The 2022 Arena Football Association season will officially kick off this weekend with games in Fort Worth and Odessa, Texas. The Magnolia State Spartans from Jackson, MS will face the North Texas Bulls in Ft. Worth tomorrow night (April 15) at the Fort Worth Convention Center, and the Texas Jets (Houston) will face the West Texas Warbirds at the Ector County Coliseum in Odessa on Saturday night (April 16).
“This has been a long time coming and a lot of incredible work has been put in by our entire league from top to bottom to get to this point, but we’re very excited to finally bring fans into our arenas and put the ball in the air,” said Arena Football Association co-Founder Doug Freeman.
The streaming platform FloSports will carry both games live. The Spartans-Bulls contest kicks off at 7 p.m. CDT and the Jets-Warbirds contest is also set for a 7 p.m. CDT kickoff.
The AFA originally had been set to kick off its 2022 campaign last Saturday night in Wichita, but a water line disruption at the Wichita Force’s home arena forced that game to be postponed until May 14.
Friday night’s opening game features one of the two most recent entries to join the AFA in Magnolia State. The first-year expansion Spartans are coached by Dexter Allen and led by wide receiver Marcel Newson and defensive lineman Charles Brooks, both of whom played for the National Arena League Champion Albany Empire in 2021. Newson, who attended Mississippi College, went to training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017 and participated in the Spring League in 2019. The Bulls, 2021 champions of the American Arena League, are coached by Victor Mann. North Texas went 8-1 last season, including a 60-43 win over the Charlotte Thunder in the AAL championship game. The Bulls’ top returning players are wide receiver Chris Franklin, two-way lineman Drew Nichols and defensive back Jimmy Keys.
The Texas Jets, based in Humble, Texas, are coached by Ty Peace and led by quarterback Michael Foggin. The Jets made their debut in 2021 in the Lone Star Series where they went winless in three starts. They’ll face a West Texas team that is coached by Tate Smith. Champions of the Lone Star Series in 2021 with a perfect record of 7-0, the Warbirds are led offensively by quarterback Skyler Howard, a former standout at West Virginia who spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in 2017. Howard has a top target in wide receiver Jordon Gandy, who had 19 receptions for 407 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021. On the other side of the ball, the Warbirds are led by defensive back Joseph Nuttall, Jr., who had 27 tackles and seven pass breakups during the ’21 campaign.
Built upon the pillars of diversity, equity and inclusion, the Arena Football Association is focused on placing its franchises in underserved markets, targeting cities whose populations range from 200,000 to 2 million. The League is built on a world-class business model of designed to drive league growth. Every team must adhere to strict business operations principles that help to ensure economic stability.
More information about the Arena Football Association is available at https://arenafa.com/.
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