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New York escapes Austin with win

March 12, 2006 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

A late push by the Austin Wranglers was not enough as they fell at home to the New York Dragons 59-56, in front of 10,040 at the Frank Erwin Center. New York goes to 4-3 and the Wranglers move to 5-2 on the season.

The Dragons took the lead late on a five-yard touchdown catch by Mike Horacek and then extended their lead to 10 with a 48-yard Jesse Obert field goal. Wranglers quarterback John Fitzgerald found Derrick Lewis for a 32-yard reception, to put the Wranglers on the two. Fitzgerald then ran in for a two-yard touchdown with 1:42 remaining in the game, but the ensuing onside kick failed and the Dragons ran out the clock.

Fitzgerald finished the game 18-of-24 for 247 yards, six touchdowns passing, one rushing and one lone interception. The interception came in the fourth quarter by Dragons defensive specialist Will Holder. Holder was named the Defensive Player of the Game with four tackles and one pick.

The Dragons were able to win the game using their backup quarterback, Nick Browder, who was just signed two weeks ago. Browder was named the Offensive Player of the Game as he threw for 21-of-39 for 222 yards and five touchdowns with one rushing touchdown. Both the Dragons starting quarterbacks in 2006, Aaron Garcia and Juston Wood, have suffered serious injuries this season. Wood's injury was a dislocated kneecap and he is out for an indefinite amount of time.

Both teams traded scores throughout the game, but special teams on both sides of the ball made a huge impact. In the second quarter, Sedrick Robinson took another kickoff in for a touchdown, this time for 50 yards. Robinson now has a kick return touchdown in two consecutive games and he has three on the season.

New York also had the ball bounce their way in the third quarter, as an Obert kick ricocheted off the net structure and lineman Joe Laudano recovered. This set up a two-yard touchdown run by Jeremiah Pharms to put the Dragons up by two touchdowns.

For the Wranglers, Kevin Nickerson continued with a strong effort in today's game as he had four touchdowns on six receptions for 100 yards. Nickerson also added one tackle and a pass breakup, as he was named the Ironman of the Game.

The Wranglers will play at home next Saturday against Southern Division opponent, the Kansas City Brigade at 7:00 p.m. This will mark Kansas City's first trip to Austin, as they are an expansion team in 2006. Great seats for next week's Wranglers game are still available by calling 339.3939

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