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Arizona rally handed Orlando Apollos first AAF loss

Florida Football Insiders



Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The roll that the Orlando Apollos of the AAF Spring football league had been on, included a couple of fourth-quarter rallies to keep them unbeaten. Unfortunately for Steve Spurrier’s team, it was the Arizona Hotshots who came up with the fourth-quarter heroics and handed the Apollos their first loss of the Season Saturday night 22 – 17.

Hotshots back Jay Pressley scored the go-ahead touchdown with 5:59 remaining and Arizona’s two-point conversion pushed the lead to five at 22-17. Then, the Hot Shots defense took over and stopped the Apollos on their final two attempts to win the game.

The first came at the 2-minute warning, when Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert was sacked by defensive end Rykeem Gates, who stripped him of the ball and fellow lineman Olubunmi Rotimi recovered.

However Arizona was unable to run the clock out and was forced to punt.

That’s when Spurrier’s offense gave them one more chance to get the winning touchdown Gilbert completed a deep pass to tight end Sean Price for 48 yards. And then with 19 seconds remaining, he hooked up on another 26-yarder to receiver Jalin Marshall, who was tackled at the Arizona eight yard line.

Next came some controversy: as the Apollos ran to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock, they were not completely set. And, it ended up resulting in illegal procedure penalty that required “a 10-second runoff” and ended the game.

Gilbert had helped Orlando take the lead on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Marshall with just under 10 minutes remaining. Gilbert threw to running back Akeem Hunt for the two-point conversion making it 17-14 Apollos. Gilbert finished on the night with 268 yards on 23-48 passing with 2 TDs and 1 INT.

The HotShots coached by former Colorado and Washington college coach and 49ers NFL coach, now turned TV broadcaster, Rick Neuheisel played a complete-game to earn the victory at Spectrum Stadium.

Now 5 – 1, Orlando will have a rematch game at Atlanta next Saturday against the team that defeated in their inaugural game in February.

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