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ORLANDO (March 25, 2023) – The Orlando Guardians out-gained Seattle 391-252 Saturday at Camping World Stadium. But mistakes, turnovers and costly penalties once again derailed Orlando’s hopes for a first victory as Seattle took advantage of those miscues to take a 26-19 victory.
A 37-yard field goal by Dominik Eberle got the Sea Dragons on the board with 6:03 left in the first quarter. On the opening drive of the second quarter, the Guardians struck back with a 26-yard field goal from Jose Borregales to tie the game at 3-3. Eberle added a 27-yard field goal on Seattle’s next possession take a 6-3 edge.
Orlando found the end zone after a 12-play, 65-yard drive ended with a Devin Darringtpo three-yard rushing touchdown. A Darrington one-point conversion run put the Guardians on top 10-6. Najeem Hosein thwarted a Seattle scoring threat on the Sea Dragons’ next possession, intercepting Ben DiNucci in the end zone..
A 54-yard goal from Elberle with one second left in the first half brought left Orlando with a 10-9 lead at the intermission.
Seattle opened the third quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass by DiNucci to wide receiver Blake Jackson. A successful two-point conversion pass from DiNucci to Jahcour Pearson put the Sea Dragons up 17-10. The Guardians rushing attack struck on the following drive. A 43-yard burst up the middle from Darrington resulted in his second score of the day. The Guardians looked to regain the lead with a two-point conversion try, but came up short, leaving Seattle with a 17-16 lead.
Seattle opened the fourth quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Eberle to put the Sea Dragons up by four, 20-16. On the ensuing drive, Orlando answered with a season-long 50-yard field goal from Borregales to make it 20-19.
Midway through the fourth quarter, a 4-yard touchdown pass from DiNucci to wide receiver Juwan Green put the Sea Dragons up 26-19, accounting for the game’s final score.
Orlando had a chance to tie or take the lead with four minutes remaining. On the first play of the possession, Darrington took a pass from Dormady for 13 yards, but lost a fumble. The Guardians’ defense held and a Seattle punt with less than one minute remaining went into the end zone for a major touchback, while a Seattle penalty on the play gave the Guardians good field position at their own 40-yard line.
Dormady completed two quick passes to Charleston Rambo for 20 and 15 yards, respectively. Leaving the Guardians with 25 yards needed for a potential tying or winning score. But four straight incompletions sealed the victory for Seattle.
ORLANDO GUARDIANS POSTGAME NOTES
- The Guardians’ 10-9 lead at the half was the first time the Guardians have led at halftime this season.
- Today’s game marked the first time this season Seattle has gone without a touchdown in the first half.
- Devin Darrington’s 43-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter is his longest rush of the season and is the third longest in the XFL.
- Darrington’s two rushing touchdowns marked a career-best.
- Jose Borregales’s 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter is a career-high for Borregales and the third longest in the XFL.
- Defensive back Najeem Hosein’s interception is the first of his career.
- Devin Darrington on his performance and 43-yard run
○ The o-line, man. Those guys get to moving fellas. I really just read my blocks and get to the second level, make a move, put the defenders on skates and just crib it. So really, credit to my o-line. Those boys just open holes for us. I can’t do anything without them.”
- Najeem Hosein on his first career interception in his hometown
○ “I’ve played here before, actually. I really just made the play that came to me. The guys up front did their job and we just did our job in the secondary and it just kind of happened to come to me. It feels good to do it in front of my parents and have the people that support me be there and watch me do that.”