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Dragons Exhibition a Victory on Many Levels

Padraic Meehan
Friday April 13, 2001

If you were to ask the average person on the street what preseason meant to them, you probably wouldn’t get the same answer that some 10,323 screaming fans gave on Sunday to watch the New York Dragons host the New Jersey Gladiators. As far as they were concerned, this might as well have been the last week of July.

The Dragons’ management, along with their players, did nothing short of orchestrating a flawless afternoon. I arrived at 1:40 for a 3:00 game, but much to my surprise, the Coliseum was already open, blasting Aerosmith, and what’s more, there were already hundreds of fans starving for football.

Everything about the presentation of Arena Football on April 8th was perfect; two ticket-holders were invited to sit on the “Couch Potato Seat” with a fire-dancer, a drum trio behind the endzone led the chanting crowd, and more importantly, there was still a great game of football to see.

A victory for New York was vital if those 10,323 fans were to return on April 21st to see them host the Toronto Phantoms in their first regular season contest. The Dragons proved they weren’t all talk when they stepped on the field. Their free-agent acquisitions at wide receiver proved to mesh with QB Aaron Garcia, with WR/DB Todd Doxzon and OS Shon King quickly capitalizing on the Gladiators’ weak secondary, specifically Keita Crespina.

Doxzon, an Amsterdam Admirals alum, scored 2 touchdowns in the first quarter, the first of which was the Dragons’ second play from scrimmage. Following Doxzon’s pair of TDs, New Jersey FB/LB Chris Pope answered with a 2-yard TD run, but the PAT failed and the score was 14-6 Dragons. Former AF2 standout Shon King followed with a 30-yard bomb courtesy of Garcia.

New Jersey would come as close as within 5 points with a 35-30 score following a Connell Maynor TD run, but the Dragons put the nails in the coffin with scores to WR/DB Jack Walker and 1 more each to Doxzon and King respectively. Perhaps the game’s loudest ovation came when Hofstra’s own Jason Maxwell caught a 31-yard TD pass from backup QB Danny Ragsdale in the 4th Quarter, sealing the 69-49 victory.

With thundering crowds and a winning team, the Dragons have assembled a team that should amaze Long Island for years to come.

Padraic Meehan was a writer for ArenaFan Online from 2000 to 2001.
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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