By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Execution was the difference between a win and a loss for the Grand Canyon University Men’s Flag Football team last Saturday morning. Three games in their season at the Scottsdale Men’s Football League, the Lopes fell to a record of 1-2 after losing, 21-18. While GCU looked like the better team for much of the day, missing all three extra point attempts proved the difference in the outcome.
On the opening drive of the game, the Lopes put together a solid march down the field, consisting of multiple first downs, and ending with Lopes Quarterback Timothy Cruz rifling a 20-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Tre Stevens. The Lopes, however, couldn’t convert the extra point, which consists of the team running a normal play from the 5-yard line instead of kicking.
Stevens, who also serves as the Lopes Head Coach, addressed the troubles of trying to convert on PATs.
“We need to draw up quicker plays,” said Stevens. “With such little space to operate, the pressure comes quick, and we need to get the ball out faster. That’s going to be one of our main focus points this week.”
On the defensive side of the ball, GCU swarmed quickly to the ball-making it difficult for their opponent to create a steady drive. However, two mental lapses in coverage led to big play scores for their opponents, and the Lopes trailed, 14-6, at halftime.
The chemistry between Cruz and Stevens was once again on display in the second half as the pair hooked up on a five-yard touchdown on a drive that featured consistent third-down conversions on a long, multiple-play drive. On the Lopes’ next possession, Cruz led his team down the field to regain the lead with another bubble-screen TD pass to receiver Kalani Inez.
Needing a final stop to preserve the comeback victory, the Lopes gave up yardage in huge chunks on the final drive to give up the game-winning score in the game’s final two minutes. The Lopes’ last drive ended in a late turnover to seal their fate shut.
“Eliminating big plays is our second biggest focus this week,” said Stevens. “The other team didn’t have a single sustainable drive all day, so we just have to make sure we aren’t giving up free points.”
The Lopes will look to even up their record this weekend on Saturday, October 6th at 10am. They will be playing at Vista Del Camino Park in Scottsdale at 10 am.