The GDFL Game of the Week lived up to it’s billing as the Florida Falcons came from behind to defeat the Georgia Crush for their ninth straight win. The task was not easy as the Falcons needed all 60 minutes to pull out the victory.
Tied at 27 in the fourth quarter Ricky Wright intercepted Crush quarterback Marcus Brooks setting up the Falcons on the Crush 19 with 1:51 remaining. Four plays later James Ezell scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 5-yard run with 32 seconds remaining to give Florida the 34-27 lead after the successful extra point.
“It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be. When we got down 21-7 we just kept telling the guys to keep plugging away and wear them down. We changed some thing up on the defensive line and with our linebackers in the second half,” Falcons head coach Justin Moses said.
Florida started the game with an impressive 7-play 71-yard drive capped by an Ezell 8-yard touchdown run for an early 7-0 lead. Georgia scored 21 unanswered points to close the first half with Brooks hitting Travis Fuller for a touchdown and Eric Williams Jr rushing for two touchdowns.
In the second half Florida’s defense proved the halftime adjustments worked along with special teams playing a role in the comeback. Richard Cash scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on a 1-yard plunge capping a 9-play 32-yard drive pulling the Falcons within seven, 21-14 with 10:04 remaining in the third. Florida would threaten again but were turned over on downs at the Crush 16 late in the third.
In the fourth quarter the Falcons received the special team boost they were looking for. The Crush struggled with punting in the third quarter with punts of 28, 24 and 11 yards which proved to be a bit of foreshadowing. Backed up at their own 20 and forced to punt again, the punt went 28 yards. Florida’s Quintin Davis fielded the punt on the run at the Crush 48 and did not stop until he was down at the Crush 1. On the next play Cash plunged in for the touchdown for a 21-20 score after Georgia blocked the extra point however the momentum was clearly in Florida’s favor.
Georgia answered back on their ensuing possession when Brooks hit Allen Davis for a 56-yard pass play which set up his 10-yard touchdown pass to Fuller two plays later. Georgia’s special team troubles continued as the extra point was wide left leaving the score 27-20 with 10:41 left in the game.
The Falcons were not rattled as they came right back with a 9-play 63-yard drive capped by Richard Cash’s final touchdown run from 5-yards out to even the game at 27 with 6:16 remaining.
“Cash gives us another dimension, he’s a load. Not too many men are going to step up and go head-to-head with him, he made some tough runs for us tonight,” Moses said about his fullback.
Things would continue to go downhill for the Crush as Richard Cherry fumbled on the next possession. A goal line stand by the defense gave the Crush another shot with the game tied before Brooks threw his third interception of the game setting up Ezell’s game-clinching touchdown.
“They came out and made adjustments after halftime and made more plays than we did,” Brooks said. “We just let this one slip away. You can’t turn the ball over late like we did and keep asking so much from the defense.
This was the first game of the season where the Falcons did not have a passing touchdown. Starting quarterback Felix Diaz was ineffective in the first half resulting in him being pulled in favor of Boobie Tobler in the second quarter after throwing two interceptions.
“[The Georgia Crush] have a really good program, they are well coached and they have a lot of great athletes. We knew coming up here they would be fully staffed,” Moses said. “Luckily for us we got the bounces to go our way. Unfortunately for them the bounces didn’t go their way but we’ll take it.
The Florida Falcons (9-0) remain atop the Gulf Coast division of the GDFL and will host the Florida Stingrays in the regular season finale next week. The Crush (6-3) will close the regular season with a trip to the Georgia Firebirds next week.