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Kansas City Command, cursed by the VooDoo, fall to New Orleans 59-52

Thomas Campbell
Tuesday May 10, 2011


Which weak cliche works for this one?  "So close, yet so far" "woulda, coulda, shoulda"  "it's a game of inches"  "offense sells tickets, but defense wins games"?   Blah, Blah, Blah.  How about "he that screws up last, screws up last."

Last week Dallas marched down the field for a final possession touchdown to beat the Command.  This week Kansas City marched down the field for a final possession TURN OVER ON DOWNS as quarterback JJ Raterink saw his final attempt slip off the fingertips of receiver Aaron Hosack, well short of the end zone.   If these games were 59 minutes long the Command  would have a much better record, but so would many other teams.  Sorry - had to get that last cliche out of my system.

New Orleans, 1-6 coming into the game, had only scored 40 points twice with 49 being their highest previous output.  But on this night they had little trouble maintaining possession as they scored 59 points by the final whistle.  QB Chris Wallace only hit 20 of 32 for 250 yards and four touchdowns.  This is nothing fantastic by indoor standards, but his longest score of 45 yards was coupled with a fourth quarter toss of 31 yards to James Jordan that also was worth six points.  It seemed like they could keep the ball and move the chains just enough as necessary.

Raterink had a final line of 27-40 for 324 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.  Bret Smith was our leading receiver with 11 catches for 133 yards and a pair of scores.  Christian Wise and Aaron Hosack combined for 13 receptions for 149 yards and the two other touchdowns.  Our defense was lead by returning defensive back Ken Fontenette with eight  unassisted tackles and veteran DB Rashad Barksdale with six tackles and two assists and one sack of Wallace.

Kansas City was able to keep it close and even took the lead early in the third quarter at 35-31.  The Command were to lead two more times but could not put away the VooDoo.   Wallace's 38 yard TD strike to Chris Wilson with 2:45 remaining put the Voodoo back in the lead and decided the final margin.

The crowd would have happily settled for its first overtime game, but even that was not to be.   The Command got their final possession into the RED ZONE, but not over the line.    To say that significant angst and frustration were exhibited by the home team as that final pass attempt hit the rug is putting it kindly.  Twelve penalties for 75 yards and three turnovers was just too much to overcome.

After the post game "cooling off" period Command head coach Danton Barto did reference the line up juggling required by our recent rash of injuries.  He cited the team's delicate weekly balancing act of being only one play or one possession away but closed with "In arena football, you can't have that."   A losing effort from the team, but the coach did not hide in the locker room or fill the air with superfluous excuses.

Next Friday night the Command visit the Tampa Bay Storm, another squad  in that mass of 2-6 teams floundering at the bottom of the standings.  Last week the Storm scored 61 against the Jacksonville Sharks and lost by only two points on the road.  We have to start playing for 60 minutes, not 59.    It is expected that both teams will be ranked somewhere in the Gibberish Report BOTTOM SIX for that game.


 
Tom Campbell has written about the AFL since 2006, when the local team was the Kansas City Brigade. Previous game articles appeared on www.arenapulse.com and www.sportsphan.com, and he was a voting member of the AFL Writers Association. Tom currently owns a franchise in the American Poolplayers Assoc and previously worked in commercial banking for 17 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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