AFA announces full 2022 schedule featuring a total of 30 games
The Magnolia State Spartans and the Wichita Force, the two most recent additions to the Arena Football Association (AFA), will kick off the 2022 season when they meet on Saturday, April 9 at the ICT Center in Wichita. It’s the lone game on the Week 1 AFA schedule and it marks the first of 30 games that comprise the 2022 AFA ledger.
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 he participated in the Spring League in 2019. The Force are coached by Ene Akpan. They finished 5-6 in the Champions Indoor Football League in 2021 and are led by quarterback Ed Crouch, the former McPherson College signal-caller who was the MVP of the Fan Controlled Football League in 2021.
All six AFA teams will take the field in Week 2. On Friday, April 15, the Magnolia State Spartans will face the North Texas Bulls, the reigning champions of the former American Arena League, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, and on Saturday, April 16, the Texas Jets will take on the 2021 Lone Star Series Champion West Texas Warbirds at the Ector County Coliseum and the Rio Grande Valley Dorados will meet the Force at the ICT Center.
“What a great way to start the season with the Spartans and Force, our two newest members, being the first to put the ball in the air,” said AFA co-Founder Doug Freeman. “We couldn’t be more excited. And in Week 2, all six of our teams will be in action, including the defending Lone Star Series Champion Warbirds, and we’ll officially be off and running. It’s going to be a great season from start to finish and we just can’t wait to get it started!”
After opening their seasons on the road, the Texas Jets and Magnolia State Spartans will both play their home openers in Week 3. The Jets will host the Dorados at the Humble Civic Center Arena on Friday, April 22 and the Spartans will play host to the Force at the Neshoba County Coliseum on Saturday, April 23 in a rematch of the 2022 AFA opener.
In an interesting footnote to the 2022 AFA schedule, the Rio Grande Valley Dorados will be a travel team for the season, playing all seven of their contests on the road, and the West Texas Warbirds will play three of their home games at the Amarillo Civic Center. The Dorados last played in 2019 in the International Arena Football League, advancing to the championship game, where they fell to the Mexicah in a game contested in Mexico City. The Dorados will open their 2022 season on the road against the Wichita Force.
“Obviously a lot has changed in the world since 2019,” explained Dorados Managing Partner Mario Rey. “Playing as a travel team this season will allow us to gauge our market and our fans’ interest in returning to indoor events due to the pandemic. The Arena Football Association’s vision and partnership with our organization made the decision to participate this season possible. We look forward to the upcoming season and providing players here in the Rio Grande Valley with an opportunity to play on this stage.”