TEMPE – A strong first half lifted the San Antonio Commanders to a 29-25 victory over the Arizona Hotshots (2-3) at Sun Devil Stadium on Sunday night.
The win was the second straight for San Antonio, who is the middle of their season-long four game road trip. The Commanders dominated both sides of the ball early and often for their best first half in franchise history.
“I thought we came out really well tonight,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “We came out hot, got a good lead and I think our guys came ready to play.”
San Antonio got on the scoreboard thanks to their defense when Derron Smith intercepted a John Wolford pass and returned 66 yards for the score. The Commanders extended their lead when quarterback Logan Woodside found Mekale McKay for a 54-yard touchdown, putting the visitors up 14-0 after the two-point conversion.
The Commanders added another touchdown on a Kenneth Farrow II run to go up 20 points and Woodside threw for another score as he found a wide open Stehly Reden in the end zone to make it 26-0 at the break.
San Antonio’s 26 points were the most first-half points scored by any team in The Alliance this season.
Arizona made their comeback in the second half as Wolford found Rashad Ross for a 45-yard touchdown following a Woodside interception. San Antonio’s defense would get two straight stops and former Dallas Cowboy Nick Folk converted a field goal to make it 26-11.
Wolford connected with Thomas Duarte for a 4-yard score and a successful two-point conversion to cut San Antonio’s lead to 29-19. The Commanders defense committed several penalties, which allowed the Hotshots to score a late touchdown to finalize the scoring at 29-25.
Woodside finished the game by completing 21 of 27 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. San Antonio’s running game rushed for 59 yards, led by Farrow’s 25 yards.
The Commanders defense had three interceptions, one fumble recovery, and a stop on 4th and 12.
“We’ve always strived to be the best,” Elliott said. “We can’t get caught up in penalties. They’re not dumb penalties; we’re out there playing hard. It’s all about how you respond.”
The Commanders are now 3-2 on the season and will return to the field next Sunday against the Atlanta Legends (2-3) at 3 pm Central Time.