Arizona finds offense to lead epic start to weekend

by Cameron Irvine

In the first game of the season, Arizona (1-1) managed less than 200 yards of offense and just seven first downs. The Scorpions poured 425 yards of offense and 24 first downs on Los Angeles (0-2) Saturday night in a 41-27 win over Los Angeles. 

D.J. Moses II got over the century mark on the ground with 101 yards on 18 carries and fullback Jay Balmer got his first touchdown as a Scorpion to help lead a much more proficient running game. TJ Punk also had 100 yards through the air. Los Angeles' Monte Wyatt turned in a SFL-leading 17 solo tackle performance in the loss. LA was outscored 17-3 in the second half after a 24-24 wild first half that saw a Bubba Tree 96-yard kick return touchdown and a Bubba Tree kick return fumble that turned into a 20-yard score for Arizona's Mike Churchill.

Queen City (1-1) was just seconds away from a second-straight road win before Houston completed an inspired 21-20 comeback to improve to 2-0. The Corsairs led 20-9 before Houston earned the final 12 points in the last five minutes of regulation. Houston had -2 yards of total offense in the third quarter but found a rhythm behind 92 all-purpose yards from G.P. Wells. Queen City's Alex Marshall (12 solo tackles) and Houston's Chris Britton III (11 solo tackles) paced both strong defenses.

In similar fashion, the Jacksonville Kings (1-1) got three field goals from Jordan Bradshaw in the fourth quarter/overtime to shock Charleston (0-2) in their house, 23-20. It was Charleston's second-straight 23-20 loss - back-to-back losses to Eastern Division opponents. Jacksonville's defense slowed the Predators in the second half and held the Preds to just 259 yards of offense in the game. Quarterback OJ Bruin struggled much of the night but his ability to make plays outside the pocket continue to be a difference maker. Receiver Conner Weston had his second-straight 100-yard performance (9 rec, 128 yds). 

Despite out-gaining Atlanta Saturday, the Carolina Skyhawks (0-2) left critical points on the board in a 23-17 loss to the Swarm (1-1). The Skyhawks missed on a 4th-and-1 try late in the first half, threw a goal line interception in the third quarter and fell a few yards and seconds short of completing a game-winning drive down the stretch. Halfback BDG Hollewood got to 106 yards on 22 carries with a score. Chris Curtis had 128 receiving yards in the loss. Aquantis Shyne turned in 13 solo tackles to pace Atlanta's defense.

On Friday, the D.C. Dragons (2-0) roughed up Denver (1-1) 37-17 and Fort Worth (1-1) built a big lead and then held on 31-19 against Minnesota (0-1). For the Toros, Marcus Dunhill had 253 passing yards in the first half but only 56 in the second half as Minnesota's defense clamped down and even earned a 64-yard pick-6 from Jonny Bravo. Toro Receivers EJ Mincin (7 rec, 121 yds, 1 TD) and Stephen Hacker (8 rec, 138 yds, 1 TD) dominated plenty early. Minnesota wideout Tee DaQueen turned in career highs (11 rec, 136 yds, 1 TD) in the loss. In D.C., quarterback Shabazz Psynergy turned in a 143.5 QBR, fullback Chuck Stellar rushed for 105 yards on 16 carries and Lauren Percoco added an onside kick return touchdown to her resume. The Dragons have won their first two games this season by a combined 38 points.