The third week of the inaugural AAF season is underway and Saturday's primetime matchup featured the Orlando Apollos and the Memphis Express. Way too early indictors are pointing towards the Orlando Apollos emerging as a dominant force in this startup league.
The Apollos come in with an undefeated record under the Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier. Coach Spurrier looks like a he is re-living his glory days running one of the most electric offenses in the league. On the other side of the ball, defensive-minded Mike Singletary is looking to get his team in the win column for the first time this season.
Spurrier's offense jumped to an early lead as the Memphis Express looked to be out matched. The Apollos offense then started to sputter as the game progressed. Afterwards, Spurrier attributed the offensive struggles to changes in coverage made by Singletary's defense. Spurrier recognized his teams inability to adapt when he said, "We just didn't do very well. We better learn to adjust a little better". The other issue for the Apollo's was their lack of discipline with unnecessary penalties. Spurrier commented, "I think it's individuals and a bad job coaching by me". The first half would end with paltry score of 9-0.
In a moment of clarity, Mike Singletary finally pulls Christian Hackenberg at the half. Singletary said, "We just felt that at that time, coming back out in the second half Zach was going to be the best guy". Hackenberg had another dissappointing outing with multiple interceptions.
The third quarter sees alternating scores as each team strikes with big plays. New QB Zach Mettenberger led this Memphis Express to it's first score in the third quarter giving the Express the spark that they needed. The Apollos were still sitting with a comfortable lead heading in to the final quarter with the score board sitting at 15-6.
The forth quarter would see the Apollos strike first at the 8:58 mark, QB Garrett Gilbert used his legs to make some nifty moves and scramble to the endzone. Garrett said after the game, I'm not going to out run anybody but every once in while, a little deception keeps everyone on their toes".
The Memphis Express started to look desperate down 21-9 but the the Express would not go down without fight as they put together a valiant last ditch effort at a comeback. The efforts would unfortunately come up a little short as the Express were defeated 21-17. The future of the Express looks to be brighter as Mettenberger proves he can lead this team.
Shameless Plug: Listen to Loudbeard as he brings it hot and live on Scout Team Radio M-F 6:00-7:00am EST on 12ozSportsRadio.com.
What we have learned:
- Hackenberg should never set foot again on an AAF field let alone an NFL field
- Garrett Gilbert will be on an NFL roster in 2019
- Chris America is still not the best member of the Scout Team
- Fans are showing real interest and support for the Alliance as announced attendence at Spectrum Stadium increased from the Apollos season opener