Today the Aviators hung on to best the Cascades in dramatic fashion, coming back from 12-14 to ultimately win 19-18 thanks to some huge d’s and well executed clock management in their last offensive possession.
It was hard not to feel a sense of deja vu early, as the Cascades went up a break as they immediately went up 2-0. This time, however, the Aviators were able to show poise on both sides of the disc and erase the break advantage quickly, applying some defensive pressure of their own and preventing the Seattle offense to feel comfortable with any point advantage. With the game tied at half, it became clear that the contest would come down to the wire.
The story of the game cannot be told without mentioning Michael Kiyoi, who boasted a +/- of 7, proving to be a real X factor for the Aviators throughout the contest. Sam Cook continued to prove that the offense runs through him, racking up 6 goals and padding his team-leading receiving yard season total of 814. Another notable return was Everest Shapiro, whose presence in the O line forced the Cascades to respect the Aviators deep attack, opening up more options for the cutter layer and producing easier looks for the handling core.
With the score at 12-14 favoring Seattle in the 3rd Quarter, it felt as though the Cascades were in the driver’s seat, but the Aviators rattled off some much needed breaks to regain the lead. With the game tied at 18 apiece and 55 seconds left on the clock, the Aviators’ fate rested on a monumental O point. With the pressure mounted, the O line methodically walked the disc up the field despite a ratcheted up defensive effort from the Cascades, eventually punching it in on a gutsy mid-range huck by Michael Kiyoi, finding a streaking Nate Ransom in the back of the endzone with 4 seconds remaining.
It goes without saying that this was a huge win for the Aviators, whose season hopes remain alive. Although Seattle remains winless, they are by no means a bad team, and with the close loss against Salt Lake, playoffs are certainly not out of the question for the Aviators this year. With the benefit of a bye next week, a fresh Aviator’s squad will take on the Portland Nitro in Week 6. There’s plenty of time to look ahead to that matchup, but for now the Aviators have a lot to be excited about after today’s gritty comeback win.