Sugar Skulls Football

Tucson blows twenty point lead in one point loss 21-20

All photos - Bill McCulloch/520 Sports Talk

(Tucson, AZ)  The Tucson Sugar Skulls (2-6) were entering the game off of a loss to the Northern Arizona Wranglers. Tucson was looking to get back into the win column against the Duke City Gladiators, who were winless in eight games. The Skulls beat Duke City in Albuquerque earlier this season 56-49.

Even though Tucson came out on top over the Vegas Knight Hawks, they couldn’t capitalize on the momentum against NAZ. Quarterback Mylike Mitchell did have 206 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns and was looking to have a better outing.

A notable injury to Sugar Skulls’ Receiver Brian Smith, caused both Running backs of Mike Jones and Davonte Sapp-Lynch to be on the field at the same time.

Duke City won the coin flip and chose to defer to the second half.

Tucson started the offensive engine cold, with a first play interception by Gladiator Joe Powell.

Duke City on the other hand had a thirty-six yard field goal attempt that was no good. Bullet dodged.

Tucson put a handful of good plays together that moved the ball downfield that was capped off with a thirteen yard run from Mitchell for the first score of the night. With a missed extra point, the score was 6-0.

Duke City started on the Sugar Skull twenty-one yard-line. Unfortunately for Duke City, the Sugar Skull defense tightened up and got a turnover on downs.

The score stayed 6-0 Sugar Skulls to end the opening quarter.

The Skulls continued their drive marching down the field. From six yards out, Sapp-Lynch ran it in for a touchdown. This time, the extra point was good and a 13-0 lead.

Next possession had the Gladiators starting at their own twenty. After a long drive, the Duke City fumbled within five yards of the end zone that was recovered by Tucson’s Defensive back Derrion Rakestraw. Another break for Tucson.

The Skulls continued to use their momentum to quickly move down the field, capped off on a seven yard run from Jones for a touchdown, to extend the lead to 20-0.

The Gladiators flipped the field, but an interception from Rakestraw gave Tucson the ball back with sixteen seconds to work with. Moving the ball through the air, they got close enough for a thirty-seven yard field goal attempt from Fotinos that was missed.

At the half the Skulls were up 20-0.

Duke City started the second half with the ball and they came out with purpose moving the ball deep into Sugar Skull territory. From eleven yards out Quarterback Javin Kilgo threw it to running back Jeff Carr for a touchdown, the score was then 20-7.

Tucson got the ball at their own twenty after a missed deuce attempt by the Gladiators. Fotinos missed a thirty-nine yard field goal attempt.

Duke City used their momentum after stopping the Skulls on defense moved down the field. The Skulls’ defense tightened up and forced a thirty yard field goal attempt from Ernesto Lacayo which was unsuccessful.

The score was 20-7 at the end of the third quarter.

The Skulls started the fourth quarter but turned it over on four downs.

It didn’t take long for Kilgo to find a wide open Tamorrion Terry for a touchdown. Now the Gladiators were in a one possession game at 20-14.

The Skulls needed to put points to stop the bleeding. They got great field at midfield. Mike Carrigan had two consecutive holding penalties that took the wind out of Tucson’s sail. Once again, Tucson failed to score deep in Duke City territory and again turned the ball over on downs.

The Gladiators took advantage of the zone coverage that Tucson was giving. A deep shot into the end zone to Gourney Sloan gave  Duke City their first lead 21-20.

The Skulls mirrored Duke City’s scoreless first half. Tucson used the ground game to keep the clock running. Sapp-Lynch causing multiple Duke City players to miss tackles to gain extra yards that kept the home team alive.

At the one minute warning and with one timeout, the Skulls continued the drive milking the clock and getting within five yards of the end zone. Inexplicably, Coach Billy Back used his final timeout. Every in the arena thought Tucson would attempt a chip shot field goal and Duke City would leave Tucson still winless.

After the timeout, surprisingly the offense returned to field to run a play. Mitchell threw an interception which buried the dagger to end the game.

The final score 21-20 Duke City.

This game was a tale of two halves. The most important half being the second. The Skulls were practically perfect in the first half, but after halftime, they looked like this was not a problem and were not thinking about finishing the game properly. There was also a sense of karma for the Skulls as they got shutout in the second half.

Tonights attendance was 2300.

The next home game is on June 16th against the Frisco Fighters.

Article by Matthew Martell Jr. – 520 Sports Talk


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