Fire Come Up Short in Loss to Pioneers
Louisville, KY - The Louisville Fire (4-4) hosted the first place division rival Wilkes-Barre Pioneers (6-2) at Freedom Hall on their quest for playoff bliss. During the Pioneers initial drive, the Fire intercepted Pioneers QB Mike Granieri in the end zone. The Pioneer turnover led to the Fire drawing first blood with a 26-yard pass from the "Partners in Pyro" QB Brett Dietz to WR Rob Mager. The Pioneers answered back with a 10-yard pass from QB Granieri to WR Yaacov Yisrael. The first quarter ended with another score by the Fire this time an 11-yard pass from QB Dietz to WR Lance Taylor.
The beginning of the second quarter was all Pioneers beginning with a 2-yard run by WR Yisrael followed by a 12-yard Pioneers pass from QB Granieri to WR JR Thomas. The Fire fired back with a 38-yard pass from QB Dietz to WR Tommy Mannus. The scoring shootout continued with a 14-yard passing score, by the Pioneers, from QB Granieri to WR JR Thomas. The Fire closed out the half scoring with only 13 seconds left with a touchdown pass from QB Dietz to WR Mager.
In the third quarter it was the Pioneers who were on fire as their defense turned up the heat on the Fire with a safety by Pioneers LB Doug Harding. The Pioneers would later score on a 4-yard run by WR Yisreal. After the quarter the Fire was down but not out.
During the fourth quarter both teams came alive in what became a scoring shootout making it anybody's game. The Fire started the quarter like an inferno attempting to take the game back from the Pioneers. QB Dietz connected with WR Taylor on an 8-yard pass bringing the Fire within three. As fast as an unsuspecting sportscaster could say "boom goes the dynamite," the Fire scored again on a 3-yard net recovery score by DS Jeremy Chandler. The Pioneers quickly responded, with 12:13 left in the game, on a 30-yard touchdown pass from QB Granieri to WR Yardon Brantley. After scoring again, the Fire drove again on a 28-yard score from QB Dietz to WR Mager to take the lead. With 36 seconds left in the game the Pioneers took the lead with a 12-yard pass from QB Granieri to WR Brantley. During the final attempt to reclaim the lead, the Fire fumbled on a drive that was sure to lay the Pioneers to rest.
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