All American Arena League teams that qualify for the postseason have played at least one game thus far. This gives Inside the Arena a chance to present our first ever AAL power rankings.
12. High Country Grizzlies
Just like everyone expected, the Grizzlies have fallen apart since the departure of several key players from last season, including head coach Joshua Resignalo. In their first two games, they have scored just 31 points. In arena football standards, that is bottom of the barrel.
That includes a demolishing 84-12 loss to the Cape Fear Heroes on Saturday. It’s going to be a long season for them, as they still have to face much more talent in the Atlanta Havoc, Carolina Energy and Georgia Doom, to name a few.
11. Peach State Cats
This team started out as an affiliate team, but later took on the Vermont Bucks schedule, meaning they would qualify for the postseason by playing at least six AAL games. However, someone probably should’ve picked another affiliate to take over the schedule. Peach State didn’t play their best football against the Georgia Doom and it just gets more difficult from here. They still have to play the Richmond Roughriders, Atlanta Havoc and Carolina Energy this season.
10. Florida Tarpons
Florida has only played one game this season, but for a former runner-up, they didn’t play like one. The Atlanta Havoc dominated the Tarpons in every way they wanted in their first game, getting to quarterback Chris Wallace multiple times. Their next game isn’t until April 14 when they host the Richmond Roughriders, so they have time to prepare and better themselves.
9. Upstate Dragons
It’s not a good look when you lose to an affiliate team [no offense to the Austin Wild]. While they only lost by one point, the way they played the game throughout told a different story. At halftime, they trailed by 15 and were outplayed the entire game. If that’s an example of what is to come all season, it will be a long one in Anderson, SC.
8. Triangle Torch
As the case for Florida, the former runner-ups have not played like it this season. While many may have said that the season behind the Torch’s early struggles are due to a few of their owners leaving the team. However, a team should pick up and perform no matter any circumstances. They have not been able to do that thus far this season.
Yes, they held a 20-6 lead over the Havoc on Saturday, but they also gave up the next 29 points in the game to Atlanta. That, along with their 65-24 loss to the Energy in game one, has them at 9 on our list.
7. Georgia Doom
The Doom looked impressive in their first game against in-state rival Atlanta. They scored 56 points against what he being called the best defense in the league.
After that performance, however, they allowed the Peach State Cats keep it close with them for part of the game.
6. Cape Fear Heroes
This is the most controversial spot on our list. How can a former champion that scored 84 points be as low as they are? The answer to that is simple; they played the High Country Grizzlies, arguably the worst team in the league. 84 points is impressive, but against High Country isn’t that big of an accomplishment. A big accomplishment would be putting up 84 points against their next opponent in the Roughriders. Props to them, but their real challenge has yet to come.
5. Jersey Flight
The Flight gave it their all against a very talented Rochester Kings team. They had a chance to win in OT, but unfortunately were unable to get it done. The ultimate downfall for Jersey not pulling out an opening win is quarterback Stephen Panasuk’s three interceptions in regulation. Look for them to bounce back this weekend as they host the Maryland Warriors (EIF).
4. Rochester Kings
This is the AAL’s ultimate sleeper. Many don’t pay attention to this team because they don’t play in an exclusive arena like some teams in the league do. However, they have done something not seen by any other team. They have scored 121 total points in just two games.
Their schedule also proves to be a challenging one. They play Jersey several more times this season and also play at the Cape Fear Heroes. If they can play like they have so far, they could see themselves in the playoff picture come season end.
3. Carolina Energy
Another sleeper team, Carolina have played excellent football in their first games. They dominated Triangle in every way possible, then they played their hearts out against who is classified as the best team in the league, the #2 team on our list.
2. Richmond Roughriders
Everyone is calling Richmond the team to beat in the AAL, but we’re not everyone. Richmond is definitely one of the best teams in the league, but they are not top dog. They gave up 19 points to the worst team in High Country in a game where they should’ve shut them out.
Against Carolina on Saturday night, the defense played well with the only ordeal being that they gave up 14 consecutive points at the end of the first half. The second half was a different story, especially on offense. Wide receiver Rashaad Carter caught four touchdown passes in the second half.
1. Atlanta Havoc
The Havoc have been the team to beat the first several weeks of the season. Their defense has been tops by far and they have also proven that they can overcome any obstacle. Despite being down 20-6 against the Triangle Torch, they didn’t give in. They went on to score the next 29 points. At 3-0 and the way their schedule works, the Havoc could be look at an undefeated [regular] season.