Orlando Apollos (1-0) vs. San Antonio Commanders (1-0)
When, where: Sunday, 3 p.m., Alamodome
Apollos head coach: Steve Spurrier
Apollos general manager: Tim Ruskell
Commanders head coach: Mike Riley
Commanders general manager: Daryl Johnston
Commanders players with San Antonio ties: Running back Aaron Green (Madison High School / TCU), wide receiver Josh Stewart (College Station / UTSA), Joseph Zema (Melbourne, Australia / Incarnate Word).
Ticket information: (210) 944-0504
SAN ANTONIO – Their highly anticipated season opener a success by any measure, the Commanders have moved forward and are well into their preparation for Sunday afternoon's home game against the Orlando Apollos.
The Commanders beat the San Diego Fleet 15-6 before an enthusiastic crowd of 27,857 that turned out to watch the Alliance of American Football game last Saturday at the Alamodome.
San Antonio faces an Orlando team that rolled to a 40-6 win over the Atlanta Legends on Saturday. The Apollos are coached by Steve Spurrier, one of the legends of the game.
“We’re going to have to score and we’re going to have to play good defense,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said after Tuesday’s workout at the Alamodome. “They’ve got some good variety in what they do offensively and they’ve got a good defensive team. They held somebody to six points, which is hard to do. Anyway, I think this (Orlando) is a good team and appears to be one of the better ones in the league.”
The Commanders’ defense had a pretty good outing in the opener itself, finishing with three interceptions and six sacks. Quarterback Logan Woodside led the offense, completing 18 of 36 passes for 255 yards. But Woodside had two passes picked off, one in the Fleet’s end zone.
Still, Riley had plenty of good things to say about Woodside.
“I thought Logan played well,” Riley said. “I thought he made a lot of good plays. I’m sure, just like every quarterback in every game, would like to have a couple of plays back. But I thought he competed really well, and like I said, he made some big plays. He made some big plays in the end that were the difference makers.”
Woodside beat out Dustin Vaughan and Marquise Williams for the starting job and quarterbacked the entire game for the Commanders, but Riley made it clear that the competition at quarterback is still open.
“Our basic theme about this is to kind of re-evaluate every week as we go forward, and kind of make a new decision as we go forward to try to be as fair and open with the players as we can,” Riley said. “This is kind of a combination for me of wanting to do everything that we can, the best decisions made to win the game.
“But also have in mind the players that are in the league and the development part of it and their opportunity to play. So, blending that is not an easy thing and we don’t want to sacrifice either one of those things.”
A Toledo alum, Woodside was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft. He signed a contract with the Bengals last May, but was waived by the club on Sept. 1. Woodside was signed to the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad two days later and was released on Sept. 25.
The Commanders selected Woodside in the third round of the AAF quarterback draft in November. Like the rest of his teammates, Woodside was ecstatic with the warm reception the Commanders received from San Antonio fans in the opener.
“It was unbelievable,” Woodside said of the atmosphere at the Alamodome. “First, the fans that came out and supported us. It was electric. It was everything that I dreamed of. Just really looking forward to Sunday.”
Asked about the ongoing competition with Vaughan and Williams, Woodside said: “I think you’ve got to bring it each and every day. I think you’re getting evaluated in practice and off the field, and in the weight room and everything like that. So, it’s important for us to just take it one day at a time and compete each day because nothing’s guaranteed, that’s for sure.”