Photo by Brian Chu – UltiPhotos.com

The San Francisco Dogfish lost to the Seattle Rainmakers on Sunday, 29-21 at Renton Memorial Stadium.

The Dogfish started the game with a break, but some quick long scores by the Rainmakers gave Seattle a four-point lead in the first quarter. The Dogfish narrowed that to two by halftime, and the teams looked like they might battle it out in alternating runs. But strong defensive plays by the Dogfish in the third quarter were offset by long throws that outpaced receivers, resulting in turnovers. By the fourth quarter the Dogfish were back in rhythm and nearly outscored the Rainmakers, but the gulf Seattle created in the third quarter was too large for San Francisco to bridge without a big scoring run, and the Rainmakers ended the game with an eight-point win, 29-21.

Both teams had strong cores that shone on both offense and defense. Dogfish rookie Thomas Adams stood out with two assists, five goals and impressive defense on Khalif El-Salaam, including a block on one of El-Salaam’s many quick-draw hucks. Dogfish team captain Jackson Stearns (one assist, two goals) and handlers Gabe Saunkeah (two assists, three goals), Mike McGuirk (two assists, three goals) and Andrew Hooker (two assists, one goal) were also leaders on the field for San Francisco. In addition to El-Salaam, the Rainmakers saw strong plays from Mark Burton, Henry Phan, Jeff Pape and Gavin McKibben.

The first quarter started as a close contest between the two teams, who traded points until the Rainmakers went on a couple of small runs to take the lead by two. The Dogfish worked the disc well up the field only to miss in their final connections. Despite extreme Dogfish defensive pressure, the Rainmakers moved the disc quickly to widen their lead, and the quarter ended with Seattle up 8-4.

The second quarter belonged to the Dogfish, who outscored the Rainmakers 6-4. Even with two great blocks by Todd Sliva and Samuel Pickel, the Dogfish offense looked confident, including a push pass by Saunkeah for a score and McGuirk’s one-handed snag of a hammer for another score. With their swings on target and strong upfield movement, it looked as though San Francisco was positioning itself for a steady run to the finish as the quarter ended with Seattle up by just two, 12-10.

In the beginning of the third quarter the Dogfish started on target, but then they began to falter. El-Salaam made his presence known with quick hucks, a layout grab for a breakmark cross-field assist and a layout block. The Dogfish defense seemed a step off and the Rainmakers capitalized with fast scores, including a give-and-go run up one sideline. With 30 seconds left in the period McGuirk went down and off the field after a collision with two Rainmakers, and Seattle worked the disc to earn the final score of the quarter and their largest lead of the game at 21-14.

The Dogfish continued to chip away in the fourth quarter, and, with 4:05 left in the game came back within five. They then tried a defensive play—with mixed results—that relied on a formidable sideline trap off a short pull. The Rainmakers adjusted and, with foot blocks and layouts in the last minutes of the game, widened their lead. In the final 15 seconds Ian Ranahan went on a great defensive sprint to prevent the Rainmakers from completing another score, and Seattle won 29-21.

Sunday’s game capped a season-ending double-header on the road for the Dogfish, who finish 2015 with a 3-7 record.

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