The Georgia Force and Orlando Predators met Sunday afternoon at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in an Arena Football League South Division match-up that was critical to the Force (8-8) and their postseason aspirations. While Georgia needed a win to keep pace in the division, Orlando (2-13) needed a win to avoid going winless on the road for the season. The Force scored first and never trailed as Bryant Moniz made his first start in front of the home fans and led Georgia to a 56-53 win over the visiting Predators.
Moniz (21/29, 273 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT) was “excited to be in front of the home crowd for the first time” and the fans gave ‘Mighty Mo’ a warm welcome. Force fans have been anticipating Moniz becoming the starter since he was assigned and the anticipation had become frustration as the Georgia offense continued to sputter. The energy level in the arena was higher than it has been in weeks and that energy (and expectation) will continue to grow as Moniz continues to learn the AFL style of play and gains time running the first unit.
Georgia, with the offense being led by former University of Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz (27/47 for 243 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), battled and trailed by only three midway through the second quarter before Utah pulled away. Leading 13-10 the Blaze scored on three straight possessions while keeping the Georgia offense off the board. Utah held a 34-10 lead early in the third quarter.
The Force continued to try to mount a comeback and did pull to within 10 late in the third quarter, but Tommy Grady led the Blaze to 21 points in the final quarter while the Utah D held the Force to a single touchdown.
While another one-sided loss in frustrating, this game will accelerate Bryant Moniz’s progress as an AFL quarterback. This was the first game speed action Moniz has seen since last September, add to that that the Blaze defense was smothering both in the secondary and at the line of scrimmage and it is likely that this will be the toughest defense the Force will see for the remainder of the regular season . Moniz will only improve from here.
Some positives to consider in ‘Big Mo’s’ performance include not throwing an interception and his ability to carry the ball (22 yards). He also did a good job of protecting the ball while being pressured and sacked.
Next week’s home game with the Orlando Predators is a must win. It’s a division game against the only team in the division out of the hunt. The Predators are 2-12 and have played poorly on the road this season. If Moniz continues to do the good things he did this week (0 turnovers and 22 yards rushing) while improving timing with his receivers, we should see a solid offensive performance come Sunday afternoon that will result in a Force win.
On Monday the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force announced that quarterback Kevin Eakin was being placed on Recallable Reassignment, while Bryant Moniz was being moved to the active roster. The roster move is one that has been anticipated by the Force faithful since the former University of Hawaii star was signed by the club in late May. Moniz was on the active roster for the game with the Kansas City Command but did not play and was placed on IR the following week. “Mighty Mo” had been on IR until last Thursday when he was moved from IR to Recallable Reassignment, and now to the Active roster.
Moniz had a stellar college career at UH that was brought to an abrupt end ten games into his senior season when he suffered a low ankle, shin bone break in Reno, Nevada last year. The Hawaiian born Moniz threw for 10,169 yards and 75 touchdowns, and finished his college career with a 62.2 completion percentage. Moniz had a career QB efficiency rating of 144.2 with Hawaii. Moniz also scored 13 rushing TDs in college while accumulating 512 yards on 220 carries.
Former Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz was preparing for the rest of his life when he learned his football career was not ready to expire. Moniz reached an agreement with the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League this past weekend.
He arrived in Georgia on Tuesday, and will participate in practice today. Moniz will be on the active roster for the Force’s road game against the Kansas City Command this weekend.
“It’s pretty cool,” Moniz said. Moniz, 23, said he is fully recovered from a broken ankle he suffered in November. The injury prevented him from participating in running and jumping drills at UH’s Pro Day in Carson, Calif., in March.
He did not receive any tryout offers following the National Football League draft in April. Soon after, the Saskatchewan Roughriders relinquished his Canadian Football League rights. Former UH quarterback Colt Brennan is on the Roughriders’ roster.
Moniz will be reunited with former UH safety Richard Torres, who signed with the Force last week.
Positives: Moves well in pocket. Goes through progressions to find secondary receivers. Good speed as runner and is willing to sacrifice body for yards. Competitive and tough — plays hurt.
Negatives: Below-average arm strength. Not very accurate on timing patterns, even on short slant patterns. Can’t read coverage — threw 3 very easy INTs to LBs covering intermediate routes in 2010 bowl game. Doesn’t react well to pressure. Broke leg in 2011 and missed rest of season.
In one of the feel good stories of the college football season, long-time offensive coordinator Norm Chow will finally get a shot at a head coaching job with the University of Hawaii.
Chow has been the coordinator at BYU, NC State, USC, UCLA and Utah, as well as spending a brief stint as the Tennessee Titans’ OC, but he is now returning home to his native Hawaii. At 65, he will be the third oldest active head coach in college football.
Chow has helped coach some great quarterbacks including Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Philip Rivers, Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
The Warriors have had no shortage of quality quarterbacks in recent years with Timmy Chang, Colt Brennan and now Bryant Moniz. While his eligibility is over at the end of this year, it shouldn’t be long before another great quarterback emerges with Chow at the helm,
“I am extremely honored to receive the privilege of leading the University of Hawaii football program; it is very humbling,” he said in a statement. “This is a program with great history, and I feel excited and energized about creating a program that will make all of the people of Hawaii feel pride for the university and our state. I am looking forward to coming home, to family and friends, and I am going to do my best to contribute to the rich history of Hawaii and its progress.”
He is the perfect fit for Hawaii because of his roots there as well as what the team has been known to do with the spread offense. This is a great move for Chow and the university.
RENO, NEV. » This wasn’t how it was supposed to end for Bryant Moniz, but it almost seemed inevitable.
With all the injuries depleting his offensive line and receivers, it’s a testament to Moniz’s elusiveness and toughness that he didn’t get badly hurt sooner than Saturday, in UH’s 10th game of the season.
Regardless of what you might think of the University of Hawaii football team and the performance of its senior leader on offense the past few games, his legacy will be as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in UH history, as well as perhaps the most athletic to have played for the Warriors in the run-and-shoot era.
When he left the field with a college career-ending broken leg in the first half of the 42-28 loss to Nevada, coach Greg McMackin said some of the Warriors players “froze” momentarily — and that was no reference to the chilly air at Mackay Stadium.
“It’s pretty tough when you lose your leader right away,” McMackin said.
By Dave Reardon
Before Moniz season/college career ending injury, Moniz had joined an elite club.
Bryant Moniz became the third University of Hawaii quarterback to pass for at least 10,000 yards in his career. He reached the milestone on a 6-yard pass to Billy Ray Stutzmann in the second quarter. Moniz passed for 227 yards a couple Saturdays ago, giving him 10,146 in his three-year UH career.
Timmy Chang is atop the program’s career passing yardage list with 17,072, and was No. 1 nationally until Saturday, when he was passed by Case Keenum of Houston.
Colt Brennan is second all-time in Hawaii passing yards with 14,193.