Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California was set and ready to host the Las Vegas Sin and the Seattle Mist. Everyone was interested to see how Vegas would stack up against Seattle as it appears that LA and Seattle are the leading contenders in the Legends Football League Western Conference, but with only one performance under their belt, the Sin could easily change the mix with a couple of wins early this season. Before Saturday, the Sin had only taken the field once this season and that was during their 59-24 loss against Los Angeles week 6, and it was evident that they have some dangerous weapons offensively and talent on defense. After their loss against the Mist, bringing them to an 0-2 start on the year, they still have a shot at contending for the playoffs, even the regular-season Western Conference Championship, but they will need to win at least three of their four remaining games this season.
The Seattle Mist have been on a mission to accomplish their goal of winning the Legends Cup Championship this year. Head-coach Chris Michaelson has a roster that gives him his best shot so far at winning a championship, and if the team can stay healthy, expect them to keep getting closer to their goal.
The game on Saturday ended up coming down to the final minutes with Las Vegas having a chance at an onside kick attempt with less than two minutes remaining. Seattle lead the entire game, having their biggest lead in the second quarter 21-6, and the smallest margin early in the third with Las Vegas coming within two points, 21-19. The game is definitely a must watch as there were many exciting plays and some incredible catches by both sides.
To start the game Vegas kicked off to Seattle, which was nearly a costly play for the Mist as veteran Jessica Hopkins fumbled the kick and recovered it in the end-zone for a touch-back. After two nice gains on a nine yard pass to Lily Ganston and a Granston rush for 9 yards, quarterback KK Matheny targeted receiver Bryn Renda the next two plays which were both incomplete. On third and 10 from the Vegas 17 yard-line, Seattle went to Granston again who fumbled the hand-off, which was recovered by Kimberly Jack of the Las Vegas Sin.
Las Vegas took over on their own 17 yard-line and failed to get a drive going. Quarterback Sindy Cummings failed to connect with her receiver Kia Ramos on both third and fourth down after two rushes by Dominique Maloy to start the drive that went four and out.
The next Drive for Seattle started on the Vegas 20 yard-line and on their third play of the drive from the Vegas 9 yard-line, Matheny fumbled the shotgun snap and quickly got rid of the ball to her wide-open receiver Jessica Hopkins who bobbled the catch off the wall for the first touchdown of the game, which was the first receiving highlight of many during the game. After the completed extra-point attempt, Seattle took a 7-0 lead on Las Vegas with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Sin’s next offensive series could not have been any worse, as Sindy Cummings fumbled the ball on third down, which was recovered by Seattle’s Katie Whelan in the end-zone and after converted extra-point attempt, Seattle was up 14-0 in the first quarter with 40 seconds remaining.
It took only one play for Las Vegas to answer, as Dominique Maloy on first down, broke one tackle after a hand-off from Cummings, got outside of the defenders, and ran 35 yards for the touchdown. The entire play was no longer than six seconds as Maloy showcased her track and field PAC-12 caliber speed. This was the first big play by rookie running-back Dominique Maloy in a game that she had many, as she finished with 102 yards rushing on 10 carries. After a failed extra-point attempt Vegas was down 14-6 to begin the second quarter.
Seattle sustained a nice drive on the next possession and KK Matheny found Bryn Renda for a 19 yard touchdown completion, putting Seattle up 21-6 early in the second quarter, which was their biggest lead of the game after the extra-point was good.
Las Vegas and Seattle each had a four and out drive on their next possessions before Las Vegas put together a nine play drive that included three of Cummings only completions in the first-half on the game. On fourth and goal from the 8 yard-line, Cummings found Tamar Fennell for the touchdown that brought the Sin within one score, 21-13, after the extra-point conversion by Fennell rush was good with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
Seattle failed to reach the end-zone in the remaining seconds and went into halftime with a 21-13 lead. Coach Michaelson was not happy with his teams first half performance and his speech made that clear. Mistakes and missed opportunities, especially on a dropped pass by a wide-open Jessica Hopkins from Bryn Renda, on a perfectly drawn-up play during their last drive before half, has Michaelson furious.
Las Vegas getting things going, as Dominique Maloy stepped up big with offensive yardage, as Cummings had a slow start throwing the ball, after only completing 3 of her 9 passes in the first half.
Right out of the gates in the third quarter, Maloy struck again on a first down from the 15 yard-line. On a quick inside hand-off from Cummings Maloy broke a Lily Granston tackle, where she appeared to be nearly down, but kept her legs and continued the rest of the way for a touchdown. This play resembled the type of running that NFL fans witness from Barry Sanders in the 90’s. Maloy is quickly making a name for herself in her first two games of this season and already has a Rookie of the Year case.
Another failed extra-point rushing attempt by Maloy kept Vegas down 19-21 against Seattle with just a minute into the second-half. Seattle started their next series off with another trick-play, this time receiver Kadi Findling completed a pass to Danika Brace for 16 yards, down to the Vegas 19 yard-line. Later in the drive, on third and goal from the 9, Matheny connected with Megan Hanson for the touchdown pass with 3:30 remaining in the third. The drive took over five minutes off the clock and after a failed extra-point rush attempt by Granston, Seattle was up 27-19 on Las Vegas.
After a quick four and out, Seattle took over on the Vegas 16 yard-line and on the first play, Stevi Schnoor ran 16 yards for the touchdown, and after a good extra-point conversion Seattle went up 34-19 with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The next dive was going well for Las Vegas as they marked into Seattle’s territory down to the 15 yard line after five plays, but on second and 10 from the 15 yard-line Stevi Schnoor forced a Cynthia Schmidt fumble that was recovered by Schnoor at the Seattle 8 yard-line.
It appeared that Seattle would have an opportunity to go up three scores with the next drive which would nearly close out the Sin’s chances at a comeback. However, after marching down the field during nine plays that took up nearly six minutes off the clock, Seattle failed to score on fourth down from the three yard-line, as Matheny’s pass was incomplete to Schnoor.
With 1:30 remaining in the game, Las Vegas took over and on first down a Seattle defensive pass interference by Megan Hanson brought Vegas to the Seattle 20 yard-line. The next play Cummings found Maloy in the back of the end-zone on an incredible catch that was arguably the best catch of the year as she was knocked-down by the defender, but still was able to jump up and reach for the score with 1:10 remaining. The extra-point attempt was good and Las Vegas now found themselves down by one score and a two-point conversion, 34-26.
The anticipation for the onside kick was building as Tamar Fennell was set for her attempt to give the Sin a last chance at a comeback. On the kick, Stevi Schnoor quickly grabbed the ball and secured it, which gave Seattle the ball and ability to run the clock out after two knee’s by Matheny. No wild comeback took place in the game, but Las Vegas sure made the final minutes exciting in a game where their passing attack was sub-par compared to their first game and season prior.
Seattle’s Matheny had a good performance passing the ball as she completed 9 of 19 passes for 85 yards and three touchdowns. In three games this season, Matheny has thrown 7 touchdown passes and only one interception. Las Vegas Sin’s quarterback Sindy Cummings had an unusually below average performance compared to her prior games throwing the ball, as she only completed 5 of 15 passes for 49 yards with two touchdown passes. It seemed that her timing with receivers was a little off and dropped passes by receivers like Cynthia Schmidt did not help her passing attack.
The West now stands at Los Angeles 2-1, Seattle 2-1, and Las Vegas 0-2. After the league bye week, the week 11 match-up with feature the huge Western Conference game between the Los Angeles Temptation and Seattle Mist in the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on July 3rd. This is the third game between Seattle and LA, with each team getting a win in the series already. With the way the conference is stacking up, the winner is almost guaranteed a playoff spot, and will have a good chance at winning the Western Conference regular-season championship. The first two games were both instant classic’s with one-point margins of victory in each game. Expect the July 3rd game to be just as competitive as these two teams always play great against each other.
– Text by Colton Cull, originally posted on LFL360.com
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