TULSA, OK– In all sports, there are clutch moments that can make a player a hero.
In baseball, you can hit a game winning home run with two strikes on you and the bases loaded in game 7 of the World Series, in basketball you can drain a half-court shot as the buzzer on the score-clock sounds and in golf, you can sink the winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta in the Masters.
In football, one of the more exciting ways to win a football game is to kick the winning field goal right down the middle and through the uprights as time expires in the Super Bowl.
While it was not the Super Bowl, it was football…ARENA Football…and it was the foot of Juan Bongarra that secured the first win at home for the retooled Tulsa Talons Arena Football Club.
It looked pure coming off his foot and it looked even more pure as it sailed through the uprights as the horn sounded. Bongarra drilled a last second field goal from 42 yards out winning the game for the Talons 61-60 at the BOK Center on Saturday night. Bongarra’s kick capped a furious comeback drive with under a minute left. Indeed, the kicking game ended up being the difference in this game. Aside from his game-winner, Bongarra hit all six of his extra point attempts. Iowa’s Garrett Morgan made six out of his eight attempts, missing out on two very important points.
The Talons won the game, though, with poise and control in the dying minutes of the game, along with a little stroke of good luck to boot.
After a Matt Bassuener touchdown run and the subsequent Troy McBroom two-point conversion, the Talons still trailed 60-58 with 1:33 left. Unable to recover the onside kick, Tulsa needed some incredible defense and a little bit of good fortune to win the game. They got both.
Bassuener finished the game rushing for 51 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game in addition to going throwing for 27 catches on 39 attempts for 299 yards and 5TDs.
After two incomplete passes, a rush for no gain, off-setting penalties that negated a Tulsa interception and another penalty, Iowa was faced with a 31 yard field goal with 25 seconds to play. Garrett Morgan’s kick missed wide left, which gave the Talons the ball back with 47 yards and Iowa’s defense in front of them.
The Talons started the game very quickly for the second week in a row by scoring on their first four drives of the half. Bassuener completed 14 of his 16 passes in the first half and threw all four of the Talons’ touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes were to Brandon Copeland who caught six total passes for 86 yards in the first half. The other two touchdown passes were completed to Troy McBroom who had six receptions for 73 yards in the first half.
The win Saturday night marks the first at home for Talons head coach Mitch Allner and moved them into a three way tie with Iowa and the Kansas City Command for 3rd place in the AFL’s National Conference Central Division.
Next week the Talons will travel to Cleveland, Ohio for a contest with the Gladiators at 7:30pm ET in the Quicken Loans Arena, then they return home for their first ever meeting with the Chicago Rush, who are tied with the Dallas Vigilantes for the Central Division for first place.
Talons single game tickets can be purchased from the BOK Center Box Office, at bokcenter.com or by calling the Talons office at 918.294.1000.
Photo by Kevin Pyle.