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'stangs win streak at 2

Sumo wrestling or AFL standoff, you be the judge
Sumo wrestling or AFL standoff, you be the judge
Tina Bazala Photography

As win streaks go, this one can only be defined as modest.

But when your team wins a second consecutive game for the first time this season, it's a big deal.

So it was a big deal when the Milwaukee Mustangs of the Arena Football League notched their second win in a row at the Bradley Center Friday night, 83-49, over the Iowa Barnstormers.

It was the biggest point total of the season and set a franchise record for Milwaukee, which scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.

Mustang QB Gino Guidugli had six touchdown passes on the night and Marcus Everett chipped in with stellar plays on defense and a fumble recovery and 'Pick 6' for his two scores.

The win raised the 'stangs' mark to 6-11. Iowa slips to 5-12 with the loss.

"It feels great," Guidugli said after the win. "It was a full team effort. Our offensive line gave me the time. That's been the key for us the last two weeks."

Burly defensive lineman Dwayne LeFall let people know he was still on the roster with a touchdown off the nets on a missed field goal and had a huge sack, strip and fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.

"It was just one of those bounces, LeFall said. "This was the first time (on special teams). I didn't even think it was a touchdown. I thought they had called a penalty."

Mustang Head Coach Bob Landsee was pleased with the win, but wistful for what might have been.

His charges have put it all together of late, but lost five games on the final play earlier in the year.

"What it tells me is we have good character guys in the lockerroom," Landsee said. "These are the guys you go to war with. For them to come from behind like they did, it shows you what they're made of."

Milwaukee broke the ice first when Brandon Brinkley picked off Iowa QB Bryan Lee-Lauduski on the opening drive.

Guidugli found Ernest Smith and 21 yards later, Milwaukee was on the board.

Lee-Lauduski, who was pressed into service when Brad Banks went on IR Thursday night, got it back when he hit Jesse Schmidt in stride from nine yards out two minutes later for a 7-6 lead.

Milwaukee struggled on its next possession, but when a 45-yard Garrett Lindholm field goal attempt failed, D-lineman Dwayne LeFall pulled the ball in off the carom and scored.

The game turned into a playground affair, meaning the teams played a little see-saw as so many AFL contests seem to be.

Lee-Lauduski found Everett Roberts for a 14-yard hookup and the first quarter ended, 14-13, advantage Barnstormers.

The tit-for-tat continued with Guidugli hitting his go-to guy Dwayne Eley, Jr. for a 10-yard score and Schmidt went three feet better on his catch of a Lee-Lauduski offering.

That made it 21-20 Iowa with 11:26 remaining in the first half.

The Barnstormers broke through with a second consecutive score when backup QB Brian Villanueva plunged over from the one giving Iowa a 28-20 lead with 4:28 to go.

After Eley got his hat knocked off by Iowa's Trevonti Johnson, the latter was ejected for the flagrant penalty.

A series of flags following the play gave the Mustangs a first and goal from the two and a half.

The largesse paid a dividend when Mykel Benson bowled over from there and the cushion became a paltry two points, 28-26, at the 2:17 mark.

Iowa added a touchdown pass from Lee-Lauduski to Errick McCown. Nich Pertuit made it 5-5 in PATs and it was 35-26, Barnstormers.

Lindholm coverted a 34-yard field goal as time ran out to close out the scoring, 35-29, 'stormers.

The Mustangs took the second half kickoff and marched upfield. The trek culminated in a touchdown when Guidugli found Victor Williams along the left sideline and he scampered the 18 yards.

Milwaukee's PAT woes continued when a missed snap saw Guidugli throw it out of bounds and the game was knotted at 35-35.

When Iowa failed to convert on fourth down at the Mustang three, the defense held firm and got the ball back.

The offense took the gift and turned it into points when G-squared found Williams on a skinny-post pattern for a 31-yard score and Milwaukee's first lead since the first quarter, 42-35, with 4:04 left in the third stanza.

The Barnstormers got the equalizer less than two minutes later when Rodney Filer powered his way from the four and the quarter ended tied at 42 all.

Benson broke the tie with a couple of red zone runs, the latter from the four for a touch.

The cushion grew to two touchdowns when Mustang Ironman Marcus Everett vacuumed up a fumble at Iowa's three and took a short stroll to the house, making it 56-42, with 12 minutes and change left in the contest.

But Schmidt's third TD catch of the game moments later made the Milwaukee collars a little tighter, but still in front, 56-49.

The 'stangs kept the pressure on Iowa when Guidugli found Smith for his second touchdown reception and a 63-49 lead with 7:10 to play.

This Milwaukee team has had a hard time closing out games, having lost too many for fans to recount without tearing up.

So when LeFall sacked Lee-Lauduski, forced and then recovered the fumble, the tears turned to smiles.

On the next play, G-squared racked up his sixth touchdown pass on the night. He found Smith a third time in the end zone and the lead ballooned to 70-49 with just 1:21 remaining.

Everett put the issue to bed when he leapt up and grabbed a Lee-Lauduski pass for a three-yard 'Pick 6' putting the game out of reach, 77-49.

Justin Lawrence got into the act with a 'Pick 6' of his own to end the rout, 83-49. The 'stangs had outscored Iowa 41-7 in the final 15 minutes.

Milwaukee closes out the season on Saturday, July 23rd, at Allstate Arena in Chicago against the Rush. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Season tickets for 2012 are on sale at or call Julie at the team's office, 414-224-4000.

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