San Antonio's latest attempt at spring football drew 27,857 fans to the Alamodome on Saturday night, as the Alliance of American Football's Commanders christened the new league with a 15-6 win over the San Diego Fleet.
Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside completed 18 of 36 passes for 255 yards with two interceptions, while Kenneth Farrow scored the team's first and only touchdown on the ground.
San Antonio native and Madison grad Aaron Green led the Commanders with 43 rushing yards on six carries. Mekale McKay made five catches for 80 yards, Alonzo Moore had three catches for 78 yards, and Greg Ward had five catches for 65 yards.
Despite a rule limiting defenses to five pass rushers, both quarterbacks were regularly pressured, preventing either offense from consistently moving the ball.
The Commanders' defense had six sacks, including two by linebacker Shaan Washington, and hauled in three interceptions. San Diego was limited to 295 total yards, while San Antonio had 364.
Farrow plunged in from 3 yards to give San Antonio a 12-6 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. The score came after a De'Vante Busby interception and Woodside's 46-yard pass to Moore set up first-and-goal.
San Diego's comeback bid was snuffed out when Zack Sanchez made an interception in the end zone with 1:37 to play.
After a scoreless opening quarter, Rose kicked two field goals in the second, and the Fleet's Donny Hageman hit two of his own late in the quarter to send the game to halftime tied at 6.
The Commanders made their entrance onto the Alamodome turf with style, led by a man on horseback waving a saber as fire shot into the air.
While not providing much scoring, the first half offered plenty of highlights that energized the crowd.
San Antonio's first snap was a 22-yard pass from Woodside to McKay. On the Fleet's first drive, Washington delivered a crushing hit on Mike Bercovici, knocking off the quarterback's helmet as the ball fell to the turf.
McKay had a long catch nullified via review, and Moore was just a few inches away from hauling in a 38-yard touchdown pass down the middle.
Ward energized the crowd when he stretched for a 37-yard catch down the right sideline. The former University of Houston quarterback drew another roar when he attempted a deep pass down the middle after a double reverse. McKay hauled in the throw but couldn't keep both feet in the back of the end zone.
The San Antonio defense provided the biggest play of the opening half, as safety Orion Stewart intercepted a pass near the goal line and returned it 68 yards into Fleet territory.
Woodside was a surprise choice as San Antonio's starting quarterback. The team protected Dustin Vaughan from its roster of regionally allocated players in the Alliance's quarterback draft, and Vaughan started the team's preseason scrimmage two weeks ago. After the game, general manager Daryl Johnston said Vaughan was the Commanders' "No. 1 guy."
But coach Mike Riley always left the door open to someone other than Vaughan earning the nod. He ultimately went with Woodside, San Antonio's third-round pick in the draft.
Marquise Williams, San Antonio's second-round pick in the quarterback draft, was active and entered the game for a two-point conversion attempt, coming up short on a run.
Vaughan was inactive for the game but accompanied Woodside and team captains Nick Temple and Joey Mbu out to midfield for the coin toss.
- Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press *