Growlers Beat LA at Buzzer

June 18, 2022

The San Diego Growlers traveled to Los Angeles for another SoCal rivalry game against the Aviators on June 18 at Occidental College. These teams typically engage in close contests, and the playoff implications of this game amplified the drama on the field at the midway point in the AUDL season.

The Growlers set the defensive tone early with blocks from Tyler Bacon and Jordan Queckboerner, but the Aviators eventually held. San Diego responded with a deep throw from Travis Dunn to former Aviator Sean McDougall. The teams would trade four scores each despite the Growlers having multiple opportunities to break with blocks from Matt Nelson and Ben Levinisky. San Diego’s offense was in attack mode with three straight huck assists from Jonathan Helton, and the score was tied 5-5 after one quarter of action.

Los Angeles capitalized after a San Diego throwaway to record the first break of the game, but San Diego calmly held to tie. Both teams traded, then after another Nelson block, the Growlers called timeout to sub in the offense, but the Aviators were still able to convert. Each team had multiple offensive holds until Trevor Purdy rose up for a block, and San Diego went the length of the field with Chris Mazur dishing to Bryce Lozinski for a break and the lead, 10-9. LA tied the game with 49 seconds left, but San Diego used the entire clock with Paul Lally finding Dunn at the buzzer for a 11-10 lead going into halftime.

San Diego had another golden opportunity to break, but a endzone miscue allowed LA to hold and tie the game again. After a long hold by the Growlers, another break chance was thrown away on a red-zone turnover, and the Aviators traveled the length of the field for a hold and the tie, 12-12. San Diego was patient for another hold, and after LA misfired in their endzone, the Growlers completed several passes before calling timeout on the goal line. With just one horizontal throw, Tim Okita found Helton for a critical break and the largest lead of the game, 14-12. Not to be outdone, LA held on offense, then broke after the Growlers were stalled on their endzone for yet another tie, 14-14. San Diego squandered two great chances to take the lead but could not score before the quarter ended.

The Growlers reclaimed some momentum by holding on offense with a Jesse Cohen assist to Dunn, 15-14. After a long possession, LA was able to counter-punch for the hold and tie. After a couple more scoring trades, Steven Milardovich denied an Aviators goal with a block in the endzone, but a San Diego drop allowed LA to tie the game at 18s with 2:46 remaining. A one minute Growlers hold ended with a Hunter Corbett assist to Michael Tran, but LA once again responded with 50 seconds left as the game was knotted at 19-19. And just as they ended the second quarter, San Diego was patient and bled clock until Helton threw a 40 yard forehand to Dunn who somehow tip-toed inbounds for the game winner as time expired, 20-19!

The Growlers were led by Travis Dunn’s +8 performance, with 4 assists, 5 goals, and just 1 turnover. Goose Helton had a big game with 6 assists, 2 goals and 1 turnover, while Paul Lally was a steady backfield presence with 3 assists and 1 goal. With their fifth win in a row, 5-1 San Diego remains in second place in the West Division and will travel to Salt Lake and Denver next week to battle the third and first place teams, respectively.