'Mistakes are holding us back'

DALLAS -- Big leads are known to disappear quickly in arena football.

But the haste in which the Vigilante's 16-point lead midway in the third period turned into a 69-51 loss to the Tulsa Talons shocked the 4,192 in attendance Friday night at American Airlines Center.

After an effective first half, Vigilante quarterback Collin Drafts threw four interceptions in the second half. Dallas (1-8), which lost its sixth straight game, failed to score on five of its final six possessions -- a big no-no in this league.

Drafts looked comfortable in throwing for three touchdown in the first half. He was coming off a season-best eight scoring passes in last week's 70-69 loss to Bossier-Shreveport.

"He stopped believing in himself,'' Vigilante coach James Fuller said. "He forced the ball deep a couple of times when the short receiver was open. The bottom line, mistakes are holding us back.''

Tulsa (6-4), the Southwest Division leader, scored on its first six possession in the second half and was content to run the clock out on its seventh.

Talons quarterback Justin Allgood finished with eight touchdown passes, four to wide receiver Donovan Morgan.

The Vigilantes took a brief fourth quarter lead of 51-48 on a kickoff return by Kenny Henderson, his third touchdown of the game.

But Tulsa regained the lead for good on Allgood's 7-yard scoring pass to Carlese Franklin with 10:12 remaining.

"Losing is hard to take,'' Henderson said. "We've got veterans on this team that are used to winning, myself included. Nobody has lost like this. It gets to you. If anybody has any ideas, I'm up for anything.''

For one thing, the Vigilantes must be better at game's end. They have now been outscored in the fourth quarter, 187-103, after losing the final period to Tulsa, 28-7.

It appeared the losing streak was going to be snapped when Dallas scored on a methodical first possession of the third period and followed it up with Larry Brackins' fumble recovery in the end zone after a kickoff for a 44-28 lead.

"I was very encouraged at that point,'' said Fuller, "but we've got to finish. That's been a problem all along.''

Dallas' defense, stung for at least 60 points in every game during its losing streak, started the game with stops on two of Tulsa's first three possessions.

Jason Harmon intercepted a lob in the end zone to spoil Tulsa's first possession. A sack by Duke Pettijohn stalled theTalons' third drive.

Motivation might have come from the debut of Will Pettis, a former Desperados star who made a quick defensive impact, and it also could have been fueled by revenge.

Vigilante quarterback Shane Stafford suffered a season-ending broken foot in a 63-59 loss at Tulsa in the season opener.

Dallas never trailed in the first half, but Tulsa whittled a 14-point deficit to just three at halftime thanks to some good clock management.

Up next for the Vigilantes are road games at Alabama and Oklahoma City the next two weeks followed by a home game against Iowa on July 2.