Sac State alumni Bethel-Thompson, Amey, lead Molos to victory


Defensive end Brian Coutler attempts to strip the ball while sacking Destroyers quarterback Mike McMahon.

AJ Taylor

Otis Amey and McLeod Bethel-Thompson stepped onto the turf at Hornet Stadium to find one statement holds true: once a Hornet, always a Hornet.

Amey scored his first two touchdowns in the United Football League on Saturday evening to power the Mountain Lions past the Virginia Destroyers in overtime 27-20 to give Virginia its first loss of the season.

Bethel-Thompson, the man who tossed both of those footballs into the end-zone, received his first professional start that same night.

When they came to play at Hornet Stadium on Saturday evening, Amey could see the scenery on the field of his college days had never changed. Hornet Stadium still donned the Sacramento State ‘S’ on the 50-yard line and still proclaimed “HORNETS” at each end-zone.

The Hornet connection must have aided in some of Amey and Bethel-Thompson’s hook-ups. The pair felt right at home.

“I ran the wrong route on that play,” Amey explains the 4th-and-15 conversion he completed when he caught Bethel-Thompson’s pass. “(Bethel-Thompson) saw, Sac State connection, I don’t know, but he decided to throw it up to me. It crossed my mind, ‘This is an interception’ because (the defender) had perfect position. I just stepped in front and next thing I know I have the ball against my helmet or wherever I had it and I came down with it.”

Amey led all receivers with six receptions and 84 yards.

The Mountain Lions took the only undefeated team in the UFL, the same team that beat them eight days ago 28-6, into the second half tied at 10, into the fourth quarter tied at 13 and into overtime tied at 20.

The Mountain Lions were the first to receive the ball in the overtime period. Starting from the 23-yard-line, the Mountain Lions drove down the field to score a touchdown and go up seven points.

The UFL’s overtime rules stipulate that both teams are given a chance to possess the ball before sudden death rules apply.

The Mountain Lions kicked off to Destroyers’ kick returner Wynel Seldon who received the ball at the 5-yard line ran 19 yards and quickly fumbled, the Mountain Lions recovered and won the game 27-20.

“The guys played hard, no mater what the odds were they never gave up and that’s what makes the game exciting,” said Mountain Lions head coach Dennis Green.

The Mountain Lions entered the fourth quarter of their week four game down 7-6. Three unanswered touchdowns later the Mountain Lions remained the UFL’s only winless squad.

extra sense of urgency this week because we know that if we lost this game the next two games were meaningless. So now we still have something to play for,” Amey said. 

With less that three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and trailing the Destroyers 20-13, the Mountain Lions began the game-tying drive at the 39-yard line.

It was a connection between Bethel-Thompson and Amey that brought the Mountain Lions from 4th-and-15 to first and goal. And minutes earlier in the fourth quarter, a conversion on third down and two kept the Mountain Lions dreams of a championship alive.

In a four-team league the opportunity to play a team twice is unavoidable. The Mountain Lions learned from their mistakes. 

“We got to watch the film and see how they beat us up on certain plays. We got to make checks and know that we’re playing the same team, they’re going to do the same exact thing because it worked so why would they change? So we had a better idea of what we could do,” Amey said.

Defending UFL Offensive Player of the Year Cory Ross was back in the lineup for the Mountain Lions after sitting out the last two games with a hamstring injury.

Each team’s star running back, Virginia’s NFL tenured Dominic Rhodes and Ross entered the game as the only two UFL backs with 900+ yards in league history. Rhodes rushed for 217 yards on 18 carries last week against the Mountain Lions.

Rhodes finished Saturday’s game with 41 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries bringing his all-time UFL total to 961.

Ross finished with 14 yards on eight carries brining his all-time UFL total to 956 yards.

Although Bethel-Thompson’s team has changed a few times since graduating, from Hornets to Sabercats to 49ers to Mountain Lions, he was given a good situation at Hornet Stadium and received some of Sac State’s best post-graduation benefits Saturday night.

“I made some forced throws that I really wish I had back but the team rallied around me and Otis Amey came up huge tonight. He made some of my bad throws look like awesome throws … He was a beast tonight, absolute beast tonight. I wish we could have played at Sac State together,” Bethel-Thompson said.

AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected].