Photo by Bil Elsinger – UltiPhotos.com
The Seattle Rainmakers defeated the San Francisco Dogfish 21-20 in an overtime thriller in Seattle. Up 19-16 with just a few minutes left, it looked as if Seattle was going to cruise to an easy win. San Francisco stormed back with two breaks to force overtime, but Seattle stymied their run by scoring the first two points in the overtime period to seal the win.
Adam Simon and Chris Rupp operated with precision out of the offensive handler set, which was missing Gavin McKibben and Mario O’Brien. Young Seattle phenom Henry Phan stepped up in a big way for the defensive line, earning blocks and hitting breakmark throws at every opportunity.
Seattle received the first pull of the game and moved the disc quickly. Khalif El-Salaam pulled down a mid range huck on his first point as a Rainmaker, having missed the San Francisco game. The former Washington standout dished the disc to Tom Rosatto who made a short pass to Danny Trytiak for the score. San Francisco’s offensive line was just as smooth, with Ian Meyer earning the assist to Evan Boucher to even the game.
Seattle would hold again to take a 2-1 lead. Matthew “Skip” Sewell would earn a D on the next point and Seattle converted the first break of the game, before trading points to make it 4-3 at the end of the quarter.
Seattle held the next point with a score from Rosatto to Simon. The second quarter featured both teams utilizing sideline double teams to put pressure on the handlers. Handlers typically used over the top hammers to break the double team.
“We would have three defenders come down on the handlers and funnel them to one sideline,” said Phan, a Seattle D-line handler. Once on the sideline, the middle handler defender would break off for the sideline double team.
“It stifles the offense,” said Phan. Seattle consistently double teamed for a few throws before transitioning to hard man.
Seattle earned another break in the second quarter, with Phan executing a fantastic layout D against a huck. A few throws later set the Rainmakers up on the goal line where Sewell threw the assist to Rory Gallagher.
Seattle would net one more break before half. The Dogfish managed their own break off of a tipped disc in the endzone. Fifteen mile per hour crosswinds made the disc floaty and unpredictable. Jump ball contests were frequent, and it was an air battle for the biggest skies between 6-foot-6 Seattle cutter Isaac Entz and San Francisco’s own giant, Andrew Caulfield.
Seattle took half 11-9, up two breaks. The Rainmakers played well in the third quarter, earning two more breaks to grab a 15-11 lead. Seattle continued to cruise into the fourth quarter, but San Francisco regained ground, scoring 4 of the last 6 points to end the game, including two breaks at the end. Those last two points featured three Seattle turnovers, giving San Francisco a lot of opportunities. The Dogfish tied the game with a score and spike by Evan Boucher before the Rainmakers slammed the door in over time.
“Nerves got to us [at the end of the game],” Trytiak said. “Home opener’s are a little scary. We weren’t making those easy plays. Two handed catches got a lot harder by the end of the day. Every catch I felt like I had to watch it into my gut.”
But in the end, the Rainmakers got to enjoy their first home victory of the season.
“Everyone was really excited for our first home game,” Rupp said. “Everything was huge, everything was fast, everything was because of the energy in the crowd.”
“I was definitely [nervous], it was a big crowd, I knew a lot of the people coming out,” Phan said. “I fed off the [energy], coach kept me in, and it was a good time.”
Seattle and San Francisco both move to 1-1, and San Francisco has the opportunity to grab the conference lead with a win on Easter Sunday against the Vancouver Nighthawks. Seattle will face Vancouver next week at Mount Vernon High School Stadium in Mount Vernon, Wash.