May 1, 2010
Islanders lose hard fought battle. Rattlers late
touchdown seals victory 10-6.
front seven crushes Northbay Rattlers RB Karl
Mikolon at the line of scrimmage. Photo by Nancy
Santa Rosa, Ca. - In what has
become one of the best rivalries in minor league football the
Islanders traveled to a very windy Santa Rosa, California to take on
the defending 2009 NCFL & MLFN national champion, Northbay Rattlers.
The Rattlers & the Islanders finished ranked #1 & #2 respectively in
last season’s yearend national polls, both winning their MLFN post
season bowl game bids in Las Vegas.
Similar to last season’s matchup it turned out to be a low scoring
nail biter. Only this time it was the Rattlers turn at victory,
winning 10-6 with a late game come from behind touchdown. Last
season’s meeting ended in a 7-0 overtime victory for the Islanders
After receiving the opening kick the Islanders started the game on
offense deep in their own territory. Having to go directly against a
very strong north to south wind, throwing the ball was extremely
difficult and both teams ended their first possessions with quick
punts. However when Pacifica received the ball for their second
possession things looked much more promising. It appeared the
offense was starting to click. The Islanders were able to sustain a
90+ yard drive, seemingly able to move the ball at will. That drive
resulted in the first touchdown of the contest with QB Jimmy Collins
hooking up with wide receiver Greg Walton for the score. Walton
finished the night with 7 catches, 69 yards and 1 touchdown.
Miscommunication on special teams resulted in a missed extra point
making the score 6-0. Although Pacifica continued to move the ball
with success throughout the first half, they were unable to put any
more points on the board. Costly turnovers and other misfortunes
continually killed positive drives.
Defensively Pacifica once again stepped up to the challenge,
completely controlling the line of scrimmage throughout the entire
first half. Linebacker Randy Sims & defensive end Mike Togafau led
the charge leading team with 7 & 5 tackles respectively. Through the
defense’s dominance up front and the offense’s clock killing drives,
the Northbay Rattlers rarely seen the ball, ending their half with
only 3 possessions and minimal yards.
The second half began much like the first, only this time the
Rattlers started out against the high winds. Also much like the
first half the Islander defense would consistently stop the Rattlers
in their tracks only to have their offense cough it back up after
gaining positive yardage.
This trend would end up being the deciding factor in the game. The
Islanders finished the game with 6 turnovers (4 fumbles and 2
interceptions). As well as Pacifica’s defense played it only became
a matter of time before the Rattlers would capitalize on these
mistakes. The Rattlers first got on the board with a field goal in
the 3rd quarter that was setup by a Pacifica fumble deep in their
own territory. The game remained 6-3 Islanders until late in the 4th
quarter when you guessed it, an Islander fumble inside their own 20
yard line that gave the ball back to their opponents. The Rattlers
jumped on the opportunity and completed a touchdown pass to the back
of the end zone. That score ended up being the all the points the
Rattlers would need as both teams defenses shut down each other’s
offenses to finish out the last 3 minutes of the game.
Team captain Sam Iosia said after the game “This team has nothing to
hang their heads about tonight. They played a tough hard fought game
and they know that they won the battles up front. We simply beat
ourselves tonight. Not to take anything away from the defending
champs, they played a great game but our own mistakes are what gave
that game away”.
Although this was a tough loss for the team, the Islanders still
remain in first place in the NFC with a record of 4-1. While the
Rattlers lead the AFC at 5-0. Pacifica would certainly love the
opportunity to redeem this loss in the league championship.
Pacifica will return home next Saturday May 8th to take on the
California Rhinos. Game time is set for 6:00pm at Terra Nova High