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Wranglers get Destroyers in the end, 58-55

April 30, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

COLUMBUS--The Austin Wranglers sneaked out a win in Columbus, winning the game on a 22-yard Todd Sievers field goal kicked with only two second left in regulation, 58-55.

Wranglers quarterback John Fitzgerald threw for 288 yards, completing 28 of 37 attempts with two interceptions. Rookie WR/DB Kevin Nickerson received US Army Ironman of the Game honors after catching eight passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns on offense and posting three solo stops on defense. DS Cedric Walker picked up ADT Defensive Play of the Game as he led the team in tackles with three solo and four assists.

The Wranglers started off the game strong scoring on the team's first three possessions-two Fitzgerald passes to WR/DB Kevin Nickerson and WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini, respectively, and a 2-yard run by FB/LB Jeremy Beutler. The Destroyers managed to score a touchdown on their first drive of the game, but were stopped by the Wranglers offense on downs and forced to settle for two consecutive field goals in the second quarter. After a single play that constituted a muffed bootleg, Columbus interception, Columbus fumble, and Wrangler recovery, Fitzgerald rounded-out the Wranglers first-half scoring with a 23-yard touchdown pass to OS Tacoma Fontaine. The Destroyers answered on a single-play drive where QB Ryan Vena found Damien Groce for a 35-yard touchdown leaving the score 27-21 at the half.

Columbus outscored the Wranglers 21-14 in the third quarter mixing it up with an 8-yard run by FB/LB Wilmont Perry, a 19-yard pass from Vena to Groce, and a 3-yard Vena sneak. Fitzgerald turned up the heat, matching Columbus score for score throughout most of the second half. The quarterback found Nickerson for a 13-yard pass, Davidson for a 35-yard bomb and Chiaverini at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a 7-yard sideline pass. The Wranglers defense stopped Columbus on downs their first drive of the fourth quarter, but found themselves fighting for the win after a Fitzgerald pass was picked off by DS Jeremy Unertl. The Destroyers scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive, tying the game at 55 with just 39 seconds to play. The Wranglers offense took over, moved the ball downfield and capped off the game with a 22-yard field goal by Todd Sievers leaving the score 58-55 when the clock hit 0:00.

The Austin Wranglers will play their final home game of the 2005 season next Saturday night at The Frank Erwin Center when the Orlando Predators come to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm (CDT).

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