You never look a gift horse in the mouth. After a tough two-game stretch to start the season, the Milwaukee Warriors got a look at a less formidable foe in week three, and they took advantage with a 21-15 road win over the San Diego Diablos.
“Man, this one feels good. We needed it,” said Milwaukee coach Dave Dickenson. “We’ve been putting in the work, and it’s nice to see it pay off. I’m glad we can bring a win back home to our fans.”
San Diego opened the game with a 12-play, 7-minute driving, culminating in a 26-yard Mike Badgley field goal, but they would not score again until the final nine minutes of the game.
The Warriors took the quick punch and countered with a series of big hits, ripping off 21 unanswered points. Midway through the second quarter, Matt Barkley found Darius Shepherd from 14 yards out to take the lead, and Barkley tossed his second TD of the half with under a minute left, connecting with Robert Foster from 11 yards to lead 14-3.
A scoreless third quarter gave way to a crucial score as the recently-resigned Corey Clement ran it in from 16 yards to lead 21-3 with 12:47 to play.
San Diego would not go down without a fight, scoring on a Badgley field goal, a 2-yard run by former Firebird Alex Collins, and a Deatrich Wise safety to pull within 21-15 with 5:27 left.
The defense stiffened up down the stretch to hold on for the victory. Overall, it was a strong performance by that side of the ball, limiting the Diablos to just 271 total yards.
After two disappointing games, Barkley posted a bounce-back performance, completing 22 of 29 for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Andrew Harris ran for 60 yards on 15 carries. Rookie tight end Donald Parham caught 7 passes for 90 yards. Antonio Brown was limited to just 1 catch for 26 yards.
Vince Biegel had another dynamic game with 10 tackles and 3 sacks, running his league-high total to 7 sacks. Ronald Blair added 7 tackles, and DJ Reader chipped in a sack.
Feeling good coming off a win, the Warriors take aim at two in a row this week when they host the 1-2 Louisville Cougars.