DULUTH, Ga. -- The Georgia Force knew they were going to need a good start in the second half to hold off the surging Pittsburgh Power, on Saturday night at the Arena at the Gwinnett Center. They got one. The result was twenty-one unanswered points in the third quarter to coast the Force to a 58-39 victory.
The Force continued their streak of deferring the opening kick-off to the opposing team and the outcome was a six-play 37-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Anthony Morelli to wide receiver Xavier Lee. The Force didn't sit back, as the next play from scrimmage resulted in a 45-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline from quarterback Brett Elliott to wide receiver C.J. Johnson. Morelli continued to dissect the defense as he went 3 of 4 for 32 yards on the next drive, which was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown strike to wideout Jason Willis. Georgia answered, as Elliott found his favorite target, Maurice Purify, for a 4-yard score. Both teams went to the second quarter, squared at 13-13.
The Power tried to get ahead early in the second, but cornerback Ahmad Hawkins stopped any forward motion as he intercepted Morelli at the Power 18-yard line. The miscue resulted in a 13-yard touchdown to Johnson. His second touchdown gave the Power an early lead, but after a slew of quick turnovers the Force found themselves on the defensive. The Force defense tried to flex its muscle, but the Power offense was too strong, as they drove down the field and pounded the ball in for 6-yard score from running back Joshua Rue. The second missed point after of the game from the Power left the score at 20-19.
With a one-point lead at half, the Force needed a quick start in the second-half. The Force found themselves in the hands of right-armed Elliott. His three touchdown passes in the quarter equaled his first half output, putting the game out of reach as the Force extended their lead to 41-19.
However, Power played with unrelenting effort. Their first possession of the fourth quarter resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run from Xavier Lee. The Power, tried to keep momentum and recover an onside kick, but the Force pounced the impulse. In the next drive, Elliott found Purify for a 17-yard touchdown, their fourth touchdown connection of the game. The score didn't stop the Power, as Lee added another rushing touchdown, to bring the score to 48-33. Lee' score added to an already steady performance, as he rushed for two touchdowns and caught one on the night, but even he couldn't account for the ball hawking Hawkins, as his second interception put the game away. Both teams exchanged late scores, but it was too little, too late as the Force finished 5-2 on the season, while the Power dropped to 3-4.
The Force were lead by Elliott who went for a career- high 20 of 34 for 261 yards and eight touchdown passes. He is currently only one touchdown from the 100 mark in his career. Wide receiver Johnson lead the way with 183 all-purpose yards on 140 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Force returns to action at 8:00 p.m. EST at the Arena at the Gwinnett Center on May 6, as they face off against the Utah Blaze in a non-conference matchup.