On a cold Memphis night, the Memphis Express sank the San Diego Fleet for a franchise first win. This was an amazing overall hard-fought football game between the two teams, and the talent on the field really showed tonight. The Memphis Express battled hard and defeated the Fleet by a score of 26-23.
The crowd support was amazing, the fans that showed up were loud and got to witness Memphis Express history. With 13,621 at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday afternoon, it was easy to see how the Express fed off the crowd. It might’ve been cold but those who came out were loud and electric leading the Express from the stands.
Head Coach Mike Singletary had this to say about the fans:
“The fans are amazing. I love our fans. I love our music. The music had me rocking today. I love the fans and I love the support, and the players can feel that. And being embraced when you’re 0-3 is really special, so we want to do the best that we can to show the love.”
The Memphis Express overcame a slow start and a large 20-6 deficit to eventually seek the Fleet. The Express never backed down throughout the entire game, from the defense to the special teams Memphis played to a level that a lot of people have wanted from the start of the season.
Before we get to the real player of the game in Austin MacGinnis we first have to talk about Zach Mettenberger the Quarterback of the Express.
Mettenberger led the Express with an impressive outing throwing for 174 yards ( 18-25), one Touchdown, and no interceptions. Mettenberger was named the starter after putting up big numbers last week in the second half of the 21-17 loss to the Orlando Apollos.
Mettenberger had this to say about the win:
“I’m going to Graceland if we’re gonna celebrate this victory. It was a tough fight out there, but it was a great team win.” “We’ve got a really tough defense and they play well together. We’ve got to move the ball more to help them out. Right now, we’re asking entirely too much of them staying on the field and expecting stops. We didn’t run the ball as well as we wanted to. We completed the ball, but we really didn’t get to stretch the ball down-field as much as we wanted to. But ultimately, we got the win, and that’s all that matters. A lot of good things to stack on. Hopefully, we can improve this week.”
The kicking game was extremely solid for the Express today led by Austin MacGinnis who went 4-4 on the game and was a huge factor in the win tonight. MacGinnis who was recently signed by the Express this week showed why he was among one of the best in the SEC during his four years at Kentucky.
Head Coach Mike Singletary had this to say about his kicker:
“I’m very excited about that. The consistency of this position is critical especially in a game like this. For us that really is a word that we want to expound upon, especially as we go forward the rest of the season, is consistency in every position.”
The Memphis Express dominated on the defensive side of the ball today in the win over the Fleet. The Express defense forced four turnovers tonight and held AAF leading rusher Ja’Quan Gardner to only six yards.
Mike Singletary had this to say about his defense:
“He’s a special player. He doesn’t know it but he is. I’ll say that first and foremost. Starting with our defensive line, these guys have been playing their tails off. Our linebackers and defensive backs stepped their game up as well, and to be able to come up with key turnovers and key plays in tough situations. We want to be a great defense and you can’t really call yourself until you’ve answered the call in a tough situation.”
This was a massive win for the Memphis Express and they will look to carry this swagger to the game next week when the Express travel to Atlanta to take on the Legends. Something special is brewing in Memphis and football fans across the region should come out to the next home game on Sunday, March 24that 7:00 PM as the Birmingham Iron travels to the 901 to face the Express.