In what feels like an absolute shocker, the Houston Gamblers go to 2-2 on the season with a 41-16 win over the struggling Philadelphia Stars. The play of the Stars has had many scratching their heads, including us at ambush sports, as most people here had them ranked very high to start the season. Kenji Behar was absolutely phenomenal in this game, going for 230 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 15 of 21 passing. Running back Mark Thompson also carved up the stars. On 13 carries he managed 134 yards, and 3 touchdowns. For Philadelphia, Case Cookus was the only standout in this beatdown. His 189 yards passing made up the bulk of the Star’s offense, as their running game never took off.
Philadelphia got the ball to start the game, promptly going 3 and out. Houston would draw first blood on their first possession. Mark Thompson’s first touchdown (33 yards) capped a 73-yard drive that took just under six minutes. A Nick Vogel extra point makes the score 7-0 Gamblers. After another quick 3 and out, Houston would get the ball back. This time however the outcome would not be the same. 17 yards into the drive, Kenji Behar would put the ball on the turf, recovered by Philly’s Joey Alfieri. This would give the Stars the ball at the Houston 44.
The Stars would make the most of this opportunity finding the endzone on a 5-yard rush from Matt Colburn II. Luis Aguilar ties the game up with an extra point. Houston would waste no time responding going 69 yards on 7 plays, Mark Thompson getting his second touchdown from 10 yards out. A blocked extra point after a false start gives Houston a 13-7 lead. Philly would go 3 and out on their next possession and this would be the last time this game was ever close.
Gamblers make it a blowout
on Houston’s ensuing position they would find paydirt again. This time Behar found Anthony Ratliff-Williams from 5 yards out to cap a 49-yard drive. A made extra point gives Houston a 20-7 lead. After back-to-back-to-back 3 and outs, Houston would need only one play to make it 27-7. Behar’s 2nd touchdown pass was a 54-yarder to wide receiver Keke Chism. On the ensuing possession, Case Cookus would throw his only interception to corner Elijah Jones giving Behar a chance to add to the lead before the half. Behar would get the ball in field goal range, However, Vogel would fail to connect on a 46-yard field goal, giving us a halftime score of 27-7 Gamblers.
The second half would be more of the same. Houston would take the first possession to the Philly 37 before Behar would get injured. It appears that he rolled his ankle, but he would not return to this game. Terry Wilson would come on in substitution. He would have a rough first drive, fumbling twice, but the second would result in a touchdown. Wilson would lead them to the Stars 15 where Mark Thompson would run it in from 15 yards out, giving them a 34-7 lead.
After a Philly 3 and out, Houston would score in one of the more bizarre plays you will see all season. Terry Wilson scrambles to the Philly 14, where he fumbles for the second time this game. The ball goes all the way to the endzone where it is recovered by Keke Chism for a touchdown. Nick Vogel then gives us a 41-7 lead. On the next drive, the stars would finally answer back. Cookus would put them in range for Luis Aguilar 42 yard field goal, taking us into the 4th quarter 41-10
After a series of punts, the Stars would finally get their first touchdown. Case Cookus led an 82-yard drive to get the stars on the board, finishing it with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dexter Williams. A failed onside attempt would give Houston the ball back to run out the clock, giving us our final.
Curtis Johnson on the win
Bart Andrus on the loss
Houston looks to improve their record to 3-2 this weekend which will be no small task facing the Birmingham Stallions. Hopefully, Kenji Behar will make a speedy recovery as they will need him against one of the league’s best defenses. Philadelphia has the day to shake off this ugly loss and hopefully get back on track against the New Jersey Generals.