October 2, 2015 by Patrick Stegemoeller in Coverage with 0 comments
The nightmare weekend for Toronto GOAT continued in Frisco this morning as they found themselves entirely outgunned in their prequarters showdown with Austin Doublewide. A game that started out tight turned into a groaner by the finish as GOAT’s starters ran out of steam against a bigger, deeper, and, on this day, clearly better opponent.
Both teams looked confident coming out of the gate, pushing the pace with aggressive downfield looks. Kurt Gibson started things off with a bang, taking his man deep out of the handler set and reeling in a huck from Jeff Loskorn with a full extension layout just outside the endzone. Two throws later Tim Gehret found Will Driscoll at the front cone and Doublewide was on the board. It only took about 35 seconds of game time for Doublewide to punch in the first point, which set the tone for their quick, efficient offensive performance.
GOAT started off strong as well, and actually managed the first break of the game after tight handler defense by Adrian Yearwood forced a short field turnover, and Yearwood sealed the deal by sliding a nice inside-out flick into the break space for a goal. The break gave GOAT a 3-2 lead, but unfortunately for the Canadian champions, that was as far in front as they would get.
After a smooth hold, Doublewide broke right back, stymieing GOAT on the goal line and forcing a turnover on a high degree of difficulty scoober from Derek Alexander. The Austin D-line looked to push it off the transition, and a big backhand huck found Jerrod Wolfe in the endzone for the score.
Red zone problems plagued GOAT all game as the big, rangy defenders on the Doublewide D-line were seemingly able to fill the entire endzone. On more than one occasion Alexander found himself stuck on the open side cone with no options and forced to send a probing scoober all the way across the field. Most of the time those scoobers found a waiting receiver, but in an elimination game “most of the time” just isn’t good enough. Doublewide took advantage.
The game was still up for grabs heading into half time, with Doublewide up a break 7-6 and looking to steal another point for half. After playing straight man all game, Austin came down in a classic Doublewide 4-man cup full of giant bodies. It flustered and frustrated the GOAT offense, as the high hands of the cup stopped Alexander and Thomson McKnight from popping scoobers into open space.
GOAT diligently tried to work it through the cup, but after gaining ground to about half field on approximately 50 throws, Andrew Walch laid out through the cup for Doublewide to get a key block. Gehret and Gibson, switching over to the D-line for the point before half, worked it from there and Gehret racked up his third assist of the game to send Doublewide into halftime with an 8-6 lead.
On Thursday, Doublewide had an easy time of things winning their pool without breaking a sweat and giving their best players ample opportunity to save their legs. The same could not be said for GOAT, who had to grind out three hard games in the brutal Pool C. The difference really became apparent in the second half.
“The incentives aren’t necessarily aligned with playing your best on the first day, but we played well and put ourselves in a position where we could rest people,” said Doublewide captain Ryan Purcell. “I think we got a few turnovers in the second half that came from them not having the depth and energy that we had.”
Forced to play several of their best players virtually every point, GOAT wore down and started to make simple errors. Miscommunication on dumps, around throws that hung in that air; there were many signs that the usually clinical Toronto offense just didn’t have it in them this morning.
All season long GOAT has been trying to make up for the loss of Mark Lloyd and, for the most part, has put together an offense that got the job done. But in a game like this when the team really needed a spark, a champion to come on and turn the game around, the perils of not having a player like Lloyd on the line began distressingly clear for GOAT.
Doublewide broke out of half, and again a few points later to take a commanding 12-8 lead in part due to the excellent play of Dalton Smith. Smith, who just graduated from Texas A&M this past spring, was given the keys to the D-line and he did not disappoint, leading the team down the field and firing up several aggressive hucks that punished GOAT for their offensive mistakes.
Doublewide’s offense was the opposite of GOAT’s in the second half, confidently scoring within a few throws on virtually every possession. GOAT’s physical defense just wasn’t rattling the Texas boys, and without a defense able to put breaks on the board, GOAT’s chances in the game dwindled.
Those chances were finally extinguished, when at 13-9, another turn on the endline from GOAT gave Doublewide the chance to break for the win. Dalton Smith received a swing and launched a full field flick bomb to a streaking Purcell who elevated for the grab to seal the 14-9 win and send GOAT packing.
After Thursday, the question was whether or not Doublewide would look as good against opponents playing all out. The answer from this game was an emphatic yes. Now the question becomes: just how good can this team really be? We will get a chance to find out in their quarterfinal showdown with the 2014 runner up, Boston Ironside.