Syracuse Strong Post the GDFL Comeback of the Year
Syracuse, NY - It only took just under a quarter of play for the Syracuse Strong to put up 28 points to post the most exhilarating comeback performance of the 2023 GDFL season.This come-from-behind victory though, was in no way as easy as it sounds; especially since the opponent was the Syracuse Strong’s Xtreme Conference rival and GDFL Xtreme West Division Champions, the Upstate Predators. As usual, the Predators came prepared for battle, but this wasn’t particularly “usual”. The Predators were not only extremely prepared, but if game-play could be translated into an expression of words, the Predators talked that talk and meant every word.
The Predators got on the board relatively early with a touchdown pass, putting the Preds out front, 6-0. After great defensive play on both sides the Preds would strike again in the second quarter, topping it off with a 2-point conversion and increasing their lead to 14 - 0 heading into the half.
Third quarter play was more of the same with tough back and forth defensive play until the Predators struck yet again with another touchdown, improving their lead to 20 - 0.
A couple of changes in possession between the two teams came up short until the Strong would score again with a pass from Strong QB - Shakem Buckmon to WR-Joshua Thomas, reducing the Preds lead to 20 - 18.
Great defensive play by the Strong would cause another possession change and the Strong would drive towards the end zone, but this time settling for a three yard field goal by Syracuse Strong Kicker, Tom Stadnicki; but this “settling” had value, because it put the Strong out front for the first time of the game by a score of 21 - 20 with 4:51 left to play.
A personal foul committed by the Strong on the succeeding kickoff would give the Preds excellent field position, so much so, that the Preds, via smart offensive ground and air play would throw another touchdown pass, retaking the lead by a score of 26 - 21.
The Strong came up short on its next possession, allowing the Preds threaten again; but good defensive play won out and the Strong retook possession and proceeded to grind the clock down by running the ball, pushing the clock to under a minute of play and with the Strong in possession of all three of its timeouts.
With only 9.4 seconds left to spare, Strong QB - Shakem Buckmon found Strong RB - Rashad Burns on a short down and out pass into the end zone for a touchdown, sending the Strong crowd into a frenzy, silencing the Preds crowd and after the Tom Stadnicki extra point, put the Strong out front by a score of 28 - 26.
The Preds would make one more attempted on what was essentially a Hail Mary pass, but that pass was intercepted by Strong DB - Jeff McDuffie just after the sound of the horn.
Final score: Syracuse Strong - 28 and the Upstate Predators - 26.
The Strong advances to the GDFL Semifinals and the Xtreme Conference Championship next Saturday, August 26, when they play host to the undefeated Xtreme Midwest Division Champions, the Racine Raiders who will be traveling from Wisconsin.