Sidney “Sully” Richardson
On the 13th of May, the atmosphere in Miami was similar to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: electrifying! As Future’s song “Mask Off” blasted through Metro Stadium’s speakers, you’d think someone slipped Molly and Percs in your Beer/Wine/Soda! This game was excellent in so many ways! The night’s matchup pitted the best in the SFL against one another! Team Bentley (Houston Oilers) and Team Sandlin (Miami Marauders) were sure to put on a spectacular show for SFL Nation.
In what ended up looking like Team Sandlin’s victory, Team Bentley rose from and dead and won the 3rd annual SFL Pro Bowl with a score of 24-17.
Beginning in the first quarter, things got off to a “Strange” start for Team Bentley. For some reason, Team Sandlin’s defense lined up in a Goal Line formation. Ron Cockren looked to take advantage of a clear mismatch! Coming out in an Empty Set, Cockren threw a pass that was intended for WR Bishop Warfield. SS Ethan Kye intercepted the ball; abruptly ending Team Bentley’s first drive. Team Sandlin took full advantage of Team Bentley’s gifted football. Facing 3rd and 3, QB Xander Gold connected with TE Jamaal Wooding for the night’s first score.
Team Bentley struggled on their second possession; as their drive ended after Ron Cockren was sacked for an 8 yard lost to DT Denzel Maverick. Team Sandlin could not capitalize; as Team Bentley forced a 3 and out. QB Ron Cockren was again sacked by Denzel Maverick and DE Gib Leedoo, forcing Team Bentley to punt on 4th and 18.
Team Sandlin ended their lengthy drive on 4th and 7 with a Kramer Jackman field goal; and, ending the first quarter with a score of 0-10. During the second quarter of play, Team Bentley’s squad was stopped again on 3rd and 4. A tired Zack Sandlin (coaching, running from sideline-to-sideline, and playing for the opposite team) was tackled by LB Dillion Roland for a 3-yard loss. With 2:51 left in the first half, Team Sandlin’s stamina was on full display. Starting at their own 32, Team Sandlin drove the ball all the way to Team Bentley’s 13. With :29 seconds before halftime, QB Xander Gold was sacked by DT Alex Dominguez: A loss of 5 yards. Gold would find retribution. Hurrying to the line, Gold hit WR Brett Killian for another Team Sandlin touchdown. Reaching halftime, Team Sandlin led Team Bentley by a score of 0-17.
In the second half of play, you could feel the winds of change blowing in Miami. On 3rd and 11 (on their own 19), Xander Gold threw a costly INT to SS Jakob Gustafson. Starting on Team Sandlin’s 29, it only took four plays for Team Bentley to find paydirt. On 3rd and 6, QB Ron Cockren beamed the ball to WR Siege Falco for Team Bentley’s very first touchdown.
After a stalled drive, Team Bentley returned a punt to their own 29. With a methodical drive, Kicker Shark Tarkington hit a 50-yard field goal; making the score 10-17. Team Bentley started their 4th quarter drive at their own 37. Regardless of the offsides call on Team Sandlin, Cockren connected with Colin Hart over the middle for a first down. Facing a 4th and 1, Cockren avoided contact a completed a beautiful pass to Mike Daggs for a first down. A costly penalty led to a sack for Denzel Maverick on Ron Cockren; in which, Team Bentley punted the ball away.
On there next drive, Cockren converted a 3rd and 9 to Tybeeriois Bovine to continue the drive. After a first down completion to Gabriel Manning from QB Mike Dazzo, Cockren threw a pass in the flats to Zack Sandlin for a game-tying touchdown.
Team Bentley’s stifling defense held Team Sandlin’s offense to a 4th and inches, on their own 36 yard line. With seconds before the two-minute warning, Team Sandlin’s punt was blocked by Merrick Itera; and, Team Bentley started their drive at the opponent’s 22-yard line. On 2nd and 2, Cockren handed the ball off to Zack Sandlin. He regrettably trucked his defense and scored a touchdown, making the score 24-17.
Team Sandlin’s next possession (2nd and 7) saw Xander Gold hitting WR Deezer Powell at the 50-yard line for a first down. With 1:29 left in the game, QB Tom Pepper threw a pass to WR Tristan Carr for a first down at Team Bentley’s 21. Xander Gold took a 4-yard sack the next play. Facing 3rd and 11, Gold threw up a prayer to a one-handed Deezer Powell for a first down. With 1st and goal, Gold through a costly interception to CB Camden Hoffman, giving Team Bentley the victory. It was a bittersweet night for Sandlin; as, he lost the game and one MVP all at the same time.
The weird thing is: I was sitting at home watching this game; and, I’m (all of a sudden) cleaning Bentley’s vomit buckets! Quite “Strange” and “Inception-like” indeed.