The Dogfish defeated the Stags at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco Sunday afternoon, 31-13. The Dogfish more than got back at the Stags who had handed San Francisco its only loss of the season three weeks ago in Portland. Heavy winds in the Bay Area once again caused problems for all throwers, but whereas the Dogfish D repeatedly capitalized on Stag mistakes, the Stags were only able to break the Dogfish one time.
The Dogfish received the opening pull and scored upwind on a big throw from Mac Taylor to Jordan Jeffery. The Dogfish D came on the field and then broke twice to put the team up 3-0. On the next point the Stags showed they were capable of handling the Dogfish and the wind, slicing up a zone with good sharp throws and scoring on a nice inside out backhand from Breeze Strout to Cody Bjorkland. Portland would get the disk back on the ensuing down-winder, but struggled to get downfield throws. In contesting the handler reset, Dogfish defender Ashlin Joye stepped around the intended receiver and caught a dump throw. Immediately Joye found a streaking Beau Kittredge in the endzone and put the Dogfish up 4-1.
The one Stag break in the game came off some nice work on consecutive points by Khalif El-Salaam, including a hammer score to Ben McGinn, but the Stags would never get closer than 5-3. The rest of the game would follow the early template: the Dogfish O line would score efficiently and D line would pressure the Stags into making mistakes in the wind. The Stags continued to show the skill and athleticism that belies their potential, but their youth was exposed when the Dogfish made margin for error razor thin.
The Dogfish defensive game plan included a mix of zones and sideline traps that recognized the inherent problems caused by the breeze. Among other things, up-wind pulls were made to roll out of bounds, even if only going to half-field, so that a Stag handler would have start the disk facing a sideline force or double-team. A disciplined and focused Dogfish team was relentless in contesting the remaining limited options.
In addition, the Dogfish set match-ups to control the Stags’ Tim Perston. Perston had burned the Dogfish for 7 goals in the previous meeting, and until this weekend was on pace to contend for the league scoring title. Coach Justin Safdie said, “We know that Tim Perston is Portland’s main weapon, and our primary goal was to make sure that he never scored.” The Dogfish did a good job of keeping Perston from going deep and consequently he found the endzone only once this game. Safdie added, “And that one time was on a crazy hammer after a broken play.”
On the offensive side for the Dogfish, Beau Kittredge and Devon Anderson had several scores and at times appeared uncoverable. Mac Taylor had several nice long strikes, and Ashlin Joye was a consistent and commanding presence at the handler position.
The win puts the Dogfish at 5-1 for the season, a half game behind the Seattle Rainmakers for the top spot in the Western Conference. The team is likely headed to the Western Conference championship against Seattle on June 28, and the Dogfish will play its last home game against Seattle at Kezar Stadium at 7:00 PM on Sunday, June 15. Get your tickets today!