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 Frisco Fighters

McConnell Plays Hero in 44-41 Fighters Win at San Diego

May 28, 2024 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Frisco Fighters News Release


SAN DIEGO - With 18 seconds to go, it seemed the San Diego Strike Force had stolen a victory.

The hosts had trailed the Fighters for most of the night, but Rudy Johnson had just burrowed in for his second fourth-quarter rushing score, giving San Diego its first lead of the night.

Ten ticks later, Frisco's Lionell McConnell slalomed 50 yards with the outcome tucked in his arm, lunged onto the black carpet of Pechanga Arena, and pointed roofward from his back in celebration. The kick return put the Fighters back ahead late in a 44-41 win.

Soon after, Nate Davis' 15-yard throw to Arthur Jackson III was too tall, then Aedan Johnson booted what would've been a game-tying field goal wide right.

With a one-yard plunge, Tripp Harrington punctuated a four-play, 19-yard march to open the contest, then helped double the Fighters' lead with a five-yard scramble 7:31 later. Frisco (7-2) forced turnovers on downs in its own territory after both scores.

Bryce Crawford split the uprights in the second quarter, stretching the Fighters' lead to 17. Davis and Xavier Amey combined for an 11-yard aerial 2:31 after that to get San Diego (5-4) on the scoreboard.

Crawford added another field goal make on the possession that followed and Davis hit Jordan Kress from 11 yards out with 39 ticks left before halftime. Harrington and Davis traded interceptions on consecutive plays before the former wheeled in for an 11-yard ground score, capitalizing on Ethan Caselberry's pick.

Royce See forced a fumble in the waning seconds of the first half, which Kentrelle Pierce pounced on to send Frisco into the lockers with a 27-13 edge. Out of the intermission, Davis' short-yardage connection with Jackson provided the only points of the third frame.

Crawford's third field goal made it a two-possession game 2:33 into the final quarter, then Elijah Lilly brought the ensuing kickoff all the way back. Cole Blackman hauled in a 14-yard touchdown over Atoa Fox with 8:44 remaining. Johnson powered in from a yard away in response 2:33 later.

Harrington's 4th-and-goal lob was snatched down by the Strike Force's Tariq Thompson with under a minute and a half to play, which led to Johnson's other surge.

Along with his go-ahead kick return, McConnell also had an interception in the win.

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