Louisville's Yuichi Watanabe held on as Islanders offensive specialist Gabe Amey pushed upfield during last night's game.

Islanders extinguish
Fire in home finale

Withy-Allen leads a record-breaking
offense to 62-59 win

The Hawaiian Islanders kept their flickering playoff hopes alive by pulling out a thrilling 62-59 victory over the Louisville Fire in their home finale last night at Blaisdell Arena.

Islanders quarterback Shawn Withy-Allen tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Arceneaux with 36.4 seconds left to give the Islanders the lead. Defensive specialist Halakilangi Muagututia then sealed it by breaking up a pass in the back of the end zone to end the game and preserve the win in front of a boisterous crowd of 3,746.

"The players realized this was the last game they're going to play in front of their fans and they played awfully hard," Islanders coach Cal Lee said. "At the very end the fan support really showed. I thought it was tremendous."

The Islanders ended a two-game skid at home to improve to 8-6 and remain in the hunt for an arenafootball2 playoff berth.

Louisville (8-6) dropped out of first place in the Midwest Division, falling behind Quad City. The Fire are tied with the Islanders in the National Conference wildcard race.

Withy-Allen and Louisville quarterback Matt Sauk engaged in a classic shootout, combining for nine touchdown passes.

Withy-Allen, the offensive player of the game, set an Islanders record with 374 yards in total offense (326 passing, 48 rushing). He threw for five scores and ran for two more. The Islanders' team total of 366 yards was also a club record.

Sauk completed 26 of 35 attempts for 359 yards and four TDs.

"That's arena football for you," Withy-Allen said. "That's how it's supposed to be played, right there, you got guys sitting back there and slinging it."

Nian Taylor caught 11 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Gabe Amey snagged eight throws for 111 yards for the Islanders.

James Scott led Louisville with nine receptions for 168 yards and three touchdowns.

Islanders quarterback Shawn Withy-Allen tried to slip past Louisville's Dennis Fryzel in the first half last night.

The Islanders erased a 14-point first-half deficit and took their first lead of the game on the first play of scrimmage of the second half when Withy-Allen found Arceneaux running alone down the right side for a 45-yard TD strike.

Withy-Allen tied a team record by scrambling for a 30-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, giving the Islanders a 55-52 lead.

Louisville reclaimed the lead on Sauk's fourth touchdown pass of the night and looked ready to shut the door when the Islanders turned the ball over on downs at their own 14.

But the Islanders got new life when Vai Notoa recovered a fumble by Marvin Constant.

The Islanders drove to the Louisville 18 and faced fourth down and 11 when Withy-Allen hit Arceneaux running across the end zone with 36.4 seconds left in the game.

"I caught (the safety) flat footed," Arceneaux said. "I ran up on him, kind of paused, and right when his feet got set I burst on him and I knew I had him."

Said Withy-Allen: "We said this is our season right here, none of us wanted to lose that game so we all dug deep and went for it."

But the Fire moved into position to win the game when Scott made a fingertip catch at the Islanders 4 with 22.6 seconds left.

Sauk spiked the ball on first down and Muagututia broke up the pass in the front of the end zone on second down.

Rather than kick a tying field goal, the Fire went for the win. Sauk was flushed out of the pocket and fired toward Tony Stallings in the back of the end zone. But Muagututia closed on the play and tipped the ball away at the last moment.

"I lost him for a second and I saw him put his hand up and I ran through it and batted the ball down," Muagututia said.

"We ran a little combo coverage where he just identified who his man was quickly and got his hands on both of those and just did a great job," Islanders defensive coordinator Doug Semones said.

"We kept battling and the guys rose up at the end."

The Islanders conclude the regular season with road games at Central Valley on Saturday and at Bakerfield on July 31.

Islanders 62, Fire 59

At Blaisdell Arena
Louisville (8-6) 14 17 14 14 -- 59
Islanders (8-6) 14 13 21 14 -- 62

LF--Tony Stallings 2 run (Danny Knight kick)
HI--Chauncey Ako 1 run (Kimo Naehu kick)
LF--Stallings 1 run (Knight kick)
HI--Vai Notoa 1 run (Naehu kick)
LF--James Scott 21 pass from Matt Sauk (Knight kick)
LF--Scott 25 pass from Sauk (Knight kick)
HI--Nian Taylor 23 pass from Shawn Withy-Allen (Naehu kick)
LF--FG Knight 42
HI--Gabe Amey 8 pass from Withy-Allen (kick failed)
HI--Anthony Arceneaux 45 pass from Withy-Allen (Naehu kick)
LF--Dennis Fryzel 12 pass from Sauk (Knight kick)
HI--Withy-Allen 3 run (Naehu kick)
LF--Fryzel 1 run (Knight kick)
HI--Taylor 9 pass from Withy-Allen (Naehu kick)
LF--Stallings 4 run (Knight kick)
HI--Withy-Allen 30 run (Naehu kick)
LF--Scott 21 pass from Sauk (Knight kick)
HI--Arceneaux 19 pass from Withy-Allen (Naehu kick)

RUSHING--Fire: Demetrius Forney 1-5, Marvin Constant 3-4, Stallings 4-8, Fryzel 2-2, Sauk 1-(-3). Islanders: Withy-Allen 5-48, Ako 2-1, Notoa 1-1, Arceneaux 1-(-1).
PASSING--Fire: Sauk 26-35-0-359. Islanders: Withy-Allen 24-33-0-326, Team 0-0-0-(-9).
RECEIVING--Fire: Scott 9-168, Anthony Payton 8-88, Stallings 4-49, Fryzel 4-41, Forney 1-13. Islanders: Taylor 11-119, Amey 8-111, Arceneaux 4-89, Randyn Akiona 1-7.
Att: 3,746


E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --