Photo by Brian Chu – UltiPhotos.com
After a loss to the last place Vancouver Nighthawks put the Dogfish all but out of contention, they needed a win against the Rainmakers on Sunday if they had any hopes of grabbing the second playoff spot in the West.
Seattle got the memo and scored early and often to all but secure this game early in the second half. The Rainmakers outscored the Dogfish 9-4 in the third quarter and lead 21-14 going into the final frame. The Dogfish kept the game close in the first half, capitalizing on downwind hucks and two different streaks of two-consecutive breaks early in the second quarter.
The Rainmakers defeated the Dogfish with ease, however, in a high-scoring 29-21 victory on Sunday afternoon at Renton Memorial Stadium.
San Francisco’s best chance at catching Seattle came early in the second quarter. Down by two, the Dogfish were looking to score a third-consecutive break point and close the gap to 9-8. After a series of attempted hucks, what appeared to be another opportunity at a momentum gaining score, Todd Sliva made one of the biggest plays of the game and broke up the play in the end zone.
“This was a really important spot to not get broken,” said Sliva. “I heard someone say ‘just put it’ so I got in a good position and I came down with the disc. I didn’t give up on the point.”
In the third quarter, Clay Dewey-Valentine displayed some Rainmakers spirit by giving back the disc to the Dogfish after he kept possession on a ref call that he felt should have gone the other way. Since players cannot make their own calls, Dewey-Valentine simply turfed the disc after the disc came back into play.
Overall both teams played a pretty clean game. The drops were few and far between. The Dogfish relied on the huck a little more than they probably should have but for most of the first half it worked. Coming out after halftime, fatigue may have been a factor as the Dogfish had just played against Vancouver the day before. Despite it being a must-win for San Francisco to have an outside chance at a playoff berth, they just didn’t have enough energy left to keep up with Seattle for all four quarters.
Perhaps the most interesting strategy used by San Francisco came in the fourth. Down by six, the Dogfish implemented an “onside kick” of sorts by deliberately pulling the disc only about three or four yards and starting the countdown clock on the Rainmakers. This forced Seattle to run the length of the field, find a disc and complete a pass with very little time. In addition, the Dogfish put an extra defender on the handler to try and force an error. The first attempt at this caught the team by surprise and led to a quick turnover, but Seattle quickly caught on and utilized a 20-yard dump cut to allow the offense to reset.
After the loss, San Francisco is on the outside looking in on the playoffs. They are on a bye in the final week of the season. Seattle on the other hand secures second place in the Western Conference and will face Portland in the playoffs. Next week they host Vancouver before an off week.