FAN CONTROLLED FOOTBALL WEEK THREE: ZAPPERS TAKE HOME FIRST WIN, BEASTS REMAIN UNDEFEATED
It was another week of close games and late-game heroics for FCF, with which VENN has a distribution partnership. Both games were won on the final play.
Zappers vs Wild Aces
Due to some emergency dental surgery for starting quarterback Manziel, Logan Marchi and the Zappers were hoping to find a little magic and their first win of the season against the Wild Aces.
The Zappers got off to a fast start, with Marchi connecting with Travis Toivonen on an incredible leaping touchdown catch on the first drive of the game. It would not be the last time we heard Toivonen’s name on the night.
Down 8-0, the Wild Aces turned to star quarterback Jackson Erdmann, who missed last week’s game due to injury. In his first series, Erdmann was picked off by the Zappers defense, a signal that perhaps defenses were starting to catch up to offenses in FCF and we could see a more balanced style of play going forward.
Marchi and the Zappers brought the ball near the goal line but needed to use a power up, a fifth down, to get it into the end zone and take a 16-0 lead early in this game.
The Wild Aces followed suit, bringing in Deondre Francois for Erdmann and then having Francois run the ball into the end zone on their own 5th down.
It appeared that Erdmann’s early mistake wouldn’t be difficult to overcome, as it looked like the Zappers would be up 8 points heading into halftime, with the Aces getting the ball to start the second half. However, undrafted quarterback Braden Smith found wide receiver Isaiah King in the end zone with a back-shoulder fade, which is quickly becoming a throw synonymous with Smith.
The Zappers had a 22-8 lead at halftime and a strong defense. It was going to be hard for the Wild Aces to get back into this one.
In the second half, the Zappers had an answer for everything. Erdman threw a touchdown pass – after the Aces went 0/3 for 0 passing yards in the first half – that was almost immediately followed by a Flea Flicker play that led to a 40 yard touchdown reception for running back Anthony Jones.
Francois ran for a touchdown that was brought back on a holding call, leading to a matchup of power ups. The Aces used their Coach’s Choice power up while the Zappers chose to use a Power Play, taking one offensive player off the field. In the end, wide receiver James Harden contorted his body while making an incredible spinning catch in the end zone that you’ll ever see to bring the Wild Aces back within 4 points.
After the FCF version of an onside kick, which had the Wild Aces failing to convert a 4th & 10 from their own 10 yard line, it looked like this one was over. Despite having just 10 yards to go, the Zappers were unable to get the ball into the end zone. This culminated with FCF’s first fan review, where fans voted on whether or not the result of the play was game-defining touchdown or turnover. The fan’s call? Turnover. The Wild Aces would get their chance at a comeback.
Erdmann got the Aces back near the goal line and threw a wide receiver Screen into the end zone to take a 30-28 lead with five seconds left. After the Zappers led the entire game, it looked like the Aces were going to steal this one at the last second.
By league rule, the Zappers had to play their final series with the backup quarterback, Smith, who was only on the roster due to Manziel’s emergency dental surgery.
Smith used the entire 5 seconds to launch a Hail Mary pass 40 yards and into the waiting arms of Toivonen, stealing back the lead while time expired.
Final Score: Zappers 34, Wild Aces 30
The Zappers got their first win of the season and could be a terror in the playoffs with the additions of wide receiver Josh Gordon, confirmed to join the league after rumors circulated, and Manziel next week.
Beasts vs. Glacier Boyz
This game looked like a snoozefest early on. Both defenses were playing well, avoiding big plays and getting early pressure on the quarterbacks on both sides.
Both halves of this game featured long, drawn-out drives that ate a lot of clock on the way to putting points on the board. There were just five offensive possessions in the first half, with four ending in touchdowns, for a halftime score of 16-14 in favor of the Glacier Boyz. There were only three offensive possessions in the second half.
The second half started with T.J. Edwards at quarterback for the Beasts, and a trick play called by the fans. That play resulted in a sack and a big loss of yards, and on the next play Edwards threw an interception trying to pick those yards back up.
The Glacier Boyz had the lead and the ball, and Ed Crouch came in to lead a very long drive that ate away almost all of the clock in the second half and ended with Crouch running the ball into the end zone himself to give the Glacier Boyz a 22-14 lead with just a couple of minutes left in the game.
Quinton Flowers, who has been the top-rated quarterback in the league through the first two weeks, found a way to move the ball down the field bit-by-bit. That drive ended with a touchdown pass from Flowers to Christian Saulsberry with 30 seconds remaining. The Beasts would need the 2-point conversion to tie the game, then they’d have to keep the Glacier Boyz from scoring.
Immediately after the touchdown pass, Flowers seemed to suffer an injury to his ribs area that seemed to be causing him a great deal of pain. However, he stayed in the game and completed the 2-point conversion on a pass to wide receiver Joseph Boykin.
With a tie game and 30 seconds left, the Beasts coach decided to do an onside kick. This gave the team one chance to convert a 4th & 10 from their own 10 yard line. If they were unsuccessful, it all but guaranteed a win for the Glacier Boyz.
Flowers was able to convert the 4th & 10, with a pass that nearly dropped out of his receiver’s hands twice, and lead his team within striking distance of the end zone with just seconds left in the game.
On the last play of the game, Flowers threw into the end zone for an incompletion before a referee’s flag flew in. The penalty was for pass interference, giving the Beasts one more untimed down from the 2-yard line with 0:00 left on the clock. Veteran running back Quinn Porter found a little bit of daylight and poked the ball into the end zone for the win, keeping the Beasts undefeated through three weeks.
Final Score: Beasts 28, Glacier Boyz 22
After three weeks, there is a clear division in FCF. The Beasts are the lone undefeated team, with a 3-0 record, while the other three squads each have a record of 1-2. There’s plenty left to be determined in next week’s games before the start of the FCF playoffs.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Fan Controlled Football/Getty Images
DULUTH, GEORGIA – FEBRUARY 27: Travis Toivonen #13 of the Zappers celebrates a game winning touchdown pass against the Wild Aces during a Fan Controlled Football game at Infinite Energy Arena on February 27, 2021 in Duluth, Georgia.