Well, football fans, week one of the AAF is in the history books. Thus far the general reception seems overwhelmingly positive, despite a couple of truly lopsided games last week. As with any good thing fans want more.
Below is a look ahead to Week two’s matchup between the Arizona Hotshots and the Memphis Express.
Previewing the AAF Week Two Matchup of Arizona Hotshots at Memphis Express
Arizona Hotshots (1-0)
The Arizona Hotshots take their scorching offense halfway across the country for the late game on Saturday night. Their Week one matchup was an offensive dual where they outlasted the Salt Lake Stallions 38-22. Quarterback John Wolford led the way with 275 passing yards capped off by four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed eight times for 23 yards.
Jhurell Pressley led the Hotshots rushing attack with 64 yards on 18 carries. Pressley had moments where he looked like a plodder but broke away for a long run of twenty-five yards in the first quarter. Pressley also hauled in one pass for 30 yards and a touchdown and added a two-point conversion.
Rashad Ross led all wide receivers with 103 yards on five receptions and came down with two of Wolford’s touchdown passes. Richard Mullaney finished with five receptions for 57 yards. Gerald Christian finished with 44 yards and one touchdown.
The Hotshots defense, though victorious, was certainly not unbeatable. They surrendered 159 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 88 yards and one score on the ground.
Memphis Express (0-1)
Memphis limped back home after being shutout by the Birmingham Iron. The offense, though quickly-paced, came up empty against what appears to be a solid defense. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg struggled under constant pressure, often tossing up passes that were off target. He finished 10-of-23 for 88 scoreless yards and one interception. Brandon Silvers came on in relief of Hackenberg and promptly threw an interception on his second pass attempt.
Alton Howard led the Express receivers with 33 receiving yards on four receptions. Howard is the fastest receiver of the group and may be the fasted player on the team. Fabian Guerra, who looked like their best receiver in the previous week’s scrimmage game, disappointingly finished with one reception on four targets for 11 yards. Reece Horn had 28 yards on his two receptions.
The Express defense had moments where they looked very solid. In the end, they wore down and got trampled by Trent Richardson, who scored two touchdowns. They allowed 252 passing yards and 86 rushing yards in the loss.
Last Word On The Hotshots vs. The Express
Expect Wolford to look to build on last week’s success. The Hotshots are going to come out throwing and use Wolford’s accuracy and his receivers’ speed to gash the Express defense. If the Express want to stay in this game, they’ll need to try and slow down Wolford and his quick receivers.
It’s too early in the season for the Express to feel required to sink or swim with Hackenberg. It shouldn’t be a surprise if they give the reps this week to Zach Mettenberger and see what he can do. In fact, it would be a bigger surprise if they don’t go with Mettenberger.
Assuming they don’t fall behind right away and can lean on Stacy and the run game more, they may find themselves with their first points of the season. Stacy and “Pig” Howard should be focal points of this offense as both players offer a shifty type of versatility that can be game-changing.