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ARENA FOOTBALL

Avengers Hold On for 62-55 Win

February 15, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — Kevin Ingram was good from start to finish Saturday in the Avengers' 62-55 victory over the Las Vegas Gladiators.

Ingram scored the Avengers' first three touchdowns on two pass receptions and a run, then ensured a second consecutive road win by batting down Clint Dolezel's short pass into the end zone on the game's final play.

With defensive specialist Damen Wheeler out because of a leg injury, Ingram played nearly every snap at wide receiver and defensive back.

"This would have been my most complete game if I had intercepted a pass," said Ingram, who finished with 179 all-purpose yards. "But I'll take it."

So will the Avengers, who improved their record to 2-0 heading into next week's home opener against San Jose.

Unlike last week's dominating defensive effort against Arizona, the Avengers won with offense, special teams and clutch defensive plays before an announced crowd of 7,862 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Las Vegas (0-2) tried two passes from the Avengers' three-yard line in the final five seconds, but Joe Douglass and Ingram each foiled an attempt.

"Two shots inside the five to win it," Las Vegas Coach Frank Haege said, "you can't ask for anything better than that."

The Avengers led, 35-34, at halftime, but trailed, 55-48, before tying the score with 6:01 left on a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Graziani to receiver Greg Hopkins.

Kicker Remy Hamilton -- who whiffed on an onside-kick attempt earlier in the game -- executed perfectly on his next try, and Russell Shaw leaped into the air and grabbed the ball, giving the Avengers a first down at their own 17.

Five plays later, Graziani connected with Douglass for a 27-yard touchdown pass play that put the Avengers ahead, 62-55, setting up the final possession.

Graziani completed 23 of 30 passes for 265 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception.

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