RIO RANCHO – The last time the New Mexico Stars played at home in the Santa Ana Star Center, they escaped with a 45-39 Lone Star Football League win March 29 over the West Texas Wildcatters.
Stars rookie QB Andrew McGlory rebounded from a six-turnover outing in a 63-21 season-opening home loss to Amarillo by throwing five TD passes and rushing for the game-winning score with less than 8 seconds left. That evened the New Mexico record to 1-1.
Stars coach Dominic Bramante even said on the field afterward that he hoped his QB’s performance signaled that McGlory’s “light had finally come on.”
If the light did come on, it apparently has dimmed considerably the past two weeks, road losses at Rio Grande Valley, 69-39, and San Angelo, 56-34.
“That’s the million dollar question,” Bramante said. “With rookies there’s no rhyme or reason. It’s definitely mental, between the ears. It’s all about recognition and reaction. He didn’t play well either game, and that makes for a lonely bus ride home.”
McGlory and the Stars will be facing their Week 1 nemesis again tonight when the two-time defending champion Venom, guided by ex-Stars QB Brandon Crawford, makes its second trip of the season to the Star Center.
“We’re one position away from having an outstanding team,” Bramante said. “Our defense has been playing great. But (McGlory) is under fire from everybody – the fans, the coaches, the opponents, the players. And in indoor football, the fans are tough — home or away. He hears it every week: ‘You suck,’ stuff like that.”
McGlory, though, seems oblivious to the negative chatter and was wearing an upbeat demeanor at practice Wednesday at the Star Center. He said he’s confident he can turn his fortunes around.
“When I’m playing, I’m not thinking ‘don’t have a turnover.’ Because if you do then you’re not thinking about what you’re supposed to be doing. I think our problems have been a little bit of miscommunication all round, from the assignments, the blocking. We became a little bit predictable.”
McGlory’s showing last week was particularly puzzling to Bramante.
“He was 20-for-44 (with one interception and four scores), and that’s not acceptable – it really isn’t,” Bramante said. “He was throwing it everywhere. When you’re throwing 24 incompletions in a game it’s a little bit of everything (mechanics, reads).”
Besides trying to coach up McGlory, Bramante attempted to bring in a veteran QB of multiple indoor leagues, Jeremy Sanders. But the Baylor alum has been a no-show at practice, and Bramante said Sanders hasn’t stayed in touch after showing an interest in joining the team.
“So, we’ll be going with Andrew again this week,” Bramante said.
INJURIES: Bramante said the Stars had been blessed by the fact they’ve avoided injuries the first three league games, but they lost two players last week.
He said defensive back Jay Allen has a hand injury that is going to require surgery. Also, defensive lineman JT Cleveland is out with a sprained knee.
NEWCOMERS: Speed-rushing defensive lineman AJ Portee, who played at UConn and Georgia State, joined the team last week and had a team-high two sacks against the Bandits.
Added this week is ex-University of New Mexico defensive back Emmanuel McPhearson.
TRAVEL: The Stars don’t have to worry about any more all-night excursions to the far reaches of Texas this regular season. New Mexico has road games left against only its closest LSFL rivals – Amarillo (May 3 and 24) and West Texas (May 10, June 14). Amarillo is roughly four hours away, while the Wildcatters of Odessa are a six-hour trip, according to the team.