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Arena Football League Week Three Roundup
Week Three in the Arena Football League started and ended with nail-biters and had all kinds of action packed in between. Let's take a look at what happened.
Chicago Rush 51, Orlando Predators 49
The Chicago Rush (2-0) survived an intense battle with the visiting Orlando Predators (0-2) and escaped with a 51-49 victory at Allstate Arena on March 22 after falling behind 14-0 early on. Rush WR Reggie Gray caught 10 passes for 104 yards and five touchdowns while DL Derek Walker made the Predators' lives difficult with a sack, a quarterback hurry, an interception, and four tackles, two of which went for a loss. Orlando WR Nate Forse had a big game with 11 receptions for 135 yards and two scores.
For more, see Chicago Rush elude Orlando Predators for Week 3 win.
Cleveland Gladiators 49, Kansas City Command 39
The Cleveland Gladiators (1-1) defense blanked the Kansas City Command (0-2) in the third quarter on their way to a 49-39 win in their home opener at The Q on March 23. The defense intercepted Command QB Nate Davis three times and held the visitors to just 215 yards of offense. Glads DB Levy Brown led the charge with 6.5 tackles, an interception, and two pass break-ups. The Command defense was also stifling, holding Cleveland to a mere 182 yards of offense a week after allowing just 202 yards to Jacksonville. Ultimately, though, the Gladiators' ability to stop Kansas City twice on downs and once by Brown's interception in the third quarter gave the home team enough breathing room to post the victory.
Philadelphia Soul 84, Pittsburgh Power 59
Dan Raudabaugh threw seven touchdown passes—four to Donovan Morgan—as the Philadelphia Soul (2-0) set a new franchise record for points scored in a game while defeating the Pittsburgh Power (1-1), 84-59, on NET10 Arena Football Friday. The Power played the Soul closely for three quarters, but Philadelphia got into a groove in the final frame, pulling away from the home team. The two teams combined for 11 turnovers and each team scored on offense, defense, and special teams in the Keystone Collision.
For more, see Philadelphia Soul flex their muscles in Keystone Collision.
Milwaukee Mustangs 65, New Orleans VooDoo 42
The Milwaukee Mustangs (1-1) returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the final :32 of the game to seal a 65-42 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo (0-2) in the Graveyard on March 23, continuing the VooDoo's frustrations at home. Kurt Rocco had another productive game for the home team, throwing for 343 yards and five touchdowns, but his two late pick-sixes—one by Ryan McFoy and the other by Marcus Everett :27 later—made the final score appear more lopsided than the game actually was. The Mustangs had kicked a field goal with :42 left in the game to take a tenuous 10-point lead when the wheels came off the wagon for the VooDoo. Jonathan Williams had a big game for the Mustangs with six receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns, while VooDoo receivers Greg Ellingson (10 catches, 142 yards, two touchdowns) and Josh Bush (8-109-2) countered for New Orleans.
Georgia Force 69, Jacksonville Sharks 41
After a choppy couple of games to start the season, the visiting Georgia Force (2-1) were crisp and efficient on March 24, scoring early and often and making short work of the Jacksonville Sharks (1-1), 69-41. Force QB R.J. Archer tossed eight touchdown passes and scored a ninth on the ground in the South Division match-up. Archer passed for 269 yards and led the Force in rushing with 39 yards, committing no turnovers in the game. Georgia WR Larry Shipp had an enormous game, catching 12 passes for 144 yards and six trips into the end zone, and likely including himself in the conversation for the league's Offensive Player of the Week award. Brandon McCrae was also productive for the Force, hauling in 11 receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Sharks QB Omar Jacobs had a disastrous first start of the season, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble. One of his interceptions was returned for a touchdown by Georgia DB Eric Crosby as the Force jumped out to a 41-14 halftime lead and never looked back.
Utah Blaze 60, San Jose SaberCats 59
In what is already being hailed by many fans as one of the best AFL games in recent memory, the Utah Blaze (2-1) slipped past the visiting San Jose SaberCats (1-1), 60-59, on March 24. Blaze QB Tommy Grady found WR Alvance Robinson for a nine-yard touchdown strike with :10 left in the game, providing the third touchdown between the two teams in a :35 span to close out the thriller. Blaze fans then had to hold their collective breath as SaberCats kicker Jacob Harfman launched a 38-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The kick veered wide left, and the Blaze faithful were rewarded with a move into first place in the West Division in the team's home opener. Grady threw for 339 yards and seven touchdowns, adding an eighth score on the ground. Robinson will be giving Shipp a run for his money in the Offensive Player of the Week discussion after catching 12 passes for 165 yards and three scores. Teammate Aaron Lesue was busy, too, reeling in 15 catches for 125 yards and four touchdowns.
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