Billings Outlaws Mid-Season Check-In

This season has got off to a hot start for the Billings Outlaws. Everything seems to be going right for them, from explosive offense to great coaching to key defensive stops; the Outlaws’ train is in full steam ahead. Billings looks like a well-oiled machine and is arguably one of, if not the best teams in the league at the halfway point in the season.

Offensive Output Spurs Outlaws

This team is led by Isaac Harker; he has looked every bit the part of an MVP-level player. Timely throws, limited mistakes, and great leadership have led to an impressive start.

Billings is one of the few teams that consistently run the ball. Hunter Swoboda is built like a linebacker, but that does not hinder his ability to run the ball. With that combination of size and speed, Swoboda is a tough runner to bring down. The Outlaws utilize his presence in more than just short-yard situations; they trust him to make plays out of the backfield and be a constant threat.

The wide receiver group is powered by Ka’Ronce Higgins; he gives them a threat anytime the ball is in the air. He is a do-it-all wide receiver, from making plays after the catch to diving over the wall to snag a touchdown; Higgins gives Harker a high-caliber threat anytime he drops back.

The most impressive part of the team is the offensive line. Many teams struggle to keep pressure off their quarterback; it’s just how the Arena League is designed. But Coach Walker and staff have found a way to keep Harker clean all season, and that has been a huge piece for the offensive engine.

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Isaac Harker – Quarterback

Fans can’t talk about the Outlaws without mentioning Isaac Harker’s name. Every game it seems as if he is putting up 5 or 6 touchdowns. While still relatively young, Harker looks like an unstoppable force, lighting up the scoreboard anytime he is on the field.

Hunter Swoboda – FB/LB

Swoboda keeps teams off balance with his ability to run or catch. He leads the AFL in rushing yards and yards per game, with 125 yards and 31.3 yards per game. Swoboda is emerging as a fan favorite for his hard-nosed style of play and continues to make a difference on both sides of the ball.

Ka’Ronce Higgins – WR

Higgins is a threat to go for six every time he catches the ball. Currently, Higgins is tied for first in the AFL in receiving touchdowns and has been a major driver of the Outlaws’ offense. Higgins and Harker have been a dynamic duo for Billings, and opposing defenses have to account for the dangerous Higgins whenever Billings is on offense.

Outlaws Defense Paces the AFL

Not to be outshone by the offensive side of the ball, the defense has only allowed one team to score more than 35 once. Billings is winning by an average margin of victory of 20.8 ppg (this includes a 2-0 “forfeit” win over the Marshals); the defense is doing its job suffocating these AFL teams.

The defensive line, with Laquan Johnson Jr. and Chase McGowan forcing constant pressure, has allowed the defensive backs to play to their best ability and help create chaos on the back end. Nirion Washington looks like he could be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. He has multiple interceptions and returns a few of those as well. Washington’s ability to be a ballhawk is impressive on its own, but turning it into points has pushed his play to another level.

Nirion Washington – DB

Nirion Washington has not been talked about enough. He made it because he plays in a small market, or maybe it’s because he plays on the back end of the defense. But there is one thing for certain: he can not be slept on, or Washington will destroy a team’s entire gameplan. In the match-up vs Salina, Nirion was arguably the deciding factor in that game, with a pair of interceptions and a touchdown. Shifting the momentum and locking down the Liberty’s top receiving option makes him one of the team’s most valuable players.

How They Got to 5-0

Billings, in the first three weeks, proved they were ready to rock out of the gate. Cedric Walker had this team firing on all cylinders. With an impressive Week 1 win over the Regulators, 65-26. In Week 2 the Outlaws went to Washington and handed the Wolfpack a 49-12 loss. Unfortunately, in Week 3, the Marshals decided to forfeit their game in light of the commissioner situation, which pushed the Outlaws to a 3-0 start. In Week 4, the Outlaws faced undefeated Salina Liberty, they took a dominant win 54-35. Week 5 was the toughest test for the Outlaws. As they headed down to West Texas, Billings snuck out a 56-49 victory, leading them to a 5-0 start.

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