Showboats fall short against Gamblers, 30-26

MEMPHIS – A 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kenji Bahar to wide receiver Justin Hall with 13 seconds remaining gave the Houston Gamblers a 30-26 win over the Memphis Showboats on Saturday night at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

Memphis (0-3) overcame a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead in the final two minutes. Showboats quarterback Cole Kelley, making his first start of the season, threw for 307 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Both of his touchdown passes came in the final five minutes, allowing the Showboats to take a 26-23 lead after trailing 23-10.

Houston (1-2), who is also playing its home games at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium and was the home team on Saturday, was led by Hall’s six catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns and running back Mark Thompson’s 21 carries for 81 yards and two scores.

Both defenses controlled the first quarter, forcing punts on the first three possessions to keep the game scoreless after 15 minutes.

A 45-yard field goal by Houston kicker Nick Vogel gave the Gamblers a 3-0 lead earlier in the second quarter. Memphis kicker Brandon Wright tied the game on the following drive with his first field goal of the season from 35 yards.

The Gamblers regained the lead on a nine-play, 77-yard touchdown drive capped by a 41-yard pass from Bahar to Hall.

A penalty on the ensuing kickoff gave Memphis the ball at midfield. The Showboats took advantage of the field position, driving 50 yards in seven plays to