The first ever FANchise Bowl between the Colorado Crush and the expansion Salt Lake Screaming Eagles was held on Sunday afternoon and did not disappoint. In front of a packed house at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles fans decided to go for a game winning two-point conversion in overtime, leading to a thrilling victory over the Colorado Crush 42-41 and giving the Screaming Eagles their first win in FANchise history.
"I could not have asked for a more exciting game or a more electric atmosphere for the first ever FANchise bowl." said Sohrob Farudi, CEO of FAnchise which owns both teams. "To see this game go to overtime and watch fans dial up a two-point conversion to win…it was an epic ending to an epic game."
The game was back and forth for four quarters and needed an extra period to crown the first ever winner of the FANchise Bowl. It was never more than a one possession game as both offenses hit their strides in the second half. Ultimately, the game was decided by a flurry of plays and decisions in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime.
The IFL game of the week really got going when Colorado's Josh Ford rumbled into the end zone to open the fourth quarter, bringing the Crush within two 28-26. The resulting two-point conversion attempt failed and the Crush were left chasing points.
The Crush capitalized on a blocked field goal attempt by the Screaming Eagles with 4:52 left in the fourth quarter when QB Sean Goldrich hit RB Josh Ford with a shovel pass which he took in from 15 yards out. They converted the two-point conversion, pushing their lead to 34-28 with :52 seconds left in the game.
The Crush score was just the beginning of a wild final minute of regulation. The young Screaming Eagles and their global fan-run offense were able to drive the length of field and score a game tying touchdown when QB Verlon Reed hit WR Devin Mahina in the end zone with only seven seconds left. Even with kicking struggles throughout the first two games, the Screaming Eagles fans elected to kick the extra point to take the lead. However Cy Strahm's attempt was blocked, keeping the Crush alive.
On the ensuing kickoff the Crush got a good return, giving them a chance to line up for a 45-yard game winning field goal attempt with three seconds left in regulation. However, Groner's kick was pushed right, forcing the game into overtime.
On the first possession of overtime the Crush were able to score quickly when QB Sean Goldrich spun out of trouble and sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone from 15 yards out.
The Crush converted the extra point to push the score to 41-34, handing the ball over to the Screaming Eagles in a sudden death situation.
The Screaming Eagles fans and players made a couple crucial plays down the stretch, starting with a fourth and one QB run by Verlon Reed. A couple plays later they were able to get into the end zone when Verlon Reed hit Zavier Steward with a pass from four yards out. The biggest decision of the game occurred on the next play when the Screaming Eagles fans decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Their play call was rewarded when QB Verlon Reed hit WR Juwan Dotson on a quick pass for the conversion, leaving the Crush crowd in shock.
While one of the FANchise owned teams had to lose in their inaugural matchup, they couldn't have drawn up a better game for the player, coaches, and fans across the globe. The win moves the Screaming Eagles to (1-1) on the year as they go into their Week 3 bye. The loss for the Crush moves them to (0-1) with a chance at redemption next week against the Nebraska Danger.
The game was led by both quarterbacks as Screaming Eagles star Verlon Reed finished the game 25/34 for 211 yards and 5 TD's through the air while also contributing 61 yards on the ground. The Crush's Sean Goldrich was 15/24 for 155 yards and 3 TD's while also accounting for 74 yards and 2 TD's on the ground. Other key contributors included Screaming Eagles WR Brock Lutes who had 41 yards and 2 TD's receiving as well as Crush RB Josh Ford who had 69 combined yards on offense and 2 TD's, one rushing and one receiving.