Wranglers lose in home finale to Force, 81-64
AUSTIN - Following their first road win of the season last week, the Wranglers returned home in high spirits to the Frank Erwin Center tonight to host the 2007 Southern Division Champions, the Georgia Force. Despite a valiant effort in all four quarters, the Wranglers fell to the Force 81-64 in front of the best crowd the team has seen all season at home, 14,408 fans.
The first quarter did not start the way that Austin would have wished, but following two Force touchdowns, the Wranglers offense finally took the field and responded as quarterback Lang Campbell threaded the needle between two Georgia defenders to find his sure-handed receiver Derrick Lewis for the score, making it 13-7 Georgia.
The Wranglers would play catch up the rest of the first quarter, as they could not find an answer for the Force offense, which scored on four out of four possessions in the first quarter. Austin's offense scored on the only two possessions they had, bringing the score to 27-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Austin would show some life in the second quarter as Campbell found Sedrick Robinson open in the middle of the field and Robinson did what he does best, out-run defenders to the end zone for the score, bringing the Wranglers within 12 points, 33-21.
The following Georgia drive would be one for the history books, as Austin defensive back Damon Mason became the first player in AFL history to record 900 tackles. Rashad Floyd of the Colorado Crush has the second most career tackles among active players with 579.
For the rest of the first half, both offenses traded scores back-and-forth until the Austin defense stopped the Force offense on the Wranglers one-yard line with no time remaining in the first half. The stop was the first of the night for the Wranglers defense, entering the second half down 40-28.
The Wranglers would come out firing in the second half, as Campbell found his receivers and capped off a 45-yard drive finding Robinson for a 16-yard score, making it 40-35 Georgia.
Following another Georgia score, Austin would need to answer on offense to remain in the game, and they did just that. Campbell would find Lewis for his third touchdown reception of the night, bringing Austin within four points, 46-42.
Georgia's next possession would result in another touchdown; however, kicker Carlos Martinez would miss his fourth point-after attempt on the night. Wranglers kicker Mark Lewis began the season with Georgia, but was cut and replaced by Martinez. Lewis had made 89-of-94 extra points this season going into this week.
The Austin offense would respond, yet again, on the next possession, when receiver Otis Amey hauled in a Campbell pass with one hand for a 10-yard touchdown, bringing Austin the closest they had been all night, 52-49.
Following a Campbell touchdown run to bring the Wranglers within four points, the Wranglers got a bit gutsy as they attempted an onside kick, which bounced in their favor as Robinson recovered the onside kick at their own one-yard line.
With momentum on their side, the Wranglers offense took the field with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game. Unfortunately, the offense would fail to convert on a fourth-down play, and would turnover the ball to the Force at the Austin 20-yard line.
The Austin defense desperately needed to keep the Force out of the end zone to keep this game within reach, but on a third-and-goal from the two-yard line, quarterback Chris Greisen found his way around the Austin defense for the touchdown, putting Georgia up 67-56 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
With just under two minutes left in the game, and the Wranglers down 11 points, Campbell would find D. Lewis in the corner of the end zone for his fourth touchdown reception on the night. The Wranglers converted the following two-point attempt to receiver Kevin Nickerson. However, Austin would fail to convert the following onside kick attempt, giving the Force the ball at the Austin 11-yard line with lead 67-64 and one minute to play.
Georgia's Greisen would find receiver Chris Jackson for an 11-yard score, and the following point-after attempt would give the Force a 10-point lead, 74-64 with 57 seconds remaining in the game.
With 45 seconds left to play and the ball on the Georgia eight-yard line, the Wranglers were looking like they were about to score, but Force defensive back Reggie Doster would intercept Campbell to give Georgia the ball with 40 seconds remaining.
The Force would go on to score one more time, increasing their lead to 81-64 and sealing the victory.
With the loss, the Wranglers drop to 4-10 on the season, Georgia moves to 12-2 on the season.
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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from June 9, 2007
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