The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-4) lost in to the Colorado Crush (1-5) on Friday night on a last-second field goal in the second FANchise Bowl.
After obliterating the Crush in overtime last month for the first victory in team history and first reign over the FANchise Bowl Trophy, the teams met in West Valley City for the second of five meetings this season. And like the first matchup in Colorado, this one was an absolute beauty.
After the Crush jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the first play of the game, Salt Lake QB Jesse Scroggins -- in his first career start -- hit WR Cy Strahm for an eight-yard touchdown (the PAT was blocked) to make the score 7-6.
After a second Liam Nadler touchdown pass for the Crush, newly signed Screaming Eagles' RB and former Utah star Bubba Poole found the endzone for one of his three touchdowns in the game. Poole led a potent rushing attack that racked up a season-high 86 yards on 20 carries.
Salt Lake led 23-20 at halftime afer converted WR Breon Allen continued toying with IFL defenses by catching his fourth touchdown in the last three games from Verlon Reed Jr. -- Allen had a game-high eight catches -- and Trent Andrus converted a 23-yard field goal as time expired. Early in the third quarter, Poole added his second touchdown, a one-yard plunge through a soft Crush defense that was gashed for 283 total yards.
Poole and the Screaming Eagles still carried the three-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Crush rudely took it back, with Nadler connecting with Josh Ford on a one-yard touchdown pass. It didn't take long for Reed to answer, with the dual-threat playmaker driving his team down the field with a five-play, 29-yard drive that ended with one of Cy Strahm's six catches and two touchdowns. Reed found the Morehead State product from 12 yards out to reclaim the lead, 43-30.
The bad guys then bribed the scoreboard operator to give them a 49-43 lead with one minute remaining, which proved to be plenty of time for Reed -- and unfortunately the Crush. First, Reed dashed in from six yards out to tied the game at 49-49 with 12 seconds left, but a blocked Trent Andrus' PAT left the score tied.
Colorado kicker Spencer Groner whiffed on the game-winning 41-yard field goal but the Screaming Eagles were called for offsides. He didn't miss on the second attempt from 36 yards.
Reed finished 16-for-22 passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Scroggins had 82 yards and one score. Reed added eight carries for 41 yards and one tuddy on the ground. Cornerback Gianni Olivas led the defense with 6.5 tackles in his first game with the team and had a pick-six called back due to penalty.
The Screaming Eagles return to action on April 8th against the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. Their next home game is April 14 vs. the Arizona Rattlers.