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 Northern Arizona Wranglers

Northern Arizona Comes Away with the Upset, Bringing Down Massachusetts

May 21, 2024 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Northern Arizona Wranglers News Release

LOWELL, Mass. - The Northern Arizona Wranglers defeated the Massachusetts Pirates by a score of 41-40 in an intense game that came down to the wire.

The Wranglers began this highly contested battle on defense. The first quarter consisted of each team trading two touchdowns apiece. Quarterback Joshua Jones threw two touchdown passes in the game's opening quarter. Wranglers wide receiver David Elder caught the first touchdown for Northern Arizona, tying the game at 7-7. On the final play of the first quarter, Wranglers wide receiver John Maldonado muscled through several Pirates defenders. Maldonado stretched the ball over the goal line for the touchdown on an impressive run after the catch. The first quarter concluded with the game's score even at 14-14.

The Wranglers began the second quarter on defense and surrendered a Pirates rushing touchdown. The Pirates missed the extra point attempt, jumping in front of the Wranglers by a score of 20-14. On the ensuing possession, the Wranglers' offense turned the ball over on downs. The Wranglers defense stepped up, getting the ball right back with a fumble recovery on their goal line. The Wranglers regained their lead on the next drive when Jones found wide receiver Kobay White open in the corner of the end zone. White made an acrobatic grab, flying over the wall into the stands for the touchdown. This incredible catch by White made it onto ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10.

The Pirates responded with a touchdown, grabbing the lead for Massachusetts again. The Wranglers trailed by four points with just 35 seconds left in the first half. Maldonado got his second score of the day, this time with a rushing touchdown. The Pirates got the ball with the ability to run one play before the first half closed, and Massachusetts missed a field goal. The Wranglers entered the locker room at halftime with a two-point lead, in command of the Pirates by a score of 28-26.

The Wranglers opened the third quarter with Maldonado flying into the stands over the wall for his third touchdown of the game. The Wranglers missed the extra-point attempt and led by eight. On the following possession, Massachusetts tied the game at 34-34 with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The Wranglers' defense got another huge goal-line stand at their one-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs. The third quarter ended with the game's score knotted at 34 all.

The Wranglers opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass from Jones to White. White grabbed his second touchdown of the day as he flew into the wall rather than over it but still hung on. The Wranglers jumped out to a seven-point lead early in the final quarter of the contest. The Wranglers appeared to be in the driver's seat, with their defense getting another fourth-down stop. The Pirates' defense answered the bell on the following possession, forcing a fourth down stop of their own.

The Wranglers' went back on the field to protect their lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game. The Pirates scored a touchdown with just over one minute left in this thrilling battle. The Pirates missed the extra point, which was huge for Northern Arizona. The Wranglers held a 41-40 lead with just over one minute remaining and had possession of the football. The Wranglers' offense couldn't get a first down and missed a long field goal attempt. The Wranglers surrendered the ball back to the Pirates with a one-point lead and just over 30 seconds left. The Pirates were driving and were at the Wranglers 11-yard line. The Pirates opted to play aggressively, and it came back to bite them. Wranglers defensive back Travion Banks nabbed an interception with just 18 seconds left in the game.

The Wranglers secured a one-point victory, taking down the Pirates 41-40. The Wranglers defense came up big in key moments in this victory. The Wranglers offense continues to provide highlight reel plays and could have a case for a play or two on the SportsCenter Top 10 list. With the victory, the Wranglers improve their record to 5-3 on the season. The Wranglers will return home to Clarion Pointe Field inside the Findlay Toyota Center to take on the Tucson Sugar Skulls for the third time this season.

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