Force defeat Mustangs in 58-55 nail-bitter

MILWAUKEE -- The Georgia Force pulled out a narrow victory against the Milwaukee Mustangs with a final game score of 58-55 in the Arena Football League's Week 11 contest held at the Bradley Center on Friday night.

On the opening kickoff, the Mustangs managed a bar ball. Two plays later, Milwaukee quarterback Gino Guidugli snuck in a touchdown, giving the Mustangs an early lead. The Force responded quickly, with a 50-yard kickoff return by C.J. Johnson. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback R.J. Archer found Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown, tying the game 7-7.

The game continued to clip along at a fast pace, with a 4-yard TD pass from Guidugli to Thurman, and the Mustangs kept up their momentum at the start of the second quarter. Off a turnover, the Mustangs drove down the field and a blown coverage by the Force defense allowed a TD pass from Guidugli to Jenkins. After a big fourth-down stop, Milwaukee drove down the field, and a two-yard rush by fullback Thom Clairborne put the Mustangs up to 28-7.

The Force quickly responded with a 55-yard kickoff return by Johnson, narrowing the Milwaukee lead to 15 points. On the ensuing kickoff, the Force got a bar ball, recovered by Roger Brown. Guidigli rushed for two yards, resulting in a TD, putting Milwaukee up 14 with roughly four minutes left in the second quarter. The Force responded with a 49-yard TD pass from Archer to Johnson. The Mustangs ended the first half with a 26-yard TD pass from Guidugli to Andrae Thurman.

The Mustangs opened the second half with a 34-yard TD pass from Guidugli to Jenkins, going up 48-27. Archer managed to complete a pass to Larry Shipp, narrowing the Mustangs lead to 48-34 with 4:32 left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Archer threw a 10-yard TD pass to Jake Allen, closing the gap to 48-41. The Mustangs quickly fought back with a 25-yard TD pass from Guidugli to Thurman. The Force answered with a 25-yard TD pass from Archer to Shipp with 6:25 left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Carlos Martinez nailed the perfect onside kick, which was recovered by Jeremy Grier. A few plays later, fullback Mykel Benson rushed in a 2-yard TD to tie up the game with 1:19 left. With 7 seconds left in the game, Martinez made a 38-yard field goal, securing another Force victory.

The Force will be on the road again next weekend, facing the Kansas City Command on May 26 at 8 p.m.