Week 9 Game Previews 

Welcome to Week 9 of the Arena Football League! Just two weeks remain in the regular season. Three teams have clinched their playoff berths: the Albany Firebirds, Billings Outlaws, and Salina Liberty. Three teams remain fighting for the last two tickets to the postseason. The Orlando Predators, Southwest Kansas Storm, and Nashville Kats are those teams. 

Washington Wolfpack at Southwest Kansas Storm 

The Washington Wolfpack will travel to the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City, Kansas, to battle the Southwest Kansas Storm, who currently hold the final spot in the league’s playoffs. This game will kick off at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 22nd, on the Arena Football League YouTube Channel. 

The Wolfpack’s season has not gone as the team hoped. The offense has struggled big time. In their opening game, Week 1, the team scored 40 points in a shootout game.

After that game, the most the Wolfpack has been able to muster up is just 25 points. Last week, they were held to 18 points by a tough Billings Outlaws team. In Week 7, they scored just seven points against the Salina Liberty. 

Coach JR Wells will need to get his team fired up to play spoiler. Quarterback Jacob Ta’Ase will be under pressure throughout the game. If he can get just a little time in the pocket, Vincent Wilkerson is a dangerous weapon when he gets the ball in his hands. 

For Southwest Kansas, it’s time to put up and secure that playoff position. They had a valiant effort last week but fell just short losing 65-61. That game helped them tremendously in the “points for” category, one of the tie-breakers to determine playoff eligibility.

It’s not the most common offense you’ll see in the Arena League, but the Storm have carved out a nice rhythm in the running game. Last week, it was led by Vincent Dileo II, who scored three times on the ground. 

At the quarterback position, Southwest Kansas had been playing a rotation of Cam Walters and Matt Struck. However, over the last two games, it’s been all Matt Struck. Struck is solid through the air and brings his own element to the rushing game. Southwest Kansas has their final home game of the season; they just need to show up and play Storm Football. 

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Orlando Predators at Wichita Regulators 

The Orlando Predators also head out to the Midwest. They’ll face the 1-5 Wichita Regulators at Park City Arena in Wichita, Kansas. This game will take place on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 p.m. ET and be available to watch for free on the Arena Football League’s YouTube channel. 

This game is a story of two teams going in very different directions. The Regulators are the other team that is no longer in contention for the playoffs. Their offense has struggled down the stretch, scoring just 12 points in each of their last two games against the Salina Liberty and Southwest Kansas Storm. 

The Orlando Predators, on the other hand, are firing on all cylinders. They got one step closer to locking up their spot in the playoffs last week as they toppled the only remaining undefeated team, the Albany Firebirds, in a 57-49 shootout. At 4-2, they currently sit fourth in the standings. 

The Predators hadn’t played in two weeks but didn’t miss a beat. Quarterback Drew Powell was slinging the rock around and accounted for six passing touchdowns before rushing in the final Predators score of the game to secure the win. CJ Williams and Kamrin Solomon both caught multiple touchdown passes and Caleb Walls snagged one as well in their Week 8 win.

The Predators will once again face the Firebirds in Week 10, they need to not sleep on this road trip to Kansas and take care of business. 

Albany Firebirds at Billings Outlaws

In what should be the game of the week and maybe the game of the year, the Albany Firebirds will travel out west to Billings, Montana, to play the final game of the weekend at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark against the Billings Outlaws. This game will take place on Saturday, June 22nd, at 8:00 p.m. ET and will also be available on the Arena Football League’s official YouTube channel. 

This game features both one-loss teams in the league. These are the highest-scoring teams and currently the number one and number two seeds in the AFL playoffs. The winner of this game has the best chance at the number one overall seed. The Albany Firebirds suffered their first loss last week to the Orlando Predators, but not by much.

Albany was in this game all the way down to the very end. Each team scored seven touchdowns, the Predators just capitalized better on teams. The Firebirds had a chance to win the game all the way up to their final possession.

Jake Medlock continued to shine for Albany tossing a cool seven touchdown passes in Week 8. Medlock’s offense has been one of the best in the league at putting up points, averaging 47.7 points per game. Darien Townsend caught two passing touchdowns last week, one flipping over the boards in the end zone.

He also ripped a big kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back, but the yardage earned proved to be important in the game. He’s dangerous every time he touches the ball for the Firebirds. 

The Billings Outlaws went from massively underrated in the preseason to a 5-0 team before finally losing one in Week 7 to the Nashville Kats. They recovered in Week 8 with a stomping of the Washington Wolfpack 58-18. Quarterback Issac Harker has been one of the best in the league.

He tossed five touchdowns in the Week 8 win over Washington. Harker was 11 for 14 for 166 yards and those five touchdowns all by midway through the third quarter when he was pulled for backup Daniel Southwick after the game was in hand. 

The Outlaws offense has shined just like the Firebirds has. Through their seven games, Billings is averaging 48.5 points per game. Isaac Harker vs Jake Medlock is going to be a must-see game and likely a preview of what’s to come in the Arena League playoffs. 

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