THE CARDIAC KIDS DO IT AGAIN, AUSTIN EDGES LOS ANGELES 16-14
(LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 9) If you were to have said this off-season, when the Austin Acoustic and Los Angeles Temptation play on June 9, one team would be winless while the other would be in 1st place of the Western Conference. 99.9% of responses would have pegged Austin to be winless and Los Angeles in first place.
Due to critical injuries to impact athletes like Naja Christmas, Cynthia Schmidt and Chelsea Haardt, coupled with Ashley Salerno on suspended leave, the Temptation was a team spiraling out of control coming into the Austin game, at 0-2. Austin due to the last second heroics of Michelle Marshall and a passing attack that is dominating defensive secondaries came into this matchup at 1-1 and in complete control of their destiny atop of the Western Conference.
Since both defenses have struggled in 2018, most thought this would be a shoot-out, however, through the first 20 minutes of play, only one touchdown was scored and only 111 total yards of offense, cumulative for both teams. Los Angeles looked more in-tune offensively despite only managing 6 first-half points, primarily because LA offensive coordinator Rory Dairy finally featured the Temptation’s work-horse, Carmen ‘F-150’ Bourseau who rushed for 21 first-half yards on 4 touches. Austin’s offensive coordinator Mike Olvera, who normally is praised for his play-calling, had his worse outing in 2018. In the 1st half, at one point late in the half, Olvera elected to run perhaps the slowest athlete on the Acoustic roster, Brande Stolte on 4 consecutive plays. It was Austin’s poor play-calling combined with a very tough LA defense that kept the LFL’s most high-powered offense to a total of 0 first-half points.
The 3rd quarter resembled the first half, as both defenses bent but did not break. In fact, the only score through 3 quarters of play for Austin was a Safety when Courtney Dowdy tracked down Nas Johnson in the back of the end zone, after one of several errant snaps by Christina Sagarminaga.
Sagarminaga, kept Austin in the game with her poor performance, the shotgun snaps have been a rollercoaster ride for Sagaraminaga and the LA offense this season.
In the 4th quarter, the much-anticipated offensive fireworks finally happened. Early in the 4th quarter with 9:45 remaining, Teshay Winfrey found her favorite target, Leilani Lopez who streaked past LA safety Lili Granston en route to a 35-yard touchdown reception. The Lopez score gave Austin its first lead of the game at 9 to 6.
However, the much-maligned Los Angeles Temptation third-string Quarterback, Michelle Kenny, who has struggled all-season, found Ninotchka Claud for a 35-yard bomb with 6:35 remaining, re-establishing LA’s lead at 14 to 9.
Austin found itself a similar situation as it has on many occasions prior, including earlier in the season beating the Atlanta Steam on a last-second 4th & Goal Michelle Marshall touchdown. Although on this night, Austin had over 2 minutes remaining and a timeout. Deja vu, as Austin opened the series with Winfrey finding Marshall on a 29-yard reception that advanced the ball from the Austin 10 yard line to the Los Angeles 11 yard line, with plenty of time remaining. After a 10 yard completion to Lopez, most teams would have elected to run a 1st & Goal from 1-yard line, not Mike Olvera and this electric Austin offense, instead of calling a game-winning slant touchdown pass from Winfrey to Marshall, to give Austin an improbable 16 to 14 lead.
In the final drive of the game, the pressure ended up being too much for first-year Quarterback Michelle Kenny of Los Angeles. After an impressive 18 yard completion to Katrina Nicholson, on the final play Kenny instead of finding an open Nicholson in the end zone, instead, choose to run it herself and ultimately running out the clock on not only the game but possibly the Los Angeles season.
|Passing Yards (Net)||89||66|
|Total Offense Plays-Yards||42-155||23-101|