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.”
San Antonio Commanders punter Joseph Zema was named the AAF special teams player of the week.
From the AAF news release:
Special teams player of the week:
San Antonio P Joseph Zema.
In a tightly contested battle, Zema punted five times for a 46.6-yard average with a long of 54 yards and placed one punt inside the 20. Zema also had two tackles in the game, one of which stopped a potential punt return touchdown, and helped secure a 19-15 victory for The Commanders.
Offensive player of the week:
Arizona QB John Wolford.
Wolford completed 15 of 19 passes (78.9 percent) for 212 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 126.3 passer rating and added 44 yards rushing, including a 35-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run that helped lead The Hotshots to a 32-15 victory. Wolford, who also earned offensive player of the week honors in week one, is the first player in Alliance history to win multiple player of the week awards. Photo
Defensive player of the week:
Memphis LB DeMarquis Gates.
Gates led The Express and tied for the league lead in week seven with 10 tackles, including one tackle for loss, and had two quarterback hits in Memphis’ 31-25 overtime victory. Gates, who leads the league with 46 tackles this season, also contributed by blocking a punt which was returned 50 yards for a touchdown in the second half. Photo
About twice every weekend, Rose walks out on to a football field and nails a field goal.
The former University of Texas kicker, teaming up with holder Joe Zema and long snapper Scott Daly, is 11-of-11 on field goal tries this season for the San Antonio Commanders.
But Rose hasn’t had one of those moments to bring the San Antonio fans out of their seats.
It’s bound to happen eventually.
The Commanders (4-2) are on the top of the AAF West standings, one game ahead of the San Diego Fleet (3-3) and Arizona Hotshots (3-3). The Fleet have had their last two games decided on a field goal at the end – winning a game when they made a field goal and losing a game when the other team made their’s.
The Commanders have four, five or six games left in the season. They have four regular-season games left, including today’s meeting with the Salt Lake Stallions (2-4) at 7 p.m. at the Alamodome. The fifth and sixth games, if they get there, are the conference final and AAF championship game.
Playing on the Commanders’ home field – they are in the Alamodome for the next three games – estimate that Rose has a good chance of making it from as far out as 61 yards. That means that once the Commanders cross the opposing 43-yard line, they are in the Rose Zone.
If and when the time comes, expect Rose to quietly walk out on the field and do his job. If he gets his moment at home, count on the fans in the Alamodome to finally make plenty of noise for him.
For the first time since the Commanders started training workouts on Jan. 5, it felt more like winter in San Antonio. The players hit the field under clowdy skies and temperatures in the low 40s. It inched up a few degrees by the time practice ended about 1:15.”
“It’s Texas in January. It’s 70 and then 40. We just deal with it,” said Commanders coach Mike Riley, who spent time as a college head coach at Oregon State and Nebraska. “It really doesn’t feel any different for me getting started. It feels like training camp and the start of the season.
The players wore helmets but no pads – making it a day bodies could heal. Coaches could focus on teaching and there was less competing for positions. The players generally had hoodies on under their jerseys.
“Totally teaching,” Riley said. “I’ve done this for a long time and had to make a lot of fall camp practice schedules in my life. I’m just using that experience to see what’s happened with some guys.
“After three of four days in a row, a day to slow down is not bad. Then three or four more days then have a day off. I think there is a rotation in there somewhere to give them a day off physically rather than go six straight days full speed real hard. You’re at some point going to get diminishing returns.”
The talk of the football world on Sunday night was a missed field goal on the final play of the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory over the Chicago Bears.
San Antonio Commanders coach Mike Riley has been around long enough to have thoughts on working with players who shoulder the blame for tough losses.
“There’s a lot of mental parts that go into it,” Riley said. “The fact of the matter is that it was tough, it was a miss.
“What we coach is it’s a great opportunity to show that you can bounce back and that you’re-tough minded enough to do it and it’s a great chance to build a better you.”
Training camp update: Monday, Jan. 7, 2019
It was warmer and more humid than the first two days of practice, up to about 75 degrees when the players walked off the field. There were lots of visiting coaches on the sidelines, due largely to the American Football Coaches Association convention in San Antonio.
The Commanders went through their first two practices on Saturday and Sunday with helmets but no pads. On Monday, they added shoulder pads. “It feels like real football,” one assistant coach said.
“If was given the choice I would go with shoulder pads on the very first day and still keep them up just because I think it provides them the protection when you’re running through the hole from the back,” Riley said. “I think it’s good. Frankly it wasn’t a lot different, except for the interaction in the line.”
Come watch practice
The Commanders’ daily news update includes the following:
“NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: All practices for teams of The Alliance of American Football are now open to the general public. Fans are required to sit in the stands.”
Henry Poggi, a fullback from Iowa State, is now No. 45 on the roster. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds.
Mabry no longer on roster
Former UTSA defensive lineman Ashaad Mabry is no longer on the roster. He was listed as a defensive end at 6-foot-2, 312 pounds wearing No. 97. Mabry was at the first training camp practice on Saturday, but didn’t have a helmet on. He was with the team in mini-camp. The team announced he was placed on the reserved/injured list via the waiver system.
The Alliance of American Football (AAF) on Monday released a list of its first 100 players – including three who are assigned to Alliance San Antonio.
Incarnate Word punter Joseph Zema is the first player from a local university to be assigned to Alliance San Antonio.
Sergio Castillo, a kicker from West Texas A&M, and Matthew Godin, a defensive tackle from Michigan were also assigned to Alliance San Antonio.
Zema was named top punter in NCAA Division I FCS for the 2017 season. More information on the UIW website: uiwcardinals.com
Castillo played his final season at West Texas A&M in 2013. He made 38 of 49 field goals in his career with a long of 56 and converted 174 of 177 extra-points.
Godin played in 13 games as a senior at Michigan in 2016 and recorded 18 solo tackles, 9 assists and 1.0 sacks. Godin spent last season with the Houston Texans, but did not play in any games due to an ACL injury. The Texans listed him as a 6-foot-6, 295-pound defensive end.
The full list of the first 100 AAF players is available on the AAF website: aaf.com