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V8 Fusion Stingrays Get First Boil Fish Bowl Title

By RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net GEORGE Daxon's deflection on fourth down signalled the end of a virtually spotless era for the Orry J Sands Pros and gave the youngest franchise in the Commonwealth American Football League (CAFL) their first Boil Fish Bowl title in team history. The V8 Fusion Stingrays took the league championship with a 24-14 win over the Pros to complete a perfect 8-0 season at the DW Davis playing field on Saturday afternoon. Daxon appeared to be beat deep down the field for what would have been the go-ahead score for the Pros but recovered to deflect the pass with a diving leap and outstretched hand to seal the win for the Stingrays. "They tried the same route the play before so I expected them to come to that side of the field again," Daxon said. "We knew they had their backs against the wall so they would be putting the ball in the air so I just had to stay ready and when the ball came my way I just had to do whatever I could to get a hand on it." The Stingrays' offense took the field with 2:55 left to play when Boil Fish Bowl most valuable player Jamaal Storr, the league's leading rusher for a second consecutive year, made it a two- possession game with a 30-yard touchdown run to send the Stingrays' sideline and fans into a frenzy. "When they went ahead we started to hang our heads a bit like we expected them to come back. It happened to us before against this team and our body language looked like we expected it to happen again. But I know this game meant too much to my team and too much to me so I knew I would have to make a play," Storr said. "It has been a long time coming, we worked hard for this, we worked years for this." The most dominant team in the league all season got off to a fast start in the title game thanks to a hard-nosed defence which forced three turnovers and a dynamic special teams squad. Ishmail Sutherland returned a kickoff 80 yards for the game's first score to put the Stingrays on the board for a 6-0 lead. After Daxon intercepted Pros quarterback Mike Foster, Stingrays backup quarterback Eldrith Smith engineered a drive capped by starter Nesley Lucien who scrambled for a touchdown to give V8 Fusion a 12-0 lead at the half. A resilient Pros squad opened the third quarter with a quick turnover and score to get back into the game as the Stingrays threatened to pull away. Smith was intercepted by Pros safety Recarno Nixon who returned it to the redzone to place the Pros in scoring position. Elvardo Carey scored on a short yardage and Foster completed the two-point conversion to Phillip Moxey to trim the deficit 12-8. After the Stingrays' defence forced a three and out, Foster engineered a drive which resulted in the go-ahead score. On a third down play, Foster escaped a near certain sack and found Devaughn Fritzgerald whose run after the catch placed the Pros within the five-yard-line. A goal line stand by the Stingrays defence originally appeared to be successful when it was signalled that they stopped Foster on fourth and goal on the quarterback sneak. However, the call was overturned to give the Pros a 14-12 lead with 10:15 left to play. Following the call, Stingrays' head coach Lawrence Hepburn rallied his team on the sideline for what proved to be the pivotal point in the game. "When we felt like we were being taken advantage of, we went to the sideline, regrouped and we let the dogs out and it was over. We knew it coming into this game. We said our athletes were the best conditioned. We have the best players and we ready to show the league. We had our share of hiccups, but we were determined," he said. "Next year we will be right back in the trenches. Me, my coaches, all these players, we will be right back in the trenches and it'll be a championship again." Storr set the tone on the go-ahead scoring drive by picking up two first downs on three consecutive carries. Lucien followed with a play action pass completed down the sideline to Quincy Smith who managed to stay inbounds, good for 40 yards. Lucien scrambled for his second rushing touchdown of the day to give the Stingrays an 18-14 lead. Lucien and Storr were named offensive players of the game, while Nixon and defensive end Shannon Thompson from the Pros were named defensive players of the game.

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