Locos kicker makes good on promise

With the Locomotives driving for the potential winning score late in overtime of Saturday’s wind-swept game against the Hartford Colonials, Las Vegas kicker Steven Hauschka told coach Jim Fassel he could make any field goal inside of 60 yards.

True to his word, Hauschka — who earlier had missed a 37-yard attempt — booted a 53-yard field goal with 17 seconds left in the extra session to lift the Locos to a dramatic 24-21 victory in front of an announced crowd of 8,451 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

“He said, ‘You get me to the 42 (yard line), and I’ll get it,’ ” said Fassel, whose team won its fourth straight to improve to a United Football League-best 4-1. “It was a great kick.”

The Colonials (1-4), who suffered their third straight last-minute loss, appeared poised to win the game in overtime, but kicker Taylor Mehlhaff missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt wide right into the wind with 4:10 left.

Hauschka, a North Carolina State product, kicked a 54-yard field goal for the Baltimore Ravens in his first professional attempt in 2008. But Saturday’s field goal was his longest winning kick.

“Sixty yards would’ve been a long kick, but I thought I could get the distance from there,” he said. “I hit it pretty solid with my foot, and I felt it, and I knew it was going to be good.”

The Colonials trailed 21-13 late in regulation but rallied to tie the game when quarterback Josh McCown fired a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Tyson Devree with 1:04 left and then found wideout Syndric Steptoe for a 2-point conversion pass.

After committing two turnovers in the final 44 seconds of the first half that led to 10 points by Hartford, Las Vegas was content to go to overtime and ran out the clock at the end of regulation.

The Locos won the coin toss in overtime and, with each team guaranteed at least one possession, deferred to force the Colonials to play into the wind. It turned out to be a wise decision by Fassel.

“I coached the (New York) Giants nine years,” he said. “One thing I learned is play the wind. It’s significant back there.”

Starting in place of injured Locos quarterback Tim Rattay, Drew Willy played solid in his professional debut, completing 18 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.

The University of Buffalo product hit tight end Adam Bergen in the corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter to give Las Vegas a 14-13 lead and cap a 14-play, 57-yard drive.

Running back Marcel Shipp scored from one yard with 6:16 to play to make it a 21-13 game.

DeDe Dorsey rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown for Las Vegas and had 42 yards receiving. Tab Perry led the Locos with 77 yards receiving on four catches, including a key 19-yard grab in overtime on their winning drive.

Las Vegas outlasted the Florida Tuskers 20-17 last year to capture the inaugural UFL championship in the only other overtime game in league history.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.

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