Head Coach John DeFilippo and the UFL Memphis Showboats put together a convincing victory on Sunday as they topped their division rival the Houston Roughnecks 18-12. Although the Roughnecks were within striking distance in the closing minutes, the Showboats maintained control for much of the game.

There were plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball for the Showboats. The game’s first touchdown came on a defensive score from a strip sack of Roughnecks quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Former Birmingham Stallions safety, Christian McFarland snatched up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone.

A Solid Debut for Cookus

Showboats quarterback Case Cookus looked impressive in his first outing. Steady and confident in the pocket, he was fully in sync with his wide receivers, throwing strikes and displaying great chemistry with favorite WR targets Daewood Davis and Vinny Papale as well as TE Sage Surratt. For much of the first half, the offense played like a well-oiled machine with Cookus connecting on quick-release passes and sustaining a long 11-play drive that burned almost eight minutes off the clock.

Toe Tipping Touchdown

By halftime, the Showboats were up 15-0 after an eyepopping Vinny Papale TD reception when he caught the ball on his toes and somehow managed to stay in bounds at the very back of the end zone. Cookus finished the game with 204 passing yards including a gorgeous 16-yard strike to WR Jonathan Adams and a 32 yard pass to Sage Surrat that led to the 11 yard TD reception by Vinny Papale.

A Rougher Start for Houston

Although the Roughnecks made a nice comeback late in the game, Guarantano struggled early on. After finding his rhythm in the second half, Guarantano capped off a 17-yard strike to Justin Hall with a 1-yard TD run moments later. Filling in for the injured Mark Thompson in the ground game were T.J. Pledger and Tiyon Evans. As expected, Pledger got most of the workload and finished with six carries for 15 yards along with two receptions for 14 yards. Kicker JJ Molsen provided one of the highlights for the Roughnecks with a beautiful 55-yard field goal and added another 3 points with a 4th-quarter kick from 45 yards. Reuben Foster was a defensive standout for the Roughnecks, twice capitalizing on turnovers with an early interception of Cookus and recovering a fumble from RB Darius Victor.

Despite these turnovers and failing to add extra points after TD’s, the Memphis Showboats looked very impressive in their first outing. The acquisition of Case Cookus at quarterback provided the team with a major advantage. His quickness, confident throwing style, and well coordinated execution with core receivers fits in well with DeFilippos game plan. If the Showboats can continue to build on this offensive strength, the season looks very promising indeed.

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Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

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