U.S. team falls in Tazon de Estrellas

Thomas More's Kendall Owens had some success on the ground for Team Stars & Stripes.
Tazon de Estrellas photo

The CONADEIP All-Stars triumphed 45-27 over Team Stars & Stripes, drawn from 28 D-III colleges, in front of a close to capacity crowd at El Tempo del Dolor (Temple of Pain) in Puebla.

After the visiting Americans raced to a 14-0 lead early in the game, their Mexican hosts scored 38 unanswered points to take control of the game. Team Stars & Stripes gained some offensive momentum in the fourth quarter but two late touchdowns were not enough to make a dent on the final outcome.

Offensive fireworks lit up the first quarter as Team Stars & Stripes scored two touchdowns within a 12-seconds, but then the Mexican hosts hit back to tie the game by the end of the first quarter. Quarterbacks Gustavo Garcia of UDLAP and Jorge Martinez of ITESM MTY each threw two touchdowns in the win.

"I thought the Mexican team was very talented and played very well," said Team Stars & Stripes coach Bill Manlove. "The two pick-sixes were key to the game. They put us in a big hole. I was proud of the way we kept battling and we got two scores at the end. But the 21 points off of our three interceptions was just too much to overcome."

Linebacker Anthony Johnson (St. Vincent) stopped CONADEIP up the middle on third down on the Mexicans' fruitless first drive and then with Dan Stiefel (Wartburg) under center, the Americans drove methodically downfield to score.

Running back Kendall Owens (Thomas More) tore off a 30-yard gain and with Steifel calling the audible a screen pass to Ben McCoy (Simpson) took the ball to the 5-yard line. After losing 5 yards for having too many men in the huddle, a 10-yard Stiefel play action pass to tight end Matt Robinette (Hanover) opened a 7-0 lead with 9:52 remaining in the first quarter.

Only 12 seconds later Colton Calvert (Simpson) recovered a fumbled kickoff return and raced 21 yards to score and suddenly Team Stars & Stripes was 14-0 ahead.

As quickly as they had conceded two touchdowns, the CONADEIP All-Stars, selected from Mexico's private universities under coach Eric Fisher of UDLAP, retaliated and took control.

CONADEIP twice converted key third down plays by scrambling and throwing touchdown passes. First Martinez hit Miguel Guerrero (ITESM MTY) and Garcia went to then to Leopoldo Lara (UDLAP) from 28 yards out and Alejandro Gongora (UDLAP) added the extra points to tie.

Team Stars & Stripes were stunned and no sooner had David Lee (Augustana) lined up under center than he was intercepted 22 seconds into the second quarter and James Walter (UDLAP) raced 63 yards untouched down the right sideline to earn a 21-14 CONADEIP lead.

Gongora increased the Mexicans' advantage to 10 points with a 32-yard field goal then the much-heralded CONADEIP defense again came up with a score to lead 31-14.

After a big sack for a loss by Zach Myers (Loras) had halted a Mexican drive, the resulting punt pinned the Americans back on their own 10-yard line. Team Stars & Stripes rotated in a third quarterback, but Aaron Smetanka (St. Vincent) was intercepted by Jose Garcia (UDLAP), who took the ball back 25 yards to paydirt with 4:58 remaining in the first half.

As the CONADEIP All-Stars attempted to retain the momentum, defensive back Jake Petersen (Central) came up with a diving interception of Garcia at midfield, but Team Stars & Stripes eventually had to punt away possession.

The Americans needed an offensive spark but Lee found himself sacked on first play of the second half by Fernando Torres (ITESM CCM) and both teams later exchanged two punts.

Late in the third quarter, the CONADEIP All-Stars stretched their advantage to 24 points as freshman Daniel Siller (UDLAP) collected a Garcia pass over the middle in traffic and raced clear for a 45-yard touchdown and a 38-14 lead.

Team Stars & Stripes set about triggering an unlikely fourth quarter comeback as with 11:34 still on the clock, Stiefel just got off a pass to hit receiver Matt White (Capital) for a 24-yard touchdown strike to reduce the deficit to 17 points.

The Americans should have come up with an interception in reply and sacks by Armando Fortunato (Saint Vincent) and Dan Terhune (Wooster) forced the hosts to punt and Lee went back to work under center. He saw a long pass bounce off the fingertips of Logan Granera (Grinnell) as the visiting offense was again stopped.

With 3:01 remaining Martinez and Osvaldo Rodriguez (ITESM TOL) connected on a perfectly executed 55-yard touchdown play, the quarterback hitting his receiver in stride over the middle with a laser pass and a path to the end zone then opened down the right sideline.

Team Stars & Stripes were still energized even at 45-21 down and Zach McCullough burst through the middle and evaded several tackles as he carried the ball to inside the red zone. The touchdown came in unorthodox fashion as Lee fumbled the ball while dropping back to pass but recovered and in evading a sack tossed the ball 25 yards to the end zone where it was tipped and then caught for six points by Granera. The American's two-point pass attempt then failed, leaving Team Stars & Stripes trailing 45-27.


Scoring Summary (Final)

Team Stars & Stripes vs. CONADEIP All-Stars

Dec 17, 2011 at Cholula, Mexico

Stadium: Tempo del Dolor


Score by Quarters     1 2 3 4   Score
-----------------   -- -- -- --   -----
Stars & Stripes.....    14 0 0 13 - 27
CONADEIP.............. 14 17 7 7 - 45

Scoring Summary:

1st quarter

09:52 SS - Matt Robinette 10 yd pass from Dan Stiefel (Matt Rawson kick)
5 plays, 59 yards, TOP 2:57, SS 7 - CON 0

09:40 SS - Colton Calvert 21 yd fumble recovery (Matt Rawson kick)
SS 14 - CON 0

06:17 CON - Miguel Guerrero 50 yd pass from Jorge Martinez (Alejandro Gonora kick)
7 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:17, SS 14 - CON 7

02:10 CON - Leopold Lara 28 yd pass from Gustavo Garcia (Alejandro Gonora kick)
4 plays, 32 yards, TOP 1:18, SS 14 - CON 14

2nd quarter

14:38 CON - James Walter 63 yd interception return (Alejandro Gonora kick)
SS 14 - CON 21

11:08 CON - Alejandro Gonora 40 yd field goal
8 plays, 35 yards, TOP 2:53, SS 14 - CON 24

04:58 CON - Jose Garcia 25 yd interception return (Alejandro Gonora kick)
SS 14 - CON 31

3rd quarter

01:28 CON - Daniel Siller 45 yd pass from Gustavo Garcia (Alejandro Gonora kick)
8 plays, 69 yards, TOP 4:02, SS 14 - CON 38

4th quarter

11:34 SS - Matt White 24 yd pass from Dan Stiefel (Matt Rawson kick)
9 plays, 80 yards, TOP 4:48, SS 21 - CON 38

03:01 CON - Osvaldo Rodriguez 55 yd pass from Jorge Martinez (Alejandro Gonora kick)
7 plays, 33 yards, TOP 3:52, SS 21 - CON 45

00:58 SS - Logan Granera 25 yd pass from David Lee (David Lee pass failed)
6 plays, 65 yards, TOP 1:55, SS 27 - CON 45

Kickoff time: 1:30 pm   End of Game: 4:26 pm   Total elapsed time: 2:56

Officials: Referee: Bill Lemonnier; Umpire: Rick Nelson; Linesman: Mario Matos;
Scorer: T. Glon;
Temperature: 70, Wind: W 10-20, Weather: Mostly sunny, breezy
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