It came down to three seconds and a two point conversion, however the Milwaukee Mustangs ..."/> It came down to three seconds and a two point conversion, however the Milwaukee Mustangs ..."/>

Bryan Randall’s five touchdown passes not enough as Mustangs survive


It came down to three seconds and a two point conversion, however the Milwaukee Mustangs were able to convert and defeat the Pittsburgh Power 63-62.

The loss was the 10th of the season for the Power and easily the most crushing one of the season as they held the lead for almost the entire game.

“That’s how the whole season has been going in my opinion,” Power Head Coach Derek Stingley said. “I thought that we had some other games that we should have won. This one was closer to the other ones, where we basically had the lead for the majority of the game. Those plays that we normally make, especially on defense were just not made.”

The Power started with the football, however it was the Mustangs that started out with a 7-0 lead.

The Power responded when P.J. Berry caught a 32 yard pass from Bryan Randall to tie the game.

After a stand from the Power defense, Oderick Turner caught a 21 yard pass for a touchdown. In what was a theme in the first half and in extension the season, kicker Geoff Boyer failed to convert his first of three misses of extra points, something which would haunt the Power as the game came down the stretch.

The Mustangs had a 14-13 lead thru one quarter as quarterback Gino Guidugli connected with Jared Jenkins for a 14 yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, Mike Washington extended his streak to nine consecutive games with a touchdown when he and Randall connected for the opening score of the quarter. The Power led 20-14.

After the Mustangs scored again, P.J. Berry had another highlight play on the season scoring a touchdown as he was falling down. The extra point was missed however and the Power led 26-21.

“It was a corner route, and when I looked the defender was beside me and was sideways and I thought that was pretty weird. I looked for the ball, and it wasn’t there,” Berry said. “I couldn’t quite turn around and stop to get the ball, so I was falling and it landed right there.”

The Power defense then had a big play which resulted in a safety. Eager to try and get the football back, the Mustangs elected to do an onside kick. Randy Hymes made the Mustangs regret this decision however as he not only recovered the kick but scored from 11 yards out. Boyer’s extra point was blocked though meaning the Power had a 34-27 lead.

Before the half was over, John Green made a big interception. The Power were short on time though and the drive ended with a 31 yard kick from Boyer and the Power led 37-27 at the half.

The good vibes continued for the Power. Although Guidugli scored a touchdown, the Power came right back as Washington had his second touchdown reception of the game and the Power had a 44-34 lead.

Guidugli added another short run and the Power led 44-41 at the end of the third quarter.

Turner opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a touchdown which put the Power up by 10 points.

Guidugli made his second big mistake of the game and the Power capitalized. Chris Leflore who one minute before was looked at by trainers licked his wound and came back on the field to make his seventh interception of the season. While the Power were unable to punch it in, Boyer made another field goal from 22 yards out to give the Power a 54-41 lead.

The Mustangs were not prepared to give up and scored a touchdown with 2:44 left in regulation.

Still losing, the Mustangs once again elected for the onside kick and recovered the football. Fighting the clock, the Mustangs were able to score a touchdown and make the extra point to take a one point lead with one minute remaining.

Again the Mustangs tried an onside kick but this time were unsuccessful. The Power had two timeouts but also had to try and leave as little time as possible on the clock. Berry made a big reception that brought the ball to the Mustang one and Randall ran in on the next play for the touchdown.

With 23 seconds left, and the Power up 60-55, it was decision time. The slam dunk move was to go for two; however the Power surprised their fans by bringing Boyer out. The crowd was a little restless; however it quickly became clear what the Power’s intentions were.

“We knew that we needed to go for two,” Stingley said. “We were getting some pressure up the middle on our regular extra points and Geoff felt good about it. He’s been working on it all week and he’s a great dropkick kicker. He asked me and in my mind we were going to go for two but I figured that as much as he’s been practicing it why not. We had a bad snap, and I thought he did a good job of faking out the defender and was still able to get it down and get it in.”

The result was the first made drop kick since 1997, and gave the Power a seven point lead.

In Arena Football, 23 seconds can be an eternity of time. Boyer’s kick was returned by Kelvin Rodgers to the Power 22.

A complete pass only took four seconds off of the game clock, however, with 11 seconds left the Mustangs had to make a play. The result was Guidugli finding Dwayne Eley. Jr for a touchdown. From here it was decision time and the Mustangs decided to go for two points.

After a delay of game and a timeout from both teams, the Mustangs offense remained on the field. It all came down to one play. The Power fans were on their feet, however it was converted and the Mustangs led 63-62 with three seconds left.

Kicker Jose Martinez then did a squib kick that took an odd bounce and appeared to graze the hands of P.J. Berry before being fumbled and running out the final three seconds of the game.

The play was reviewed however the ruling on the field stood although the replay showed that the ball did not touch Berry’s hands. This is not the first time Berry was involved in a controversial ruling by a referee this season.

“I understand what he said about touching the ball, but I didn’t touch it,” Berry said. “It looks like it and I was surprised I didn’t. I was surprised Chris [Leflore] didn’t get the ball, so when I tried to get it, it took a hop and when I was going, it hopped underneath me. I know it was a tough call and tough to overturn because of the angle and that it was for the game, but they have a hard job too.”

Next up for the Power is their division rival Philadelphia Soul. The Soul have already clinched the division but have their eyes set on sweeping the season series from the Power. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 6 PM in Philadelphia.

“The good thing we can take out of this game is that we didn’t have any turnovers, so with a team like Philly, they already have a high and explosive offense so you don’t want to give them more opportunities,” Berry said.


. Offensive Coordinator Mike Tomczak was on the field by himself to start the Power’s first drive and it looked as though he was calling the plays. As Stingley revealed during the postgame press conference, that was not the case: “I was basically in the headsets calling the plays. Early on, something was wrong with the headsets, so we were kind of mixing things up and he couldn’t hear me. We ended up getting that issue fixed. There were a couple of plays where we kind of rushed things.”

. The halftime show involved monkeys riding dogs, and in an effort to excite the fans, showed this on jumbotron. The Power were able to take the lead, so they kept showing the animals and it led “Bubba” Snider the team’s PA Announcer to lead a “rally monkey” chant.

. Chris Leflore’s seven interceptions are a Power team record.

. It was Wish Night at Consol Energy Center and the Power granted 15 wishes which included ball boy, PA Announcer, kicking on the field and sitting right by the Power bench. My wish was to throw and catch with the Power. More on that in a future article.

Power vs Mustangs scoring 6/16/12

First Quarter:

Mustangs: Thurman 18 yard pass from Guidugli (Martinez kick is good) 11:32 7-0

Power: Berry 32 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick is good) 10:20 7-7

Power: Turner 21 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick no good) 13-7 4:53

Mustangs: Jenkins 14 yard pass from Guidugli (Martinez kick is good) 14-13 1:03

Second Quarter:

Power: Washington 28 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick good) 20-14 12:03

Mustangs: Eley Jr. 2 yard run (Martinez kick good) 21-20 5:53

Power: Berry 36 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick blocked) 26-21 3:51

Mustangs: Lawrence 4 yard run (two point conversion failed) 27-26

Power: Safety 28-27 1:55

Power: Hymes 11 yard onside return (Boyer kick blocked) 34-27

Power: Boyer 30 yard kick 37-27 0:00

Third Quarter:

Mustangs: Guidugli 3 yard run (Martinez kick good) 37-34 11:58

Power: Washington 25 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick good) 44-34 7:53

Mustangs: Guidugli 1 yard run (Martinez kick good) 0:46 44-41

Fourth Quarter:

Power: Turner 6 yard pass from Randall (Boyer kick good) 51-41 11:46

Power: Boyer 22 yard kick 54-41 6:05

Mustangs: Thurman 9 yard pass from Guidugli (Martinez kick good) 54-48 2:44

Mustangs: Thurman 40 yard pass from Guidugli (Martinez kick is good) 55-54 1:00

Power: Randall 1 yard run (Boyer dropkick good) 62-55 0:23

Mustangs: Eley Jr. 15 yard TD catch (Jenkins 2 point conversion is good) 63-62 0:03

Game Awards

MVP– P.J. Berry Pittsburgh Power 7 receptions 94 yards 2 touchdowns

Offensive Player of the Game– Bryan Randall 18-24 215 yards 6 touchdowns

Defensive Player of the Game– John Green 3 tackles, 1 interception

Ironman of the Game– P.J. Berry

Cutters Catch of the Game– P.J. Berry touchdown on his back

Attendance: 4,421

American Conference East Division Standings

Philadelphia Soul 11-3 (clinched division)

Cleveland Gladiators 6-7

Milwaukee Mustangs 5-8

Pittsburgh Power 3-10