Power lose 5th straight game, 59-54
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The Power's frustration level continued to rise Saturday night when their losing streak reached five after a 59-54 loss to New Orleans VooDoo at Consol Energy Center.
“I did not see this coming,” said coach Derek Stingley, whose team fell to 3-11. “Just like I told the players in the locker room, I am at a loss for words. There were some opportunities out there that we created for their team.”
The decisive play was a rally-killing interception by quarterback Steven Sheffield at the New Orleans 7 that the VooDoo's Eddie Moten picked off with 55 seconds left in the game.
On the ensuing series, Stingley said he believed Power linebacker Gary Butler was held on a fourth-down play that allowed the VooDoo to retain possession.
“I don't know if I am going to get fined or not,” he said. “The official blew that for us.”
The loss — played out in front of the third-smallest crowd of the season (5,036) — was the 15th in 21 games since former coach Chris Siegfried was fired 13 months ago at the end of another five-game losing streak.
Stingley said he doesn't want to think about next season, but he hopes to have his chosen quarterback and offensive coordinator in place from the start.
“The problem is chemistry, in my opinion,” Stingley said. “If we had the same set of players and the same set of coaches in place since Day 1, I am pretty sure we would be talking playoffs.”
Sheffield, who completed 32 of 47 passes for 338 yards and seven touchdowns, missed most of the season while dealing with family issues in Texas. Plus, the Power didn't start the season with current offensive coordinator Jon Lyles. Former Steelers quarterback Mike Tomczak called plays at the outset of the season but was replaced by Lyles after three games and was eventually fired.
The Power's defense and special teams shouldered most of the blame, however. The secondary missed several open-field tackles that helped the VooDoo score eight touchdowns. Poor coverage on kicker Julian Rauch's missed field goal try led to a New Orleans score that robbed the Power of offensive momentum in the first half.
Sheffield threw five touchdown passes to wide receiver Mike Washington, who set a franchise record for TDs. The Power also tied their season high for points.
The game had 11 lead changes, and the VooDoo (4-10) had the last one — a 29-yarder TD reception by Quorey Payne with 4:28 left in the game. Quarterback Chris Dixon, who replaced injured starter Kurt Rocco in the fourth quarter, also scored on a 5-yard run,
No one felt the pain more than Power defensive back Chris LeFlore, who ran up and down the length of the field three times -- and had only one touchdown to show for it. He crossed the goal line twice on kickoff returns, but only his 56-yarder in the second quarter counted. A personal foul on the Power's Gary Butler wiped out another potential score.
Then, on the last play of the first half, he intercepted a pass that deflected off the sideboards in the end zone, ran 53 yards — and was tackled at the 1.
The Power set a season-high for points in the first half (33) when they scored on five of seven possessions, but still trailed at intermission, 42-33.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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