As has happened in many of the Stars’ losses this season, quarterback play proved to be the difference.
San Angelo’s Luke Collis, a veteran of indoor ball who joined coach Joe Brannen’s squad this year, threw nine TD passes in the win, with six going to WR Lamans Casimier. Meanwhile, New Mexico’s Andrew McGlory, a rookie, had five interceptions and one lost fumble. Two of the interceptions were made by ex-Stars defensive back DeMarcus James.
“We went as Andrew went all season, and that pattern didn’t change tonight,” sullen Stars coach Dominic Bramante said in a phone call to the Journal two hours after the game.
Both coaches agreed that it was McGlory’s lost fumble early in the second quarter that was the turning point.
With San Angelo leading 18-14, the Stars had a second-and-1 at the Bandits’ 5. McGlory then dropped the snap from center and San Angelo’s Avery Rigg recovered.
“Yep, no doubt, that was it,” Bramante said. “And once we didn’t take advantage of our chances on offense, the defense had to go ball-hawk mode and we were vulnerable on double-moves. Our offense wasn’t allowing us to play ball..”
Said Brannen in a call to the Journal: “I think without a doubt that got us going. But New Mexico played a great game and had a fantastic game plan. It was just very physical out there. We were just able to pile it on at the end.”
San Angelo outscored New Mexico 30-6 over the final 25 minutes.
Doing the most damage for the Bandits was Collis, who last month had 12 TD passes vs. West Texas.
For the Stars (7-6), merely reaching the final game in the five-team LSFL seemed highly unlikely after a 1-3 start, including losses by 42 and 30 points. But they finished by winning six of their final eight, including three straight to end the season.
The Bandits (9-4) had an even more remarkable turnaround. They were 1-11 in 2013, including losses in all four games against the Stars.