Trailing 29-0 after the first quarter, the Sarasota Millionaires mounted a comeback that fell just short in a 32-28 home opening loss to the Bay Area Pirates Saturday afternoon at Booker High School. Pirates quarterback Brian Koesling threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead Bay Area to its first win of the season and hand the Millionaires its first defeat in the United Football Federation.
Brian Koesling connected on the first of two long touchdown passes to Frankie Solomon on the Pirates second possession of the game. Bay Area traveled 67 yards on two plays capped off by a 61 yard scoring reception by Solomon to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.
The Millionaires turned over the ball four times in the game, three times in the first quarter. The Pirates took advantage of a second fumble at the Sarasota 14 yard line and one play later made the Millionaires pay when Brian Koesling found brother Mike Koesling in the corner of the end zone on a 10 yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion extended the Pirates lead to 14-0.
After a three and out on their next time with the ball, the Pirates James Peter Andre burst through the middle of the line on a draw play and raced 70 yards for the third Bay Area touchdown of the game. A two-pointer made it 22-0.
The Millionaires finally got into the Pirates half of the field, but Mario Davis was picked off, stalling the drive.
The Pirates opened the second quarter with another quick scoring drive going 82 yards in just two plays. Brian Koesling hooked up with Frankie Solomon for his second touchdown on an 82 yard pass play over the middle.
Facing a blowout loss on their home turf, the Millionaires went to the hurry up offense and mounted a 58-yard drive led by running back Patrick “Choo Choo” Brown who scored Sarasota’s first touchdown from the two yard line four and a half minutes into the second quarter. “Choo Choo” rushed for 87 yards on 13 carries in the game.
After a Bay Area three and out, Sarasota quarterback Mario Davis pulled the Millionaires closer with a 5 yard touchdown run to make it 29-14.
The comeback continued on the Millionaires next possession when Davis found Tarran Weathersby in the corner of the end zone with: 45 seconds left in the half. A two-point conversion by Terrell Brown gave Sarasota momentum going into halftime trailing by just 7 points, 29-22.
The Pirates opened the third quarter with a time consuming, 10 play, 65 yard drive that led to a 34 yard field goal by Paul Rodriguez giving Bay Area a 32-22 margin.
The Millionaires “Blackout” defense shut Bay Area out the rest of the way giving the offense a chance to win the game.
Sarasota managed to pull within four points with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter when Mario Davis rumbled in from the four yard line. But time ran out on the Millionaires as Bay Area was able to run out the clock and hold on for the win.
Millionaires owner Calvin Williams talks about the tough loss in the video postgame show posted to this article.
The Millionaires travel to Port Charlotte next week (Feb. 23) to face another divisional opponent, the Florida Veterans, in a 5:00 p.m. kickoff.
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