The inaugural season of the National Arena League (NAL) is officially over. Now, we get to look back at the NAL top five games of the season. Let’s take a look at number five of the NAL’s top games of 2017.
NAL Top Five: No. 5 – Monterrey Steel @ Corpus Christi Rage
On May 15, 2017, the (3-2) Monterrey Steel took a short trip to go up against the (0-6) Corpus Christi Rage on the road.
Before the game, it was thought to be a blowout from the beginning in Monterrey’s favor. However, it didn’t turn out that way.
The Offensive Battle
Monterrey was battling a fight for who was going to be their starting quarterback. QB Kasey Peters could not play for the team anymore, giving the team a little bit of a scare.
In this game, both quarterbacks, Byron Ingram and Darwin Pittman combined for 15 of 27 for 134 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Corpus Christi’s quarterback Jake Jablonski had a decent night, throwing 21 of 42 for three touchdowns and three interceptions. He managed to stay at 50% on the night and canceled his interceptions and touchdowns.
Receivers from both teams did a lot to contribute to their teams.
Three receivers caught the ball that night for Monterrey in Mardy Gilyard, Jacoby Jones, and London Crawford.
Gilyard had a bold night with 61 yards and one touchdown.
Crawford had the best night of the three, catching six passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Jones had a quiet night, catching one pass for seven yards and no touchdowns.
The face of the Rage this game was Wide Receiver Jerome McGee, catching 13 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
The Steel and the Rage both kept the score low, allowing no room for mistakes, as low scoring games can go to anyone in arena football.
The defense that fought the hardest ultimately helped their team in winning.
Monterrey combined for 25 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks, and no forced fumbles. The key player on the Monterrey defense is Justin Broome, catching what seemed to be the game-winning interception to allow the Steel offense to run the clock down to 0:00.
The Rage defense came out and fought hard, but it wasn’t enough to hold the Steel down to lower points.
The Rage got a total of 25 tackles, no interceptions, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
The Steel and Rage were tied at six at the end of the first quarter, making things very interesting for the players, fans at the game, and fans watching at home.
After a few mistakes from both teams, Monterrey looks to have Corpus Christi figured out at the half, controlling the game both with time of possession and scoring. The score at halftime was 15-6 in Monterrey’s favor.
The third quarter didn’t go quite as well as Monterrey had pictured it to go, scoring six points and allowing 12.
The Rage knew something was going to happen if they wanted to win, so they came out with some big plays in the fourth quarter, giving the Steel a scare. Monterrey stayed calm and just played the game of football how it is supposed to be played.
The fourth quarter was a little boring at first because it was back and forth with who scored and who turned the ball over.
After about the halfway point of the fourth quarter, things started to get interesting. The Rage had the lead, their defense was playing exceptionally well, and they looked to have this game secured.
That all changed when Crawford caught a 21 yard touchdown pass with 2:30 to go in the game. At this point, the Steel were leading 33-30.
There was plenty of time for Corpus Christi to waste to get in the end zone to score. They were doing just that, driving down the field, killing clock, and kept Monterrey’s defense guessing. The Rage were about to throw the ball for a touchdown, but instead, they threw an interception with less than a minute to go.
Monterrey took over and let the clock die out, ending the game 33-30 with Monterrey barely surviving and advancing to 4-2 while Corpus Christi falls to 0-7 on the year.
Stay tuned to the Top Five countdown as we look at the number four game of the 2017 NAL season next week.