Austin Dusts Amarillo, 66-56
In a much-anticipated rematch from earlier this season, the Austin Wranglers were on the winning end this time around, beating the Amarillo Dusters 66-56 at home at U.S. Army Field at the Frank Erwin Center.
Earlier this season, the Wranglers faced the Dusters in Amarillo and lost 65-40, but the Austin squad has improved and has found chemistry on offense in large part to quarterback Andy Hall joining the team in week four.
The Wranglers began their dominance of the Dusters early as the defense forced Amarillo to a 30-yard field goal, which bounced off the iron, turning the ball over to Austin. On their first position, Austin quarterback Hall found his favorite target, wide receiver John Roberson on a 35-yard bomb to gain the early lead. Amarillo used some trickery to even the score, taking advantage of the direct snap to multi-purpose player, Donte Newsome.
Scoring really picked up in the second quarter as the two teams combined for 55 points. Just three seconds into the second stanza, Wranglers fullback Kamau Jackson barreled into the end zone for his first of two rushing scores in the quarter.
The Dusters began to find some rhythm with quarterback Julian Reece finding wide receiver Jim Lukowiak for touchdowns of 27 and 19 yards. Sandwiched in between the two Amarillo scores was a spectacular grab by Austin wide receiver Sean Henley who snatched a ball that had hit the top of the wall and the net structure, for a 31-yard touchdown. Henley also followed Lukowiak's second score, taking a Hall screen pass the distance for a 20-yard touchdown.
Austin's luck on defense continued as an Amarillo fumble was picked up by defensive back Ricky Williams and returned 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Wranglers a 34-21 lead. Amarillo was able to score one final time in the half on a quarterback sneak by Reece. The Dusters, being behind 34-28, attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by Wranglers' Jackson. On the 3-yard line, Jackson also got the nod on offense, carrying the ball in for a score. Amarillo tried a field goal as time winded down in the half, but were unsuccessful.
Beginning the second half, Hall locked-in on Roberson for a 31-yard touchdown, extending Austin's lead to 49-28. To make-up for a missed extra point earlier in the contest, the Wranglers used some trickery of their own, faking the kick and using holder Mel Long to carry the ball in for the two-point conversion.
It appeared as if Amarillo wide receiver Jason Anderson had taken the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown, but a holding penalty negated the score. Anderson would go on to score for the Dusters, but Long would answer back for the Wranglers on a 32-yard touchdown reception. Anderson scored the final points of the third quarter for the Dusters on a four-yard touchdown catch. Both teams also traded fumbles in the quarter.
In the final quarter of play, Austin kicker Keita Iizuka who had his best game of the season (7-of-8 on extra points), nailed an 18-yard field goal to begin the fourth. Schutt Offensive Player of the Game, Amarillo's Lukowiak grabbed two more touchdown passes of 21 and three yards, giving him four on the game for the Dusters. Long also added one more score for the Wranglers to finish the game.
The Austin Wranglers hit the road for three weeks, but return home on Saturday, June 28 for a night-contest against Southwest Division rivals, the Texas Copperheads at 7 p.m. at U.S. Army Field at the Frank Erwin Center. Great seats for the remaining two home games are still available by calling 512.339.3939 or visiting www.austinwranglers.com.
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