Commanders knock off Hot Shots in desert


By Cody Bays

TEMPE, Ariz. — The San Antonio Commanders turned four first-half turnovers by the Arizona Hotshots (2-3) into 18 points to stake a 26-0 halftime lead. In the second half, the Commanders (3-2) were able to hold onto the lead and beat the Hotshots 29-25 on Sunday evening at Sun Devil Stadium.

Commanders’ quarterback Logan Woodside completed 21 of his 27 passes for a season high 290 yards, in addition to two TDs. San Antonio finished with 367 yards offensively, as they tied their season high in points in the win. Defensively, the Commanders forced five turnovers on Sunday, the most in team history.

Arizona ran the ball 29 times for 112 yards, and quarterback John Wolford threw two TDs.

Safety Derron Smith put the Commanders on the board first with a 66-yard pick-six of the Hotshots’ John Wolford at the 12:25 mark of the first quarter. The interception ended Arizona’s initial drive of the game that had covered 28 yards in seven plays.

After the Commanders defense forced Hotshots 3-and-out, the San Antonio offense took over on its own 12-yard line and proceeded to put together a 10-play, 88-yard drive that culminated in a 54-yard Logan Woodside to Mekale McKay touchdown pass. Woodside ran in the ensuing two-point try to give the visitors a 14-0 lead with less than 10 minutes elapsed off the clock.

Reigning Alliance Offensive Player of the Week Kenneth Farrow II extended the Commanders’ lead to 20-0 with a 1-yard TD plunge 2:25 into the second quarter. The drive, which encompassed nine plays and 38 yards, was set up by a Jayrone Elliott recovery of a Justin Stockton fumble on a 3-and-1 from the Hotshots’ 36.

Following Smith’s second interception of the first half, Woodside found tight end Stehly Reden alone across the middle of the end zone for the Commanders’ fourth TD of the opening half. The five-yard TD pass, which gave the Commanders’ a 26-0 lead, capped San Antonio’s 70-yard drive that included a 57-yard Woodside to Alonzo Moore connection that set the Commanders up at the Hotshots’ 13-yard line.

Arizona made it a 26-8 game with 5:31 showing on the third-quarter clock with a 45-yard Wolford to Rashad Ross TD pass. The drive was ignited by an Erick Dargen interception of Woodside at the Arizona 2-yard line as San Antonio was driving for its fifth TD of the evening.

Nick Folk added three points for the Hotshots’ with 13:04 to play. The 23-yard field goal, trimmed the Commanders’ lead to 26-11.

San Antonio immediately answered with a field goal of its own as Nick Rose made his ninth consecutive attempt of the season. The 21-yard field goal was the product of an eight-play, 72-yard drive.

Following Rose’s successful field goal attempt, Arizona drove 59 yards down the field, where Wolford found Thomas Duarte for a 4-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 10.

On the ensuing onside conversion attempt, Arizona fumbled a completed pass that was then recovered by San Antonio. The Commanders took time off the clock but punted the ball back to the Hotshots with 2:57 left in the game.

With 1:21 left on the game clock, Hotshots’ running back Tim Cook found the end zone. After a failed two-point try, the score sat at 29-25 in favor of the visitors. The Hotshots did not convert the onside conversion attempt and the Commanders kneeled out the rest of the clock to secure the victory.

San Antonio concludes its four-game road swing on Sunday, March 17 at the Atlanta Legends. The game, which will start at 3 p.m. CT, will be televised on CBS Sports Network.