San Antonio Commanders’ backup quarterback, Marquise Williams, came into the game on March 23 against the Salt Lake City Stallions and lead the team to victory 19-15.
On June 20, San Antonio was the eighth and final team to join the Alliance of American Football. San Antonio has made several attempts to establish a fan base and build a pro football culture, starting with the San Antonio Toros of the Continental Football League in the 1960s.
San Antonio’s other attempts at pro football include the Wings of the WFL (1975), Gunslingers of the USFL (1984-85), the Riders of the WLAF (1991-92), the Texans of the CFL (1995), the Force (1992) and the Talons of the Arena Football League (2011-14).
“It was a blessing,” Williams said. “I could not thank God enough and couldn’t thank these teammates who rallied behind me and telling me everything is going to be alright and just go out and have fun and play this game. That is all I did.”
Woodside’s numbers for the game were 13-19 for 164 yards, a touchdown pass and an interception. Riley said he wanted to have Woodside throw the ball more but he felt he had to protect him from the pressure of the Stallions front four. Williams went in after starting quarterback Logan Woodside left the game early in the fourth quarter, after being sacked for the fifth time.
With Williams in the game, the Commanders were able to run the ball on the final drive to set up the game-winning pass to Trey Williams.
“I was telling Trey [Williams], go on this side and this is going to give you a touchdown so you should be ready to go,” Williams said. “I was telling myself that I knew he could make a play. I saw the backer stay in the box, I tossed it out like we did at UNC [University of North Carolina] and God that guy is fast.”
Mike Riley, Commanders head coach, said Williams was ready to go into the game for the injured Woodside.
“He [Williams] went into the game and did a nice job, kept his poise, made some plays and it was a beautiful thing to do,” Riley said.
Despite the Commander’s rally to take the lead, Woodrum led the Stallions down the field to cap off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Terrell Newby to bring the score to 15-17 with 1:54 left in the game.
On the ensuing two-point conversion, Commander’s De’Vante Bausby picked a Woodrum two-point attempt and ran it back 99 yards to take the two points for the Commanders.
San Antonio set a record for attendance of 30,345 enthusiastic fans.
Coach Dennis Erickson said the fans were so loud that they caused two false start penalties, allowing the first Commander’s sack of Woodrum.
“If everyone had fans like this, then this thing would go on forever,” Erikson said. “It is San Antonio, the state of Texas, this is football country and it showed tonight.”
The fans waved their cellphones flashlights back and forth overhead and yelled loudly during crucial Stallion third downs.
“I knew from the beginning San Antonio was going to be the best team in the league that way with the fans,” Riley said. “We’ve got the best fans, the best venue and we are really appreciative of that and thankful to be here. We appreciate the fans and I know every one of those players in the locker room felt great about that. This is absolutely the best atmosphere around.”
The Commanders, who are on a four-game win streak, will host the 4-3 Arizona Hotshots at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 31 in the Alamodome.