FlameThrowers Lose Heartbreaker to Seattle Cascades, 28-27
Guest article by Michael Kinstlick. Photo credit: Ron Sellers
Two weeks ago, the FlameThrowers swept their only road trip to Southern California, beating both the Los Angeles Aviators and the San Diego Growers back-to-back. These two victories and their large point differential put them at the top of the Western Conference. Unfortunately, after a weekend off, their luck changed.
On a cool and blustery Saturday night in Oakland, the FlameThrowers faced the Seattle Cascades for the first time since the team had ousted them from the playoffs last summer. The game began with jitters on both sides as the two lines traded turnovers, but the Cascades earned a break and the score tied itself up at twos. Then the floodwaters opened as miscommunications and unusual turnovers from San Francisco led to four quick Seattle scores, including a Callahan. The home team settled down and clawed back to shift the 6-2 score to only 8-7 at the end of the first quarter, but despite the fact that they were only down by a single point the tone of the game had already been set.
The teams traded blows in the second quarter and then the FlameThrowers ran off four straight goals to storm ahead and finally take the lead 13-11. However, the Cascades answered with a run of their own to take the lead back 15-13 and never again fell behind. The FlameThrowers would have gone into halftime with that two goal deficit if not for a spectacular last-second play: with only two seconds remaining, and the clock starting on the first completion, Eli Kerns picked up a rolling pull deep in the FlameThrowers’ own end-zone and tossed the disc to Brett Petersen. As time expired, Brett unwound for a majestic backhand that found its way to the waiting crowd downfield, and Greg Cohen got up to claim the goal over them.
As much as the first half was characterized by multi-point runs, the second half was a tight affair with each team effectively holding on offense for the entire rest of the way. The FlameThrowers received to start the third quarter and scored to tie up the game. Although both teams had break opportunities and called timeouts to substitute their offensive lines on the field, ultimately neither could convert and the score was remained tied at the end of the third quarter.
The Cascades received the disc to start the final period and they scored to continue the run of traded goals. The back-and-forth continued but the fact remained: the home team would score to tie it up, and the Cascades would answer to put themselves back up by one. The elusive break San Francisco so desperately needed never came. With Seattle up 28-27 and about a minute left on the clock, the FlameThrowers received and marched the disc effectively down the field. But then, with under ten seconds left, Lucas Dallmann seemed to have Kevin Cocks open for the goal but they failed to connect on a short backhand and time expired after the turn.
Dallmann had earned that last shot with a big game: 9 assists along with 4 goals. Joel Schlachet topped all scorers with 5 goals and an assist. Eli Kerns and Antoine Davis were standouts on the defensive side with 4 and 3 blocks respectively. Finally, Marcelo Sanchez, while adding 4 goals and an assist, also had a quietly impactful game in the midfield opening up space and providing an option in high stall count situations.
Looking ahead, the FlameThrowers need to focus on their defensive intensity and effectiveness and return it to the impressive caliber it was at the beginning of the season. Their offensive line also needs to start their next game in a more focused manner so they don’t find themselves down several breaks early in regulation time.
The FlameThrowers face the Vancouver Riptide for the first time this Sunday at 1 PM at Laney College. The team is offering free entry to anyone in a Bay to Breakers costume, but if you don’t participate you can still get your tickets here!
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