Orlando Apollos Remain Undefeated, San Diego Fleet Win as Time Expires
March 9, 2019 - Alliance of American Football (AAF) News Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Week five of The Alliance of American Football started with The Orlando Apollos winning a highly anticipated matchup versus The Birmingham Iron in a game that was flexed to TNT. In the night cap, The San Diego Fleet put in a record setting defensive performance to win a nail biter over the The Salt Lake Stallions, remaining undefeated at home and moving into first place in the Western Conference.
"The addition of two games to TNT at the halfway point of the season shows the continued interest fans have in the league," said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO, The Alliance. "A showdown between Coach Spurrier's top-ranked offense against Coach Lewis' top-ranked defense and a gripping, down-to-the-wire matchup between The Fleet and The Stallions were exciting, top-flight football games in March, something that wasn't even a possibility this time last year."
The Orlando Apollos beat The Birmingham Iron 31-14 to remain undefeated and in first place in the Eastern Conference. Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert and The Alliance's top-ranked offense got off to a fast start, finishing the opening drive with a 21-yard touchdown throw to TE Scott Orndoff. Apollos DB Keith Reaser extended the early lead, returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdown, his second defensive score of the season. A two-point conversion made it 14-0 Apollos.
Reaser is the cousin of former Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor, who tragically died from gunshot wounds during a house invasion in 2007. A fifth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, he started his pro career on injured reserve, recovering from a torn ACL suffered during his senior year at Florida Atlantic University. After appearing in 29 games for the 49ers, he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. Another injury would derail his tenure, and now he's fighting for another shot at the NFL.
Iron RB Trent Richardson ran for his league leading eighth touchdown of the season, as the offense came to life before the half with QB Keith Price under center. The Iron carried the positive momentum over to the second half, when a 30-yard touchdown pass from Price to RB Brandon Ross - The Iron's first touchdown through the air - cut the score to 20-14. Price played his college football for the Washington Huskies and was an undrafted free agent signing by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. After three seasons in the CFL, Price saw his first action with The Alliance when he replaced Luis Perez in the first quarter. The Apollos offense proved too strong, as another Gilbert to WR Charles Johnson touchdown connection in the fourth quarter sealed the win.
The San Diego Fleet defense forced five turnovers and K Donny Hageman hit a game-winning field goal as time expired in a thrilling 27-25 win over The Salt Lake Stallions. Fleet WR/DB Kameron Kelly grabbed an Alliance record three interceptions, returning one for a 23-yard touchdown to seal the win. Kelly transitioned from wide receiver to safety to defensive back at San Diego State, finishing his senior year as a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection. He was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys and played four preseason games. He now plays both side of the ball for The Fleet.
In the third quarter, Fleet DB Jordan Martin returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown and 12-11 lead. On the ensuing Stallions drive, Fleet DE Damontre Moore sacked Stallions QB Austin Allen, forcing and recovering a fumble. The offense capitalized on the turnover when QB Mike Bercovici hit TE Ben Johnson for an 18-yard touchdown pass and catch and an 18-11 lead. Bercovici threw for 304 yards and a touchdown in his return to the starting lineup.
Stallions RB Joel Bouagnon ran for two touchdowns to keep The Stallions in striking distance. QB Josh Woodrum showed his resilient nature, overcoming three interceptions to lead The Stallions on what seemingly was a game-winning final drive, connecting on a six-yard touchdown to TE Nick Truesdell to pull within one. Woodrum then scrambled and completed a pass to WR Kenny Bell for a successful two-point conversion to take the lead. Bercovici, however, drove The Fleet into field goal position with a 45-yard strike to WR Dontez Ford. Hageman split the uprights from 44 yards, and The Fleet remain undefeated at home.
Follow along Sunday as QB Zach Mettenberger and The Memphis Express take on QB Aaron Murray and the Atlanta Legends at 4:00pm ET on CBS Sports Network and the San Antonio Commanders challenge The Arizona Hotshots at 8:00pm ET on NFL Network in a battle for first place in the Western Conference.
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Alliance of American Football Stories from March 9, 2019
- Orlando Apollos Remain Undefeated, San Diego Fleet Win as Time Expires - AAF
- Apollos defense sets tone in statement win over Iron - Orlando Apollos
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