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Fleet Meltdown Against Hotshots 32-15

Arizona To Hot To Handle For San Diego

Thomas Andrews
March 24, 2019 - 6:17 pm

In a crucial western conference game, the San Diego Fleet traveled east to Arizona to take on the Hotshots. Both teams were locked into second place and pushing for a playoff spot. The Hotshots won the coin toss, and deferred to the second half.

The first big break of the game came when the Fleet were forced to punt, but the Hotshots couldn't hang on to it. Demetrius Wright fell on it for the Fleet on the Hotshots 15-yard line. Remember how the Fleet’s running game looked?  Well, Terrell Watson had two strong runs from inside the 15, the second ending in the end zone for a touchdown and the Fleet led 6-0 with 11:03 remaining in the first quarter. 

Arizona head coach Rich Neuheisel used all his players in this game, including backup quarterback Trevor Knight, who came off the bench and ran it in for a 7-yard touchdown and tied the game at 6-6.

San Diego would add a 47-yard field goal from Donny Hageman, and Arizona would get a 54-yard field goal from Nick Folk to end the first quarter tied at 9.

The entire first quarter, Arizona had been making positive plays on the Fleet almost at will, so much so that they went for it on 4th down for the first time all season and turned it into a 36-yard TD pass from John Wolford to Thomas Duarte.

Then Coach Neuheisel went into his bag of tricks on the 2-pt play and successfully converted, making it 17-9 Hotshots.

Later in the second quarter, Wolford threw his second touchdown to pad the Hotshots lead 23-9.

The Fleet were finally able to answer back when Mike Bercovici found Marcus Baugh for a 38-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the half.   It looked like he fumbled the ball away before he reached the goal line, but upon further review, the score was good, and the Fleet trailed 23-15 to end the second quarter. 

The Fleet looked to cut into the lead when Donny Hageman made a 44-yard field goal, but it came one second after the play clock ran out. After the penalty, the kicked was pushed back to a 49-yard attempt, and this time the kick went wide right.  The Fleet trailed 23-15 with 9:38 left. These kinds of mistakes just summarized the Fleet's play in this game.

John Wolford capped off his three touchdown game with a scramble for 35 yards and a touchdown that put Arizona ahead 29-15. 

 

On the next Fleet possession, Mike Bercovici tried to make a play, but threw an interception that Arizona returned inside the Fleet 10. Nick Folk added a short field goal and the Hotshots won 32-15. The Fleet put themselves in bad positions with costly penalties on third down. San Diego finished the day with 8 penalties for 81 yards, which is not a recipe for success. On a positive note, the offensive line play on the road has gotten better.  They came into this game averaging 3 sacks allowed per game, but only gave up 1.  Damontre Moore added another sack to his impressive first season with the Fleet keeping pace with the league leaders in sacks (Schult 7). 

The Fleet are now (3-2), and one game behind Arizona (4-3) for the second playoff spot with three games to play. The final game vs. Arizona on April 14th at SDCCU Stadium could well be a one-game playoff. Next week the Fleet continue to be road warriors as they travel to Salt Lake City to play the (2-5) Stallions. The Hotshots will travel to San Antonio to take on the (5-2) Commanders in a critical western conference matchup.