Injury Report: Week 9
Both Carolina Teams Collide in Week Nine
ATLANTA, GA – After eight weeks of National Arena League football the #1 ranked San Antonio Gunslingers finally fall after a loss at home to the Jacksonville Sharks. We have reached the halfway point in the season and with nine weeks left of play the first half of the season showcase where these teams stand the next half will determine where these teams end up as only four will make the NAL postseason. See below for the games ahead this weekend as well as the injuries reported by all seven teams across the league. This week the Mustangs face the Cobras in Greensboro, NC Saturday, June 3 with kickoff at 7pm, the Sharks will face the West Texas Warbirds in Odessa, TX with kickoff scheduled for 7:30pm (CST). The league will have one Sunday matchup between the traveling Orlando Predators and the San Antonio Gunslingers in San Antonio, TX, this game will start at 3pm (CST). The Albany Empire are the only team entering a bye week this week.
FAYETTEVILLE MUSTANGS (3-3)
As the Mustangs prepare to face their in-state rivals again, the franchise itself has become quite similar to their their own opponent as it was a 2018 Carolina Cobras team that burst into the NAL scene losing games earlier in the season only to rally to become 10-5 and enter in the NAL postseason and championship game victorious winning a league championship in their first year as a franchise. In order for the Mustangs to replicate that success they need to show they are a complete team, offensively, defensively, and on special teams. They have proven to have the players, in fact several of the their stars are former successful Cobras so it’ll be interesting to see if it’ll be enough for the Mustangs to take down the Cobras. The rivalry continues, here is the Mustangs injury report.
WR/DB - Chris Page (Out, Short-Term Injury Reserve)
WR - Julius Gregory (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
DL - Larry Ford (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve, Wrist)
CAROLINA COBRAS (4-1)
The Cobras are on a roll, with a bye week in the books their team is rested and ready for the second half stretch of the season. Coach Fuller has proved that the Cobras continue to grow after successful past seasons and may become one of the best teams formed in team history if they continue at this pace. With veteran Cobras players and coaches along with new Cobras players all making an impact. The second half of the season can really show the NAL the difference between the 2023 Cobras and the 2022 Cobras who declined this time of year heading towards the postseason. A healthy roster has to play an impact in week nine even with a 4-1 record. See injury report below.
WR/LB - Jalen Rima (Questionable)
WR/DB - Miles Kelly (Questionable)
WEST TEXAS WARBIRDS (2-4)
West Texas got just what they needed as Coach Smith and his Warbirds delivered a much needed win. Now the Warbirds are flying in the right direction and this week they refuel at home but face a very tough Jacksonville Sharks team (4-2). Odessa needs to be prime and ready as the Sharks are on a two game win streak but after back to back Texas trips the Warbirds may be able to take advantage of the road weary Sharks. Coach Smith seems to plan on it as in the last two weeks he has stocked his roster with fresh legs and muscle heading into this week including multiple lineman, including former Shark Chei Hill, along with former Shark kicker Kevin Didio-Weber. See the West Texas injury report below.
OL/DL - Accente Hill (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve, Calf)
OL/DL - Talitige Poloai (Active, from Short-Term Injury Reserve, Ankle)
JACKSONVILLE SHARKS (4-2)
After back to back 70 plus-point victories including one over an undefeated team, there is no question who is the best NAL offense going into week 9, but will it last? The Sharks have built their team not in training camp, not even in the early season, the Jacksonville Sharks have evolved week-by-week under head coach Jason Gibson. He is giving no time to play things out, he is pivoting and making improvements at every single position and if the Shark can finish in the championship game he may be eligible for a coach of the year for the long-term results. With new names and old names returning to the Sharks roster the week 9 Jacksonville Sharks look to be the final product but there are still more weeks to come and more players to come to Jacksonville. The only team to beat the Gunslingers now gets to show or expose how well or how poorly they travel as they now have two-heated trips back and forth from Texas. With a Warbirds victory last weekend the Warbirds will be entering the game full speed after beating Orlando.
QB - Connor Blount (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
WR/DB - Darien Townsend (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
WR/LB - Khalil McClain (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
ORLANDO PREDATORS (1-4)
After the hire of legendary AFL player Herky Walls, no one expected the Orlando Predators career losing streak in the NAL to continue but modern history continues to haunt the Predators and so does their schedule as they face the (5-1) San Antonio Gunslingers on the road in Texas. This week as Orlando flys to Texas they can either return home continuing to take blows and losses or they can shock the league this week. It will be tough, but Coach Walls is building a tough team. Let's see what Orlando is made of, it will be stunning if San Antonio allows two losses in a row at home.
FB/DL - Freddie Booth (Questionable, Leg)
DB - Brandon Fuentes (Out, Leg)
DB - Delvon Randall (Probable, Shoulder)
SAN ANTONIO GUNSLINGERS (5-1)
After their first loss of the season the NAL will see if the Gunslingers learn more from their loss or if they stumble at home. This week is shaping up to be a great rebound week as San Antonio is completely healthy, playing at home and will face a 1-4 Predators team. Let’s not get this wrong the San Antonio Gunslingers have the best record in the National Arena League, when playoffs come around those are the things that matter, their record will or will not get them into the playoffs Coach Shaw can make week 8 irrelevant if they continue to win the rest of their games.
DL - Justin Alexandre (Active, Ankle)
ALBANY EMPIRE (1-5)
Ownership in place, front office in place, roster starting to settle in, now it’s time to lock down a coach. The Empire have made a record move removing each of their head coaches this season multiple after just one game of play. If stability is the goal, the Empire will need a long-term solution at head coach or their record will continue to plummet. One of the league's most successful franchises is facing the most difficult year in team history this bye week will be the perfect time to iron out the future of the two-time NAL Champion Albany Empire.
WR - Farrean Toney (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
OL/DL - Dante Reynolds (Out, Long-Term Injury Reserve)
All three matchups can be watched online at nationalarenaleague.com or by visiting the National Arena League’s YouTube Channel.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague