Arena Football League
Gladiators Pick up First Win in Dramatic Fashion
The Cleveland Gladiators (1-3) overcame a 14-point deficit and spoiled the home opener for the Philadelphia Soul (2-2) to claim their first win of the season with a 64-57 overtime victory at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night. QB Brian Zbydniewski had his best game so far as a Gladiator, passing for 316 yards and accounting for nine touchdowns; eight through the air and one rushing.
WR Thyron Lewis led the way for the Gladiators in the receiving department with 122 yards on six receptions to go along with four touchdowns. WR Jamar Howard had nine catches for 95 yards and two touchdown receptions, while WR Jonathan Wilson also caught two passes in the end zone and finished with seven catches for 87 yards in the win.
In the first quarter, Cleveland's offense struck first as Wilson caught three passes for 32 yards on the opening drive, including a six-yard touchdown reception that gave the Gladiators an early 7-0 lead. The Soul, however, countered, and tied the game on a two-yard run from running back Derrick Ross.
The Gladiators had two turnovers in the first half that resulted in 14 points for the Soul. Cleveland's WR Maurice Williams returned a kickoff for 12 yards before Philadelphia's LaRico Stevenson forced Williams to fumble. Stevenson recovered the loose ball and ran it in the end zone for a 14-7 Soul lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter. Zbydniewski threw his first interception in two games on the second play of a drive that set Philadelphia up for another score and a 28-14 lead. Lewis caught two touchdowns passes in the second quarter, but the Gladiators trailed 35-21 at halftime.
Cleveland made up for their first half turnovers in the third quarter, beginning with Williams intercepting Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh in the opening drive of the period. Zbydniewski connected with Howard for an 11-yard touchdown, cutting Philadelphia's lead to only seven with 8:33 to go in the quarter. On Philadelphia's very next drive, Raudabaugh threw another interception, this time to Gladiators DB Brandon Anderson. Cleveland would capitalize again on the Soul's miscue with another touchdown pass to Howard to even the score at 35-35 after three quarters.
The Soul took the lead early in the fourth quarter but Zbydniewski responded with a one-yard touchdown run. However, K Ross Gornall missed the extra point attempt as Cleveland trailed 42-41 with 9:05 left in the game. Fortunately for the Gladiators, Philadelphia's Alvance Robinson fumbled on the kickoff, giving the ball back to Cleveland. That led to a 30-yard touchdown reception for Wilson and a 47-42 advantage for the Gladiators. After a failed two-point conversion, the Gladiators and Soul went back-and-forth with the lead.
With just six seconds remaining in regulation and Cleveland trailing 57-54, Gornall nailed a 45-yard field goal as time expired, sending the game into overtime. In the extra frame, Philadelphia deferred the ball to Cleveland first. The Gladiators drove down the field in five plays as Zbydniewski found Lewis for his fourth touchdown of the day.
Cleveland's defense forced Raudabaugh to throw four straight incomplete passes on Philadelphia's final possession in overtime to win the game.
DB Lenny Wicks recorded nine tackles to lead the Gladiators. Williams picked up 121 yards on eight kick returns, with a long return of 26.
The Gladiators will return home for their next game on Saturday, April 27th, when the team hosts the Utah Blaze at Quicken Loans Arena.
Storm Defeats the Predators, 53-35
The Tampa Bay Storm (3-2, 1-1) defeated the Orlando Predators (0-4, 0-2) Saturday evening at the Amway Center by a score of 53-35. The Storm set the tone for the game with a De'Audra Dix interception of Predators quarterback Kyle Rowley on the opening drive of the game.
The Storm defense started the game fast and furious, and the offense took care of the rest. Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson completed 12-of-20 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns. He spread the ball around with Joe Hills, Greg Ellingson, and Michael Lindsey each catching four passes. Hills led the Storm receivers with 83 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. He has now increased his streak of multi-touchdown games to nine. Ellingson had 79 yards receiving and a touchdown, while Michael Lindsey had 61 with a touchdown as well. The team did damage on the ground with McPherson and fullback Nick Torresso each scoring rushing touchdowns.
The Storm defense had its way with the Predators. It started with a De'Audra Dix interception on the opening drive. He would fumble the ball, but it was picked up by Rashad Barksdale for the touchdown. Chris Smith had an interception, his third of the season. Defensive lineman Tank Tyler had a pair of sacks for 18 yards.
Former Storm wide receiver T.T. Toliver led the Predators' receivers with 106 yards receiving on six receptions. He had a pair of touchdowns. The Predators saw a revolving door at the quarterback position. Kyle Rowley was removed in the first quarter for Chris Dixon. Dixon completed 17-of-21 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
The Tampa Bay Storm continues its road trip as the team heads to Spokane, WA to take on the Spokane Shock at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Saturday, April 27...Kickoff is set for 10:00 PM ET.
Rush Defeat Utah Blaze in Last Second to Improve to 3-2
The Rush won their third consecutive game Saturday night as they defeated the Utah Blaze 59-56. The victory allowed the Rush to claim first place in the Central Division for the first time this season.
Chicago initially stumbled out of the gates as they could not muster a first down, going four-and-out on their first drive to turn over the ball to quarterback Tommy Grady and the Utah Blaze. On their very first offensive play, the 2012 MVP found receiver Aaron Lesue to give the Blaze an early lead.
After nearly going four-and-out again, Coffman found Reggie Gray to extend their second attempt at a drive. On the very next play, it was Rodney Wright's turn to shine as he hauled in a 13 yard touchdown reception to tie the game. After the Blaze responded with another touchdown, Wright capped off a seven-play drive with a three-yard run to tie it back up. The see-saw action continued as Chicago and Utah traded two touchdowns apiece, going into the locker room at the half tied at 28.
The Blaze continued their offensive efficiency in the third quarter, as Grady found Mario Urrutia on a 16-yard pass to regain the lead. After Coffman connected with Reggie Gray in the end zone on a textbook back shoulder catch, Grady finally faltered. On a deep pass over the middle, defensive back Jorrick Calvin leapt into the play to collect his second interception in as many weeks. Unfortunately for the Rush, they turned it right back over with a lost fumble as they were about to take their first lead of the night. Grady answered with a six-yard drive, capped off with another touchdown toss to Urrutia. The momentum nearly tipped in favor of Utah as the resulting kickoff return was fumbled by Calvin and recovered by the Blaze. However, on Grady's first pass attempt of the drive, the ball bounced off the boards and right into defensive back Joe Phinisee's hands.
The fourth quarter started with new life for Chicago. Coffman put together an eight-play drive that took five minutes off the clock. Kicker Jose Martinez converted the extra point, giving the Rush their first lead of the night at 42-41. After trading two more touchdowns, the Rush defense turned the tide for good. On a Grady pass attempt, defensive lineman Brian McNally grabbed his throwing arm, and linebacker Kelvin Morris was able to snatch the ball out of the air and find his way into the end zone untouched.
Grady, not fazed by his fourth interception of the night, quickly found receiver Brandon Thompkins on a 45-yard bomb on the ensuing possession. With the two-point conversion successful, the game was once again tied up at 56 with just over a minute remaining. With the choice to either continue the offensive fireworks or slow it down, the Rush made the decision to burn some clock. After a few conservative plays, including an incomplete pass to run the clock down to 0.3 seconds, the stage was set for Martinez to win the game with a 23-yard field goal. After a picture-perfect snap by Anthony Hoke and hold by Vic Hall, Martinez nailed the kick to send the Rush home with a victory. The Rush move into first place in the division, and keep their record on the road perfect.
About the Chicago Rush The Chicago Rush will take on the Philadelphia Soul May 4th at the Allstate Arena.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Bloomington defeats Defenders
The Bloomington Edge defeated the Oklahoma Defenders 44-33 on Saturday night at the Tulsa Convention Center in Champions Professional Indoor Football League play. No statistics have been provided by the Defenders. The Edge are now 3-3 while the Defenders fall to 2-4. The Edge are in action next Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against the Kansas Koyotes in Topeka.
Wild Claim First Place with Victory over Beef
The Wichita Wild (6-1) and the Omaha Beef (4-1) entered Saturday night battling for first place in the CPIFL, with Wichita earning a 29-17 victory over Omaha to clinch the spot atop the CPIFL standings. Quarterback Rocky Hinds led the Wild to a win with an outstanding performance on the night including three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.
The Beef started the opening drive on the Omaha five yard line, courtesy of a touchback by Wild kicker Alex Fambrough. The Beef, however, overcame the poor field position to drive deep into Wild territory, but Wild defensive back Dan Kontz ended their drive with an interception. The Wild offense capitalized on the turnover as Hinds finished off the drive with a two yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tim Simmons, putting them in the lead 7-0. Omaha struck back quickly with a 14 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chuck Wright to wide receiver Jusmon Rivers to tie the game. Wichita was able to extend their lead again with completion of a long drive concluding with a four yard touchdown pass from Hinds to wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid. After a missed extra point by Fambrough, the Wild led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with an Omaha drive stalling as defensive lineman James McCartney produced his first sack of the game, holding the Beef to a 36 yard field goal that trimmed Wichita's lead to three, 13-10. Wichita countered with a field goal of their own, a 21 yarder by Fambrough to push the lead back to six, 16-10, but another quick drive by the Beef, finalized with a two yard touchdown run, would steal Wichita's lead, 17-16. After Wichita's next drive ended with a missed field goal by Fambrough from 20 yards out, the Beef attempted to convert once more before the end of the first half, but Wild defensive back Chris Hemphill halted their progress with Wichita's second interception on the night to leave the Beef with a one point a 17-16 lead at the half.
The second half began with a huge kick-off return for the Wild by Simmons, whose shifty moves helped him run the ball 29 yards to put Wichita in scoring position. The Wild drove all the way down to the Omaha six yard line, but a costly sack on third down held Wichita to a 43 yard field goal by Fambrough, putting the Wild back ahead 19-17. The Beef attempted to reclaim the lead with a field goal, but Omaha kicker Mike Stillmock's attempt would bounce off the upright. Wichita then began to pull away from the Beef with Fambrough's third successful field goal of the night and a 22-17 lead. Just before the end of the third quarter, long pass attempt by Omaha to the endzone would be intercepted by defensive back Kendrick Harper crushing any chance of a score.
Wichita continued to create scoring attempts in the final quarter, but would not be able to convert on a field goal that would have pushed their advantage over the Beef. The solid defending by Wichita continued with the Wild pinning the Beef deep in Omaha territory leading to a three and out and a Wild touchdown courtesy of a one yard run by Hinds for a 29-17 lead. After another empty possession for Omaha, running back Tywon Hubbard received the kick and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, but a block in the back penalty brought the ball back to the Wichita four yard line. The game came to an end when Matt Moss sacked Wright in the endzone, forcing a fumble and a Wild recovery on the Beef three yard line, clinching a 29-17 Wichita victory over Omaha.
The Wild hit the road next week, traveling to Sedalia, Missouri to take on the last placed Mid-Missouri Outlaws; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST).
Indoor Football League
Colorado Ice Lose on the Road
The Colorado Ice loses their second road game to the Sioux Falls Storm in the volatile Sioux Falls Arena. With less than twenty seconds on the clock the Ice score a touchdown bringing the score to 43 - 45. The Ice still had a chance to tie the game and take it in to overtime, but missed the PAT.
The Ice scored 5 touchdowns 4 by Kyle Kaiser (3) who had 130 yards receiving on 7 catches. Ice newcomer Rashad Mason (12) caught the final touchdown of the game taking the Ice within 2 points of tying the game. Willie Copeland (13) had 24 completions on 38 attempts and 278 yards passing.
Linebacker Rico McCoy (5) lead the Ice in tackles with 8 (3 solo and 5 assists), while defensive back Moses Ellis (6) had back to back interceptions after the first one was called back on a penalty.
The Runza player of the game is Kyle Kaiser. You can meet Kyle, Michael Stover and Greg Jackson this coming Tuesday, weather permitting, from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Come down to Runza of Loveland and meet some great players.
Next up for the Ice is the Nebraska Danger in Grand Island, NE. With the Ice loss and a Nebraska win this weekend, this game will be for the #1 ranking in the Intense Conference with both teams having 5 wins and 2 losses.
The next Colorado Ice home game is May 18th at 6:00 PM.
Revolution Lose 1st Home Game of Season 62-47
Just like the first time the Texas Revolution (3-4) played the Nebraska Danger (5-2), the Revs first half lead was erased in the 3rd quarter. Up 20-14 at the half, the Revolution quickly found them trailing 41-27 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Danger outscored them 27-7 in that quarter.The only score of the first quarter was a long 42 yard field goal by kicker Brett Peddicord (2-4 FG). The defense looked solid forcing many errant passes by Nebraska Quarterback Jameel Seweel (21-30, 260 yards, 5 TD). Despite being rattled early, he settled down and was able to make plays with both his arms and his legs the rest of the game.
The Revolution went behind partially to two key turnovers. On Revolution drives, one in the Red Zone, QB Marcus Jackson (18-36, 210 yards, 4 TD), was intercepted twice, giving away great scoring opportunities.
Phillip Barnett (8 rec, 81 yards, 3 TD) and Mack Ogletree (6 rec, 83 yards) led the Revolution receiving core. Keith Smith added on a TD reception as well.
The defense was led by Frankie Solomon Jr. with 9 tackles. Scooter Rogers forced a fumble and Brian Ellis recovered a fumble.
The Revolution travel up to Green Bay to face the Blizzard on Saturday April 27th. As always, fans are invited to watch the game from The Londoner Pub in Allen at the Official Away Game Watch Party.
Professional Indoor Football League
Raiders Fall to Columbus, 48-42
Turnovers and negative plays plagued both the Raiders and the Columbus Lions Saturday night, but it was the Raiders' miscues down the stretch that helped the Lions complete a 21-0 run to end the game and get a 48-42 home win.
The Raiders still had a chance to escape with victory, taking over at their own 20 with 19 seconds left. Thanks to a couple swing passes to Herb Jones and a Columbus penalty, they moved the ball to the 8 yard line with five seconds left. But Warren Smith's pass to the end zone went off Herb Jones' hands as time expired.
The teams traded touchdowns through the first quarter, but once the defenses got their footing the game's flow sputtered. Smith threw interceptions on two straight possessions, both to Anthony Shutt, but Columbus couldn't capitalize as they turned the ball over on downs and missed a field goal. Each team got another touchdown late in the first half, and when T.C. Stevens' 40 yard field goal attempt hit a speaker array hanging from the rafters, the Lions went in to the locker room with a 21-20 lead.
More miscues plagued the beginning of the second half, to the benefit of the Raiders. Davon Morgan forced a fumble on the opening kickoff return, and Calvin Brown recovered. Mike Jones eventually scored on a two yard run to give the Raiders the lead. A penalty negated a Morgan interception on the next Columbus drive, but on the next play RoShawn Marshall picked off Marcus Jones at the Raiders' two yard line. The Raiders moved the ball efficiently and Smith ran it in to put Richmond up 33-21.
The interception would be Jones' last play of the game. Backup quarterback Brian Harris came on in relief and engineered a touchdown drive to close the gap to six. Bad fortune would find the Raiders again, when tight end Nick Royal had a short pass bounce off his hands and into the arms of Lawon Scott for the third interception by the Lions' defense. But the Raiders' defense quickly re-seized momentum as Raibonne Charles pressured Harris in the back of the end zone, forcing a throwaway. When the pass failed to reach the line of scrimmage, the resulting safety from an intentional grounding penalty put the Raiders up 35-27. They would extend their lead early in the fourth quarter when Smith ran for his second touchdown, giving the Raiders a 15 point lead.
The final nine and a half minutes would belong to Harris and the Lions. A 23 yard touchdown to Gerald Gales, who finished with four scores, gave the Lions some life, and their defense stepped up by forcing a three and out. Stevens missed a long field goal, and Harris brought the Lions to within two on a six yard dart to Daniel Lee.
Trailing by just two with 2:06 remaining, the Raiders had an opportunity to bleed the clock. But once again, they couldn't muster a first down, gaining only five yards in four plays. Harris hooked up with Gales to give the Lions their first lead since halftime, setting up the final frantic sequence.
Smith completed 22 of 35 passes for 245 yards, but just one touchdown against three interceptions. Herb Jones caught 14 balls for 150 yards, and Mike Jones ran for 65 yards and three scores.
The Raiders now find themselves in a logjam in the PIFL standings, tied with Columbus and Albany for second place at 3-2. They will take on the SteelHawks in Lehigh Valley next week.
Steelhawks Fall in Last Seconds
In an intense back and forth game, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-3) couldn't complete an exciting comeback in the closing minutes of the game over the Alabama Hammers (5-1). With a final score of 79-77, the high scoring game did result in the Steelhawks completing the Domino's challenge. By scoring 50 points, all fans in the Lehigh Valley can receive 50% off all menu priced pizzas by using the code SH50 when ordering pizza from participating Lehigh Valley locations.
The scoring action started off right from the start as Alabama connected on a 25 yard touchdown pass just 11 seconds into the game. The Steelhawks answered with a K Evan Selman Field goal followed by a Marvin Johnson interception return for a score giving the Steelhawks an early 10-7. The game turned into an offensive onslaught from there.
Tied 37-37 at half both teams continued to wreak havoc through the air. Alabama Quarterback Russell Hill completed 17 passes on 32 attempts for 371 yards and eight touchdowns. Steelhawks backup Quarterback Hunter Wanket, playing for an injured Adam Bednarik was equally as good throwing 329 yards on 24 of 33 passing and five touchdowns to go along with three rushing scores. However the game came down to the end as the Steelhawks, down by eight with 37 seconds left, marched back for a touchdown as time expired. Unfortunately they could not convert the two point conversion with no time left to send the game into overtime losing by a final score of 79-77.
The Steelhawks will be returning home next weekend for their second of a three game home stand. The game next week against the Richmond Raiders on April 27th is Honor Education Night brought to you by McCann School of Business and Technology..
The Steelhawks have been working hard, both on and off the field, filling their roster with a ton of talent and adding great partners to the Steelhawk family. The Steelhawks' 2013 PIFL schedule is now available online and individual and season tickets are available. Get your season ticket flex plans now and you will get a FREE Steelhawk 9th Man jersey, and be entered to win a FREE vacation from Boscov's Travel! For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news!
Swashbucklers Win First Game of Season against Nighthawks
The fourth time becomes the charm as the Louisiana Swashbucklers take their first win of the season from the Knoxville Nighthawks 36-27 in the Smuggler's Den at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The team now moves to 1-3 on the year as the Nighthawks drop to 1-5.
Knoxville drew first blood when fullback Daccus Turman punched the ball in from 20 yards out on a run. It would not be until five minutes later on the game clock when Louisiana returned the favor as Willie Pritchett found paydirt on a seven-yard run. Though it looked like the first quarter would end tied, that changed when Bucs wide receiver Jordan Rideaux caught a 25-pass from quarterback Chris Mitchell to break the tie right as the first period ended.
The second quarter would see no scoring until nine minutes remaining when once again Turman found the end zone for Knoxville. Now it was tied at 14-14. With five minutes left in the half Swashbucklers running back Kendrick Perry caught a 15-yard pass from Mitchell. With the PAT good from kicker Blake Bercegeay, Louisiana goes ahead 21-14. When it looked like the Bucs were on the verge of scoring again after Jordan Rideaux caught a long pass from Mitchell and brought the ball to the 11-yard line, Cortland Bell fumbles and the Nighthawks recovered. Not long afterwards Louisiana's Damien Huren recovers a blocked kick from Knoxville and runs 23 yards into the end zone to make the score 27-14 at the half.
The second half started with a Knoxville score three minutes into the quarter when Joseph Rico caught a down-the-field bomb from quarterback Anthony Speight closing the score to 27-21. Later, Gini Ibe for the Nighthawks intercepted a Bucs pass and ran it to the four. A field goal would follow shortly making the scoreboard read 27-24 with seven minutes remaining. They would tie the Bucs 27-27 at the end of the quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Luke Collis.
The fourth quarter got interesting. With just four minutes into the period Rideaux punched the ball into the end zone from six yards out and with a successful point after it was now 33-27. The remainder of the quarter had both teams attempting to put more points on the board in successive series with little luck. With two and a half minutes left in regulation, defensive back Brian Harvey Jr. intercepted the ball from Knoxville on the 10-yard line. Though the opposing defensive kept the Bucs offense at bay, Louisiana put the game away with a 46-yard field goal by Bercegeay with less than one minute left to go. Though Knoxville tried a field goal attempt, it wound up being no good.
The Swashbucklers will now begin a three-game road trip as they travel to the Columbus Civic Center next Saturday, April 27th, to take on the Columbus Lions. They will be looking to avenge a 45-42 loss to the Lions on April 13th.