Stallions Pick Up First Win In Team History Over Arizona
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After an 0-2 start to their inaugural season, the Salt Lake Stallions won their first game in franchise history in their home opener with a 23-15 victory over the Arizona Hotshots.
Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum threw for 178 yards and 1 touchdown, while Joel Bouagnon had 13 carries for 50 yards and 1 touchdown. Wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El finished with 8 catches for 90 yards and one score.
Hotshots quarterback John Wolford recorded 127 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Wide receiver Rashad Ross had 6 receptions for 51 yards and 1 touchdown.
Arizona averaged 400 yards per game coming into the game, but Salt Lake’s defense held the Hotshots to 258 yards.
Defense Strong For Salt Lake
The first ever drive for the Stallions at Rice-Eccles Stadium was not productive as Salt Lake had to punt after five plays.
Much of the same for the Hotshots as the Stallions defense held serve, forcing Arizona to punt.
After a pass interference call on Arizona, Salt Lake was set up in field goal range and Taylor Bertolet hit a 54-yard field goal to give the Stallions a 3-0 lead with 9 minutes left in the opening quarterter.
Hotshots kicker Nick Folk missed a 45-yard field goal to keep the lead at 3-0 with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Stallions went for it on fourth down and two yards to go and running back Joel Bouagnon picked up the necessary yards at the end of the first quarter.
On the following drive, the Stallions four the end zone as Woodrum hit wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El from 25-yards out, but they didn’t get the two-point conversion. They had a 9-0 lead with 11:32 left in the second quarter.
Arizona finally put points on the board as Folk hit a 48-yard field goal to cut the Stallions lead to 9-3 with 6:03 left in the first half.
With two minutes left in the half, Wolford hit wide receiver Freddie Martino for 23 yards to set the Hotshots up for first and goal.
The Stallions committed back-to-back penalties before the Hotshots finally found the end zone as wide receiver Rashad Ross caught a 1-yard touchdown from Wolford. They couldn’t get the two-point conversion, but the game was tied at 9 at halftime.
Stallions Make Big Plays
The first play out of halftime, Wolford threw an interception to linebacker Greer Martini and just three players later, running back Branden Oliver ran in a one yard touchdown but the two-point conversion failed. Salt Lake to the lead back, 15-9 with 13:54 left in the third quarter.
Wolford didn’t return on the next drive for Arizona and former Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight took over.
Salt Lake couldn’t extend their lead as Bertolet missed a 39-yard field goal.
Arizona added another field goal, this time from 35 yards out. The Stallions held a 15-12 lead with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Stallions had one yard to go for a touchdown and they turned the ball over after failing to score a touchdown on fourth down. But Salt Lake challenged the ruling on the field, which they overturned, giving Bouagnon the touchdown. Woodrum found Pierson-El for the two-point conversion, extending their lead to 23-12 with 7:24 left in the game.
Folk hit a 45-yard field goal with 24 seconds left to cut the Stallions lead to 23-15.
Froze the ‘shots. pic.twitter.com/XXECiMArta
— Salt Lake Stallions (@aafstallions) February 23, 2019
Salt Lake improves to 1-2 on the season. They will return to Rice-Eccles Stadium to face the Orlando Apollos on Saturday at 2 p.m. on Bleacher Report Live.