Sunday, April 28, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Storm Defeats the Shock 70-62
The Tampa Bay Storm (4-2, 1-1) defeated the formerly undefeated Spokane Shock (5-1, 2-0) Saturday evening at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, in front of a crowd 9,872 fans, by a score of 70-62. The game saw the Storm defense intercept Erik Meyer twice, breaking his streak of 193 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
The Storm defense led the way in the first half holding the Shock's high-powered offense to only seven points. The Storm defense came away with two interceptions giving the team its fifth consecutive game with an interception. Defensive lineman Rodney Beamon had an interception to go along with his sack for a loss of 10 yards.
The Storm offense was led by the combination of Adrian McPherson and Joe Hills. They connected nine times for 177 yards and five touchdowns. Hills extended his streak of games with multi-touchdown receptions to 10. Receiver Greg Ellingson also caught eight passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson completed 21-of-36 passes for 310 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns.
The Shock came back at the half, scoring twice within the first five minutes of the second half, but the rally was short lived as the Storm scored on its next possession with a 42-yard reception by Joe Hills.
The highlight of the night for the Shock was a 58-yard kick return for a touchdown by defensive back Terrance Sanders. The Shock outscored the Storm by 14 points in the third quarter, but it was not enough to overcome the Storm. The team's offense was led by Eric Meyer who through for 222 yards and six touchdowns, and two interceptions on 16-of-30 passing. His primary target was Adron Tennell who caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tampa Bay Storm heads home for its matchup with the New Orleans VooDoo at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on "Net10 Arena Football Saturday Night" on CBS Sports Network this coming Saturday, May 4...Kickoff is set for 9:00 PM ET.
Sharks Take Down Soul, 55-53, for Sixth Straight Win
With his team clinging to a two-point lead in the final minute, Jacksonville Sharks' defensive back Terrance Smith knocked away a would-be game-tying pass, then recovered an onside kick to seal the Sharks' 55-53 win over the Philadelphia Soul at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
Jacksonville (6-0) held a 55-47 lead with under a minute left, before Philadelphia (2-3) fullback Derrick Ross shook off several defenders to bring his team within two with a short rushing touchdown on fourth and goal with 18 seconds left. After a delay of game penalty moved Philadelphia back, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh looked for Larry Brackins in the corner of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt. Smith stayed with the six-foot-five Brackins and tipped the pass away, keeping the Sharks in front. On the next play, Smith tracked down Carlos Martinez' onside kick attempt, allowing the Sharks to retain possession and run out the clock. With the win, the Sharks remained perfect in 2013, extending what has become by far the team's best start to a season in franchise history.
The dramatic finish ended what was actually a two-score game for much of the second half. On the possession before Ross' late touchdown, Jacksonville had the ball with a chance to seal the game, but the Soul defense held and forced a field goal attempt. Marco Capozzoli's kick missed wide right, and Philadelphia returner Rayshaun Kizer returned the free ball past midfield to give the Soul another chance.
Jacksonville led almost wire-to-wire, taking the lead for good after Philadelphia scored the game's first touchdown. Morris tied a career high with eight touchdown passes, connecting on 17 of his 26 passes for 219 yards and eight touchdowns. Jeron Harvey scored a touchdown on each of his five catches, setting a new career high with those five touchdown grabs. At one point in the second half, Harvey caught a touchdown pass on four consecutive Jacksonville possessions.
The Sharks received the game's opening kickoff but started slow, going four and out on the game's first possession. Philadelphia took over and scored first, as Ross plunged in from two yards out for the first score of the evening. But on the ensuing possession, Morris' pump fake allowed Markee White to slip past his man and glide under a 30-yard touchdown pass that put the Sharks ahead, 7-6."¨
On the Soul's next drive, Tracy Belton generated the game's first turnover with an outstanding hustle play. After Raudabaugh completed a pass to Alvance Robinson, Belton stripped the football, collected the fumble himself and returned it for 13 yards to improve the Sharks' field position. A few plays later, Morris went deep again, this time looking for Jeff Hughley who made an impressive catch up against the wall in the corner of the end zone. The 29-yard touchdown gave the Sharks a 14-6 lead."
The teams then traded touchdowns, as Andrae Thurman collected a touchdown pass from Raudabaugh and then Harvey hauled in an 18-yard pass from Morris with a sliding catch in the end zone, putting Jacksonville ahead by a 21-12 count. Belton stepped up again on Philadelphia's next drive, knocking away a fourth down pass in much the same way as he did to seal the Sharks' Week 5 win over the Iowa Barnstormers. The Sharks took over deep in Philadelphia territory, and the Jacksonville offense converted in short order with a three-yard pass from Morris to White."
Now trailing 28-12, Philadelphia closed the first half with back-to-back scores. After Derrick Ross broke through the line and trotted in for a 16-yard rushing touchdown, Soul Jack linebacker Joe Goosby gathered an interception off a ball deflected by a fellow Soul defender. On fourth and goal in the final minute of the half, Brackins outmuscled Smith for a three-yard touchdown catch, cutting the Sharks' lead to 28-26 at the break.
On the first play of the second half, Belton swung momentum with his second forced fumble of the game. This time, Belton knocked it loose from the grip of Tiger Jones, and Smith pounced on the loose ball. The ensuing drive ended with an outstanding catch by Harvey, who made a one-handed grab on a three-yard pass from Morris despite defensive pass interference being committed on the play. Harvey's score gave the Sharks a 35-26 lead."
After Jones finished a Soul drive with a short rushing touchdown, Harvey delivered again with his third score of the game, this time on a 10-yard pass from Morris that put the Sharks up 42-33 late in the third."¨
The Sharks' front four finally broke through against Philadelphia's pass protection unit late in the third, as Aaron Robbins brought down Raudabaugh to end the quarter. The reigning First Team All-Arena Mac linebacker, Robbins extended his streak to five consecutive games with a sack. A few plays later, Belton's tight coverage forced an incompletion on fourth down, allowing the Sharks to take over on downs with a nine-point edge.
Harvey followed that defensive stop with his third touchdown in as many drives, breaking free on a second-down play from near midfield. Morris hit his wide-open receiver, as Harvey's fourth touchdown catch of the game extended Jacksonville's advantage to 48-33 with just under ten minutes remaining.
Though Philadelphia responded with a quick touchdown, Harvey delivered yet again on the Sharks' next drive. Harvey out-jumped two Philadelphia defenders to bring down his career-high fifth touchdown of the game, putting the Sharks back up by two scores, 55-40. Thurman answered with a touchdown to pull the Soul within eight points, setting up the dramatic finish in the final minutes.
As Harvey led the Sharks with his five touchdowns, White chipped in with five catches for 65 yards and two scores of his own. Though he was held out of the end zone, Hughley led Jacksonville with seven receptions for 98 yards, adding 96 kick return yards for a game-high total of 194 all-purpose yards. Morris gained 45 yards on eight rushing attempts.
Defensively, Smith led the team with 7.5 total tackles (seven solo) and his fumble recovery, while Belton had a tremendous all-around game, totaling seven tackles (six solo), two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Robbins totaled two tackles for loss to go along with his sack, and Jerry Turner blocked an extra point.
For Philadelphia, Raudabaugh went 24-for-37 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Ross scored three rushing touchdowns on his 13 carries, totaling 38 yards on the ground. Tiger Jones led all players with nine catches for 148 yards, but was kept out of the end zone by the Jacksonville defense. Thurman and Brackins each caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Soul.
Jacksonville returns home to put its perfect record on the line next week against the defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, May 4. Kickoff on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
SaberCats Claw Past VooDoo
The New Orleans VooDoo (1-4) drop their fourth straight as they fall to the San Jose SaberCats (3-2) 57-38 in front of a crowd of 4,357 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night.
VooDoo quarterback Zack Eskridge got the start ahead of the injured Kurt Rocco, and he struggled out of the gate. Eskridge threw three straight incomplete passes on the team's first possession, leading to a missed field goal. The VooDoo took over after the SaberCats fumbled deep in New Orleans territory, but Eskridge tossed an interception to San Jose linebacker Huey Whittaker, who returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. The VooDoo added three to make it a 7-3 ballgame. The VooDoo scored 14 straight points in the second quarter as kick returned Quorey Payne rattled of a 57-yard return for a touchdown, the second consecutive week he has done that. The VooDoo then recorded a safety, but Eskridge was picked off again on the ensuing possession, this time in the end zone. The VooDoo defense struck back as defensive back Eddie Moten grabbed his third interception of the season. Eskridge later found Duvault for a nine yard score to make it 17-14.
San Jose countered with a 47-yard touchdown, a one-play drive, from quarterback Russ Michna to receiver Jamarko Simmons to retake the lead 21-17. The SaberCats successfully executed an onside kick after challenging the original call of illegal touching. The Cats turned that into a nine yard score from Michna to Whittaker to take a 28-17 halftime lead. Michna was efficient tonight, completing 23 of 35 passes for 312 yards and six touchdowns.
San Jose kept the pedal down as Michna found receiver Fred Williams on another one-play scoring drive, this one a 45-yarder for the touchdown. The SaberCats added a safety as Eskridge was charged with intentional grounding in the end zone. San Jose turned it over on downs and Eskridge helped cut the lead to 37-24 after a 1-yard touchdown run. Payne nearly broke off another return for a touchdown but was cut down at the San Jose 23 yard line. Eskridge was knocked out of the game after a roughing the passer penalty on San Jose. Eskridge finished the night 7-18 for 67 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Newly acquired quarterback Bill Stull checked into the game for New Orleans and led the way 8-14 for 97 yards and a touchdown. Simmons would find the end zone once more on a 1-yard run, and Michna connected with receiver Fred Williams for a touchdown to keep the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Stull's lone touchdown pass was to Courtney Smith as time expired.
VooDoo fans were treated to the team's throwback purple uniforms. The team opted to go with the purple because of popular demand from fans and as a way to kick off their six-game stint of home games in the Superdome. But the purple jersey magic wasn't enough.
New Orleans begins a three-game road trip against Tampa Bay, Iowa, and Spokane before they return home on May 25 to take on Chicago.
Utah Blaze Conquer Cleveland Gladiators, 57-40
The Utah Blaze (2-3) put forth its most complete effort of the season in a 57-40 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators (1-4) on Saturday night. Utah dominated the third quarter, outscoring the opponent 21-0 while coming up with three turnovers.
MVP quarterback Tommy Grady completed 30-of-42 attempts for 300 yards with seven touchdowns before being relieved by backup Jason Boltus in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Aaron Lesue turned in an outstanding performance, coming up with a season-high 14 receptions for 156 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Blaze forced five takeaways on the night, coming up with two interceptions and three turnovers on downs. Maurice Leggett led the way for Utah, registering seven tackles with five pass breakups and one interception. David Hyland also notched an interception, as he totaled four tackles and two pass breakups in the game.
Cleveland got on the board first, as wide receiver Jonathan Lewis caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brian Zbydniewski to take a 7-0 lead. However, wide receiver Mario Urrutia quickly tied the game for the Blaze, hauling in an 11-yard score from Grady.
The Gladiators regained the lead on the following possession, capping off a six-play, 45-yard drive with a quarterback sneak from Zbydniewski. But the Blaze needed just one play to find the end zone, as Grady scrambled to avoid pressure before launching a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open Aaron Lesue. Cleveland maintained a 14-13 lead, as kicker Adrian Trevino missed the extra point and was injured on the play, forcing Utah to go for two during the remainder of the game.
The Blaze opened the second quarter with a turnover on downs, as pressure by the defensive line forced an incomplete pass by Zbydniewski on fourth-and-goal. Utah found the end zone four plays and 43 yards later, as wide receiver L.J. Castile secured a 16-yard touchdown reception that sent him flying into the dasher boards. A failed two-point conversion attempt gave the Blaze a 19-14 advantage midway through the second frame.
Cleveland scored quickly off a touchdown run by Zbydniewski after a failed onside kick attempt gave the Gladiators the ball at Utah's five yard line, taking a 21-19 lead. On the ensuing possession, Tommy Grady capped off a 10-play, 38-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak and Urrutia successfully converted a two-point conversion to a take a 27-21 lead at halftime.
Grady hooked up with Urrutia on a five-yard touchdown completion on the opening possession of the third quarter to put Utah ahead, 33-21. On the ensuing Gladiators drive, defensive back David Hyland went flying over the boards while securing an interception in the end zone to give the ball back to the Blaze. Grady and Lesue successfully converted the turnover into points, as Lesue snared a 16-yard touchdown pass before hauling in the two-point conversion to give Utah a 41-21 advantage.
Defensive back Maurice Leggett halted another Gladiators drive moments later with another interception and Lesue once again found the end zone on the ensuing Blaze possession. Grady hit Lesue from six yards out for a touchdown and Mario Urrutia came down with the two-point conversion, as Utah mounted a 49-21 lead at the end of the third period.
Cleveland finally found the end zone again to start the fourth quarter, as Zbydniewski hooked up Wilson from 19 yards out. But the Gladiators would be unsuccessful on the onside kick attempt and the Blaze quickly converted the great field position into a score, as Grady connected with Lesue on a 12-yard touchdown and fullback Yoshi Hardrick pounded the two-point attempt into the end zone to take a 57-28 lead.
The Gladiators scored twice to end the game, as Zbydniewski tossed another score to Wilson and fullback Derik Steiner rushed for a one-yard touchdown.
With another victory under their belts, the Utah Blaze will return to Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 4th to take on the division-rival Spokane Shock. Kickoff from EnergySolutions Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Renegades lose 47-31
KC narrowed an 11-point halftime deficit to 3 points early in the fourth quarter thanks to a Kansas City fumble recovery and score. But Salina kept the lead out of reach when they scored on a 4th and goal from the goalline. Kansas City appeared to have intercepted the ball earlier in the drive, but it was wiped away by an offsides penalty.
Following Salina's clutch score, Kansas City had their chance to answer and narrow it back to a 3-point game. But a Carlos Cavanaugh pass got deflected into the air and found a Bomber. The turnover (KC was -1 in turnovers on the game) led directly to another Salina score, putting the game away at 47-31.
The Bombers dazzled their traveling fans with multiple deep touchdown completions and very few goalline scores. Meanwhile, Kansas City consistently marched down to the goalline, but couldn't always punch it in.
Running back Keithen Valentine scored two rushing touchdowns, but Kansas City was denied on two other drives at the goalline..
Valentine also had a reception touchdown. WR Anthony Parks had a receiving touchdown to round out KC's four touchdown scores.
Special teams threat OJ Simpson was neutralized for the second week in a row because the Bombers refused to kick him the ball. Instead they squibbed it. In the second quarter, a surprise onside kick caught KC off guard. The recovery and quick touchdown score extended Salina's lead to 28-10 in the 2nd quarter, a score that Kansas City had to slowly work their way back from.
Kansas City seemed to capture momentum early in the 4th quarter when Keithen Valentine caught a Cavanaugh pass following a Kansas City fumble recovery. That brought the score to 34-31 Salina, but that was as close as KC got.
Following Valentine's score, the Renegades were unsuccessful on a surprise onside kick attempt, giving the ball to Salina inside the 10. The defense put up a stand, but on fourth down Salina scored on a pitch to the left.
When it came time for Kansas City to bring it back to a 3-point game with around 3 minutes to play, Cavanaugh's pass was deflected and intercepted. The turnover and resulting Salina touchdown sealed the game.
Kansas City, 4-3, plays host to Sioux City next Saturday at 7:05. Sioux City beat KC earlier this year, 38-26.
Edge Shut out Koyotes for Second Straight Road Win
The Bloomington Edge defense came up big, holding the Kansas Koyotes scoreless in a 48-0 win in Champions Professional Football League action Saturday at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas.
The Edge would open up their scoring with a pass from quarterback Jim DuPage, finding Andre Raymond on a short dump-off pass for a 25-yard touchdown at the 2:48 mark in the first quarter.
The Edge would add 14 more points in the second quarter after a 7-yard touchdown pass from DuPage to Raymond and a 1-yard touchdown run for Antonio Ficklin to give the Edge a 21-0 lead at half time.
In the second half the Koyotes were looking for their first score in Edge territory before Josh Walker would come up with a drive-stopping interception, leading to one of two Marcus Lewis 3rd quarter touchdowns.
Lewis would end up with 5 receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns after touchdown receptions of 8 and 40 yards, both coming from DuPage who was 10-of-22 with 163 yards through the air with 4 touchdowns and one interception.
With time running out in the 4th quarter, the Koyotes would bring out the kicking unit in attempt to cut into the Edge lead, but Ross Cochran had a better idea, blowing through the line and blocking the long field goal attempt. Defensive lineman Antonio Ficklin would recover the ball and take it in for the score, giving the Edge the 41-0 advantage with 10:58 left in the game. With under a minute remaining in the game Lee Banks would cap the game off with a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Edge would improve on their season to 4-3 and put together their first back to back wins on the year. Cochran had a team leading 7 tackles with 1.5 sacks.
The next Edge game will be a meeting with the Haymakers in Lincoln Nebraska next Saturday at 7:05pm.
The Edge return home for their final two home games on May 10 and May 17.
Wild Control Outlaws in Blowout
The Wichita Wild (7-1) defeated the Mid Missouri Outlaws (0-7) in a final score 82-9 Saturday night in Sedalia, Missouri. In a true team effort, the Wild scored a season high 82 points to maintain their place atop the CPIFL standings.
Wild wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid kicked off the game with an incredible catch while falling onto his back in the middle of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. An extra point by Alex Fambrough allowed the Wild a 7-0 lead. The Outlaws followed up the Wild's score with a drive of their own all the way down to the Wild seven yard line, but a strong defensive effort by Darius Parish, Kiaree Daniels and Chris Hemphill prevented them from cashing in. After gaining possession of the ball on a turnover on downs, Kassanavoid picked up his second touchdown of the night off a pass from Rocky Hinds and an extra point put the Wild up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Wild continued to shut out the Outlaws with their explosive defense, giving the Wild offense a chance to extend their lead with a touchdown run by Tywon Hubbard, leaving the score, 21-0. Mid-Missouri could not catch a break from the Wild defense, as Kiaree Daniels intercepted the ball to allow Hubbard his second touchdown of the night capped off with an extra point for a Wild 28-0 advantage. On the Outlaws next possession, quarterback Damien Dunning threw his second straight interception, this time caught by the Wild's Kendrick Harper made complete by a 35 yard field goal by Fambrough to bring the Wild lead to 31-0. After another empty run by the Outlaws offense, Tim Simmons scored for the Wild and with an extra point, gave the Wild a 38-0 lead. Just before the end of the first half, Mid Missouri was finally able to convert a field goal for their first points of the game leaving the score 38-3 in favor of the Wild at the half.
Although Mid-Missouri opened the quarter with the ball, the turnovers continued with back to back interceptions, resulting in the Wild extending their lead, 52-3. On the very next possession, the Outlaws fumbled the ball allowing the Wild to run the ball in courtesy of Jarell Kelley for a 59-3 advantage. Finally able to put a drive together, the Outlaws were unsuccessful in their ability to put points on the board. Easily controlling the game, the Wild took over for another touchdown, run in by Travis Ribbing to close the quarter with a commanding lead.
To start the fourth quarter, Fambrough hit a 25 yard field goal to expand Wichita's lead, 69-3. A 27 yard run by Ken Davis, set the Outlaws up for their first touchdown of the night to leave the Wild ahead 69-9. Ribbing answered back for the Wild with his second touchdown of the night followed by a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Darius Parish to end the game with an 82-9 victory in favor of Wichita.
The Wild will return home May 4th to host the Oklahoma Defenders in Hartman Arena; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Professional Indoor Football League
Raiders Defeat SteelHawks, 66-64
The Raiders rallied from a 21 point deficit and bottled up the Lehigh Valley offense in the second half en route to their second win over the SteelHawks in three weeks, 66-64 at Stabler Arena. Warren Smith threw for eight touchdowns and RoShawn Marshall intercepted Adam Bednarik on the "˜Hawks' last two possessions to seal the victory.
Lehigh Valley held a 12 point lead at halftime but managed just one touchdown after the break. The Raiders' defense, which utilized a defensive lineman and linebacker by committee approach, limited the SteelHawks to field goals to finish the third quarter, and came up with takeaways at the most important junctures in the game. The first came after the Raiders turned the ball over on downs after failing on fourth and goal from the one yard line, and the second came as Lehigh Valley was driving to the Raiders' 15 yard line with less than a minute to go.
Early on, the game looked like it might turn into a runaway. John Kennedy recovered a fumble when Warren Smith got hit in the pocket, and picked off Smith in the span of three drives. The SteelHawk offense showed why it was the league's most potent, racking up touchdowns the first five times they had the ball and putting up 51 points in the first half. When Adam Bednarik hooked up with Tom Gilson from nine yards out as the first quarter ended, it was 29-8 and the Raiders were reeling.
Smith quickly righted the ship, engineering a quick 25 yard touchdown drive, then throwing three straight TD passes to Jason Lovett, who finished with six receptions, five for scores, and 138 yards. The Raiders drew to within a touchdown twice in the second quarter, but after Bednarik ran for his second TD, had to settle for a field goal on fourth and goal with four seconds left.
Hakeem Moore became Smith's target of choice in the third quarter, hauling in touchdowns of 33 and 32 yards. Meanwhile, the defense harassed Bednarik to the tune of just 5-for-15 and 50 yards in the second half. Lovett's final touchdown brought the Raiders to within two, but Evan Selman's second field goal gave the SteelHawks some breathing room. The Raiders were poised to take their first lead since the opening kickoff and drove inside the Lehigh Valley 10, but Smith was stopped short of the end zone on a third down keeper, and lost four yards on fourth down.
The SteelHawks had the ball, the lead, and the momentum, but lost all three in the span of three plays. Marshall picked off a long Bednarik pass and returned it to the 10, and Smith hit Herb Jones on the next play to put the Raiders up by two with 4:16 remaining. Lehigh Valley took more than three minutes off the clock and were poised to at least get a short field goal to take the lead, but for the second straight week, they turned the ball over in the final minute. Marshall stepped in front of Bednarik's pass at the five yard line, returned it to the 21, and two Rodney Sledge runs later, the Raiders had the win.
The Raiders set season highs in points and in total yards (361). Smith ended with 327 yards on 18 completions with eight touchdowns. Lovett and Moore each caught six passes for over 130 yards. The Raiders moved to 4-2 and into sole possession of second place behind the 5-2 Alabama Hammers.
The Raiders will return home next week to face the Albany Panthers in a rematch of last year's championship game. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.
Nighthawks Beat Hammers in Slugfest
There is something about playing the number one team in the PIFL that the Knoxville Nighthawks really enjoy. The Nighthawks hit the road again Saturday as they traveled to Huntsville, AL to take on the top team in the league, the Alabama Hammers. Knoxville went into tonight's game seeking to find the magic they had the first time they played the best team in the PIFL. Once again, the Nighthawks found that magic and beat the Alabama Hammers 53-51.
The first half was like two heavy weights in a slug fest. Alabama started off quickly with a strike to Mico McSwain on the third play of the game for the touchdown. The Hammers converted the extra point and kick off for the uno to make the score 8-0. Knoxville then slowly moved the ball down the field and got to the 12 yard line of the Hammers. Armando Cuko nailed a field goal to make the score 8-3. The Hammers wasted no time scoring their their second touchdown of the evening as Dan Ross ran the ball in from the two yard line. The Hammers then hit the extra point and got the no making the score 16-3. The Nighthawks were not fazed. On the third play of their next possession, the Nighthawks' new quarterback Ryan Porter found Kelvin Bolden for a long pass and the touchdown. The score was then 16-10. Then the Hammers struck again with a pass to CJ Johnson for the touchdown and the score at the end of the first quarter was 23-10.
In the second quarter, the Nighthawks marched right back down the field and capped off the drive with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Deandre Brown and cut the score to 23-17. The Nighthawks held the Hammers to a 3 and 15 situation, however CJ Johnson slipped by the defense for the long touchdown and the Hammer made the score 30-17 with 7:50 left in the first half. On the next drive for Knoxville, Daccus Turman scored on a long run. Cuko hit the extra point and uno bringing the score to 37-31 with one minute left in the half. Alabama started marching down the field and got inside to the 8 yard line of the Nighthawks. But Stanley Clark came up with a huge play on defense as he intercepted the ball with 6.5 seconds left. After one pass play, Cuko scored on a long field goal. The score at the half was 37-34 Alabama.
Things slowed down just a bit in the 3rd quarter. The Nighthawks received the ball to start the second half. They moved the ball down the field, however were intercepted in the end zone. The Hammers took advantage of the situation and appeared to have take control of the game as they scored two more touchdowns. The Nighthawks could only manage a field goal as Alabama lead 51-37.
In the fourth quarter, the Knoxville refused to quit. Nighthawk fullback Daccus Turman scored on a 1 yard touchdown run. Cuko hit the extra point and uno to bring the score to 51-45 with 5 minutes left in the game. On the Hammers next possession, the Nighthawk defense stepped up. Knoxville got a sack and forced Alabama to kick a field goal, which was no good. With less than a minute to play, the Nighthawks went to work from their own five yard line. It did not take long for Porter to hook up with a wide open Deandre Brown who raced down the sidelines for the score. Cuko connected on the extra point and made another uno to make the score 53-51. But it was not over yet. Alabama began moving the ball down the field. With 6 seconds remaining in the game. Alabama made a decision to go for the win on a field goal attempt. But it was not meant to be as Hammers kicker Brian Jackson missed the opportunity allowing the Nighthawks to win their second game of the season.
Nighthawks head coach Cosmo Dematteo said, "This was a great win for our team tonight. To beat the best team in the PIFL is truly a testament to the hard work our guys have put in on the practice field. We will enjoy this for now and get back to work and prepare for a good Louisiana team. We look forward to playing again at home next week and in front of our fans."
The Nighthawks will be back at home Saturday, May 4th as they take on the Louisiana Swashbucklers for the second of three meeting this season. Game time is at 7:00 pm EST.
Lions Walk The Plank In Loss To Bucs
From the opening coin toss to the final blow of the whistle, on Saturday the Columbus Lions (3-3) of the Professional Indoor Football League got man-handled in a 77-65 thrashing at the hands of the Louisiana Swashbucklers (2-3).
Going into the game it is one thing to know who the best player on the opposing team is, but a total separate idea on how to stop that player. Thus was the case for the Columbus Lions on Saturday as coming into their contest against the Swashbucklers they knew their main threat was that of WR Jordan Rideaux.
Rideaux was a one-man wrecking crew hauling in nine passes for 117 yards and five touchdowns accounting of 1/3 of the Swashbucklers total offense. QB Chris Mitchell arguable had his strongest passing performance of the season completing 20 of 30 passes for 266 yards and six touchdowns while FB Kendrick Perry scored his first multi-touchdown in 2013 finding the end-zone on three rushing scores. The three headed rushing attack of Mitchell, Perry, and WR Sammy Knight pitched in with a season-high 98 yards keeping the Columbus defense on their heels for much of the night.
Offensively, the Lions were unable to solve the mystery that was the Swashbucklers secondary as new starting QB Brian Harris completed just 18 of 32 passes in addition to throwing three interceptions and fumbling the ball twice. WR Jarmon Fortson was the main receiving target on the night nabbing seven receptions for 84 yards while finding the end-zone once.
Early in the 1st quarter, DB LeRoy Vann picked up his second special teams touchdown of the season scoring on a 56-yard kick-off return. Taking into account his Week 1 special teams touchdowns, to date Vann is the only player in the PIFL to have scored a touchdown on special teams as well as being the only player in PIFL history to have scored a touchdown in four different facets in one season.
For Louisiana, their win over Columbus gives them their second straight overall while breaking a four-game losing streak on the road. Next week they continue on their three-game road swing when they face-off against the Knoxville Nighthawks (2-5) who pulled off a 53-51 up-set the first-place Alabama Hammers (5-2) Saturday night.
Columbus drops back to .500 and next Sunday will make their first ever trip to Bethlehem, PA taking on the reeling Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-4) losers of three straight.

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