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Apollos first in The Alliance to clinch a playoff spot after 36-6 rout of Legends

March 23, 2019 - Alliance of American Football (AAF) - Orlando Apollos News Release

The Orlando Apollos are a playoff team.

Led by running back De'Veon Smith's three rushing touchdowns, Orlando beat the Atlanta Legends at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta 36-6 Saturday afternoon, clinching a spot in The Alliance of American Football's inaugural Eastern Conference championship game. The Apollos are now 6-1 on the season.

The Apollos' next home game is Saturday, April 6, when the Apollos host the San Diego Fleet. First snap is set for 8 p.m. Eastern time, 5 p.m. San Diego, at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus. The game can be seen nationally on NFL Network. Buy your tickets here:

The Legends have improved a great deal since losing to the Apollos 40-6 in Week 1, and in the first half of this week's game, it looked like things would be close. There were just six combined possessions in the first half, due to long, sustained drives by both offenses. Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert and Atlanta quarterback Aaron Murray completed a combined 86 percent of their passes in a first half where it seemed both defenses tried to take away the big play while allowing things to work underneath.

Any hope of a close game disappeared in the second half, when Atlanta turned the ball over twice to end promising drives. The first came in the third quarter, when Apollos cornerback Deji Olatoye intercepted a pass from Legends quarterback Aaron Murray and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. That put Orlando up 28-6, and it was all Apollos from there.

Murray would throw another interception on the Legends' next possession, this one to cornerback Cody Riggs at the Apollos' goal line. He was then replaced at quarterback by Matt Simms.

Gilbert added a touchdown pass, to wide receiver Charles Johnson, in the fourth quarter, and the Apollos ran out the clock from there.

Next week, Orlando travels to Memphis, where they'll face head coach Mike SIngletary, quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Memphis Express. Orlando won its first game against the Express at home, 21-17. First snap is set for 2 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 30. The game will be streamed on Bleacher Report Live.


Tom Alexander covers the Orlando Apollos for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @TheTomAlexander.

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Alliance of American Football Stories from March 23, 2019

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