09/18/2011 3:23 PM - Jim Fassels two-time defending champion Las Vegas Locomotives took their first step towards securing an unprecedented third-straight UFL crown with a 23-17 victory on the road over the Sacramento Mountain Lions.
Sacramento rallied in the fourth quarter, cutting a 13-point deficit to trail by six just inside the two-minute warning, but recovered an onside kick a yard shy of the required legal ten yards the ball must travel and Las Vegas was able to run out the clock.
The 19,938 fans in attendance at Hornet Stadium saw the hosts sneak into a 3-0 first quarter lead before the Locos put up 17 unanswered points that paved the way for the win.
Added to the 15,836 fans that watched the Virginia Destroyers triumph over the Nighthawks in Omaha on Thursday night, the combined attendance of 35,774 set a new record for opening week in the three-year history of the UFL, beating 25,495 in 2009 and 23,487 in 2010.
Were excited that we came out here and got a win and now weve just got to build on it, said Locos quarterback Chase Clement, who rushed for his teams first touchdown of the season. Early in the first quarter the offensive line did a heck of a job and I just had to make those plays when I could.
Sacramento scored the first points of the game on a 43-yard Fabrizio Scaccia field goal on the teams second possession. After that, it was tough sledding for the home team.
In reply to the field goal, the Locomotives struck back quickly and asserted their dominance for the rest of the half. On the drives first play from scrimmage, Samie Parker set a UFL-record for the leagues longest reception with an 83-yard grab from Clement down the right sideline, breaking three tackles to move the ball to the three-yard mark. The reception bettered the 80-yard strike from Josh McCown to Lorenzo Booker for the Hartford Colonials on the opening day of the 2010 UFL season, which also came against Sacramento.
The spectacular gain set up Clements untouched naked bootleg trot to the right for the games first touchdown and a 7-3 lead. But Parker would later be ejected along with Ronnie Prude as the two got into a scuffle and threw punches early in the fourth quarter.
After the Mountain Lions missed a 43-yard field goal as Scaccia pulled the ball wide left, Las Vegas went on a 9-play, 66-yard drive capped by DeDe Dorseys 11-yard touchdown run up the middle to open the lead to 14-3. The Locos added a 21-yard Aaron Pettrey field goal just before the first half expired and went into the locker room holding a 14-point advantage.
The Mountain Lions scored to open the second half, when former first round NFL Draft pick Reggie Williams caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Colburn capping an impressive 69-yard drive to cut the lead to 17-10.
But the Locomotives continued to move the ball on Sacramentos defense, and Pettrey hit a 26-yard field goal to push it back to a two-score game, 20-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Marquis Floyds interception of the otherwise impressive Colburn midway through the fourth was the major blow to Sacramentos comeback attempt. Floyd took the ball back deep into Mountain Lions territory, but Las Vegas had to settle for another Pettrey field goal to increase the advantage to 23-10 with just under seven minutes to play.
Sacramento found the end zone for seven again on Colburns pass to tight end Kai Brown with less than two minutes on the clock to slash the lead to six points, but the specials teams unit fielded the onside kick before the ball traveled 10 yards, giving the ball back to the Locomotives to seal the win.
Scoring Summary (Final)
Sep 17, 2011 at Sacramento, CA
Las Vegas Locos (1-0) vs. Sacramento Mt Lions (0-1)
Date: Sep 17, 2011 Site: Sacramento, CA Stadium: Hornet Stadium
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Las Vegas Locos..... 7 10 0 6 - 23
Sacramento Mt Lions. 3 0 7 7 - 17
06:24 SAC - Scaccia, Fabrizio 43 yd field goal
10 plays, 55 yards, TOP 5:21, LVL 0 - SAC 3
05:23 LVL - Clement, Chase 3 yd run (Pettrey, Aaron kick)
2 plays, 86 yards, TOP 1:01, LVL 7 - SAC 3
13:04 LVL - Dorsey, DeDe 11 yd run (Pettrey, Aaron kick)
8 plays, 66 yards, TOP 4:18, LVL 14 - SAC 3
00:05 LVL - Pettrey, Aaron 21 yd field goal
14 plays, 78 yards, TOP 5:48, LVL 17 - SAC 3
07:16 SAC - Williams, Reggie 6 yd pass from Colburn, Ryan (Scaccia, Fabrizio kick)
14 plays, 69 yards, TOP 7:44, LVL 17 - SAC 10
14:46 LVL - Pettrey, Aaron 28 yd field goal
14 plays, 69 yards, TOP 7:30, LVL 20 - SAC 10
06:51 LVL - Pettrey, Aaron 23 yd field goal
4 plays, 5 yards, TOP 1:30, LVL 23 - SAC 10
01:51 SAC - Brown, Kai 1 yd pass from Colburn, Ryan (Scaccia, Fabrizio kick)
14 plays, 60 yards, TOP 5:00, LVL 23 - SAC 17