XFL Semi-Final: Demons Overcome Rage in a Close Match
Demons 26, Rage 25
Demons 26, Rage 25
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Down 16-0 midway through the first quarter, the San Francisco Demons had every reason to panic against the Orlando Rage on Saturday night in the XFL semifinals.
But the Demons steadied themselves because, as coach Jim Skipper explained it, they knew there was still 53 minutes of football yet to be played.
“We always say that it isn’t over until it’s over and it hasn’t ended until it’s ended,” Skipper said after San Francisco’s 26-25 victory. “Every game has its own personality.”
Mike Panasuk broke a fourth-quarter tie with a 40-yard field goal and quarterback Pat Barnes scored twice on 1-yard dives as the Demons advanced to the XFL’s Million Dollar Game next Saturday. San Francisco will play a road game against the winner of Sunday’s Los Angeles/Chicago semifinal contest.
On the first play from scrimmage after Panasuk’s kick, Dwayne Harper intercepted a pass by Jim Arellanes and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. It was Arellanes’ first snap after replacing Orlando starter Brian Kuklick.
The Demons needed that cushion because Orlando closed within a point with 3:32 remaining. Arellanes first hooked up with Dialleo Burks for a 55-yard touchdown pass, then found Mario Bailey from 10 yards out on the XFL’s first-ever 3-point conversion, which the league instituted for the playoffs.
But San Francisco was able to run out the clock for the win.
The Rage, taking advantage of San Francisco’s mistakes, rolled out to the 16-0 lead. But Orlando coach Galen Hall said he knew victory wasn’t in hand by any means.
“I never felt that we had this game won,” Hall said. “I did feel that we had control of the game and let it get away from us.”
Early in the first quarter, Demons quarterback Pat Barnes was leveled as he threw, and the ball squirted into the hands of Orlando defensive tackle Ben Huff. Huff rumbled 17 yards for a touchdown and a 9-0 lead.
On the next play from scrimmage, Orlando linebacker Sedrick Clark stripped the ball from Demons halfback Terry Battle after a short reception and recovered the ball. Aided by a 24-yard pass interference penalty, the Rage cashed in three plays later on Derrick Clark’s 1-yard scoring run.
“So we’re down, but I told my guys, ‘They haven’t done anything,”’ Demons defensive coordinator Michael Church said.
San Francisco clamped down on Orlando after the first quarter, forcing five straight punts. The Rage self-destructed after that, with back-to-back interceptions, the second being returned for a score by Harper, and a fumbled snap.
“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” said Orlando starting quarterback Brian Kuklick, who completed only 5 of 16 passes for 46 yards before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco tied it at 16 on Barnes’ run with 8:02 left in the third quarter. The 69-yard drive, aided by a 28-yard pass interference penalty, was the game’s longest.
The Demons, taking advantage of an Orlando miscue, closed to 16-10 late in the first half. On a Rage punt from their own 42, the snap flew over the punter’s head and was recovered at the Orlando 4. Two plays later, Barnes scored on a dive, although there were questions whether the ball had slipped out of his hands before he crossed the plane of the goal line.
“I guess if it was our quarterback, I would’ve agreed with the call,” Hall said. “It was close and it went against us. The linesman had the call and made the call.”
XFL PLAYOFFS FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- SAN FRANCISCO 3 7 6 10 26 ORLANDO 16 0 0 9 25 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QUARTER: ORL - FG, JAY TAYLOR 42 YD, 4:26. Drive: 4 plays, 34 yards in 2:21. Key plays: 29-yard pass interference penalty on San Francisco's Davis to Demons' 30. ORLANDO 3-0 ORL - TD, BEN HUFF 17 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (PAT FAILED), 5:02. ORLANDO 9-0 ORL - TD, DERRICK CLARK 1 YD RUN (BRIAN KUKLICK PASS TO MARIO BAILEY FOR CONVERISON), 6:53. Drive: 3 plays, 29 yards in 0:59. Key plays: S Clark recovery of Battle fumble at San Francisco 29; 24-yard pass interference on San Francisco's Kaesviharn to Demons' 1. ORLANDO 16-0 SAN - FG, MIKE PANASUK 42 YD, 12:12. Drive: 9 plays, 68 yards in 5:05. Key plays: Barnes 17-yard run on 3rd-and-11 to San Francisco 24; Anderson 7-yard run to San Francisco 31; Barnes 40-yard pass to Anderson to Orlando 29; Barnes 5-yard pass to Roberson to Orlando 24. ORLANDO 16-3 2ND QUARTER: SAN - TD, PAT BARNES 1 YD RUN (KELVIN ANDERSON RUN FOR CONVERISON), 13:05. Drive: 2 plays, 4 yards in 0:20. Key plays: San Francisco takes over on downs at Orlando 4. ORLANDO 16-10 3RD QUARTER: SAN - TD, PAT BARNES 1 YD RUN (PAT FAILED), 6:37. Drive: 7 plays, 69 yards in 4:19. Key plays: Anderson 3-yard run on 3rd-and-2 to San Francisco 42; 28-yard pass interference on Orlando's Doster to Rage 30. SAN FRANCISCO 16, ORLANDO 16 4TH QUARTER: SAN - FG, MIKE PANASUK 40 YD, 2:33. Drive: 8 plays, 25 yards in 4:58. Key plays: Anderson 11-yard run to Orlando 36; Barnes 5-yard pass to Moore on 3rd-and-4 to Orlando 25. SAN FRANCISCO 19-16 SAN - TD, DWAYNE HARPER 40 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (KELVIN ANDERSON RUN FOR CONVERISON), 3:09. SAN FRANCISCO 26-16 ORL - TD, DIALLEO BURKS 55 YD PASS FROM JIM ARELLANES (JIM ARELLANES PASS TO MARIO BAILEY FOR THREE-POINT CONVERISON), 11:07. Drive: 7 plays, 83 yards in 3:50. Key plays: Arellanes 33-yard pass to Cloman to Orlando 45. SAN FRANCISCO 26-25 TEAM STATISTICS SAN ORL -------- -------- FIRST DOWNS 16 8 Rushing 6 2 Passing 9 4 Penalty 1 2 3RD-DOWN EFFICIENCY 4-11 1-9 4TH-DOWN EFFICIENCY 0-0 0-1 TOTAL NET YARDS 222 171 Total plays 55 40 Average gain 4.0 4.3 NET YARDS RUSHING 54 25 Rushes 26 14 Average per rush 2.1 1.8 NET YARDS PASSING 168 146 Completed-attempted 16-26 9-24 Yards per pass 5.8 5.6 Sacked-yards lost 3-13 2-15 Had intercepted 2 2 PUNTS-AVERAGE 4-41.5 4-47.3 RETURN YARDAGE 144 152 Punts-returns 3-26 4-19 Kickoffs-returns 5-78 6-116 Interceptions-returns 2-40 2-17 PENALTIES-YARDS 5-78 7-78 FUMBLES-LOST 2-2 3-3 TIME OF POSSESSION 35:11 24:49 PLAYER STATISTICS Missed field goals: None. San Francisco rushing: Kelvin Anderson 18-53, Juan Johnson 1-3, Pat Barnes 7-minus 2. Orlando rushing: Mike Black 5-16, Derrick Clark 5-11, Jim Arellanes 1-0, Brian Shay 1-0, Jay Taylor 1-0, Brian Kuklick 1-minus 2. San Francisco passing: Pat Barnes 16-26 for 181 yards, 2 INT, 0 TD. Orlando passing: Brian Kuklick 5-16 for 46 yards, 1 INT, 0 TD, Jim Arellanes 4-8 for 115 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD. San Francisco receiving: Brian Roberson 6-56, Kelvin Anderson 4-54, Jimmy Cunningham 3-49, Sean Manuel 1-15, Travis Moore 1-5, Terry Battle 1-2. Orlando receiving: Dialleo Burks 3-75, Mario Bailey 3-29, Scott Cloman 1-33, Kevin Swayne 1-21, Mike Black 1-3. San Francisco tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial): Kevin Kaesviharn 4-0-0, Craig Powell 3-1-1, Jon Haskins 2-1-0, Carl Hansen 2-0-1, John Dewitt 2-0-0, Greg Williams 2-0-0, Wendell Davis 2-0-0, Dwayne Harper 2-0-0, Eric England 1-1-0, Marvin Coleman 1-0-0, Terry Battle 1-0-0, Jermaine Miles 1-0-0, Abdul-salam Noah 1-0-0, James Williams 1-0-0, Pene Talamaivao 0-1-0. Orlando tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial): Cory Gilliard 5-0-0, Shawn Banks 4-1-0, Stephen Fisher 4-0-0, Patrise Alexander 4-0-0, Sedric Clark 3-1-1, Bill Duff 3-1-0, Brian Shay 3-0-0, Ricky Bell 3-0-0, Reginald Doster 2-1-0, Ben Huff 2-0-1, Jonathan Brown 2-0-0, James Burgess 1-1-0, Louis Riddick 1-1-0, Kevin Jefferson 1-0-0, James Roberson 1-0-0, Mark Campbell 1-0-0, Rich Young 1-0-0, Kelly Malveaux 0-1-0, Andre Purvis 0-1-1. Interceptions: San Francisco (Dwayne Harper 1 for 40 yards, Toby Wright 1 for 0 yards); Orlando (Ben Huff 1 for 17 yards, Kelly Malveaux 1 for 0 yards). Fumbles lost: San Francisco (Pat Barnes, Terry Battle); Orlando (Jim Arellanes, Brian Shay, Rich Young). Opponent's fumbles recovered: San Francisco (Marvin Coleman, Jermaine Miles, James Williams); Orlando (Sedric Clark 2). Officials: Referee-Dennis Lipski, Umpire-Richard Brown, Head linesman-Dana Mckenzie, Line judge-John Mcgrath, Back judge-Gregory Steed, Side judge-David Chesney, Field judge-Rg Detiller. A: 14,849; T: 2:51.