Hotshots comeback falls short, lose first game in franchise history
The Arizona Hotshots lost the first game of their existence Saturday, 23-15.
The Hotshots came into Salt Lake with an undefeated 2-0 record to take on a winless 0-2 Stallions side.
It was yet another slow start for Arizona, as the Hotshots were shut out in the first quarter and found themselves down 9-0 early in the second quarter.
With nearly six minutes to go in the first half, former Arizona Wildcats kicker Nick Folk got the Hotshots on the board after hitting a 48-yard field goal.
Arizona nearly took the lead at the end of the first half following quarterback John Wolford’s 1-yard touchdown pass to former Arizona State wide receiver Rashad Ross, but the successful two-point conversion was overturned, keeping the game tied 9-9 at halftime.
The first play of the second half might’ve been the game’s turning point.
Wolford was intercepted by Stallions linebacker Greer Martini at the 29-yard line and returned to the 7-yard line, resulting in a 1-yard touchdown run to give Salt Lake a 15-9 lead only 66 seconds into the second half.
Unfortunately for Arizona, Wolford injured his back on the play and did not return. Wolford had completed 14 of 22 passes (64 percent) for 127 yards up to that point. Trevor Knight replaced Wolford and went on to complete 6 of 15 passes for 68 yards.
The Hotshots were only able to muster six points and 98 yards in the second half. Those six points came on two Folk field goals from 35 and 45 yards out. Folk also missed a 45-yarder in the first quarter.
Arizona nearly had a goal-line stand midway through the fourth quarter, but the call on the field of a turnover-on-downs was overturned to a Stallions touchdown, leaving the Hotshots down 23-12 with only 7:34 left to play.
Arizona responded with a drive to Salt Lake’s 12-yard line, but the Hotshots failed to convert on 4th-and-3 after head coach Rick Neuheisel elected to go for a touchdown instead of a field-goal that would have made it a one score game.
The Hotshots were able to give themselves a chance after Folk’s 45-yard field goal found Arizona trailing 23-15 with only 24 seconds remaining.
Arizona attempted the first “onside kick” in AAF history.
The AAF differs from every other football league, as its version of an onside kick is a fourth-and-12 from the “kicking” team’s own 28-yard line so that the first down or “recovery” must cross the 40-yard line just like a traditional onside kick would.
Unfortunately for the Hotshots, the hook-and-ladder attempt fell short, sealing Arizona’s fate.
The Hotshots return to the Valley for a Week 3 matchup with the Atlanta Legends.