Things looked up for the Guardians a week after pulling off an unlikely upset against the DC Defenders. The playoffs seemed unlikely but were still a possibility. That ended almost as soon as it began. The Guardians fell to Arlington 18-16 in Orlando on Saturday night. Quinten Dormady would lead the offense throwing 302 yards on 28 of 43. Unfortunately, his 5 turnovers lead to 15 of Arlington’s 18 points. With no rushing attack to speak of, Eli Roger’s ten receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown was the only other bright spot.
The game started with Arlington taking the opening kickoff all the way to the Orlando 5 before Taylor Russolino had to kick a 23-yard field goal to take the first lead 3-0. On the ensuing possession, Dormady would lead the Guardians to a 3rd and 6 where he would miss Eli Rogers forcing another field goal.
Jose Borregales would tie the game up on a 24-yard attempt. This score would stand until Orlando’s next possession.
While trying to slide for the first down, Dormady would be stripped by Bruce Hector, and DaVante Busby would take it 48 yards for a touchdown. The first quarter ends at Arlington 9 Orlando 3. On the first drive after the touchdown Dormady would fumble again, this time forced by Will Clarke, and recovered by Isaiah Graham-Mobley. Arlington would drive to the Orlando 13 before stalling, and a Russolino 31-yard kick would make it 12-3 Arlington.
Orlando would get the ball back and drive as far as the Arlington 44, where a false start penalty forced Orlando to punt instead of going for it. On Orlando’s next possession, they would finally put a drive together ending with a 5-yard run by Dormady. A failed conversion would make the halftime score 12-9.
Orlando would get the ball to start the second half and would drive as far as the Arlington 23. On 4th and 1 Dormady would be turned away by Arlington’s stout defense. Luis Perez would lead a drive as far as the Orlando 16 before disaster struck. Najeem Hosein would force a Nate Becker fumble where Terrance Plummer was waiting for the recovery. Dormady leads the Orlando offense to mid-field before throwing the first of two interceptions.
Joe Powell returns it all the way to the Orlando 22. A few plays later De’Veon Smith runs it in from 1 yard out. A failed conversion gives us the score at the end of 3, Arlington 18 Orlando 9.
The next drive features one of the more bizarre plays. On a drive that ends with a punt In Arlington territory 41, Dormady throws his second interception to Willie Taylor. Willie returns it to the Orlando 15, where Deddrick Thomas forces a fumble, and Orlando got the ball back.
Orlando forces a punt on Arlington’s next possession and makes the most of it. Dormady drives 78 yards, capped with a 19-yard touchdown to Eli Rogers. A Jah-Maine Martin conversion makes the score 18-16. On the next drive, needing a stop, Orlando forces a 4th and 1 at Arlington’s 45. Orlando gets the ball back, needing a field goal to win the game. Dormady leads a drive ending at the Arlington 44 where he fumbles for the third time. Willie Taylor gets the sack and forces the fumble, Will Clarke recovers it, and that wraps up the game.
In a very somber dejected post-game conference, Terrell Buckley states that he is proud of his team for the effort, but we need to find ways to finish games, and the 1-7 record on the season is a reflection of that. When asked about the playoff run and how to motivate the team, He says, ” We are all professionals here, and we are going to show up and continue to play hard”. In Quinten Dormady’s press conference, when asked what happened he responded with, “5 turnovers. It sucks and hurts, but you can’t turn the ball over 5 times and expect to win. “
As mentioned before, this loss puts Orlando at 1-7 on the season, and officially out of the playoff hunt. They will have until Saturday to shake off this tough loss, before facing XFL south rival San Antonio.