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Walk-off in overtime delivers Knight Hawks first loss of season

Fortune favored the brave during a Week 10 loss for the Vegas Knight Hawks as the team fell short by a point in the team’s first loss of the season.

Vegas was stunned in overtime, 51-50, on the road by a 1-5 Tucson team Saturday, May 18 in Arizona. That ends a franchise-long seven game win streak for head coach Mike Davis and company.

“We didn’t play well,” Davis said. “Give credit to Tucson, this was their Super Bowl, they were backed into a corner. It was a must-win for them, if they had any chance of fixing their season they had to win the game and they did.”

As of now, Vegas is still atop the Western Conference standings with an identical 7-1 record as Bay Area. The Knight Hawks hold the tiebreaker while the Panthers are one game better in the conference wins category.

“The goal is not to be 16-0,” Davis said. “The goal is to win a championship. The league is too hard with too many injuries to go undefeated, I don’t care who you are.”

At a time when the team needs it most, Vegas will be entering its final bye week of the season as it looks to nurse some nagging injuries.

“It’ll be good because it’ll sting a little bit during the bye week,” Davis said. “But if you look at the preseason, people thought if we went through eight games, we’d be 2-6. People didn’t give us any credit for what we were building and we knew what we were building.”

The bold decision by the Sugar Skulls to go for two-points after a responding touchdown in overtime was the eventual difference in the game. Prior to that, the Knight Hawks had taken the lead in overtime on a scoring scramble from quarterback Jorge Reyna on a play that began with a dropped snap.

The game featured 12 lead changes and saw Vegas trail for the first time since Week 6.

“We got a couple of stops and then we turned the ball over,” Davis said. “We just couldn’t get on the same page. Normally when the offense is clicking, we get stops and we can stretch our legs. Tonight, when we did that we made a dumb penalty or a turnover or gave up a big play and couldn’t get out of our own way.”


Reyna entered the game in relief of starter Ja’Rome Johnson, who was benched for the second time in the last four games. He’d go 5-for-7 in relief, passing for 54 yards and rushing for two touchdowns.

Johnson had a first drive killed by a fumble near the goal line, giving the ball to Tucson while giving up the chance to put points on the board first. He fumbled again in the second half but would recover his own fumble.

His second turnover of the game came on an interception in the third quarter on the first play of a drive with the team up six. That’d be his final attempt of the night, as he went 8-for-15 for 70 yards, four total touchdowns and two turnovers.

“We have a lot of unselfish dudes,” Davis said. “When we’re playing together and have our heads in the right spot, things work out. Tonight, it was just a little cloudy for some guys and some guys got exposed with some weaknesses that we were masking. We’ve got to fix those.”

Vegas appeared to have the game nearly won in regulation but had a late safety come off the board. With Tucson being backed up to its own end zone, quarterback Mylik Mitchell was whistled for intentional grounding as he avoided a sack resulting in the safety. However, the Sugar Skulls sideline challenged for an illegal contact flag on former UNLV product Gabe McCoy and was awarded the penalty granting the team another set of downs and wiping the three points off the board.

Regulation would end with a missed field goal from the home team.

“We basically hugged the [running] back with our [defensive] end,” Davis said. “We started it behind or at the line of scrimmage and then it carried on past the line of scrimmage so the minute it carried on past the line of scrimmage its illegal contact.

“They made a good play in challenging it. It’s unfortunate because we were playing our butts off at that point. It is what it is.”


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