The San Jose Spiders and San Francisco Flamethrowers played their third close game of the first five weeks of the season, and for the second time, the Flamethrowers came out on top in front of an energized crowd at Foothill College, winning this one 26-23.
San Jose got off to a good start, scoring on its first possession to take an early 1-0 lead. The rest of the first quarter stayed low-scoring, but the Spiders added one goal to their advantage, leading 5-3 after one.
The teams traded points to open up the second quarter, but with just under eight minutes left in the first half, the Flamethrowers went on their first run of the night. San Francisco made it 6-5 with 7:45 remaining, then broke, scored, broke again, and scored again to take its first lead at 7-6 with 6:02 remaining in the half. The teams went back-and-forth from there; San Francisco took an 11-10 lead with just over a minute to go, but San Jose came back, Joe Thompson finding Nick Murphy from midfield with 37 seconds left to tie it back up at 11-11.
San Jose started off the second half much like it had the first: with an early goal. The Spiders took just 20 seconds to find paydirt, taking the opening pull and working their way down the field before Sonny Zaccaro found Thompson, who barely managed to drag a toe in the end zone to retake a 12-11 lead.
From there though, the third quarter went the Flamethrowers’ way. Three straight San Francisco goals made it 14-12 to the visitors, and the Spiders couldn’t manage to tie it up the rest of the way.
With 29 seconds to go in the quarter, San Jose trimmed the deficit to 18-17 on a 45-yard toss from Jackson Stearns to Zach Sabin. San Francisco didn’t waste any time, though, and came right back to push its lead to 19-17 with 10 seconds left. It was almost much worse for the Spiders, as the Flamethrowers almost managed to score a Callahan off of the huck, but the San Jose defense held to keep the gap at two going into the final quarter.
San Francisco opened the fourth quarter with a goal, but San Jose’s first break of the second half pulled the Spiders within one, 20-19. San Jose still couldn’t quite pull even, and as the clock wound down, the Spiders had to get increasingly aggressive and paid for it. With just a shade under three minutes left, San Jose scored to make it 24-22 San Francisco. The Spiders went for an onside pull, but the Flamethrowers broke out of the initial double team and made quick work of the short field to stretch the lead back to three goals, 25-22, with 2:24 remaining in the game.
Thompson led all players with seven assists, and Zaccaro led everybody in completions with 55. Sabin led the Spiders with four goals.
San Jose will get to stay home next week, as the Spiders host Seattle for the first half of a two-week home-and-home series against the Cascades. The game with start at 7 p.m.