Luis Aguilar Leads Philadelphia Stars to Victory Over New Jersey Generals

Luis Aguilar Leads Philadelphia Stars to Victory Over New Jersey Generals

The USFL is headed back to Ford Field to kick off the action in today’s early matchup. The New Jersey Generals (2-2) will be looking to take control of the north against the Philadelphia Stars (1-3). This is a rematch of last years USFL North Championship, but the Stars are not looking like the same team at all.

After this week we’ll officially be halfway through the 2023 USFL season. If Philly wants another chance at the Championship, they’ll need to start turning things around. Today’s matchup is especially important because it’s a division game.

First Quarter

The Generals opted to kickoff to start the game, giving Philadelphia’s offense the first chance to hit the field. Cookus came into the game with a mission on his mind, get the win. Right off the bat he found a good rotation between Corey Coleman and Matt Colburn to keep the chains moving past mid-field.

Cookus then shifted gears, and it was Pro Wells who was able to move the team into the red zone. Wells was targeted again, and this time he moved the team to the 1-yard line.

The Stars struggled once at the goal line. After three attempts the Generals defense a huge stand which led to the Stars settling for three.

DeAndre Johnson and the Generals now had their first opportunity on offense. The team continued where they left off in previous weeks with Darius Victor continuing to shine.Β  Ultimately the drive fizzled out quick adn they were forced to punt it back to Philadelphia.

Case Cookus had an impressive run for a first down, but then they ran into penalty issues. When presented with 3rd & 23 Coach Andrus opted to take a timeout and assess the situation. It was no surprise that they couldn’t convert, punting it back to New Jersey.

Darius Victor ran into trouble on the first play, fumbling the ball with Gabriel Sewell recovering for the Stars.

Philadelphia was back on the field and essentially where they left off on the last drive. New Jersey’s defense was not letting up though, they shut down the Stars putting them at 4th down to round out the quarter.

Second Quarter

Luis Aguilar would secure three more for the Stars from 42-yards out to start out the second quarter. This now gave Philadelphia a 6-0 lead over the New Jersey Generals.

Trey Williams was now seeing heavy rotation for the Generals. He was able top move the team past the 50, putting them in the best scoring position of the afternoon. DeAndre Johnson then took things into his own hands, running it the rest of the way for the first Generals touchdown of the afternoon.

The extra-point put them up 7-6.

Cookus came back on the field, and even through pressure he was able to get them in scoring position once more. They brough Luis Aguilar back out and he put more points on the board, this time from 56-yards out.

The Stars defense came up big ont he next drive, putting constent pressure on New Jersey. At 3rd & 20, DeAndre Johnson tried to air it out to the end zone, but there was just too much coverage.

Philadelphia’s offense would take the field again with just under 5-minutes left in the half. They weren’t able to do much, other than take some time off the clock. They would ultimately punt it back to New Jersey with a little over 3-minutes to go before the half time break.

Wes Saxton Jr. came up with a big reception for New Jersey to start out the drive. Event with the tipped pass, he was able to move it into scoring territory. Penalties ended up pushing them back, and from their they lost their momentum.

They were forced to bring in Nick Sciba, who was able to put them back on top from a 50-yard field goal attempt.

The Stars came back on the field and were out for some points before the half.

It ahd looked as if they may be able to secure a touchdown, but after a close call the call was overturned.

The team eventially relied on Luis Aguilar to put up his fourth field goal of the afternoon to give them a 12-10 lead over the Generals going into the half.

Third Quarter

The New Jersey Generals would receive the kickoff to start the second half. They weren’t down by much, but they’d need to tweak their offense if they wanted to come out with the victory.

Woody Brandum came up with a huige reception, but it was overshadowed on the next play. Darius Victor fumbled the ball once more, with the Stars defense scooping up the ball.

The Stars were now only 20-yards from the end zone, putting them in prime scoring position. New Jersey’s defense continued to put on pressure, forcing the Stars to bring Aguilar back into the game. He went on to hit his fifth field goal of the afternoon to give his team a 15-10 lead.

During the next drive DeAndre Johnson went down with an injury, which was not what Generals fans wanted to see at this point in this game. Kyle Lauletta would come in to see his first action since last season. Unfortunately, things did not go the way he wanted. Lauletta was picked off, giving the Philadelphia Stars possession again.

That wasn’t all swe saw from Luis Aguilar in the third either. He came out again and knocked one in from 51-yards to put them up 18-10.

Lauletta came into the next possesion a bit more composed. He was able to get the ball moving to end out the third, putting them in great scoring position.

Fourth Quarter

The Philadelphia defense came in strong to start the final quarter, forcing the Generals to opt for a field goal on fourth down.

Nick Sciba continued the trend of kicking today with another succefful attempt. They now only trailed 18-13, but time was running out.

It would only be natural that the next drive would put the Stars in a position to attempt another field goal. Luis Aguilar stayed perfect on the day, and extended his USFL record to 7 of 7.

With time moving quick the Generals were marching the ball down the field well. Darius Victor was making it his duty to redeem himself for the previous fumbles. Today just wasn’t his day. Near the goal line he gave it up again, giving the Philadelphia possession and an opportunity to burn more time.

The Stars couldn’t do much on this drive as they were pinned back deep. They were forced to punt it away giving New Jersey another shot with 4:06 remaining in the matchup.

Lauletta has improved a lot since his first appearnce in the game, he was looking much more comfortable. Trey Williams also kicked back into gear to move the ball near the 30.

Lauletta was able to get them into the red zone, and J’Mon Moore was able to keep the driving going converting on 4th and inches.

Ultimately he was able to sneak it into the end zone to keep the Generals in the game.

With 15-seconds left in the game, they opted for two to tie things up and send it to overtime. Lauletta found Woody Brandum wide open to make it 21-21 with 21-seconds left in the game.

Thanks to a solid return, Philadelphia found themselves passed mid-field with 14-seconds and two timeouts.

It was only natural that it would come down to Luis Aguilar. They brought him into the game with 3-seconds to attempt it from 55-yards.

Of course, he knocked it through moving to 8/8 on the day and setting the bar even higher.

The Philadelphia Stars came out on top, but this was by no means a great game for either team. They both needed to heavily depend on their special teams. Although impressive and a great day for Luis Aguilar, you know Coach Andrus would have loved to see more out of his receiving and running teams.

The Generals took a loss that should have been an easy win. They’ll need to go back to the drawing board to adjust as they go into the second half of the season. The USFL North is anyone’s to claim, but which team will be the ones to button things up as we hit the final strech?

What are your takeaways from this matchup between the New Jersey Generals and Philadelphia Stars? Which USFL players made an impact? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!