[ ARENA FOOTBALL ]
Late run helps Blitz come
through on promise
The Bakersfield Blitz delivered on their guarantee of a win and took possession of first place in arenafootball2's West Division with a 52-44 victory over the Hawaiian Islanders yesterday at Centennial Garden in Bakersfield, Calif.
Bakersfield quarterback Chad Elliott passed for 399 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Blitz, who improved to 6-3.
Elliott completed four touchdown passes of 36 yards or longer in the second half and the Blitz scored 21 unanswered points in the final period to rally past the Islanders.
"He's one of the top quarterbacks in our league and he showed tonight that given time he's pretty accurate," Islanders coach Cal Lee said. "He hit guys in stride and four big ones for (touchdowns)."
The Islanders dropped their second straight and fell into second place in the division at 5-4.
Bakersfield promised its fans a win or the 5,103 in attendance would receive free admission to the team's next home game.
It looked like the Islanders might spoil the guarantee by taking a 37-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
But with Bakersfield facing fourth down-and-8 at its own 7, Elliott connected with Steve Wofford for a 43-yard touchdown pass and Ed Romo's extra point gave Bakersfield the lead for good with 4:40 left in the game.
"That was a big play on (Elliott's) part and the receiver's," Lee said. "We could kind of put the game away if we put a stop on them, but we didn't get it done. We hoped we could put some pressure on him and make him uncomfortable, but to his credit he made the big play."
Elliott followed with two more long TD passes to Eric Mahanke to put the game out of reach.
Wofford finished with five catches for 116 yards, while Mahanke had seven receptions for 112 yards.
Islanders quarterback Darnell Arceneaux spent much of the game on the run and was sacked four times. He managed to pass for 209 yards and three touchdowns and run for two more.
"We had some open guys and didn't hit them and then we dropped back and didn't have time," Lee said.
The game started out as a defensive battle as the Islanders went into halftime with a 17-12 lead.
The Islanders gave up touchdown passes on Bakersfield's first two possessions, but Joshua Robinson ended the next two drives with interceptions deep in Islanders territory.
After the Blitz took an 18-17 lead early in the third quarter, Anthony Arceneaux fielded a kickoff off the net and went the length off the field for a 58-yard return. His fourth kickoff return for a touchdown in the last two games put the Islanders up 24-18.
In the second half Elliott completed his first 11 passes, three going for touchdowns as the teams traded scores in a wild third quarter.
The Blitz defense then tightened up and forced the Islanders into two missed field-goal attempts and an interception in the fourth quarter, allowing the offense to pull away.
Darnell Arceneaux hit Anthony Arceneaux for a 19-yard touchdown with 8.6 seconds left. But Bakersfield recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
The Islanders return to Blaisdell Arena on Saturday to face the Central Valley Coyotes in another division matchup.
"We have our work cut out, but I think the guys will rebound and they'll come out a little harder this week," Lee said. "We still have seven games left and we just need to get back on track. A win this Saturday would be great for us. ... We're still playing exciting ball, we just have to finish it up."
Blitz 52, Islanders 44
At Centennial Garden
|Hawaiian Islanders (5-4)
|Bakersfield Blitz (6-3)
HI--Darnell Arceneaux 1 run (Kimo Naehu kick)
BB--Nathan Munson 24 pass from Chad Elliott (kick failed)
BB--Nick Onaindia 12 pass from Elliott (run failed)
HI--D. Arceneaux 6 run (Naehu kick)
HI--FG Naehu 39
BB--Munson 34 pass from Elliott (kick failed)
HI--Anthony Arceneaux 58 kickoff return (Naehu kick)
BB--Rennard Reynolds 13 pass from Elliott (Ed Romo kick)
HI--Aaron Smith 17 pass from D. Arceneaux (pass failed)
BB--Steve Wofford 41 pass from Elliott (kick failed)
HI--Robert Kemfort 30 pass from D. Arceneaux (Naehu kick)
BB--Wofford 43 pass from Elliott (Romo kick)
BB--Eric Mahanke 41 pass from Elliott (Romo kick)
BB--Mahanke 36 pass from Elliott (Romo kick)
HI--A. Arceneaux 19 pass from D. Arceneaux (Naehu kick)
RUSHING--Islanders: D. Arceneaux 5-8, Keiki Misipeka 2-1, Joe Correia 1-(-1). Blitz: Onaindia 3-8, Ben McCombs 1-0 .
PASSING--Islanders: D. Arceneaux 14-29-1-204, Team 0-0-0-(-16). Blitz: Elliott 26-37-2-399.
RECEIVING--Islanders: A. Arceneaux 6-106, Smith 3-38, Nate Jackson 2-22, Kemfort 1-30, Randyn Akiona 1-10, Tiki Sagapolutele 1-(-2). Blitz: Mahanke 7-112, Munson 7-95, Wofford 5-116, Rennard Reynolds 5-64, Onaindia 2-12.