ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — RIO RANCHO – Earlier this week, New Mexico Stars coach Dominic Bramante was frantically looking for a quarterback to lead his Lone Star Football League team.
After a 63-21 season-opening home loss to Amarillo, he brought in one from a rival league (who was subsequently cut) and was on the phone a good part of the week trying to lure a veteran out of retirement.
It turns out the QB Bramante was looking for already was on the team – Andrew McGlory.
McGlory, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound rookie from Prairie View A&M, threw for five scores and ran for two, including the game winner with 7.8 seconds to play, to give the Stars (1-1) a 45-39 victory Saturday night over West Texas before an announced crowd of 1,311 at the Santa Ana Star Center.
“My teammates kept telling me you have to believe that we believe in you,” McGlory said in breathless fashion on the field after the game.
On the winning touchdown, a 2-yard run, McGlory benefited from West Texas playing for a pass.
“My teammates said that they’re going to be playing back and if you see a hole, go for it,” McGlory said. And he went in untouched.
Bramante said “the light came on” for McGlory during Thursday’s drills.
“He had an unbelievable practice Thursday and had a little bit of swagger,” Bramante said moments after the game. “We had a meeting then, and Andrew found out his brothers had his back and they let him know they were going to ride with him.”
And Bramante also had high praise for his defense.
“Are you kidding me? They were stifling,” he said. “My goodness, Daryl Robinson, Jason Allen and Jason Serda were fantastic. Roosevelt (Fells), before he had those back spasms, was almost unstoppable.”
Although throwing five TD passes in a game is commonplace for quarterbacks in the fast-paced indoor game, with only eight players to a side, it came as somewhat of a surprise after McGlory’s awful outing in the loss to Amarillo 15 nights earlier, when he threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles.
That performance was so bad, Bramante ranked it as the worst debut he’d ever seen. In any field.
“He had about as tough a career opening as anyone in any endeavor,” Bramante chuckled before a practice at midweek, “whether it be a comedian going on stage the first time and getting booed or anything else. It was tough to watch. If I had anybody to back him up, I would have put him in. Not for the purposes to save us, but to save him because he was completely overwhelmed.”
Jerome McGee and Dexter Manley caught two TD passes apiece for New Mexico on Saturday, and Marcus Smith caught the other.
New Mexico’s winning drive came after ex-Stars quarterback Kasey Peters directed a Wildcatters scoring march of 37 yards, which was culminated with a bulldozing 5-yard TD run by Robert Elliot one play after he dragged half the New Mexico defense on a 10-yard run up the middle.
Peters wound up with five TDs throws in the game, also, with two apiece to Hakim Gadiaga and David Little.
Early on, though, it appeared the Stars were headed toward their second straight home loss, especially after Peters pitched his fifth score with 5:21 left to give West Texas a 33-31 edge.
The Wildcatters dropped to 0-2, coming off a 47-24 opening-day loss to San Angelo. In that game, Kelly threw four interceptions and West Texas totaled six turnovers.
One of the game’s most controversial plays occurred with about 20 seconds left in the first half when Smith made a diving catch of a McGlory pass at the West Texas 13. Untouched, he regained his feet and loped into the end zone. But there was an inadvertent whistle and the play blown dead. The drive resulted in no points as time expired.
“(The officials) admitted that they blew it and it hurt,” Bramante said. “That was a big one. That was one the officials will feel bad about.”
That left the Stars trailing 21-13 at the break before their late comeback.