Underdog Demons Win After a 16 point Deficit

San Francisco - (16 April 2001) -- Rage, take that! A home undefeated streak all gone. If only it was that easy.

Turnover after turnover, the Demons were losing by a total of 16 points! And that wasn't even half way through the 1st quarter!

Everything that went wrong happened in the first seven minute of the game. The Demons didn't score on their first drive, so they punted the ball to the Rage's 26-yard line. Four plays later including a 29 yard pass interference call, brought the Rage to the Demons' 30 yard line. In the next Demons' possession, they tried to start a scoring drive, but the pass was picked off and returned 17 yards for a touchdown. Score: 0-9 Rage.

The Rage continue this pummel knocking the ball out of Battle's hand, who would soon be bench after a dismal day of fumbles, and the Rage S Sedric Clark recovered the ball on the Demons' 29. Add another pass interference call, that brought the Rage to the one yard line. The 4 yard drive was capped with Derrick Clark's 1 yard touchdown run. Mario Bailey caught the 1-point after touchdown. Score 0-16 Rage.

At this point, I almost lost all faith of them. But two things that was in my mind still made me watch the game till the end. One is it is still way early in the game. The Rage scored three times in less than seven minutes. All the Demons have to do is score 3 times, over three quarters. (And also allow the Rage offense to do nothing) The second is that the Rage is probably in the stage of letting the game go. They have lost their intensity early in the game, and most, if not all, would say that the Demons don't have a pray to come back 0-16 to even take the lead.

The Demons started five straight scoring drives over 3 quarters (like I was hoping). They rallied for a 42-yard field goal by Mike Panasuk. The 17-yard run by Pat Barnes on 3rd and 11 was the factor. With a little momentum in their minds, and knowing the can score, after going through a 4 quarters scoring drought (their 0-2 lost to the Xtreme on Week 10). I don't recall how, but for some reason the Demons got the ball at the Rage 4 yard line. I believe there was a block punt, or some mishap, which got the Demons first and goal on the four. Two attempts later, Pat Barnes broke the plane of the touchdown line...and fumbles. Luckily, to score a touchdown, the entire
football has to break the plane, and whatever happens after that is irrelevant. Demons RB Kelvin Anderson, who has been feeling the much needed Demons rushing power, scored on a easy run to put the Demons closer to the Rage at 10-16.

At this point, I knew the impossible has to happen. The Demons just put 10 unanswered point up, and is within one touchdown and a conversion to take the lead. On top of that, having something good before the half will always affect the game in the second half. (It feels better to be down 10-16 than 0-16 right?)

In the third quarter, everything looked great for the Demons. The Rage offense wasn't producing, and the Demons defense was stopping them. After a punt, the Demons took over to tie the game. Demons RB Kelvin Anderson converted a 3rd and 2 to keep the drive alive. The frustrated Rage showed many signs of letting the game go. One was not producing offensively, and second was giving up a few penalties. Reginald Doster was flagged for 28 yards for pass interference. Pat Barnes capped the drive with a less controversial quarterback sneak. Kelvin Anderson converted on another extra point to tie the game.

In the fourth quarter, the pressure was on to both teams. Everything that happen in the previous three quarter was irrelevant because the score is tied. Makes no difference if the score is 0-0 or 16-16. The team with the lead, even a one-point lead, will go on to the Million Dollar game. (Personally I wish it sounds a bit better...like the Xtreme Bowl.)

The Demons started another scoring drive late in the 3rd quarter, capping it was Mike Panasuk's 40 yard field goal. Pat Barnes 5 yards pass to Travis Moore, his only reception of the game, lead to the long field goal.

Probably the savior of the game was Dwayne Harper. He intercepted the ball from Rage QB Jim Arellanes, who was making his XFL debut in place of Rage QB Brian Kuklick. Forty yards later, Harper scored to put the Demons up 25-16. Add Kelvin Anderson's second point extra attempt, and the Demons are up by a total of 10 points.

The Rage scared the Demons a bit with two deep passes by Jim Arellanes. First to Scott Cloman, a 33 yard bomb. And the killer was a 55 yard pass to Dialleo Burks for the touchdown. Down by four point, the Rage coach made an awkward decision to go for a three point conversion, that would have put the Rage down by one. The Rage need only a point conversion and a field goal to tie, or a two pointer and a field goal to win the game. The three points, if failed would force the Rage to answer the Demons with a touchdown to win, or lose. In total shock Mario Bailey caught the ball to convert the 3-point conversion, and the score was 25-24.

With less than four minutes to go, the Demons needed at least one first down to run down the clock. And they did with a huge 3rd down conversion, a pass from Barnes to Demons WR Jimmy Cunningham, who earlier got the wind knock out of him jumping for a few extra yards that lead the Demons to a touchdown.

As the final minutes ticked down, I knew that was it! The Demons franchise opener was a thriller, but this was beyond that. Down 16-0, the Demons came up to score 26 straight points to win the semi-finals. Finally broadcast by NBC, I hope they realize how great the teams backed up by tens of thousands of fans are. Listed as a 8 point underdog, last time I checked in the San Jose Mercury News, this is the greatest comeback I have ever seen, since the Sharks upset over #1 St. Louis Blues and the 49ers breaking their curse to the Green Bay Packers.

- By NStarz Ha - Demons Team Reporter