Commanders fall to Hotshots – photo gallery part 2

Commanders cornerback Duke Thomas (21) breaks up a pass intended for Hotshots wide receiver Rashad Ross on Sunday at the Alamodome. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders cornerback Duke Thomas (21) breaks up a pass intended for Hotshots wide receiver Rashad Ross on Sunday at the Alamodome. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders’ four-game win streak ended Sunday with a home-field 23-6 loss to the Arizona Hotshots at the Alamodome.

The Commanders turn around with a short week. They play the Memphis Express on Saturday at 11 a.m. (Central) at the Alamodome. The Express are coming off a 34-31 loss to the Orlando Apollos.

Hotshots smother Commanders

Commanders kicker Nick Rose made a 54-yard field goal in the second quarter. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders kicker Nick Rose made a 54-yard field goal in the second quarter. – photo by Joe Alexander
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.

Commanders offense vs. Stallions photo gallery

De'Marcus Ayers heads upfield after catching a pass against the Stallions on Saturday at the Alamodome. - photo by Joe Alexander
De’Marcus Ayers heads upfield after catching a pass against the Stallions on Saturday at the Alamodome. – photo by Joe Alexander
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.

Trey Williams soars in with Commanders’ winning touchdown

Commanders running back Trey Williams celebrates with the fans near the end zone after scoring the winning touchdown. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders running back Trey Williams celebrates with the fans near the end zone after scoring the winning touchdown. – photo by Joe Alexander
It’s something that the San Antonio Commanders talked about since training camp.

Trey Williams has explosiveness.

If you get the ball to the former Texas A&M running back in space, magical things can happen.

Saturday night the Commanders got the ball to Williams in space. Winning things happened.

The Commanders and Salt Lake Stallions were tied 9-9 at the Alamodome with less than six minutes left. Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams had the ball in a run-pass option and threw the ball out to Trey Williams.

Commanders receivers Greg Ward Jr. and De’Marcus Ayers made blocks on the outside. Tight end Evan Rodriguez got off the line and made a block.

After that, Stallions defenders kept chasing Trey Williams – but the outcome of the play was already set. He headed down the right sideline and dove into the end zone to make it 15-9. The Commanders led the rest of the way.

Marquise Williams rallies Commanders past Stallions

Commanders running back Trey Williams scores the go-ahead touchdown on a 36-yard pass from Marquise Williams with 5:25 left in the game. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders running back Trey Williams scores the go-ahead touchdown on a 36-yard pass from Marquise Williams with 5:25 left in the game. – photo by Joe Alexander
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.

  • De’Vante Bausby’s interception wraps up victory
  • Pregame scene at the Alamodome
  • Rock concert crowd breaks out at Commanders game

    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.

    The Stallions’ second field goal tied it 6-6.

  • Kenneth Farrow II powers Commanders past Iron

    Image via Twitter from @aafcommanders

    Kenneth Farrow II rushed for an AAF-record 142 yards to power the San Antonio Commanders to a 12-11 victory over the previously undefeated Birmingham Iron on Sunday in Birmingham.

    The Commanders (2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and earned the first road victory in franchise history. The Iron fell to 3-1.

    “The Iron have a good, solid football team,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “They are very, very sound and physical. They are really hard to score against when you get down in the red zone, as everybody saw. Both teams had to fight to the end and I was real proud that we won the game.”

    Farrow, the Commanders’ leading ball carrier on the season, started at running back against the Iron and had the bulk of the carries. Trey Williams also saw some action at running back. The Commanders finished with 161 rushing yards as a team.

    “Ken is a good solid player,” Riley said. “We have good running backs. Ken is a good example of that group and had a very special night. He ran hard, worked hard. All of it was hard. The game was hard. It was physical, hard football.”

    Farrow had a big part in the Commanders’ only touchdown drive of the game in the third quarter. Williams finished the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run that put the Commanders up 9-3.

    The Commanders got their best starting field position of the game in the fourth quarter after a fumble recovery. Nick Rose kicked a 20-yard field goal with 3:58 left to extend the Commanders’ lead to 12-3. That field goal came after the Iron stuffed a series of Commanders running plays on a goal-line stand.

    “Birmingham has been the leading red zone defense in the league,” Riley said. “We just about tried it all. We’re just going to have to go back and look at it again. At some point you have to block them to get into the end zone. We didn’t. They stopped us and that’s what kept the game interesting all the way down to the end.”

    Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside completed 11-of-25 passes for 106 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

    “I thought Logan did a great job of competing and making some plays and doing some things we needed to do,” Riley said. “We didn’t throw the ball as effectively throughout the game as we wanted to. That was due both to the way the game was going and what we tried to do with the football when we got it, which was run the ball primarily.

    “Also the pressure he got made it tough to make some throws. And then we hit some big throws. On one in particular we got a penalty, which was crazy bad timing.”

    The Commanders scaled back some of the rotations they used in earlier games. Instead of using three running backs, the stuck with Farrow and Williams. And Marquise Williams, who saw time at quarterback the previous two games, was not involved in this game.

    The Iron made the game close late. Trent Richardson scored on a 1-yard run with 1:41 remaining. Luis Perez threw for the two-point conversion to cut the Commanders’ lead to one point.

    In the AAF’s substitute for an on-side kick, Commanders safety Orion Stewart made an interception to end the Iron’s last hope.

    The Commanders have two more road games before returning to the Alamodome. Next up is the Arizona Hotshots on Sunday at 7 p.m. Central (NFL Network).

    Images from Twitter.com
    @aafcommanders

    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’ running game powered by former Texas high school players

    San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green played at Madison High School and TCU. - photo by Joe Alexander
    San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green played at Madison High School and TCU. – photo by Joe Alexander
    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.

    Commanders GM Daryl Johnston on cuts, 52-man roster

    Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. – photo by Joe Alexander
    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.