Apollos ride early lead to victory over Iron
The Apollos took an early lead and that was all they needed. At the halfway point of the season, the Orlando Apollos remain the Alliance of American Football’s lone unbeaten team. The Apollos defeated the Birmingham Iron on the road, 31-14, on the strength of 468 yards of total offense against the league’s top-ranked defense.
From the opening drive, the Apollos imposed their will on the hosting Iron, driving 75 yards down the field for the opening touchdown. It would be a preview of things to come as Orlando would continue long drives through the game. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert was once again impressive, completing 23 of 35 passes for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. In five games, Gilbert has yet to throw an interception.
In a game billed as the top offense versus the top defense, it was the Apollos defense that stole the show. They scored their third defensive touchdown of the year on Keith Reaser’s second interception return for a score this season, and forced starting Birmingham QB Luis Perez out of the game. Perez’s backup, Keith Price proved to be a game-changer for the Iron offense, but by that point the Apollos were already up 14 points.
Another star of the game was Apollos running back De’Veon Smith. He recorded the team’s first ever 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 119 yards on 14 carries. His backfield partner D’Ernest Johnson also added 49 yards on 9 carries and 73 yards on 5 receptions.
The Apollos return to Orlando next week to face preseason title favorites Arizona. The battle with the Hotshots will start at 8 pm at UCF’s Spectrum Stadium and will air on NFL Network.
Image Credit: Orlando Apollos