Football: San Diego Hits the Halfway Mark of the Season with a 3-2 Record…Good for First Place in the Western Conference

The San Diego Fleet Midterm Honor Roll

By Jeff Goldberg

We have reached the midpoint of the inaugural season in The Alliance of American Football – or perhaps better stated in the case of the San Diego Fleet: We are proudly at the Midway.

The Fleet hit the halfway mark with a 3-2 record, good for first place in the Western Conference, along with San Antonio, and second-best overall behind 5-0 Orlando.

The Fleet have thrived behind a dominant defensive line and an offense that has improved with each week. There has been a blowout win and a miracle finish. And there have been stars in all phases of the game. Here is a look at the Fleet’s finest through five weeks:

Offensive MVP

RB Ja’Quan Gardner: Gardner is second in The Alliance with 290 yards and is second in yards per carry (5.5) among backs with at least 30 carries. His 83-yard touchdown run in Week 3 against San Antonio remains the longest touchdown from scrimmage in The Alliance through five weeks and he is still the only back to post a pair of 100-yard games this season.

Honorable mentions: QB Philip Nelson led the Fleet to two victories in Weeks 2 and 3 before sustaining a broken collarbone in Week 4. … LT Terry Poole has anchored a line that opened the holes for Gardner and limited Salt Lake DE Karter Shult to one sack and one hurry in Week 5. … WR Nelson Spruce caught the first two Fleet passing touchdowns in Week 3 and leads the team with 15 receptions.

Defensive MVP

DE Damontre Moore: Moore is third in The Alliance in sacks with four and has 15 quarterback hurries despite missing one game with an injured knee. The Fleet lead The Alliance in combined sacks/hurries and Moore’s leadership on the defensive line has been the key.

Honorable mentions: CB Kameron Kelly had three interceptions, including a pick-six, in Week 5, just his third week back on defense after spending all of training camp and the season’s first two weeks at wide receiver. … LB A.J. Tarpley had the first pick-six in Fleet history in Week 3 and has been the defensive quarterback despite missing the past two games with a bad back … SS Ryan Moeller had interceptions in each of the Fleet’s first two games.

Special teams MVP

K Donny Hageman: Hageman made his first seven field-goal attempts of the season and is 11-for-13 after making a game-winning 44-yard field goal with no time remaining in the Fleet’s Week 5 victory over Salt Lake. Hageman is 6-for-6 from 39 yards or closer and 5 of 6 between 40-49 yards, the shortest make coming from 44. One of his two misses on the season came from 52 yards out.

Honorable mention: KR Ron Brooks has the only special teams touchdown in The Alliance through five weeks, a 57-yard punt return in Week 4 against Memphis.

Players to watch down the stretch

*QB Mike Bercovici was renamed the starter after Nelson’s collarbone injury and threw for a team-record 304 yards in Week 5. *WR Dontez Ford leads the team with 256 receiving yards and made the play of the season, setting up the winning field goal in Week 5 with a 45-yard reception.

*TE Marcus Baugh has six catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in the past two weeks.

*LB Frank Ginda had 15 tackles in Week 4, then forced the fumble that Jordan Martin returned for a TD in Week 5, all in relief of the injured Tarpley

* DT Shakir Soto has 3.5 sacks despite not starting.

Press Release Provided By the San Diego Fleet