Swashbucklers fullback Kendrick Perry gets wrapped up by a host of Steelhawk defenders Saturday night at the Civic Center. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 11:24 AM
Hard to call the second of anything a must, but for the Louisiana Swashbucklers, Game 2 of the new indoor football season came close.
Having already lost the home opener, and with six of the final 10 games of the season on the road, Saturday night’s contest with expansion Lehigh Valley took on greater importance.
Thus, the loss inside the Lake Charles Civic Center takes on an even greater meaning.
The Steelhawks put the Bucs’ season on early alert with a 44-22 thumping.
“I guess we have a lot more rebuilding to do than we thought,” said Swashbucklers head coach Darnell Lee. “We won’t get used to this.”
Lee said he will take a long look at everything with the off week thanks to Easter coming.
“There will be changes,” he said of the roster. “We looked bad. We can’t have the mental breakdowns we had. We are a very young team at a lot of key positions, but at times we looked like we didn’t belong on the field.
Adding injury to insult, starting quarterback Chris Mitchell injured his right throwing elbow when hit by Steelhawks defensive lineman Larry Ford early in the third quarter. He did return, but only for one play. The rest of the time Week 1 starter Tim Curry was under center.
The two combine to go 14 of 25 for 113 yards and an interception. They were sacked four times, pressured into one intentional-grounding penalty in the end zone that caused a safety and knocked down on seven other occasions.
“Hard to play the position when you are on your back,” Lee said.
The second half was a total mess.
Down 29-22 and getting the ball to start the third quarter, Louisiana managed to gain 35 yards over the final 30 minutes, a near impossibility in indoor football.
By midway though the fourth quarter a good portion of the smallish crowd had left, leaving the Civic Center to resemble a ghost ship with the Bucs walking the plank.
“That is an amazing job by our defense,” Ford said. “You just don’t see that in arena football.”
The Steelhawks turned up the pressure after intermission by design.
“We just wanted to get after the quarterback,” Ford said. “We wanted to get in their face and make them miss their targets. We did and you saw what happened.”
What happened was the Bucs crumbled under the onslaught.
Louisiana quarterbacks combine to go 6 of 16 after the break for 34 yards. Louisiana also had two turnovers and the only offensive threat was two missed field goal attempts by Ernesto Lacayo, one from 53 yards the other 51.
“That is not good enough to win, not even close,” Lee said.
Adam Bednarik was good enough. The Steelhawks gunslinger fired at will against the Louisiana defense, throwing long when it was there and short when not.
His first pass of the night went for 40 yards and a touchdown to Troy Pascley, and that was just the opening act. He finished 27 of 34 for 287 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran in a score from 1 yard out.
The only time the Swashbucklers had the lead was when Mitchell found Jordan Rideaux with a 14-yard scoring pass 4 minutes into the game. The 7-6 lead was short lived as Lehigh scored the first four times it had the ball.
The Bucs came up with what could have been a big stop on fourth down in the second quarter with the score 15-14 in favor of the Steelhawks. But, on a rare Bednarik incompletion, defensive back Brandon Robinson was called for a hold penalty. Bednarik scored on his TD run on the next play and Lehigh never looked back.