The Alliance of American Football reached its halfway point over the weekend, as week five of the 10-week regular season concluded.
Former Husker De’Mornay Pierson-El had his most productive week of the season, but Mike Riley and Alonzo Moore were the only participants with a Nebraska connection to win a game.
In week five’s other action, the Orlando Apollos established themselves as the top team in the AAF with a 31-14 victory over the Birmingham Iron in a battle of the top-two teams in the Eastern Division. Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, as the Apollos remain the lone undefeated team in the league.
The Atlanta Legends won their second game in a row, downing the Memphis Express 23-20. Former Georgia Bulldog Aaron Murray posted another strong passing performance in his second career AAF start, throwing for 306 yards and one touchdown.
Legends’ kicker Younghoe Koo kicked the go-ahead 35-yard field goal with 13 seconds left to give the Legends the victory. Koo, the former embattled Los Angeles Chargers kicker who was released after four weeks, is 11/11 on field goals this year.
Week five in the AAF separated the contenders from the pretenders, and several former Huskers tried to make sure their teams picked up a critical victory.
Kieron Williams, Arizona Hotshots
After not recording a tackle in week four, Williams totaled one tackle at safety for the Hotshots in week five.
Arizona struggled in the first half against San Antonio, as the Hotshots trailed 26-0 at halftime. A poor defensive showing combined with three first-half interceptions from quarterback John Wolford contributed to Arizona’s halftime deficit.
The Hotshots woke up in the second half, scoring 25 points while limiting San Antonio to a field goal. Even with a strong second half, Arizona was unable to overcome its first-half mistakes and fell 29-25. After starting 2-0, the Hotshots have lost their last three games.
NEXT UP: The Hotshots will look to break their losing streak when they travel to Orlando to face the undefeated Apollos on Saturday, March 16. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be aired on NFL Network.
Terrell Newby, Salt Lake Stallions
Newby’s role in the Stallions’ offense is expanding weekly, but in week five he made a critical mistake against the San Diego Fleet.
In the third quarter, Newby fumbled a first-down carry which Fleet safety Jordan Martin returned for a touchdown to give San Diego a 12-11 lead. Newby also ran the ball six times for two yards.
While Newby failed to get going on the ground, he caught four passes for 33 yards and picked up some key first downs for the Stallions.
Despite the fumble, Newby’s receiving prowess out of the backfield for the Stallions is a positive sign that may lead to more touches as the season progresses.
NEXT UP: The Stallions will look for their second win of the season when they host the Memphis Express on Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m. The game will be streamed through Bleacher Report Live.
De’Mornay Pierson-El, Salt Lake Stallions
Pierson-El bounced back in a big way from a 24-yard receiving performance in week four, leading the Stallions with eight receptions for 130 yards. The Stallions were unable to capitalize on Pierson-El’s productive day, dropping to 1-4 in a 27-25 defeat in San Diego.
Kenny Bell, Salt Lake Stallions
Bell had another productive performance in week five, totaling 22 yards on five receptions with a two-point conversion.
The conversion was the biggest moment of Bell’s AAF career, as quarterback Josh Woodrum found Bell on a busted play to give Salt Lake a 25-24 lead with 51 seconds remaining. Bell’s two-point conversion capped a 13-point, fourth-quarter Stallion comeback.
Unfortunately, Salt Lake’s defense was unable to contain the Fleet offense on the final drive, as San Diego quarterback Mike Bercovici quickly put the offense in field-goal range. Kicker Donny Hageman sealed the victory for the Fleet with a 43-yard field goal as time expired.
Josh Banderas, Salt Lake Stallions
Banderas recorded his first tackle for the Stallions against the Fleet, seeing action at linebacker and special teams.
Alonzo Moore, San Antonio Commanders
Moore continued his big-play reputation in week five, bouncing back from an unproductive week four with two receptions for 54 yards.
Moore’s lone positive reception came in the second quarter on a beautiful long pass from Commander quarterback Logan Woodside that went for 57 yards. Moore also rushed once for three yards in San Antonio’s 29-25 victory over Arizona.
NEXT UP: The Commanders will look to win their third-consecutive game when they travel to face the Atlanta Legends on Sunday, March 17, at 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Mike Riley, San Antonio Commanders
Mike Riley’s defense led the way for the second week in a row, helping San Antonio to a 3-2 record.
The Commander defense flattened Arizona’s offense in the first half, forcing four turnovers including a first-quarter pick-six by Derron Smith. San Antonio shut Arizona out in the first half while scoring 26 points. The game appeared to be a blowout, with all signs pointing to things getting worse for the Hotshots.
Instead, San Antonio took its foot off the gas and allowed Arizona back into the game. The Commanders’ offense could only manage a field goal against an Arizona defense that was porous in the first half.
Meanwhile, San Antonio’s defense struggled to contain Arizona’s dynamic duo of Wolford and wide receiver Rashad Ross. Ross burned San Antonio’s defense for a 45-yard, third-quarter touchdown that kick-started the Arizona comeback.
The Hotshots added two late touchdowns to cut the score to 29-25, but Riley’s defense stepped up on the onside conversion and sacked Wolford to preserve the victory for San Antonio. With the win, the Commanders took over first place in the Western Division.