Phantoms' Two Second Heartbreaker in Cincinnati
A single field goal dashes the Phantoms' hopes for their first victory.
Despite standout performances by Palm Beach Phantoms quarterback/coach JaJuan Seider (QB, FAMU), and a supreme defense led by Terence Bell (DB, Valdosta State), Palm Beach's NIFL team lost an exciting contest 47-44 to the Cincinnati Marshals, a team that finished the 2005 season one game shy of the NIFL's Indoor Bowl.
Cincinnati took an early lead, dominating the first quarter while holding the Phantoms to a mere field goal. The Marshals came out firing in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter, with quarterback Seth Ellis completing a pass to Michael Larkin for a touchdown. Ellis later fired a trio of blanks, and Bell capitalized on the incomplete passes by intercepting one for an eight yard gain for the Phantoms. Bell's interception set up a rushing touchdown by Doug Parker (RB, Florida Atlantic), who also finished the game with 24 yards rushing. Larkin and Seider both scored touchdowns to finish the quarter, and Cincinnati led 23-16 at the half.
The Phantoms controlled the third quarter, with Seider matching Ellis' 30 second touchdown with one of his own. Seider connected with James Johnson (WR) for the TD, and Anthony Bugeja (K, Methodist) capped the score with a field goal, tying the game. The Marshals were again plagued with inadequate passing and penalties, and tough defense by the Phantoms' Bell, Craig Rountree (DB, Florida Atlantic), and Lashawn Pugh (OL, DL) sealed the Marshals' fate in the third quarter. The Phantoms edged out to a seven point lead behind a score from Corey Kinsey (R.B., S.E. Missouri), adding to their complete shutout of the Marshals in the third quarter after scoring 14 unanswered points. The Phantoms cruised into the fourth quarter with a comfortable 30-23 lead.
The fourth quarter started with an eight second miracle play for the Phantoms, with Seider executing a textbook quarterback draw for a touchdown. Billy Back answered with a touchdown for Cincinnati, again closing the lead to seven. The Phantoms and the Marshals traded scores, and Cincinnati's Larkin executed an amazing 50 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Marshals forced a Phantoms turnover, setting up a touchdown by Ellis, and tying the score at 44 with 1:58 remaining. Both teams struggled to score, and the game was reduced to a battle of the field goals with only 17 seconds remaining. The Phantoms' Bugeja missed a 33 yard attempt, then the Marshals had their last kick at winning the game or sending the game into overtime. The Marshals' George Murray executed a precise quarterback draw, putting Dan Breech into prime position for his winning field goal in the last two seconds of the game.
The Phantoms had a spectacular showing, with Seider emerging as the true playmaker of the game. Seider recorded 265 yards passing, completing 12 of 23 attempts, and tossing only one interception. He also rushed for 47 of the Phantoms' 78 yards rushing, and scored two of the team's six touchdowns. Bell was the Phantoms' defensive star, recording 8 solo tackles and a key interception. The Phantoms definitely have the talent to win, and will bring it when they face the Florida Frenzy in their next game.
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