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Force slip by Wranglers, 66-63

February 26, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

The Austin Wranglers fell to the Georgia Force after the teams traded scores for the first three quarters of play. Wranglers QB John Fitzgerald completed 22-34 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns with one costly interception. The Georgia Force lost starting quarterback Jim Kubiak (10-12, 119 yards, 1 TD) after he went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter. Matt Nagy backed him up with a 257-yard performance on 19 completions of 25 attempts and one interception.

After Georgia took the ball down the field on their first drive, the Wranglers answered with a 33- yard pass from Fitzgerald to WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini. The Wranglers wrapped up the first quarter with a 1-yard rush by FB/LB Henry Bryant, but trailed going into the second quarter, 14-13.

Austin kept the score tight after WR/DB Kevin Nickerson ate up the field on a quick slant that turned into a 45-yard Wranglers touchdown. After another Georgia score, Nickerson reeled in his second touchdown of the night. The Wranglers 2-point conversion attempt resulted in an illegal defense called on the Georgia Force. On the repeat down, Fitzgerald ran the ball in on the left corner of the end zone tying the game with one minute left in the first half. Georgia fired the final touchdown of the half leaving the score 35-28 at intermission.

To begin the second half, the Wranglers held on to the ball for a 8-play, 5:16 drive that was littered with short passes to WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini who came up with an 8-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35. Once again Georgia found a way to score with Nagy completing a 12-yard pass to WR/LB Derek Lee for his third touchdown of the game. Chiaverini picked up a crucial first down on third-and-21 to set up Nickerson’s third touchdown of the night, a five yard run that tied the game at 42. Georgia’s next drive ended in a 42-yard cross-route to OS Troy Bergeron but the extra point was missed and the door was open for Austin to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Bryant rushed for his second touchdown on the night and Tony Dodson connected on the PAT, after the Force was penalized for a personal foul on a botched Wranglers snap, which gave the Wranglers the lead 49-48. The Wranglers made the first defensive stop of the game with less than seven minutes left in the game when WR/LB Ira Gooch intercepted a Nagy pass after it rebounded off the nets. Fitzgerald led the team on a quick 2-play drive capped off with WR/DB Charlie Davidson’s first touchdown of the season. The Wranglers took the lead with 6:03 left to go in the game until Georgia came up with their own interception on Austin’s next drive and converted for a touchdown. Fitzgerald led the Wranglers down the field and Bryant rushed for his third touchdown of the game, tying the score at 63 with 11 seconds remaining. The Force ran two plays before Kicker Nelson Garner connected on a 49-yard field goal for the win.

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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from February 26, 2005

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