Wildcats Claw By Wranglers, 58-56
Following two straight weeks of winning for the Austin Wranglers, they returned home to face the South Georgia Wildcats and lost a close battle, 58-26, in front of 3,003 at the Frank Erwin Center.
Austin's hopes were crushed when South Georgia quarterback Andrico Hines found wide receiver Nathan Findley as the clock struck zeros, to go ahead by two points, closing out their fourth win this season.
The Wranglers got out to an early 21-7 lead in the first quarter thanks to three touchdown tosses by quarterback Andy Hall with wide receiver John Roberson grabbing one and wide receiver/linebacker Mel Long snatching two. Austin's defense also forced a South Georgia field goal attempt and defensive lineman Estus Hood sacked Wildcats quarterback Hines to keep in stride with their productive offense.
South Georgia used the second quarter to get back in the game, scoring 28 points with their last score coming with two seconds remaining in the first half. Hines found three different receivers in the end zone with Antwone Savage, Andre Slappey, and P.J. Berry all recording touchdowns.
Today's third quarter got off to a crazy start as South Georgia's Berry ran the opening kickoff to the Wranglers one-yard line but collided with an Austin defender and fumbled, with the ball being recovered by wide receiver Sean Henley. Austin was unable to capitalize on the turnover as Hall fumbled and turned the ball back over to the Wildcats. The fumble didn't hurt Austin too much as South Georgia was only able to come away with three points on an 20-yard field goal by kicker Scott Hode, which were the only points of the quarter.
Austin began the fourth quarter with an incomplete pass intended for Roberson on fourth down, giving the ball back to South Georgia. The Wildcats quickly scored on an 26-yard pass from Hines to Savage. Hall quickly found Roberson on a deep pass for the Wranglers first touchdown of the second half. As Austin narrowed the South Georgia lead to three points, Wildcats kickoff returner Berry took the ensuing kickoff the distance to go back on top by 10.
Wranglers own kickoff returner LeJuan Edwards gave Austin good field position to begin the drive, which Hall took in for a short touchdown to again bring the home team within three. Needing to gain back a possession, Wranglers Head Coach Ben Bennett gambled and called an on-side kick, which kicker Keita Iizuka executed perfectly and defensive back Ricky Williams recovered. Although Austin would go on to score, it would not be enough as South Georgia scored as time expired for the win.
Austin enters their bye-week while South Georgia heads home to host Tennessee Valley next Saturday. Following the Wranglers week off, they will hit the road to face the Texas Copperheads on May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Austin Wranglers next home game, on May 24 at 7 p.m., will mark a special evening of recognition and reflection as the organization will open the entire upper-level of the Frank Erwin Center up to members of the Armed Forces and their families for Military Appreciation Night. Hosting the Spokane Shock, the Wranglers will donate tickets to the Armed Forces while also including them in special pre-game and on-field activities. For more information on Military Appreciation Night or for tickets to this unique evening of football, please call 512.339.3939 or visit www.austinwranglers.com.
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- Wildcats Claw By Wranglers, 58-56 - Austin Wranglers