Access Granted: Orlando Apollos Clinch First Ever AAF Playoff Spotby David Taylor March 25, 2019 10 comments
The Orlando Apollos are heading to the first ever AAF Postseason. Here’s a recap of their latest win.
It was a picture perfect day in Atlanta. The Orlando Apollos entered today’s matchup needing just one win to clinch a playoff spot in the AAF Eastern Conference.
They faced a Legends team that they dominated in week one, 40-6.
The mission this week for Orlando was simple: balance the offense, shore up the pass blocking, and the rest would take care of itself. Mission accomplished.
A Fast Start
On the opening drive of the game, quarterback Garrett Gilbert was a perfect 7 for 7, meticulously picking apart the Legends defense.
The drive ended with a one-yard touchdown run by De’Veon Smith.
Atlanta answered the Apollos with an opening drive touchdown of their own, but that proved to be the last score of the game for the Legends.
After the Atlanta touchdown, Orlando never looked back, using Gilbert’s arm and a three-headed monster at running back to keep Atlanta’s defense reeling.
This was no small task, as the Legends were the number one defense in the AAF in terms of yards per game entering the game.
The Apollos used balanced play calling to pile up over 300 yards of offense.
Gilbert finished the afternoon 19 of 23 for 217 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
The running back trio of Smith, D’Enerest Smith, and Akeem Hunt combined for 133 yards on the ground.
Smith added three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Orlando finished the season series with the Legends by outscoring them 76-12 in two games.
Trailing 20-6, Atlanta began to move the ball on the Orlando defense.
That drive came to a screeching halt, however, when Deji Olatoye stepped in front of an Aaron Murray pass, returning it 65 yards for a touchdown.
Murray threw another interception at the goal line on the following drive, and that was the end of his day.
With this win, the Apollos become the first team in the history of the Alliance of American Football to clinch a playoff birth.
They also become the first team in AAF history to have a guaranteed winning record for the year.
Orlando is now in a rare position to not only control their destiny with regard to home-field advantage, but they can also play spoiler to a few other teams in the league.
Orlando’s remaining schedule includes the Memphis Express, San Diego Fleet, and Birmingham Iron. San Diego is in the middle of a three way fight for a playoff spot, and Birmingham will more than likely be the two seed in the East.