The San Diego Fleet fall short at home to the Iron

AAF Commanders vs Fleet game action on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Nick Koza)

San Diego, CA –  The Birmingham Iron (4-2) defeated the San Diego Fleet (3-3), 32-29 to erase their perfect record at home during their matchup at SDCCU Stadium on Sunday evening.

With :03 left in the game, Iron kicker Nick Novak hit a 44-yard field goal to disrupt San Diego’s efforts to comeback from behind.

It was a hard fought battle between both teams until the very end.

The Birmingham Iron scored the first touchdown of the game behind quarterback, Luis Perez’s short 13-yard pass over the middle of the field to running back, Trent Richardson who pushed himself into the end zone during the first quarter.

A few drives later another short pass was completed to wide receiver, L’Damian Washington who slipped a defender and broke for 83-yards down the field for a touchdown with 8:56 remaining in the first half.

The Iron offense moved the ball effectively with a ton of short yardage throws and powerful runs by Trent Richardson when they needed it.

Coming into this game Trent Richardson led the league with eight touchdowns and receiving yards amongst running backs with 142 yards through week five.

Tonight, he added an additional 44-yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.

Iron quarterback, Luis Perez remained solid for the Iron as he threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite throwing two interceptions, Perez was poise under pressure and helped his team to victory in the city he grew up in.

“For me to get in and be able to pull off a win as a team like this in front of my hometown is a great feeling,” Perez said.

As for the Fleet, they struggled early on not producing much on offense.

“These are self-inflicted wounds and these are things that we can control,” Fleet head coach Mike Martz said at the end of the game. “We have to clean all that up for us to have a chance to win.”

For a team that averages 124.4 yards per game rushing they could not hit the ground effectively only rushing for a total of 67 yards against a talented Iron defense who forced two turnovers.

There were many quick three and outs for the Fleet offense leaving their defense in tough positions.

Although, the Fleet defense had two takeaways with interceptions from outside linebacker Travis Feeny and free safety Demetrius Wright they could not find an answer for the Iron offense as they marched down the field consistently.

“We’re constantly learning,” Fleet defensive end Damontre Moore said. “We take what we did well and we also learn from what we did bad.”

However, the Fleet were able to keep the score close with touchdowns by tight end, Ben Johnson and running back, Terrell Watson who scored twice in the third quarter.

Later in the game the Fleet were knocking on the door of the endzone and another touchdown pass was thrown by Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici to wide receiver Francis Owusu, to tie the game 29-29 with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter.

That touchdown gave the Fleet some hope with a potential overtime situation.

At least until the Iron offense rumbled down the field on the ensuing drive to set up the game winning field goal.