Arena Football League
Orlando Shocks Spokane in Wild West Shootout, 83-82
Orlando (2-5) came into Spokane riding high after their first win of the season in Pittsburgh, and dropped the Shock (5-3) in one of the highest scoring games in AFL history, 83-82, on a last second touchdown pass from future Hall of Famer Aaron Garcia.
Unlike last week in Pittsburgh, the first quarter was an explosive one, with both teams trying to get out of the gates rolling. Once again, the Predator's opponents strike first on a 7-yard pass from Spokane QB Erik Meyer and the Shock take the lead 7-0. Orlando responded quickly, with Maurice Williams returning a 56-yard kickoff for a touchdown; which tied the score 7-7.
Orlando decided that after that score, it was time to take a risk and tried an onside kick. In an unlucky turn of events for the Predators, Spokane recovered and returned the short kick for an 11-yard touchdown, after missing the extra point attempt the score stood at 13-7. Spokane took advantage of a confused offensive line for the Predators to put pressure on Aaron Garcia on the next drive, which led to a fumble. Meyer, once again led Spokane down the field to take the lead 20-7. Orlando and Spokane would trade touchdowns at the end of the quarter and at the end of an explosive first quarter the score stood at 27-13 with the Shock having the lead.
Both teams came into the second quarter ready to pick up where they left off in the first, Aaron Garcia led off the quarter with an impressive 20-yard pass to Jason Geathers in the endzone, to bring the Predators within 7, 27-20. On the ensuing kickoff, the Shock would return their second kickoff for a touchdown. However, the Garcia would once again step up with a 32-yard pass to T.T. Toliver and keep Orlando in the game 34-27. Spokane would turn up the heat and score two straight touchdowns, one on a fumble in the endzone and go up by 3 touchdowns 48-27. The teams would continue to trade touchdowns for the rest of the quarter and the high scoring first half would come to a close with Spokane still up by 21, 62-41.
Orlando received the ball at the beginning of the 2nd half and began a must score drive to stay in the game. Garcia connected with T.T. Toliver for a huge touchdown to bring Orlando within 14. After a much needed stop by the Predators, Garcia leads Orlando down the field once again and scores on a beautiful fade pass to the back of the endzone which is caught by Jason Geathers, however a missed extra point keeps Orlando down by 8, 62-54.
After being shut down in the 3rd, the Shock came out in the fourth and quickly scored on a four yard pass to Adron Tennell. Orlando wanted to respond, and Aaron Garcia came up once again with a 41-yard pass to Mauri Williams on the first play of the drive. Spokane's offence seemed to revive, however Aaron Garcia did not falter either, and the track meet that was began in the first half was continued in the fourth quarter. After trading scores again, the Predators went for a two point conversion and made it count to cut the lead to a single touchdown with 7:05 left in the game. Spokane would respond once again and make it a 13 point lead on Meyer's seventh passing touchdown of the game.
Orlando would fail to convert on a 4th down with less than one minute in the game, but would come up with an interception to get back in the game, and after Garcia throws his tenth touchdown of the game, the Predators cut the lead to six. Travis Goldman would recover an onside kick for the Predators with 28 seconds remaining in the game and Garcia, led the team down the field and Orlando took the lead for the first and final time in the game with 5.7 seconds left in the game, 83-82. Aaron Garcia, the EDC player of the game, threw for 441 yards and 11 touchdown passes in the game.
Talons Claw Their Way to Victory 34-30 over Jacksonville
Perseverance from the Talons offense proved the difference Saturday night, as the San Antonio Talons (3-4) overcame a contest filled with turnovers and interceptions to take down the Jacksonville Sharks (6-2) with a score of 34-30 giving them just their second loss of the season. Xavier Lee and D.J. Stephens worked together to produce a dual threat to Jacksonville's defense. They combined for four touchdowns and 254 yards on the night in front of a crowd of 7,869 at the Alamodome.
Jacksonville's Jeff Hughley returned Demos 'opening kickoff 14 yards before he was taken down by Pierre Turner. The Sharks completed six plays for 36 yards in their opening drive, but were unsuccessful after Morris' pass was intercepted by Jamar Ransom in the end zone. It took the Talons only four plays to find the end zone with Hill's 28 yard pass to Stephens. Demos' extra point put the Talons on top 7-0 with 7:57 left in the first quarter.
Morris favorited receiver Jeff Hughley from the start, but they failed to connect in their second drive of the game. The Talons offense came out strong in the first play of their second possession with Hill's 27 yard sideline pass to Xavier Lee for San Antonio's second touchdown, putting the Talons up 14-0. With less than a minute to go in the first quarter, Defensive Lineman Justin Parrish ran a four yard touchdown, but Capozzoli's failed extra point resulted in a 14-6 Talon lead. Only seconds remained on the clock when Talons secured possession at the end of the first quarter. The Talons continued their drive in the second quarter where Hill was sacked for a loss of 5 yards after a couple of rush attempts. Demos' failed 64 yard field goal left the score at 14-6 Talons, but not for long.
Bernard Morris began to find his rhythm, completing passes to White and Harvey in Jacksonville's drive. Defensive Lineman Matt Marcorelle finally found the end zone on his second rush attempt, and Capozzoli's kick brought the Sharks within a point of the Talons lead 13-14. Hill was able to connect with Stephens and Wilson, but was eventually intercepted by Smith. Jacksonville capitalized on the interception, scoring on Morris' pass to Harvey to give the Sharks their first lead of the game with 5:14 left in the half.
San Antonio had a rough third quarter. Hill was sacked for a loss of four yards, and was intercepted by Tracy Belton. Adding a glimmer of hope, Hisatake forced a fumble by Belton, but the Talons were unable to capitalize on the opportunity when Hill was sacked and Jacksonville recovered the fumble resulting in a 16 yard rushing touchdown by Morris. The Sharks lead quickly jumped to 27-14 with 6:09 left in the third. The last drive of the third quarter the Talons completed 8 plays and emerged victorious when Hill found Stephens with a 14 yard pass and no time left on the clock. Even with a miss kick attempt by Demos, Stephens' touchdown brought the game within one position at the end of the third quarter.
Sharks kicker, Capozzoli completed a 24 yard field goal to secure a double digit lead at 30-20. San Antonio answered back with a 28 yard touchdown catch by Wide Receiver D.J. Stephens to bring the Talons within three points and less than 9 minutes left to play. On the assuming kickoff the Sharks committed a personal foul pushing them back and shifting momentum to the home team. The Sharks went four and out, and Nick Hill answered back with three straight completions. After a personal foul on the defense the Talons converted on the very next play moving within 5 yards of the end zone. Chad "Tank" Cook rushed the ball to the one yard line and later on in the drive Xavier Lee pushed through the defensive line to give the Talons the final 34-30 lead with one minute on the clock. As the Talons have all year, they relied on their defense to keep them in the game and they were prepared for the task at hand.
Blaze Fall to Rattlers Despite Fourth Quarter Rally
The Utah Blaze (3-4) dropped a 65-49 decision to the Arizona Rattlers (7-1) on Saturday night despite a fourth quarter surge. Utah rallied in the game's final moments, but the effort fell short following a fumbled snap exchange with under a minute remaining the contest.
Reigning MVP quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 302 yards with six touchdowns on the night, hooking up with leading wide receiver Mario Urrutia nine times for 174 yards and three scores. Wide receiver Chase Deadder contributed eight catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns while All-Arena wideout Aaron Lesue notched six receptions for 48 yards and one score.
Trailing 48-28 at the start of the fourth quarter, fullback Ben Stallings punched the ball into the end zone, barreling over the goal line from a yard out to cap a lengthy eight-play, 40-yard drive and cut the deficit to 13 points.
Utah's defense answered the call on the ensuing Rattlers drive, as defensive end Caesar Rayford sacked Nick Davila on the second play of the drive, forcing the quarterback to fumble the football. Defensive end Mike Alston recovered the loose ball, giving possession back to the Blaze with 2:49 remaining in the game.
Mario Urrutia made quick work of the turnover for Utah, streaking down field for a 23-yard touchdown reception from Tommy Grady to come within just a score of tying the game.
The Blaze defense once again stifled Arizona's offense on the following possession, holding the Rattlers out of the end zone on three straight plays to force a fourth-and-four situation at the one minute warning. Kicker Garrett Lindholm connected on a 20-yard field goal for Arizona to put the Blaze in a 58-48 hole.
Utah looked to score once again after regaining possession at the one-yard with 56 seconds remaining on the clock. However, disaster struck on a controversial play and the Blaze turned the ball over by way of a fumbled snap exchange. Arizona found the end zone on the next play from scrimmage off a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Odie Armstrong to conclude the scoring. The Utah Blaze return to Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 18 to battle the Iowa Barnstormers at EnergySolutions Arena. Support the team wearing all pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Sports Med Utah and Salt Lake Regional Hospital!
Barnstormers Roll over VooDoo 62-16
The Iowa Barnstormers played their most complete all-around game of the season, in route to an impressive 62-16 victory over the New Orleans Voodoo at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night. With the victory, the Barnstormers improve to 4-4 on the season, while the Voodoo falls to 1-6.
Iowa jumped out to an early lead as QB J.J. Raterink connected with TE Michael Garrity for an 15 yard touchdown. On the ensuing drive, the Barnstormers defense came up big, forcing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by DL Rodney Gnat, giving Iowa a 14-0 lead. After the Voodoo cut the lead to 14-7, Iowa responded with 21 straight points to close the first half with a 35-7 lead.
The second half was more of the same as the Barnstormers offense capitalized on every opportunity. Iowa's defensive unit forced 5 turnovers on the night while also making multiple stops on downs. After the Voodoo narrowed the score to 42-14, the Barnstormers responded with3 straight touchdown drives to close out the game, making the final score 62-16.Raterink finished the night 12 of 20 for 111 yards and 4 touchdowns. Backup Brian Reader saw his first action of the season and finished 5 of 7 for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Jesse Schmidt turned in a 3 touchdown performance for the second straight week.
Next up for the Barnstormers is a two game road trip that begins next Saturday, May 18 in Utah. Iowa's next home game is set for Saturday, June 1 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Backup Qb and Last-second Field Goal Lifts Gladiators to First Home Win
Aaron Pettrey's game-winning 19-yard field goal as time expired secured a 53-50 victory for the Cleveland Gladiators (2-5) over the Chicago Rush (4-4) at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night. The Gladiators, who trailed for most of the first half, were rallied by backup quarterback Chris Dieker, who passed for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Dominick Goodman caught two touchdowns, while Jamar Howard, Thyron Lewis, and Jonathon Wilson each hauled in touchdown catches as well for Cleveland. The win was the first at home for the Gladiators so far this season and their second overall.
The Gladiators caught a pivotal break early, recovering the opening kickoff off a deflection from the left goal post. With just nine yards separating the Gladiators from the end zone, Brian Zbydniewski, who started the game under center for Cleveland, completed a nine-yard pass to Wilson to help the Gladiators take a quick 7-0 lead. Chicago countered though with back-to-back scores, to end the first quarter with a 14-7 lead.
The Gladiators continued to match Chicago score-for-score, as Lewis and Goodman each reeled in touchdown catches in the second quarter. Dieker replaced Zbydniewski at quarterback midway through the second. But Rodney Wright returned a kickoff 54 yards for a Chicago touchdown with three seconds remaining in the first half to give the Rush a 27-20 lead at the break.
Brian Brikowski's pressure on Chicago quarterback Danny Southwick led to a safety early in the second half; two points that pulled the Gladiators to within five, 27-22, and proved to be influential throughout the rest of the game. Dieker's two-yard touchdown run with 7:32 left in the third quarter was the only touchdown of the third frame, and it gave the Gladiators a 29-27 lead entering a high-scoring fourth quarter in which 47 total points were scored.
Just five seconds into the final quarter, Goodman caught an 11-yard touchdown from Dieker to give the Gladiators a 36-27 lead; their largest of the game to that point. Reggie Gray scored the first of his two touchdowns to answer for Chicago with 9:40 left in the fourth, leaving the score at 36-34, in the Gladiators favor.
With 3:33 left in the game, Dieker broke away out of the pocket for a 33-yard touchdown scamper to help the Gladiators to a 50-42 lead, but Chicago countered with a Jared Jenkins 15-yard touchdown catch and a converted two-point conversion with 1:15 left in the game to tie it up at 50.
On the Gladiators final drive, they chewed the clock up to the point of just 3.9 seconds remaining, leaving the game on the leg of Pettrey, who drilled the 19-yard attempt to lock up the victory for Cleveland.
The Gladiators are back on the field at The Q next Saturday the 18th against San Antonio at 7:00 PM.
Pittsburgh Power Find Heart in 53-48 Upset of Philadelphia Soul
The Pittsburgh Power (2-5, 1-0) and newcomers Steven Sheffield and James Robinson stunned the Philadelphia Soul (3-4, 0-2) in a 53-48 win in front of 8,098 at Wells Fargo Center Saturday night. The win puts Pittsburgh one game back of Philadelphia in the American Conference East Division.
Philadelphia started off the scoring with two straight touchdowns. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed passes to Ryan McDaniel and Larry Brackins to put the Soul up 14-0 early in the first. Sheffield and the Power answered with a 38-yard pass to the newly activated James Robinson. Sheffield then connected on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Washington. The Soul would score once more to end the quarter leading, 21-7.
Pittsburgh showed new life in the second quarter, with Sheffield throwing for three more touchdowns. Two of those were caught by Robinson - his first and second of the season. An apparent third touchdown pass to Robinson was nullified by a Power penalty. Ultimately it was Philadelphia, even with failed back-to-back onside kick attempts, who came out on top at the end of the half, leading 35-27. The Power's 27 points were the most scored in a half since their season opener against Utah.
Pittsburgh started the second half on offense, and wasted no time getting back on the scoreboard. Sheffield found Robinson once again to pull within one point of the Soul. Philadelphia answered right back with a 55-yard kickoff return by James Romain, which was the AFL Highlight Of The Game. After an interception in the endzone by Philadelphia's LaRico Stevenson, the Soul scored once again to lead 48-34. The Power struck back quickly as Sheffield connected with Washington on a 38-yard touchdown pass, which ended up nabbing Cutters Catch of the Game honors. On the ensuing kickoff, the Power got the ball back on a net recovery by fullback Kirby Griffin to end the quarter. Philadelphia led, 48-40.
Starting on Philadelphia's 4-yard line, Mike Washington, the Russell Athletic Offensive Player Of The Game, ran the ball in for his fourth touchdown of the evening. After another missed extra point attempt - their third of the game - the Power still trailed Philadelphia, 48-46. The Soul then turned the ball over on downs and the Power got the ball back once again. In just three plays, Sheffield found Robinson for the fourth time to give Pittsburgh their first lead of the game, 53-48. The Soul fought back, but were stopped just short of the goal line on a game-changing defensive stand by the Power. Pittsburgh's defense would come up big one more time, when Sergio Gilliam stopped Philadelphia's chance at a comeback with an acrobatic interception over the endzone boards, sealing the Power's second straight road win and second win of the season.
Sheffield finished the game with 272 yards passing and six touchdowns. Washington and Robinson both finished with four touchdowns each. Philadelphia's Tiger Jones, who earned J. Lewis Playmaker Of The Game honors, had 124 all-purpose yards and quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw for four touchdowns and 288 yards.
Pittsburgh returns home next Saturday, May 18, to face the Tampa Bay Storm (5-3) at CONSOL Energy Center. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Power t-shirt, compliments of Mr. Rooter Plumbing and as always, $1 Smith's Hot Dogs and $1 7UP Fountain Drinks will be available for all fans.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Haymakers Fall Short in Final Seconds against Omaha
The Lincoln Haymakers come up short on the road against the Omaha Beef with a final of 27-23. The Haymakers had several chances to cement the game until falling in the final seconds. The night was nothing short of exciting with physical play, trading scores, and post touchdown skirmishes. Lincoln struck first with a Hanaphy field goal that was answered by the Beef on a Rivers reception to end the first quarter.
The Haymakers offensive struggles were jumpstarted midway through the 2nd as lockdown corner Michael Pace intercepted the McNear pass to set up Lincoln in the redzone. Lincoln native QB Blake Bolles found Nick Rhodes for an eight yard touchdown toss to put the Haymakers back up 10-7 at the half. Terrance Banks made his presence felt late in the first half with a big sack to hold the Beef offense at 7 points.
Hanaphy started the Haymakers off on the right foot with his 19 yard field goal to usher in the 2nd half scoring. With Omaha driving, Beef QB McNear found former teammate and current Lincoln Haymaker Cortney Grixby in the back of the endzone. Grixby returned the interception 52 yards for a Haymaker score to bring the game to a 20-7 contest. The Haymakers would give up 14 unanswered points before Hannaphy would put the Haymakers back in the lead 23-21 with 7 minutes left in the game. The Beef would then drive down the field late in the fourth to score on the legs of R.J. Rollins to take the lead 27-23. After the touchdown Rollins' celebration received a reaction from both benches with extra-curricular activity ensuing. After the dust settled the Haymakers drove down the field only to come up short with Bolles throwing a last second interception to close out the night.
The Haymakers lose to Omaha for the second time this year by a combined total of 8 points. With this loss the Haymakers fall to 3-5 on the season with a tough road trip on the horizon. Next week the Haymakers travel to take on the Sioux City Bandits in another road rematch.
Wild Edge out Bombers to Clinch Playoff Spot
The Wichita Wild (9-1) completed a season sweep of the Salina Bombers (5-3) with a 45-40 victory in front of 3,624 fans in Hartman Arena. Wichita quarterback Rocky Hinds led the Wild with five touchdowns, four through the air and one on the ground and running back Tywon Hubbard pitched in 261 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. Defensive back Kendrick Harper led the Wild with three interceptions on the night to stifle the Bombers' offense. For the majority of the night, both teams battled in a close game.
In an unusual fashion Wichita's offense did not produce a score on their first drive of the game, but on Salina's first play from scrimmage, Harper picked off Salina quarterback Dane Simoneau's pass. The Wild threatened to score, but their drive ended when Hinds' pass in the red zone was picked off. Three plays later, Salina cashed in the turnover for a 22 yard touchdown pass from Simoneau to wide receiver Ricky Roberts, providing the Bombers a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive Hinds navigated the offense back down the field, finishing the drive with a five yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Murph to tie the game at 7 apiece as the first quarter drew to a close.
The second quarter began with the Wild forcing the Bombers into a three and out and attempting and missing a 50 yard field goal. Tywon Hubbard received the missed field goal and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown, allowing Wichita to lead 14-7. After struggling to put a drive together and turning the ball over on downs, the Wild took over great field position. After a short run by Hinds who was tackled out of bounds, Salina defensive back DeWayne Autrey received two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for striking Hinds in the helmet, ultimately leading to his ejection from the game. The next snap featured redemption by Hinds with a one yard quarterback sneak to push the Wild lead, 21-7. The following drive for the Bombers ended quickly when Harper grabbed his second interception of the game, but Wichita's offense was not able to move the ball, resulting in a three and out. The Bombers closed out a four play drive with a one yard touchdown run by Simoneau, pulling Salina within seven of Wichita, 21-14. The Wild offense continued to sputter with another three and out, giving the Bombers a chance for one last score before the end of the first half, but Harper salvaged the Wild mishap with his third pass of the night. The interception gave Wild kicker Alex Fambrough a field goal attempt from 43 yards out, but the kick missed wide right leaving the Wichita holding onto a 21-14 lead at the half.
The third quarter kicked off with a strong defensive effort by Wichita, forcing a three and out for Salina and eventually set the Wild up for a 41 yard field goal. The successful kick by Fambrough handed the Wild a 24-14 lead. Salina cut Wichita's lead to three just minutes later with an 11 yard pitch and catch from Simoneau to wide receiver Pelton Smalls. The Wild struck back with a 15 yard strike from Hinds to wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid, Wild leading 31-21. As the third quarter ended, Salina added one more score by way of a Simoneau four yard touchdown run as Wichita's lead dwindled, 31-28.
The scoring continued midway through the fourth quarter with Hinds completing a five play drive off an eight yard pass to Kassanavoid, extending the Wild lead to 38-28. Wichita continued their struggle to establish momentum and Salina took advantage with a four yard touchdown pass from Simoneau to wide receiver Corey Ham. With the extra point failed, Wichita held a four point lead before increasing it to eleven with a six yard touchdown pass from Hinds to wide receiver Tim Simmons to make the score 45-34. The back and forth shootout continued however, as the Bombers would receive an eight yard touchdown pass from Simoneau to wide receiver Seth Myers. Salina was not able to convert on the two-point conversion allowing Wichita to keep a 45-40 lead. The Wild's next drive stopped at midfield with Fambrough missing a 37 yard field goal, allowing the Bombers one last drive starting from their own five yard line. With three seconds left in the game, Simoneau launched a final attempt toward the endzone from the Salina 17 yard line, but the ball slipped through the hands of wide receiver Attrail Snipes to clinch a 45-40 Wild victory over the Bombers.
The Wild are off next week, before traveling to Sioux City to take on the Bandits May 25th; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST).
Ben Pister Joins Bombers
The Salina Bombers are pleased to announce the acquisition of 6'3", 270 lb defensive lineman Ben Pister.
Ben Pister hails from St. Joseph, Missouri where he played at Central High School. Pister earned many honors for the Indians on the gridiron. Pister was a captain at Central High School...he was a two-time all-State, three-time all-Conference, three-time all-District and three-time all-City.
When it came time for football after high school, Pister decided to stay home and play for Missouri Western. Pister was a redshirt player for the Griffons in 2008, but played extensively in his freshman and sophomore seasons. It was in his junior season of 2011 that the recognition began rolling in.
In 2011 Pister started all 12 games for the Griffons. He was named second team all-MIAA...Don Hansen second team all-Region...Don Hansen honorable mention all-America selection...had 42 tackles with 14.5 being for a loss and 17 being solo...had 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one interceptions, three quarterback hurries and two pass break-ups.
In his senior season of 2012, Pister started all 14 games...recorded 61 tackles and 35 solo tackles...had a school record 22.5 tackles for a loss which resulted in 99 yards...had eight sacks...forced four fumbles and recovered two...had 10 quarterback hurries and five pass breakups. Pister also earned First Team All-MIAA for his performance.
Pister will join a Salina Bomber defense that continues to get better every game out. "We are excited to add Ben to our defense" says Bombers owner Jake Leighty. "We believe he could be the final piece on that side of the ball. He has a great motor and gets after quarterbacks."
Indoor Football League
Smith Shines with 3 Touchdown Receptions, But Revolution Fall to Chicago
The Texas Revolution (4-6) had one goal when they played the Chicago Slaughter (7-4) Saturday night. The Revs knew that they needed a big win to bring their record to .500 for the first time this season, stay competitive in the United Conference race. Unfortunately, that win did not come.
The Revolution road troubles seemed to re-emerge from the opening kickoff as Chicago caught the Revs off guard and recovered an onside kick. Fortunately, the Revolution defense played very well in the first half forcing the Slaughter to kick field goals on four drives.
The Revolution offense was quiet in the first quarter, but found the endzone twice in the 2nd quarter. Both times Keith Smith (6 receptions, 87 yards, 3 TDs) caught Marcus Jackson (15-28, 123 yards, 3 TDs) throws. The duo hooked up again for a third time in the second half.
The second half went back and forth, but when the Revolution were unable to convert a two point conversion at 27-29, they were never able to get the necessary stops to give them a chance to win.
Chicago ended up winning 42-30.
The Revolution will return back to the Allen Event Center on May 25th, following their bye week, to face Green Bay.
Blizzard Keep Playoff Hopes Alive; Topple Nebraska 53-47
The Green Bay Blizzard won its third consecutive game Friday night, defeating the top ranked team in the IFL Coaches Poll Nebraska Danger, 53-47, in front of 3,047 at the Resch Center.
After Blizzard running back Lucien Walker scored on third and goal from the one-yard line to tie the game with six seconds left, Nebraska had a chance to win the game with a field goal after a squib kick left the Danger with reasonable field position. Nebraska kicker Joe Houston lined up for what would have been the game winning field goal with three seconds left. Green Bay defensive back Elijah Fields came clean up the middle and blocked the kick and linebacker Derek Earls recovered the ball for his third recovery of the game and returned it for a touchdown as time expired.
Things looked promising for Green Bay in the early going with the Blizzard taking a 10-0 lead. A questionable call in the end zone early in the game, however, seemed to be a turning point as the Danger would go on 19-0 run after what initially appeared to be a B.J. Hill touchdown, was ruled an interception and touchback for Nebraska.
Danger running back Randy Bell, who played for the Blizzard in 2010, accounted for 81 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the first half. Bell led Green Bay in rushing during the 2010 regular season with 597 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 14 games.
Green Bay took a bit of momentum into halftime after Spencer Ohm found Charles Dowdell open for the touchdown with three seconds left, cutting the Nebraska lead to 26-17 right before half. This score was one of three during a 21-0 run controlled by the Blizzard moving into the third quarter.
After trading field goals, Nebraska found itself trailing 39-34 with just over eight minutes to play in the game. Danger Head Coach Mike Davis called an onside kick and Nebraska caught the Blizzard off guard as they recovered the ball and would later score the go-ahead touchdown
B.J. Hill would score minutes later to give Green Bay a one point advantage, as he made it look easy on a 22-yard receiving touchdown from his quarterback. Ohm would finish the night completing 16 of 35 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns, despite throwing two costly interceptions. He also added a score on the ground and was the team's leading rusher with 39 yards on just eight carries.
Danger quarterback Jameel Seweel, another former Blizzard player, was a MVP candidate coming into Friday's game with 1,587 passing yards and 32 touchdowns, both good for first in the IFL. He would throw both of his touchdowns in the fourth and final quarter, after completing his first pass with just 6:10 left in the first half. His second touchdown pass came with 1:39 remaining in the game, as he found receiver Kayne Farquharson wide open down the sideline for a 29-yard strike, giving Nebraska a 47-40 advantage.
Ohm would calmly lead his team down the field en route to the Walker touchdown, and kicker Jered Fohrman drilled the PAT to tie the game, moments before the Blizzard earned one its most exciting and critical wins in franchise history.
Green Bay will take its three game winning streak into next Saturday when it faces the Cedar Rapids Titans (5-4), the same team the Blizzard defeated back in week 6 for its first victory of the season. The final game of the four-game home stand will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. at the Resch Center.
Lone Star Football League
Stars set franchise record with win
The New Mexico Stars improve to 3-3 on the season after handing out a 63-41 thumping to the Abilene Bombers at home on Saturday night. The Stars now sit in 3rd place in the LSFL and get back to .500 thanks to some brilliant play on both sides of the ball.
Bombers QB Byron Ingram might have nightmares about Stars DB DeMarcus James after James hauled in 4 interceptions (one for a TD) in this one. "We had a few guys go down and I had to step up as a veteran and make some plays" James said after the game. He now has the league lead with 7 INTs on the season, and the sky seems to be the limit with James.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kasey Peters has made all the difference in the world to this team. Stars Coach Chris Williams had praise for Peters after the game when he said "He came in and did it the right way by earning the respect of his teammates. He is a leader and every team needs to have that at the quarterback position." Peters finished the night 18-27 with 278 yards passing and 5 TDs.
The ball was spread fairly evenly amongst the WRs, but it was Dexter Manley that came out on top in this one as he finished the game with 7 catches for 153 yards and 3 TDs. Roland Bruno had an ESPN top 10 worthy catch and run in the 4th quarter, and finished the game with 6 catches for 84 yards and a TD.
With the Stars up most of the night, running the ball was an important aspect of this one late in the game. Seth Smith got into the action and finished with 15 carries for 38 yards and a TD, and proved that even though RBs aren't a focal point of the arena league game, they can still leave your mark on the field.
The Stars take to the road next week as they head to Laredo, TX to take on the Rattlesnakes. The Rattlesnakes squeezed out a 75-74 victory back in week 3 on the Stars home field, but things should be a bit different now that the team has been transformed and solidified on both sides of the ball.
Professional Indoor Football League
Lehigh Valley Beats the Nighthawks
The Knoxville Nighthawks battle the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Saturday evening at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Both teams went toe to toe, but in the end, the Nighthawks could not overcome the Steelhawks as Lehigh Valley won 63-47.
The Nighthawks and the Steelhawks could not score on their initial first possessions. The Nighthawks defense held strong once again as they recovered a fumble. Back up quarterback Luke Collis found Matt Schuck on a 19 yard touchdown and the Nighthawks were up 7-0 and that's how the first quarter ended.
Lehigh Valley then moved the ball down field. They got their first touchdown on a 3 yard run from Elliot White. The score was 7-7. On the next possession for the Nighthawks, they fumbled the ball and Lehigh Valley recovered the ball in the end zone making the score 14-7. Knoxville would not be denied. They came right back as quarterback Ryan Porter found Kelvin Bolden on a 31 yard pass notting the game at 14 each. The Steelhawks then marched back down the field. Quarterback Hunter Wanket found Tyrone Collins for the 13 yard touchdown pass making the score 21-14. Again, Knoxville would not be denied as Porter found Deandre Brown for the four yards touchdown pass. Nighthawks kicker Armando Cuko hit the uno and Knoxville led 22-21. Then the Steelhawks had things go their way as Wanket found Tom Gilson for the 20 yard touchdown, got an interception and score on a 14 yard field goal. The score at half time was 31-22.
The Nighthawks and Steelhawk then went back and forth in the third quarter. Knoxville scored a field goal and an uno. Lehigh Valley then proceed to score another field goal. Rico Joseph caught a 30 yard touchdown pass for the Nighthawks. Lehigh Valley's Wanket ran for a 14 yard touchdown run. Nighthawks' fullback Daccus Turman scored on a 3 yard touchdown run. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Lehigh Valley was up only 2 points at 42-40.
The back and forth continued in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Lehigh Valley was able to stay ahead of Knoxville coming away with the victory.
The Nighthawks will have an off week coming up. The following week the Nighthawks will return to Lehigh Valley to play them for the third time on Saturday, May 25th. Knoxville will return to play at home Friday, June 7th at 7:30 pm against the Louisiana Swashbucklers.
Ultimate Indoor Football League
Sarasota Forfeits to Tarpons
It has been a rough season for the UIFL for 2013. After we received notice Thursday the 9th at 4:30 pm, we learned that The Sarasota Thunder were unable to meet minimal league requirements to perform in our Friday the 10th home game.
We deeply regret having to inform our fans that we will have to cancel our game tonight.
Considering all the obstacles we have overcome this season with teams reorganizing into a travel team, an entire Miami team not even playing one scheduled game, the Florida Tarpons will extend all current season ticket holders the entire 2014 season including postseason play. We feel this is the least we can do considering the how this year is playing out. Our sponsors will also be extended at no additional charge for next season.
In light of the current situation we will also be cancelling the May 25th game as well. It was to be a non-league and had no effect on league standings.
This is not the end!!! We will be here next season!! The UIFL is committed to securing additional teams for next year in new markets. Two have already expressed serious intentions of joining the UIFL from other current leagues. We are not at liberty to discuss the locations yet.We will be playing Corpus next week in Texas. This is a very important game considering how crucial it is to league standings. The tarpons are still in a good position to bring home a championship.