QUESTIONABLE
WR L’DAMIAN WASHINGTON GROIN LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
LB JONATHAN MASSAQUOI NECK FULL QUESTIONABLE

Did Not Participate in Practice (DNP)

Commanders have healthy Trey Williams going into showdown with Iron

Commanders running back Trey Williams carries the ball in practice as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Birmingham Iron. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders running back Trey Williams carries the ball in practice as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Birmingham Iron. – photo by Joe Alexander
Trey Williams looked like he would be one of the San Antonio Commanders’ top offensive threats going into the season.

The 5-foot-7, 200-pound running back led Texas A&M in rushing his junior season. He also caught passes and was a kick returner. He showed what kind of speed he had with the Aggies by returning a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He had enough talent to be signed by the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.

But as the Commanders opened their 2019 season, Williams was on the sidelines with what general manager Daryl Johnston described as a turf toe.

“For the most part I’ve been dealing with that and trying to overcome that really and continue to do what I’ve been doing and producing,” Williams said. “Just a lot of prayer and being patient. Pretty much just starving yourself out there. As soon as you get out there you’ve got to go get it.”

In the third week of the season, Williams was back.

“It just felt good being back on the field. Getting my feet back we again,” Williams saide. “It felt good to be out there with my teammates I trained with. I’m just thankful to be back and help this team win some games.”

He carried the ball seven times and averaged better than 10 yards per carry in a loss to the San Diego Fleet. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.

“He brought a lot of fire power,” Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside said. “He busted out a few big runs. He caught the ball out of the backfield really well. It was good to have him back and have some speed back there for him to get it going.”

Williams is one of four running backs on the team, along with Kenneth Farrow II, David Cobb and Aaron Green. Farrow has been starting at running back with the Commanders rotating three backs during the games.

“I feel I bring a lot of versatility to the team as far as catching the ball and getting it out of the backfield and being in that offset and pro-style offense,” Williams said. “I bring a lot to the table, I feel speed and quickness. With Farrow and AG and David Cobb, with those guys, I feel like it’s a good mix. Once we get this show on the road it’s going to be unstoppable.”

The Commanders are on the road again this Sunday and face what may be the most solid defense in the AAF in the Birmingham Iron. The challenge presented by the undefeated Iron will be less daunting if the Commanders can have a big game running the ball.

“We know Birmingham is coming with a lot,” Williams said. “We’re coming with a lot as well. We have a lot of fire power. We have everything we need to beat Birmingham. I’m not too much worried about what they have. It’s about us.”

Trey Williams’ Texas A&M bio page
12thman.com

Commanders’ Mike Riley on trying to turn things around after two losses

Commanders defensive back Orion Stewart returns an interception during Wednesday's practice at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders defensive back Orion Stewart returns an interception during Wednesday’s practice at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
When the San Antonio Commanders’ schedule was released, the stretch of four-straight road games immediately stuck out as the toughest stretch the team was likely to face.

That made the first two home games look crucial to build momentum before the team hit the road.

Now the Commanders are three games into the season, have lost two straight and have dropped their first game of the road stretch. On Wednesday they were back on the practice field for the first time since Sunday’s 31-11 loss to the San Diego Fleet.

“I think we had a pretty good day today,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “I think one of the most important things about reacting to a game and I guess specifically a loss is you can look at some stuff on how we can do it better and have concrete evidence about that and show them that, put in a new game plan and go back to work. That’s the best remedy for getting out of a hole.”

The Commanders have had issues on both sides of the ball. In both the season-opening victory and in Sunday’s loss, the offense recorded only one touchdown. Riley said Logan Woodside, the starter at quarterback the first three games of the season, will start again in Week 4.

On Sunday against the Fleet, the Commanders got a boost on offense from running back Trey Williams. The former Texas A&M star sat out the first two games of the season. In San Diego, he carried the ball seven times for 75 yards.

“We’re obviously glad to get Trey back,” Riley said. “Trey looked good and he was productive. I think everybody saw his explosiveness. He’s got real speed and he hit the edge a couple times and not only had speed around the edge, he made some people miss, which was great.”

The Commanders’ defensive concerns revolve around allowing explosive plays the last two weeks.

“We go along pretty good for a while and we give up a big play and it’s a killer,” Riley said. “We’ve just got to be better on not giving up on big plays.”

Commanders vs. Iron injury report for Wednesday

From a Commanders news release:

SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS

Pos Player Injury Wed. Participation
DT MATT GODIN HEAD DNP
OL FRED LAUINA ANKLE DNP

BIRMINGHAM IRON

Pos Player Injury Wed. Participation
DB TROVON REED R. ANKLE DNP
LB XZAVIER DICKSON L. KNEE DNP
WR AMBA ETTA-TAWO R. KNEE DNP
C JC HASSENAUER KNEE DNP
WR L’DAMIAN WASHINGTON GROIN DNP
QB BLAKE SIMS HAMSTRING LIMITED
LB JONATHAN MASSAQUOI NECK LIMITED
TE BUSTA ANDERSON L. HAMSTRING LIMITED

Did Not Participate in Practice (DNP)

Commanders’ Logan Woodside points to mistakes in loss to Fleet

Commanders quarterbacks Logan Woodside (5) and Marquise Williams (12) at practice Wednesday at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterbacks Logan Woodside (5) and Marquise Williams (12) at practice Wednesday at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet played twice in the first three weeks of the AAF season with each team winning once.

After San Antonio lost the second meeting 31-11 in San Diego, Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside said the team was bogged down by penalties and turnovers in the rematch.

“I think first off we did a lot of things well, obviously not enough to win the game,” Woodside said. “Just got to continue to work, continue to make plays. Obviously can’t have turnovers and penalties. We had nine penalties too. You can’t shoot ourselves in the foot kind of like we’ve been doing. We’ve just got to continue to work.

In Sunday’s game, Woodside threw a touchdown pass on the Commanders’ first play, but also threw two interceptions including a pick-6.

“We were kind of in a groove there at the beginning of the game when scored and we went down and scored and got one called back,” Woodside said. “Penalties started rolling and the turnovers and then we really couldn’t recover from there.”

Woodside has started all three Commanders games at quarterback. He is second in the AAF in passing yards with 629. Despite that, the Commanders are last in the AAF Western Conference (-19) after being outscored 55-75 in three games. The loss to the Fleet was the second straight game Woodside had an interception returned for a touchdown.

“I’m just trying to get better each day,” Woodside said. “It’s a fast-paced game. I’m preparing as best as I can every single day. I’m trying to go out there and execute and have fun.

“Just continue to mesh with these guys, these receivers. Continue to get the ball out, get it to the guys in space and just let them make plays.”

Apollos’ Garrett, Reaser earn player of the week honors

Two members of the Orlando Apollos were named AAF players of the week after their performance against the San Antonio Commanders on Sunday.

From the AAF news release:

Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert. - photo by Joe Alexander
Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert. – photo by Joe Alexander
Offensive player of the week:
Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert.

Gilbert completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 393 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 134.5 passer rating, leading the Apollos’ to a 37-29 come-from-behind win over the Commanders at the Alamodome.

Defensive player of the week:
Orlando CB Keith Reaser.

Reaser had two tackles, three passes defensed and a 38-yard interception return-touchdown with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. Reaser’s late pick-six broke a 29-29 tie and proved to be the game-winning score.

Special teams player of the week:
Birmingham DB Jamar Summers.

Summers recorded three tackles and forced a fumble on punt coverage in the third quarter that was recovered in the end zone by LB Shaheed Salmon for the Iron’s first touchdown of the game, sparking a second-half comeback victory at Legion Field Stadium.