Photo Credit: Darren Yamashita
The San Francisco FlameThrowers beat their rival San Jose Spiders 26-23 using a pair of runs to overcome early mistakes on a beautiful, calm Saturday evening in the South Bay. This is the third time the teams have faced each other this season, with the Spiders taking the first victory 21-20 but the FlameThrowers earning the second one 28-27. This was the first multi-point win of the season between these two teams, who also started the 2017 season with a pair of close games before the FlameThrowers went on to win the Championship.
The pivotal sequences of Saturday's game came in the second and third Quarter. The Spiders pulled to start the second quarter and were already up a break. They immediately earned another one to go up 6-3 against San Francisco. Luckily, the FlameThrowers followed that point with an O-line hold and three straight defensive line-generated breaks to put themselves up 7-6.
The teams ended the half knotted at 11's and the Spiders O-line scored to start the third quarter. But the FlameThrowers' O-line held and then the D-line earned another two game-changing back-to-back breaks from to give the team a 14-12 lead that they never relinquished. The Spiders earned one break in the fourth quarter to close the lead to one, but San Francisco got it back a few points later and capped it off with another break to stretch the lead to four and put the game out of reach late in the final period.
The O-line scored with incredibly high efficiency, keeping the pressure on San Jose to convert any break opportunity they could get. Eli Kerns and Elliot Chartock played as the primary handlers and were able to swing the disc frequently to Byron Liu and Sam Swink as well as throw up the middle for big yards to Marcelo Sanchez and Antoine Davis. Byron led the team with 6 assists (and one goal) and Antoine with 5 goals (plus one assist and two blocks), but Eli Kerns led across all categories with four goals, four assists, and two blocks (including an almost-Callahan late in the game). However, it was the defense that made the difference Saturday night, with the Spiders forced to throw into tight windows and utilize late stall count resets.
New players on the San Francisco roster also had a big impact with Jacob Greenberg tallying three blocks and a goal, Cullen Coyne pulling in a deep shot from Cody Kirkland during the second quarter run, Joshua Yuan snagging one of Vincenzo Vitiello's four Assists during the third quarter run, and Andrew Berry taking over after a turn in the 4th quarter and leading the team downfield to hit Ben Scharfstein for the goal.
The FlameThrowers will be looking to avenge our 27-25 loss up north in Seattle a few weeks ago when the Cascades come to Laney College this Friday, May 18th. Come see the action live! Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/friday-night-lights-audl-champion-sf-flamet....