FLINT— It came down to the final seconds in a defensive struggle at Atwood Stadium on Saturday, as the Flint Fury hosted the Capital City Stealth. The slugfest between the two Great Lakes Football League foes remained competitive and exciting until the final seconds expired. Unfortunately for the Fury, they couldn’t find a way to get past the Stealth, resulting in their first loss of the 2012 season,
The defensive efforts of both sides were displayed early on, as each team forced several turnovers and punts in the first quarter. Both offenses struggled to find consistency until late in the opening frame, when Fury running back Aaron Mangham began to catch fire. Mangham helped cap off the quarter by pounding his way through the defense for an 11- yard touchdown run. Jeremy Schermerhorn knocked in the extra point to give Flint an early 7-0 edge.
It appeared Flint would be in complete control after cornerback Lonnie Johnson intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 38 yards before being brought down, however, Johnson’s interception would be negated by an untimely offsides call. The Fury regained their composure moments later when defensive end Michael Carter, who recently won a Continental Indoor Football League title with the Saginaw Sting, forced a fumble that would be recovered by Flint at the Capital City 28.
Penalties stalled out the drive and moved the Fury back toward midfield. Schermerhorn would attempt a 53-yard field goal that just missed. Schermerhorn also got another chance before the half from 25 yards out, but just missed sneaking it through the uprights.
The Stealth came out of the locker room and got to work quickly, culminating their first drive of the second half with a jump ball at the goal line that was corralled for a 30-yard touchdown, deadlocking the score, 7-7. Capital City got the ball back and orchestrated yet another touchdown drive, ending with a 3-yard plunge into the endzone. The ensuing point after attempt, however, was blocked by Richard Beaguard, keeping the Stealth’s advantage at 13-7.
The Fury began to move down the field as the final frame began, and just as in the first quarter, Mangham was at it again. The Fury ball carrier slashed through the defense for a 13-yard score. Schermerhorn’s extra point was blocked, which kept the game tied, 13-13. Flint forced a turnover on downs on Capital City’s next possession, however, the Stealth would force the Fury to punt. Little did anyone in attendance know how big of a play that punt would be. Capital City’s Michael Frisbie cleanly fielded the punt, then took it 65 yards up the north sideline for the eventual gamewinning touchdown with just 44.8 seconds remaining. The snap on the extra point was bobbled, keeping things close, 19-13.
The Fury would get one last shot to win, and came extremely close to pulling it off. Flint got the ball near midfield and began firing towards the endzone. Quarterback Chance Garner lofted a pass to the left corner of the endzone, but wide receiver Donquay Grandberry wasn’t able to haul it in. With only enough time left for one play, Garner heaved a pass across the middle towards receiver Raymond Brown. The ball was deflected away by the safety, although there was a post-game debate over whether or not the defensive back tripped Brown before the safety knocked the pass down.
“(The players are responding) not too bad,” said Fury head coach Charles Lawler. “(It’s) fifty-fifty. Some (are) upset and disgruntled, and so looking forward to the next game and doing better. The majority want to get to practice to make this run happen.”
Flint is now 4-1 overall, and 3-1 in the Great Lakes Football League, as it prepares to for a tough three-game road trip. The Fury will head to Cleveland this Saturday to take on the Midwest Rams.
On July 14 they will be at the Detroit Diesels before wrapping up the road stand at the Motor City Soldiers on July 21. Flint will finally return to the confines of Atwood Stadium on July 28 against the West Michigan Force, who is currently the top-ranked team in the GLFL