2019-08-14T21:55:48Z 2019-08-14T21:55:48Z

LFL (Legends Football League) game between the Austin Acoustic and Los Angeles Temptation at the HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas

Austin Acoustic | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
LFL (Legends Football League) game between the Austin Acoustic and Los Angeles Temptation at the HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas on July 27, 2019.

The most anticipated game of the season was everything expected and then some. Coming down the wire, this Week-14 game was filled with thrilling plays, nostalgia, concussions, and dislocated joints.

Never before has there been a game in LFL history marred with so many injuries for one team. Prior to the game, All-fantasy player and long-time LA veteran Sherri Awagah sustained an injury during pregame warmups. Awagah was slated to start at RB and her usual defensive end position, however, she was a late scratch due to injury.

On the first series of the game, LA lost starting cornerback Marissa Lopez to a dislocated shoulder after a collision with her own teammate Monique Gaxiola near the goalline as both defenders were covering crossing routes. This was just the beginning for LA’s dislocated joints in the game.

With Awagah out at RB, instead of using Nas Johnson or the phenom of lately Mariah Lopez- LA started the game with Hallie Jiskra in the backfield. After a few plays on LA’s first offensive series, Jiskra sustained a season-ending dislocated elbow after bouncing off a tackler and breaking her fall with her right arm. Jiskra’s clearly crooked arm made it evident to anyone near the playing field that the Temptation would be without the Legends Cup Champion for the rest of the season.

Later in the game, starting tight-end Chelsey Haardt also sustained an injury and was out for the remainder of the contest. Following the Haardt exit from the game, one of the more unpleasant and gut-wrenching injuries on the night was after Nas Johnson was tackled on a rushing attempt and her ankle twisted under her and the defender’s body. It was clear that Johnson would not be returning to the game and there is a chance the six-year veteran had played her last LFL snap.

The story of the week was Ashley Salerno facing off against Michelle Angel for the first time. As former teammates and friends which turned violent off the field, many were excited to see this match-up.

Michelle Angel was able to lead her team to victory in heroic fashion, but it was far from easy as the Acoustic found themselves down 26-19 in the fourth quarter.

At one point in the game, LA was without six of their starters as the noted injuries above combined with Ashley Salerno being pulled from the game and sent to concussion protocol.

With Salerno out, the nostalgia came when Anne ‘Showtime’ Erler was in for LA at quarterback. A once-dominant playmaker at the QB position, everyone was excited to see Erler back in the driver’s seat of an offense.

However after a couple plays, LFL fans and her teammates wanted a quick Salerno to return to the position. Erler clearly had not been taking the practice reps needed and was not in her throwing form of five years prior during her time with the Green Bay Chill.

After a few back and forth incidents with medical staff and referees, and a trip to the locker room- Salerno returned to the game for good.

No one would have guessed prior to the game, that at one point both Teshay Winfrey and Anne Erler would be playing quarterback for their respective teams in the game. But this was the case late in the third quarter with both teams tied at 19 apiece.

Michelle Angel herself was put into concussion protocol and nearly didn’t make a return to the field after hitting her head on the turf late in the third quarter.

Angel returned to the game and led the Acoustic on two consecutive fourth-quarter drives, both capped by touchdown passes. With the game tied at 26 and less than a minute to go, Angel found Jessica Green for an 18-yard touchdown connection to take a 33-26 lead. This score ended up being the game-winner, and Austin clinched the postseason and kept their perfect season goals alive.

Angel finished the game completing 11-of-24 passes for 102 yards and throwing an astounding 4 touchdown passes to only one interception.

As important as Angel was to the Acoustic offensive performance, without the ‘Ferrari’ Austin could have found themselves with a loss Saturday night.

Austin decided to use ChrisDell Harris little in the first quarter which nearly cost them a playoff berth and a win Saturday night. If it wasn’t for Harris’ second-half and especially her fourth-quarter performance, Austin would have lost to an LA team marred by injuries to six of their starters. This shows signs of disconnect in the coaching staff and their offensive strategy. Maybe they took LA lightly having started Mandy Pena at running back who totaled 4 yards rushing on the evening.

Harris rushed for 46 yards in the fourth quarter putting Austin in scoring position both times on their final two drives. Harris finished the game with 126 rushing yards and one touchdown. Harris was certainly the Acoustic MVP, and without her production, Austin would have stood no chance against LA’s strong defensive performance.

Salerno finished 7-for-18 throwing, totaling 109 yards, 3 touchdown passes, and one interception.

This is a match-up that is highly likely to be seen in the postseason. If Austin defeats Nashville Week-16, then the playoff seeding will be #1 Austin vs #4 LA, and #2 Seattle vs #3 Atlanta. The question will be LA’s health for the late August postseason if they can clinch.

If the Austin Acoustic (3-0) lose to Nashville (2-1), LA would be eliminated from the postseason. LA needs Austin to finish 4-0 eliminating Nashville from the playoff picture. (Source: LFL)

LFL (Legends Football League
The LFL is one of sports fastest-emerging properties with league structure in the States, Canada, Australia and in 2018, Europe. The sport is now broadcast to over 190+ television territories around the world on major platforms such as SKY Sport, ESPN International, NBC Universal, SBS Broadcasting and others.

LFL (Legends Football League)
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Austin Acoustic
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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