Superb defense from Madison grounded the Aviators.
August 12, 2018 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 0 comments
MADISON, Wisc. — A first quarter defensive barrage set the Madison Radicals up for an easy 24-19 victory over the Los Angeles Aviators in the AUDL Championship Weekend semifinals last night at Breese Stevens Field.
In front of a crackling crowd of over 3000 people, the Radicals jumped all over the Aviators to open the game, dialing up huge skies and layout blocks to record breaks on each of the first four points. In that sequence, Kevin Pettit-Scantling got the first of his three exceptional blocks in the game, charging and diving for a layout interception on an imprecise pass in the midfield. He added the bookends score moments later.
The Los Angeles O-line finally got off the field on the fifth point, as Jeff Silverman found Zach Theodore for the first of his three goals. But Madison wasn’t done. Two more breaks late in the first gave them a 9-3 lead at the start of the second quarter. Madison had had plenty of hot starts before, though, before letting teams back into the game.
The Aviators did battle back. Their O-line didn’t get broken in the second quarter, as Chris Mazur, Eli Friedman, and Michael Kiyoi started to settle in. Their D-line clawed back a couple of breaks as Madison finally turned it over for the first time all game with the score 10-4. At halftime, it was a five point game.
Hopes of a comeback, though, faded quickly as the Radicals broke to start the second half and continued to find ways to get holds even on long, time-draining points. Pat Shriwise continued his excellent play; he had five assists in the game and went 39/40 on throws.
The Aviators had an opportunity to cut the lead to three right at the end of the third quarter, but they missed both of their chances in the red zone as a throw sailed out the back and Sean McDougall couldn’t quite haul in a catch along the sideline. A Kevin Brown scoober to Scott Richgels beat the buzzer, extending Madison’s lead to five and deflating LA’s sideline.
Pettit-Scantling put the exclamation point on the game with an amazing two-point sequence early in the fourth. First, he got up for a big sky block in the reset space and caught his second bookends score of the night to extend the Madison lead to six. Then he got a wild layout block on a huck to Chris Mazur, slithering from his belly to knock down the disc a second time, erasing any hope of a Mazur grab. After Adam Drews found Sterling Knoche, it was 21-13.
The sidelines breathed a sigh of relief. Two years ago, the Radicals were up 20-13 on Seattle in the AUDL semifinals in Madison. They lost that game. Thoughts of another collapse were now safely out of sight.
The Aviators did get back three breaks late in the fourth to make the final score respectable, but the outcome was never in doubt. Los Angeles actually outscored Madison 16-15 in the final three quarters, but the nightmarish start simply made it too difficult to ever get all the way back into the game.
Madison will head into today’s final against Dallas with their best-ever chance to win an AUDL title. Ever year since the team’s inception, they’ve been at Championship Weekend. They have reached the finals multiple times. They’ve come close. But they’ve never won.
Today, in front of a home crowd, they will chase their dream.