Wranglers dominate at home, 64-37
The Austin Wranglers needed a last-second defensive stop to win their game against Kansas City on Feb. 12.
No late-game heroics were necessary Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center as the Wranglers routed the Brigade 64-37 in the most lopsided victory in franchise history. Austin moves to 6-2 on the season, with a 3-1 Southern Division record.
The Wranglers took a 14-point lead into halftime and never looked back. The two teams traded blows in a 24-point barrage in the final minute of the first half before Austin quarterback John Fitzgerald's 36-yard touchdown pass to OS Derrick Lewis with 12 seconds left which put the Wranglers up two scores heading into the break.
Fitzgerald completed 25-of-35 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, all to Lewis. Fitzgerald added two short touchdown runs to extend the lead after halftime en route to being named the Offensive Player of the Game.
The Tulsa product has torched the expansion Brigade (1-7) this season, throwing for 501 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in two victories over Austin's newest Southern Division opponent.
"It was a very important win for us at home after last week," Austin Head Coach Skip Foster said. "It was a Southern Division rival who we needed to beat."
Wranglers DS Damon Mason picked off two Brigade passes and made 3.5 tackles to lead the Austin defensive effort. Mason earned Defensive Player of the Game honors for his performance. Mason has set a new season-high mark with eight interceptions so far this season.
Behind a stingy performance by their secondary, the Wranglers held the Brigade to only 13 second-half points and forced three turnovers, including a special teams fumble after a long Kansas City kick return.
Brigade quarterback Chris Sanders was 14-of-30 for 201 yards and three touchdowns in a surprise first start for Kansas City. Sanders replaced normal starter Andy Kelly, who is one of the most prolific passers in AFL history.
Brigade WR/LB James Jordan led the team with five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also added three tackles on defense and received the game's Ironman award.
Austin received the opening kickoff and marched down the field quickly, thanks to three Brigade penalties. Fitzgerald found a wide-open Lewis for a 13-yard touchdown to open the scoring as two Kansas City defenders argued over who was responsible for covering Lewis.
The Wranglers ground game was alive and well against the Brigade. Austin rushed for 36 yards and six touchdowns. Kevin Nickerson and Sedrick Robinson outran the Brigade to the corner for two scores, and Dane Krager pounded the ball up the middle.
Backup quarterback Chance Mock made his debut for the Wranglers at the one-minute mark and scored on a quarterback sneak on his only snap. The former University of Texas signal caller also scored on his first collegiate snap on a touchdown pass.
Next week, the Wranglers will complete a three-game home stand against the Orlando Predators at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at the Frank Erwin Center. Information and tickets are still available by calling 512.339.3939 or by logging on to austinwranglers.com.
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