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Milwaukee Mustangs Lose Heartbreaker in Closing Seconds

Jeff Sawatzke
Tuesday May 1, 2012

In front of a crowd of 6,689 the Milwaukee Mustangs (2-4) returned home for their second home game of the year and lost a back and forth game with the Utah Blaze (5-2) with a final score of 61-58. 

Milwaukee wanted to take control of this game early and they started off in style with Kelvin Rodgers returning the opening kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown.  The defense was very aggressive and put a lot of pressure on the Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady early.

It was truly a back and forth game all evening.  In all there were 3 ties and 13 lead changes.  You would be hard pressed to find a more exciting game.  Ryan Gates hit a 44 yard field goal to give the Mustangs a three point lead at the half with the score 31-28.

Marcus Everett, the National Guard MVP of the Game had six receptions and four touchdowns.  "This guy could be a receiver full time," said Mustangs coach Bob Landsee.  "It's a question of which side of the ball do you want him on?  There was an injury and his number came up, he stepped up and had a great game."

The fourth quarter opened with Milwaukee returning a kickoff for a touchdown for the second time only to be called back for holding.  On the second play of the drive quarterback Gino Guidugli hit Marcus Everett for a 38 yard touchdown.  Milwaukee missed the extra point but regained the lead 44-41.

Utah marched methodically down the field chewing up over seven minutes off the clock.  In a 12 play drive that included eight red zone plays because of penalties Utah finally ended the drive with Grady hitting Maurice Bryant for a 16 yard pass in the end zone,pushing the Blaze in front once again 48-44.

The Mustangs struck quickly again and in a two play drive Gino Guidugli connected with Marcus Everett for his fourth touchdown of the gameto put Milwaukee back in front 51-48 with 4:30 left on the clock. The ensuing onside kick attempt went out of bounds.

Coach Landsee talks about Milwaukee's final drive. "In our game the clock in our game runs continuously. With an onside kick two things happen; we get it and it's our ball now or we don't get it."

Milwaukee didn't get it. 

"By the ball being on the 10 yard line and in that gives them four plays that they have to score.  We know that the clock is going to run out in that time.  We knew we were going to get the ball back.  We drove them backwards; they scored with 58 seconds left.  We get the ball back with 52 seconds left.   Now we have to score but first we had to run the ball so they have to use their timeouts.  I told them to lay down when they get the first down, LAY DOWN, but what did they do, they scored. We gave them too much time and they came back." 

Milwaukee was up 58-55 at this point with only 28.5 seconds on the clock.

Milwaukee's defense that had been aggressive all game let Utah complete four straight passes to four different receivers for 47 yards.  Grady hit three different receivers in this drive.  The first pass went to Aaron Lesue for 10 yards.  The next pass was caught by Chris Bocage for 19 yards.  Bryant pulled in the third pass for 15 yards putting the ball on the three yard line with 9.5 seconds left on the clock.  The final pass had offensive lineman Alex Michael coming out of the backfield for a short pass and powering his way into the end zone.  Ryan Gates missed the extra point leaving the door open for a field goal to tie and a score of 61-58.

The Mustangs got the ball with 4.1 seconds remaining on the six yard line.  Guidugli's passing attempt went incomplete and with 1.6 seconds left on the clock Milwaukee went for a 60 yard field goal attempt.  After a clean snap the field goal attempt fell way short. 

"I was expecting to make that because I have the leg for that kick." Milwaukee kicker Ryan Gates said, "I've made that kick numerous times before, I just came up short."


Jeff Sawatzke began writing for in 2011. Jeff has lived in the Milwaukee area his entire life; he is currently living in Germantown, Wisconsin. Jeff works for a local dialysis provider as the Information Technology Director. Jeff is married to Melissa and has one daughter. Jeff has been a fan of the Milwaukee Mustangs and the Milwaukee Iron for many years.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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