Des Moines, Iowa – The Barnstormers 2011 season came to a close on Saturday night with another tough loss as Iowa fell to the Georgia Force 63-59 before a season high 10,871 fans at Wellmark Field. With the loss, the Barnstormers finish the campaign at 5-13, while the playoff bound Force improve to 11-7. Georgia will open the playoffs next weekend in Cleveland against the East Division champion Gladiators.
The Barnstormers fell behind early 28-13 as Georgia scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions. Iowa cut the lead to 28-26 when QB Bryan Lee-Lauduski found WR Jesse Schmidt for his third touchdown pass of the half and then took their first lead on the ensuing kickoff when DB Travonti Johnson recovered loose ball for another score. Nick Pertuit added a last second field goal to give Iowa 36-35 advantage as the teams entered the half.
As the teams re-entered the field, Lee-Lauduski was replaced by Brian Villanueva who came off the bench to throw three second half touchdowns, all to Schmidt. Schmidt finished with 12 receptions for 170 yards and 5 touchdowns. He finishes the season with a league best 55 touchdown receptions.
Despite the strong Iowa effort, Georgia kept pace behind the stellar play of QB Darnell Kennedy. Kennedy. Trailing 59-56 in the game’s final minutes, Kennedy led the Force on a textbook two minute drive that was capped by a 1 yard TD run by FB Benji McDowell with just :25 seconds remaining. Villanueva drove the Barnstormers to midfield on the ensuing drive, but his last second hail mary pass intended for Schmidt was knocked down in the end zone as time expired, preserving the victory for Georgia.
The Barnstormers 2011 season has come to a close. However season ticket sales are already underway for the 2012 season. For more information, contact the Barnstormers front office at 515-633-2255. The Barnstormers would like to thank their fans, season ticket holders and sponsors for their support throughout the season. For continuing coverage of the AFL playoffs and for all the latest team and league off-season news be sure to check out the Barnstormers website at www.theiowabarnstormers.com
National Guard MVP – Darnell Kennedy (GA)
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the game – Jesse Schmidt (IA)
JSL Ironman of the Game – Jesse Schmidt (IA)
Riddell Defensive player of the game – Benji McDowell (GA)
Cutters Catch of the Game – Jesse Schmidt (IA)
Nifty Playmaker of the Game – C.J. Johnson (GA)
Spalding Highlight of the Game – Trevonti Johnson net recovery for score (IA)