A weekend that featured two battles of conference powerhouses saw the streaking Orlando Apollos and San Antonio Commanders pull off statement wins.
Another perfect performance from quarterback Garrett Gilbert guided Orlando to a fifth straight win as they blew by the Birmingham Iron, 31-14, at Legion Field on Saturday.
Gilbert torched the Iron’s defense, throwing for two touchdowns and a total of 286 passing yards. He completely outperformed Birmingham quarterback Luis Perez, who was subbed out after the first half and replaced by Keith Price.
After the game, Gilbert gave all praise to his offensive line.
“I can’t say enough about those five guys. De’Veon and D’Ernest did a great job running, but that starts with those five up front.”
Fair to say, running backs De’Veon Smith and D’Ernest Johnson were large beneficiaries to the Apollos’ good offensive line as they both surpassed the century mark in total scrimmage yards combining for 241 yards in the game.
With the win, Orlando is now 5-0 at the season and has established themselves as the team to beat in a one-sided Eastern Conference. On the other hand, Birmingham’s loss is their second straight, after falling in a nail-biter against the San Antonio Commanders last week.
The Commanders, who will be at Atlanta next weekend for a chance to solidify its hold to the top spot at the Western Conference, survived the Arizona Hotshots on Sunday, 29-25.
After being up by as many as 26 points and shutting out Arizona in the first half, San Antonio found themselves in a close fourth-quarter game as the Hotshots rallied to a 25-3 second-half surge.
Thanks to good defensive adjustments by defensive coordinator Jim Grobe and head coach Mike Riley and the Commanders rolled on to their second road win in three tries.
San Diego was featured in a nerve-cracking 27-25 victory over the Salt Lake Stallions last Saturday while San Antonio’s next foes, the Atlanta Legends recorded their second win after dropping Memphis Express in their own thrilling match, 23-20.