Nashville Kats stun Outlaws in final seconds, hand them first loss of season

The 5-0 Outlaws faced possibly their toughest test this season when they welcomed in the well-established Nashville Kats, run by former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher.

The Outlaws started the game on defense and the Kats took the lead first on a long opening drive.

However, the Outlaws hit back quickly when Duane Brown caught the kickoff in the end zone and took it all the way back for a touchdown. They missed the PAT, but an end-zone to end-zone boot through the uprights from Bailey Giffen gave them an 8-7 lead.

They led 15-7 in the final minute of the first quarter, but early in the second quarter, newly signed quarterback Randy Hippeard threw a dart to Marquise Irvin, and the ball came loose as he evaded the Outlaw defense. It fell forward into the end zone, where Milton Williams III pounced. By AFL rule, it was a touchdown.

They scored again in that quarter on a rushing touchdown from Carlton Brown to cut the lead to 22-20 and tried to do it again to take the lead after a failed Outlaws onside kick, but the ball hit the turf and Derrick Harvey scooped it up and had a wide-open field. They went into halftime with a 34-20 lead.

In the third quarter, the Kats held the Outlaws to a long field goal, and they don't call kicker Bailey Giffen Bailey the Boot for nothing. But it was a fake! Brown took the ball down near the goal line, and they converted a few plays later to lead 45-28. 

Then, the tide started to turn. A rare interception from Outlaws quarterback Isaac Harker gave the Kats both possession and momentum. Hippeard threaded the needle in the back of the end zone and the Kats took their first lead of the game with just over a minute to go.

It was up to the Outlaws to string together a game winning drive, and the Harker-Brown connection proved worthy, as he tip-toed into the end zone with less than 30 seconds remaining.

It gave the ball back to the Kats, and with three seconds to go, Hippeard got it done. The Outlaws and the crowd were stunned into silence. The officials reviewed the play, but it stood, and the Kats handed the Outlaws their first loss of the season 57-54.