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Dorados Look for Breaks after Six-game Winless Streak

June 22, 2004 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Rio Grande Valley Dorados News Release

HIDALGO, TX: June 22, 2004 – The Rio Grande Valley Dorados of the arenafootball2 (af2) league racked up a season high 351 yards on offense, but suffered a 66-59 overtime setback to the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings Friday night at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana. The loss extends the current Dorados winless streak to six and the fourth of which has been decided in the games final minute and the third which has been decided on the game’s final play of the game.

Both squads opened up with four-play scoring drives, but the Battle Wings held an early 7-6 lead, as kicker Eric Houle was unable to convert on a penalized extra point from 28 yards after a Craig Cole 5-yard rushing touchdown. Rio Grande Valley established a 13-10 1st quarter lead with a 3rd down and 30 yards to go conversion off of a 38-yard pass completion to Manwell Talbert from Caleb Slover for the touchdown, but fumbled on their final offensive possession in the first quarter as Jermaine Shepard was hit into the boards after a 15-yard carry. The Battle Wings capitalized off the turnover with a 38-yard pass completion of their own to Bo Smith from Sherard Poteete to take a 17-13 lead. The lead change would be just one of five in the 2nd quarter, in a game which featured 11 in all. Things got crazy in the second quarter after McKinley Bowie’s 8-yard touchdown reception gave the Dorados a 20-17 lead. Ronshay Jenkins picked off a deep Poteete pass to get the Dorados the ball back, but on the very next play, Slover had a deep pass to the endzone intercepted by Dennis Skains. It would not stop there, as Eddie Moten intercepted a Poteete offering on the ensuing play, only to lose the ball again on the following play, as Craig Cole fumbled a 5-yard reception. The Battle Wings unfortunately got things back to normal, converting off of the turnover with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Poteete to Kevin Thomas. The two teams rounded out the first half trading scores and the Dorados closed out the half with a 35-yard field goal by Eric Houle with time expiring.

The Dorados got off to a quick start in the second half with a pair of touchdown drives off Battle Wing turnovers. Defensive specialist Eddie Moten forced two fumbles in the Battle Wings first two second half possessions, with the Dorados recovering both and capitalizing with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Bowie and a 2-yard touchdown reception by Talbert to build a 45-31 lead. Just when it appeared the Dorados had the momentum, the tide began to shift in favor of the Battle Wings. On the ensuing kickoff, Shadrick McAfee returned the kickoff for a 55 yard touchdown for the Battle Wings. The Dorados responded with an offensive drive that marched down to the Battle Wing seven yard line, but it came to an end after a Reggie Perkins interception in the endzone, which was returned 47-yards to the Dorados five yard line. The Battle Wings were able to score two plays later with a Larry Holloway two-yard run to cut the Dorados lead to 45-41. Things continued downhill for the Dorados as they were forced to attempt a 43 yard field goal on their following possession. The attempt was not only missed, but it was returned 54 yards for a touchdown by Bo Smith, giving the Battle Wings a 49-45 lead with 7:19 remaining in the contest. Rio Grande Valley ended the Battle Wings 18-0 run with a 4-play 45-yard offensive drive, which was capped off by a 31-yard touchdown pass completion from Slover to Cole to regain the lead 52-49. Smith gained his third touchdown of the night with one minute remaining in regulation for the Battle Wings, catching a 24-yard pass from Poteete to take a 56-53 lead. The Dorados did not have much time to respond, starting their next drive from their own five yard line with one minute remaining, but they responded with a 6-play 45-yard drive in 47-seconds, as Slover hit Cole for his fourth touchdown of the game to give the Dorados a 59-56 lead with 13 seconds remaining. It was enough time for the Battle Wings, as Poteete hit Josh Long for a 24 yard gain and a timeout was called to let kicker Jason Ball focus on his 28-yard field goal attempt. As regulation time expired, Ball booted his attempt over the goal posts and goalside rebound netting system. The Dorados went into a frenzy as the referee under the uprights ruled the kick “no good,” giving the Dorados an apparent 59-56 win, but as the Dorados were ready to make their way off the field, the head official called for a meeting of officials at midfield and then overruled the original decision and signified that the kick was good, sending the game into overtime tied 59-59.

Rio Grande Valley won the overtime coin toss and elected to go on defense first. The Dorados defense tried their best to stop the Battle Wings, but the B’Wings manufactured a game-long 7-play 45-yard drive, which ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Perkins. Rio Grande Valley received a good kickoff return from Cole to start the Dorados overtime drive at their own 23 yard line. Slover found Jenkins open for 21 yards to get the Dorados into a first down and goal to go situation at the Battle Wings eight yard line. After two incomplete passes, Slover tossed a pass down the left hash to Cole, who was wrapped up right on the goal line. He was ruled down on the one yard line, setting up fourth down and goal. Slover then took the fourth down snap and extended the ball over the goalline pile, but as soon as the official signified touchdown, another official stepped in and tossed a penalty flag for illegal formation on the Dorados. They were forced to replay the down from the six yard line. As Slover dropped back to throw on fourth down, the ball slipped out of hands and bounced behind him. He was able to scramble back to get it, but as he attempted to shuffle the ball to an open teammate, he tossed the ball incomplete into the stands, giving the Battle Wings the 66-59 victory.

Despite the loss, it was a brilliant performance by Caleb Slover, who left the prior game after taking a helmet to the throat resulting in a bruised larynx. Slover established a Dorados season high in passing with a 28 of 48 performance for 320 yards and 7 touchdowns. Craig Cole also had a big night for the Dorados with 284 all-purpose yards, with 112 reception yards off 10 receptions and 167 kickoff return yards off of 7 returns. The only true negative for the Dorados was the 279 yards allowed by the special teams defense on Battle Wings returns.

The loss pushed the Dorados record to 3-7 and pushed their consecutive winless streak to six games. The Dorados have lost all six by an average margin of 9.5 points.

Rio Grande Valley will be looking for a break and a win this Saturday night as they make another non-divisional road trip and their first trip to Birmingham, Alabama to face the Birmingham Steeldogs. The 8-3 Steeldogs are coming off a high scoring 67-64 loss at Tennesse Valley. Birmingham is 6-0 at home this season at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) and has just edged past their opponents in their last two home games, winning those contests by an average margin of 4 points. The Steeldgogs are led offensively by quarterback Kenton Evans, who ranks second in the af2 with a 119.6 pass rating, and by fullback Dontae Walker, who ranks third in rushing in the af2 with an average of 19.3 yards. On the defensive side, Anthony Jordan leads the af2 with 8 interceptions and Jerry Turner co-leads the af2 with 8 tackles for a loss and is ranked second in sacks with 7.5.

The Dorados next contest back at the Dodge Arena is Saturday, July 3rd, as they battle the Wichita Stealth. Individual tickets are currently on sale and may be purchased by stopping by the Dodge Arena offices (2600 N. 10th St. in Hidalgo, Tx) or contacting them by phone at 956-843-7825. Additional ticket information and corporate opportunities are available by contacting the Dorados offices at 956-843-7825 or visit the Dorados online at www.doradosfootball.com.

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