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Apollos build early lead- hang on for third straight AAF win

Florida Football Insiders



Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks and three wins for the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football Spring league, as they outlasted the Memphis Express at Spectrum Stadium 21 – 17 Saturday night.

Once again, the Apollos got a solid performance from quarterback Garrett Gilbert and some power running from former USF back D’Ernest Johnson (above) to build the early lead and then, put it away. It didn’t take long for the Apollos to assume control, as Johnson got the game going with a 4-yard touchdown on the fourth play from scrimmage and a 6 – 0 lead. He would finish with 79 yards on the ground for Steve Spurrier’s squad.

Then, Gilbert got it at the act by first throwing a long touchdown pass to former UCF star receiver Ranell Hall for one score and then, running in a 21-yard touchdown with just under nine minutes remaining to push the advantage to 21 – 9.

The winless Memphis Express, who dropped to 0-3 with Saturday night’s latest defeat, benched starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg ,who threw two more interceptions in the game. They then went to former Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw two second-half touchdown passes to try to rally them.

However after the second of those two touchdowns and the two-point conversion pulled Memphis within four points, Orlando killed the final five and a half minutes of the game clock.

And, just as they did in their win last Sunday night in San Antonio, Orlando successfully ran down the clock picking up three first downs, including one rushing and one receiving by Johnson out of the backfield.

As we wrote earlier on Saturday, it’s been a wild few days for the league, as the AF was rumored to be having financial trouble but secure 250 million dollars in financing from Carolina Hurricanes owner Thomas Dundon on Tuesday. Also, the Apollos are having to practice outside of the state of Florida due to restrictions on workman’s compensation and disability insurance in the Sunshine State outside of playing an actual game sanctioned by the league.

Nonetheless, the Apollos faced the adversity and won again.

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