Orlando Guardians’ losing ways continue: Close but no cigar
What Could have been? That’s what Orlando fans keep asking after yet another loss. All season long, the Guardians show flashes of what they could be, only to revert back into their losing ways. The 25-23 loss to the Brahmas was no different. They manage to waste Devin Darrington’s best performance of the season, 16 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, Dormady was a virtual no-show in this game, only having 47 yards on 17 attempts. Orlando’s league-worst defense made Jack Coan look like an all-star. the inconsistent Coan torched Orlando for 301 and a touchdown.
The scoring started on the first drive. Orlando took the opening drive 73 yards, 26 of which were Darrington rushes, and caps it with a 4-yard touchdown to Jordan Thomas. The two-point conversion would be good, again to Jordan Thomas, and the Guardians take an 8-nothing lead. This score would take us into the second quarter.
San Antonio got the ball with 5 minutes left in the first at their own 35 and would drive over 6 minutes, but stall out at the Orlando 20. A Parker Romo 37-yard field goal would be good, making it 8-3 Orlando. Orlando would answer back on what has the potential to be one of the top plays of the year. On a 4th and 5 on their own 27, Mack Brown would find KD Cannon on a fake punt for a 69-yard completion. This also makes our punter the leading passer for this game. Three plays later, a Darrington 1-yard run, and a failed conversion, gives Orlando a 14-3 lead.
This score would stand until late in the first half. With 1:35 left, Jack Coan leads a masterful two-minute drive. San Antonio would go 78 yards in 1:08, sparked by a 34-yard completion to Nick Holley. On the next play, former Seminole Jacques Patrick finds the endzone from 6 yards out. A 1-point Jacques Patrick conversion would make the halftime score 14-10 Orlando.
The Second half
Following the intermission, San Antonio would get the ball. An old-school, almost 7-minute drive stalled at the Orlando 10. A Parker Romo 29-yard field goal makes this a one-point game. After forcing a stop, San Antonio would get the ball back and make the most of it. Jack Coan ends a 72-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown to Travis Toivonen. A failed two-point conversion gives San Antonio their first lead in this game 19-13, a score that would stand in the 4th quarter.
Orlando would have the ball to start the 4th quarter. A Delontae Scott sack on 3rd and 12, one of three Brahmas sacks, forces an Orlando punt. The very next play, Jacques Patrick would have his only blemish on an otherwise great game. A fumble by Patrick, forced by former teammate Terrance Smith, is recovered by Stansley Maponga. 7 players later a Jose Borregales 52-yard field goal makes it a 3-point game. 19-16
After a 3 and out, Orlando gets the ball back with a chance to take the lead, however, disaster would strike. On a screenplay on their own 26, Drew Beesley gets a read on the play, intercepting Dormady and taking it to the house. Two false starts force a failed 2-point conversion from the 15, keeping it a one-possession game.
Deondre Francois would come in on the next possession, in relief of struggling Dormady, and lead a touchdown drive. Sparked by a 59-yard rush by Darrington to the San Antonio 4, Andrew Jamiel would get the touchdown on a 3-yard Francois pass. A failed 2-point conversion, where Dormady clearly expected Jordan Thomas to run a fade instead of a slant, gives us our final score, San Antonio 25 Orlando 23.
After the game
In what was a very difficult and frustrating press conference Terrell Buckley likened this game to the movie Groundhog Day. He said “This is the same song different verse. We make plays, put points on the board, and have a chance to win, but we can’t get it across the finish line.” The look of what has very clearly been a difficult season shows through his demeanor and his tone. San Antonio’s win today improves them to 3-6, still in playoff contention next week when they host the Defenders. Orlando falls to 1-8, with one last chance at St. Louis to get their second win of the season.