Arena Football League
Aaron Garcia's Six Touchdowns Lead Orlando to 52-38 Win
Aaron Garcia, the 18-year AFL veteran and the League's all-time passing and touchdown leader, threw six touchdowns in his Orlando debut, as the Predators won their first game of the season, 52-38, in front of 4,174 at CONSOL Energy Center tonight. Garcia, the Russell Athletic Offensive Player Of The Game, was recently acquired in a trade with the San Jose SaberCats,
The Pittsburgh Power fell to 1-5 on the season and 0-4 at home. The Orlando Predators improved to 1-5.
On the game's opening drive, the Power's Jordan Jefferson connected with P.J. Berry for a 47-yard pass on 4th and 13, which brought the ball to the Predators' 1-yard line. Jefferson found the end zone on the next play to give the Power a 6-0 lead. Orlando would answer the score on a Marlon Moye-Moore 2-yard touchdown run. The point after was good giving the Predators a 7-6 lead.
After stopping Pittsburgh on 4th and goal at the 1-yard line, Orlando would march down the field, and on 4th down and 3 from the Power 12-yard line, Perchae Rodriguez's acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone (the Cutters Catch Of The Game) from Garcia extended their lead to 14-6.
Berry would return the ensuing kickoff 36 yards to the Orlando 19, but the Power would go 4-and-out. The Predators would score five plays later when Garcia found Jason Geathers for a 12-yard touchdown to take a 21-6 lead. The Power closed the gap to eight points at 21-13 after Jefferson found Shamar Graves for his first touchdown of the season, a 4-yard score on 4th and goal with 4:47 left in the half. Garcia and Rodriguez closed out the first half scoring on a 38-yard touchdown three plays later to make the score 28-13.
The Power started the second half by turning two Orlando turnovers into touchdowns. On the Predators' opening drive, Willie McGinnis recovered a Garcia fumble at the Orlando 19-yard line. Jefferson and Graves connected for another touchdown three plays later from 4 yards out to make the score 28-20. On the Predators' next drive, Alvin Ray Jackson turned a Garcia attempt into a 44-yard pick-6 (AFL Highlight Of The Game) to get the Power within two points at 28-26. The point after was wide right. That was the closest the Power would come the rest of the game.
Rodriguez's third touchdown of the game gave Orlando a 35-26 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Predators added to their lead with a Mark Lewis 23-yard field goal at 10:37 of the 4th quarter, making the score 38-27. The Power would cut the deficit to six points after Mike Washington's first touchdown of the game made the score 38-32 with 7:03 remaining.
Garcia threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to T.T. Toliver with 4:31 remaining, making the score 45-32. The Power made it a one-possession game at 45-38 with Kirby Griffin's rushing touchdown with 1:00 remaining in regulation, but Orlando recovered the Power's on-side kick attempt and scored on the next play on Garcia's sixth touchdown pass of the game. Orlando would run out the clock, taking home the 52-38 victory.
Aaron Garcia was 27-36 for 278 yards to go with his six touchdown passes. Jordan Jefferson was 20-38 for 252 yards and three touchdowns. The Power's Alvin Ray Jackson, the Riddell Defensive Player Of The Game, had 9 total tackles, including 4 solo to go with his interception for touchdown.
Storm Crush VooDoo 63-32
Quarterback Adrian McPherson has his offensive assault, but the defense made the difference as the Tampa Bay Storm defeated the New Orleans VooDoo, 63-32, Saturday night, on the Amalie Motor Oil Field at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in an Arena Football League game.
The Storm improved to 5-2 overall, 2-1 in the Southern Division and 3-1 in the American Conference. New Orleans fell to 1-5, 1-2 and 2-2 respectively.
Tampa Bay's defense saw the defensive backs Vance Cuff and De'Audra Dix collect interceptions, with Cuff's 30-yard pick for a touchdown. Pernell Phillips had a pair of quarterback sacks and three hurries on the VooDoo signal caller. Smith and Dix also had two pass break ups each. In total, the Storm collected 4 sacks, 7 hurries and 8 pass break ups.
McPherson was 13-of-16 passing for 197 yards and four TDs. He also rushed six times for 29 yards and four scores, boosting his league-leading touchdown total to 21 and his yardage to 262. He also has 32 passing TDs this season.
McPherson and Chris C. Davis set the tone from the opening kickoff. Smith caught three consecutive passes from McPherson for 29 yards, setting up the first of two rushing scores by McPherson.
The multi-talented righthander was 9-for-9 and 131 yards in the first half as the Storm took a commanding, 35-13, lead.
The most spectacular play in the first half was d-back Vance Cuff's interception of a Bill Stull pass with 42 seconds remaining in the half. Cuff cut in front of the intended receiver Courtney Smith, who then escaped another player before going 30 yards for the score. A block against the boards by the Storm's LeRoy Burgess sprung Cuff on the initial play.
The Storm is on the road for the next two weeks. They visit San Jose for a meeting against the 4-2 SaberCats on Friday, May 10, and head to Pittsburgh for a game with the 1-5 Power, a team that lost at home, 52-38, Saturday to the Orlando Predators (1-5).
SaberCats Conquer Gladiators, 56-36
The San Jose SaberCats (4-2) won their second consecutive game, defeating the Cleveland Gladiators (1-5) 56-36 in front of 8,563 fans at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. On a night when SaberCats legend, quarterback Mark Grieb was honored by the retiring of his jersey at halftime, current San Jose quarterback Russ Michna made his home debut, completing 18-of-25 passes for 197 yards and 4 touchdowns with zero interceptions.
"He's getting better," said Coach Darren Arbet on new quarterback Russ Michna, "it's tough in a week and a half to get to know all the guys. He is starting to understand all the little things that the receivers do, and it's showing out there on the field."
The SaberCats got off to a much-needed fast start against the Gladiators. Michna, looking to immediately impress his new home crowd, showed his skills during the opening 45-yard march down the field that ended with a six-yard toss to Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, wide receiver Jason Willis for the score. After the defense forced a turnover on downs, buoyed by a Terrance Carter sack on fourth down, Michna found wide receiver Jamarko Simmons for the 50th touchdown of his Arena Football League career and a 14-0 lead for the 'Cats.
After being held scoreless through the first 15 minutes, the Gladiators got on the board early in the second quarter with a one-yard keeper from quarterback Brian Zbydniewski. After Carter blocked the point after attempt, JLS Playmaker of the Game Fred Williams took the ensuing kickoff 57-yards to the house to extend the lead back to double digits at 21-6, in favor of San Jose. Following an impressive defensive stand led by defensive back Clevan Thomas, the offense kept the momentum rolling for the SaberCats. Michna completed all five of his pass attempts and Simmons found the end zone with a one-yard bull rush to push the San Jose lead up to 28-6. Cleveland answered back with a touchdown in the final minute to close the gap to 16 points; however, Williams wasn't quite ready to be done with the first half. He took the next kickoff 55-yards, his second kickoff return for a touchdown of the night, to prop the San Jose lead back up to 35-12. A last second 42-yard field goal from Cleveland brought the halftime lead to 35-15 in favor of San Jose.
Coming out for the third quarter, Cleveland's halftime adjustments paid off early, as wide receiver Dominick Goodman found the end zone from 17 yards out, making the Cutters Catch of the Game over the boards to close San Jose's lead to 13. The subsequent kickoff bounced off the bar and directly into the hands of Gladiators defensive back Lenny Wicks, who walked into the end zone for a net recovery touchdown to bring Cleveland within six. Getting on the field for the first time in the second half, the offense extended the lead back to 13 when Michna found Willis from 18 yards out, their second touchdown connection on the evening.
Following an interception by Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, defensive lineman Jason Stewart off of a tipped pass late in the third quarter, the offense quickly struck to open the scoring in the final frame. Simmons once again bullied his way into the endzone for his second rushing, and third overall touchdown on the night, to drive the SaberCats lead back up the halftime margin of 20 points. Cleveland wouldn't go away just yet, as Zbydniewksi connected with wide receiver Jamar Howard for a 6-yard score, bringing the count to 49-36 SaberCats with just over seven minutes remaining. Michna continued his efficient play, answering the Cleveland score by once again finding Willis for a 20-yard touchdown and ending all thoughts of a Gladiators comeback. After the defense forced its fourth turnover on downs, the offense ran out the clock to seal the 56-36 victory for the SaberCats.
Offensively, Willis led the way for the SaberCats, totaling eight catches for 85 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Simmons finished his night with three scores as well, while Williams finished with three catches and the two touchdown return scores. Wide receiver/jack linebacker Huey Whittaker made his presence felt all over the field, as he compiled three catches and six total tackles. Defensive back Ken Fontenette led all players with ten tackles, while fellow defensive backs JC Neal (six-and-a-half tackles) and Clevan Thomas (six pass breakups) helped to minimize the Gladiators passing attack. Carter and Stewart each recorded a sack, with Stewart also hauling in the only interception of the game.
During a tough night on offense for Cleveland, Zbydniewksi finished 24-of-47 passing for 231 yards with two scores through the air and one on the ground. Goodman led the Gladiators receiving corps with ten catches, while both he and Howard each hauled in a touchdown pass. Defensively, LaRoche Jackson totaled seven tackles and defensive lineman Randy Colling forced a fumble. Cleveland also got a net recovery touchdown from Wicks to round out the Gladiators scoring.
With the win, the SaberCats improved to 2-1 at home on the season. Next week, San Jose plays at home again as they welcome the Tampa Bay Storm (5-2) to HP Pavilion. That game, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 11 has been moved to Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast live on the radio at KNBR 1050.
Shock Fall to Blaze by Final of 48-52
The Spokane Shock (5-2) suffered their second defeat of the season at the hands of the Utah Blaze (3-3), falling by a final score of 48-52.
On the Shock's opening possession, Blaze defensive lineman Casear Rayford pushed his way into the backfield and was able to knock the ball from Erik Meyer's hands, opening a Blaze touchdown pass between quarterback Tommy Grady and Mario Urrutia to take the early lead 7-0. Spokane and Utah would trade scores on touchdowns receptions by the Shock's Duane Brooks from 8-yds out and the Blaze's Aaron Lesue on a 30-yd post corner route to maintain the Blaze lead at 14-7.
Back-to-back kickoffs would display action only possible in the Arena Football League. On Utah's ensuing kickoff after going up 14-7, a bar-ball would send the ball bouncing all the way out to the 20-yd line before Shock defensive back Patrick Stoudamire would scoop up the loose ball and go right past Blaze kicker Kyle Brotzman to take the ball in for the touchdown from 30-yds out. On Spokane's following kick and in a similar turn of events, the ball was knocked loose in the end zone by Shock wide receiver Kamar before bouncing into the hands of Blaze wide receiver Aaron Lesue, allowing him to scoop up the kick and take it 54-yds for the score. Utah would hold the Shock to a four-and-out and maintain their lead at 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
A sloppy second quarter by both teams would be proven by only 13 combined points after a 35 point first quarter. The Blaze would continue their possession from the second quarter, but a fumble by wide receiver Mario Urrutia would give the ball back to the Shock with 13:50 remaining in the half. After back to back penalties on the Shock offense which would push them to a 4th and goal from the 21-yd line, the Shock attempted a field goal which would be missed, giving Utah their second stop of the game and the ball on their own 8-yd line with the 21-14 lead. Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady would lead the Utah offense down field and while under duress from mac linebacker Beau Bell, Grady would throw a masterfully placed ball in the left corner of the end zone where Aaron Lesue would make an incredible diving catch for the Blaze score, pushing the Utah up to two touchdowns at 27-14. On Spokane's next possession, they would suffer their second turnover of the game on a fumble by Shock wide receiver Kamar Jorden giving Utah back the ball on their own 11-yd line. The Shock defense would go on to force Utah to a four-and-out situation, providing the Shock offense with the opportunity to score in the final seconds of the half on a 14-yd pass between Erik Meyer and Adron Tennell. The first half would come to a close with Utah leading 27-21.
Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady completed 12 of 20 passes for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns as Aaron Lesue led the Blaze receivers with 4 receptions for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 17 of 23 passes for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns while being sacked twice. Duane Brooks led Shock receivers with 7 receptions for 72 yards and 1 score.
On the Blaze's opening drive of the second half, it would take only one play for quarterback Tommy Grady to find wide receiver L.J. Castile on a 46-yard pass to give the Blaze a 33-21 lead only 28 seconds into the third quarter. The Shock would show their first red zone wrinkle of the season with backup quarterback Arvell Nelson running the power style, wildcat offense as he would take the snap on a power sweep and score from 3-yds out to bring the game back within five points at 28-33. Another fumble by the Blaze offense would occur on their next drive in a missed snap exchange giving the Shock an opportunity to take the lead, but digging in on the their own 3-yd line the Utah defense would force Spokane to a four-and-out and take over on downs and maintain their lead at 28-33 to close out the third quarter.
In the final quarter of play, the Blaze would continue their drive from the previous quarter and after a false start penalty, Shock defensive back Cameron McGlenn would record his first interception of the season as he jumped a crossing route over the middle and took the pass into the end zone for the Shock score to give Spokane their first lead of the game at 34-33. Down but not out, Blaze quarterback would go on to lead the Utah offense to a 5 play, 39 yard drive to be capped by a 13-yd touchdown reception by Mario Urrutia. On the Blaze's ensuing kickoff, David Hyland would recover loose ball and set up the Blaze on the Spokane 5-yd line. For the second time on the night Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady would be intercepted, this time by Shock defensive back Paul Stephens as he jumped the quick out route in the end zone and would then return the ball 53-yds for the Shock touchdown to give Spokane the 41-40 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The team's would yet again trade scores in the final minutes of play as the Blaze would take a late 52-48 lead with one minute remaining in the contest. A failed onside kick attempt by Utah would give Spokane the ball on the Utah 10-yd line as Spokane would go on to run three consecutive run plays and wind the clock down to the final 14 seconds. On fourth down, the Shock would attempt the go ahead touchdown pass and have the ball knocked out of the air just shy of the hands of wide receiver Adron Tennell by David Hyland to seal the Utah win at 52-48.
Shock quarterback Erik Meyer completed 26 of 39 passes for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensive back Paul Stephens recorded 8 tackles on the night, 1 pass breakup and a 53-yard interception for a touchdown. Cameron McGlenn recorded his first interception as a member of the Shock while Patrick Stoudamire would record a 30-yd kickoff return for a score. Kamar Jorden led the Shock receiving effort with 10 receptions for 112 yards.
Tommy Grady completed 26 of 39 attempts for 329 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions which were both returned by the Shock for touchdowns. Mario Urrutia led the Blaze receivers with 11 receptions for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Utah defense came up big with 3 fumble recoveries against the Shock and also two key fourth down stops, only allowing four touchdowns by the Shock offense on the night.
Next week, the Shock will host the Orlando Predators at Spokane Veteran's Memorial Arena in Spokane, WA to kick off their back-to-back home stretch over the next two games. Kickoff is set for Saturday, May 11th at 7:00 PM PST.
Soul Get Back to Winning Ways in Chicago, 72-41
The Philadelphia Soul (3-3) got complete game and production from all three phases - offense, defense and special teams - on their way to a 72-41 victory over the Chicago Rush (4-3) in front of 4,722 fans at the Allstate Arena on Saturday night.
"We scored every time on offense, got turnovers on defense and played well on special teams," said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "When you get that kind of production, you will usually win games. It is a reflection of a great couple weeks of practice and exactly what the doctor ordered for our overall confidence."
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Tiger Jones led Soul receivers with 13 receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, while J Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game, Ryan McDaniel added six receptions for 67 yards and four touchdowns. Andrae Thurman contributed with four receptions for 28 yards, while Larry Brackins added two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh guided the Philadelphia offense and finished by connecting on 22-of-34 passes for 240 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The ground game was spearheaded by Derrick Ross, who finished with 44 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, LaRico Stevenson, who had 4.0 total tackles, an interception, three pass break-ups. James Romain led Soul tacklers with 5.0 total tackles and a pass break-up, while Rayshaun Kizer added an interception and a tackle. Bryan Robinson, Dustin Barno and Brandon Perkins each had sacks in the victory.
Chicago quarterback Carson Coffman connected on 14-of-22 passes for 174 yards and five touchdowns and two interceptions. Jared Jenkins led Rush receivers with eight receptions for 121 yards and four touchdowns, while Reggie Gray added seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
The Soul took the opening drive 39 yards on six plays and was capped with a 16-yard scoring strike from Raudabaugh to McDaniel and a 7-0 lead. The following kickoff by Carlos Martinez hit off the metal upright and the loose ball was recovered by LaRico Stevenson, which resulted in a Ross 10-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead. The Rush got on the scoreboard when Coffman found Gray on an 18-yard touchdown. The two teams traded scored and ended the first quarter with Philadelphia leading 21-14.
The Soul offense continued to keep the pace up when Raudabaugh found Jones on an 8-yard touchdown for a 28-14 lead to start the second quarter. Chicago's Jared Jenkins hauled in his second touchdown of the game to narrow the lead to 28-21, before the Rush defense held the Soul to a 28-yard field goal. The Soul defense came up with a fourth down stop on the next Rush drive and capitalized with a McDaniel 2-yard touchdown reception to close out the first half with the Soul on top, 38-21.
Soul maintained the lead in the third quarter with touchdowns from Jones and Brackins, while Chicago got a pair of scores from Jenkins to end the third quarter with Philadelphia leading, 52-34.
Philadelphia closed out the fourth quarter by outscoring Chicago 20-7 in the final stanza. Consecutive touchdowns by Ross, McDaniel and Jones sealed the deal and gave the Soul a 72-41 victory.
The Soul return home to play the East Division rival Pittsburgh Power on Saturday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be seen on The Comcast Network with Lou Tilley and Tom Goodhines calling the action.
Soul Game Changed to CBS Sports Network
The Philadelphia Soul are happy to announce their Week 10 matchup against the Tampa Bay Storm is now scheduled to be broadcasted nationally on "Net10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday" on CBS Sports Network.
Kickoff is still set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. Tampa Bay will host Military Appreciation Night during that week, where the team will honor members of the Armed Forces. The change gives the Philadelphia Soul their sixth nationally televised matchup of the 2013 season.
ATS Joins with DRIVE4COPD Campaign to Raise COPD Awareness During Philadelphia Soul Game
The American Thoracic Society has joined forces with the DRIVE4COPD campaign to host COPD Awareness Night during the Philadelphia Soul's game on Saturday, May 18. The game will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network and available to over 100 million households.
"Raising awareness of the third-leading killer of Americans during this Arena Football League game is just the latest collaboration between the American Thoracic Society and the COPD Foundation," said John Walsh, president and co-founder of the Foundation, which leads the DRIVE4COPD Campaign. "While first and foremost a medical organization dedicated to research and the latest scientific knowledge, the ATS has integrated the patient perspective into its programs in ways that are unique among associations of health care professionals."
The COPD Foundation is a member of the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable, a highly effective partner in the Society's efforts to raise awareness of lung disease and to help patients and their through research, education, and advocacy. Mr. Walsh was the first chair of the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable.
The Foundation's DRIVE4COPD campaign raises awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a serious, progressive disease, which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both, that robs people of their ability to breathe. While not reversible, COPD can be treated and its destructive impact on health slowed.
"It is estimated that 12 million people have been given the diagnosis of COPD, but that there are another 12 million who have the disease but don't know it,' said ATS Executive Director Stephen C. Crane, PhD, MPH. "The COPD Foundation's DRIVE4COPD campaign is designed to change that fact, which stands in the way of helping patients breathe better and enjoy a higher quality of life."
The campaign raises awareness through a five-question screening device. To date, 2.7 million people have completed the questionnaire, making the DRIVE4COPD campaign the largest public health initiative dedicated to increasing knowledge of the disease.
During the Soul's game, a public service announcement by ESPN commentator and Philadelphia Soul co-owner, Ron "Jaws" Jaworski and other educational activities will encourage fans and viewers to get screened. Fans will be able to answer the questions at screening sites located in the arena. Viewers can go online and complete the questionnaire and then share their answers with their doctor.
For more information about Drive4COPD or to take the screening questionnaire, go to www.drive4copd.org.
Storm's May 25th Matchup Flexed to CBS Sports Network
The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce that its matchup with the Philadelphia Soul, set for Saturday May 25, has been flexed to "NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday" on CBS Sports Network.
"We are honored to have CBS Sports Network join us for our game against the Philadelphia Soul," said Storm president Derrick Brooks. "This will be a special night as we will be celebrating Military Appreciation Night, a night in which we will be honoring our soldiers."
This will be the third-of-four nationally televised games for the Storm. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM ET.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Wild Defeat Defenders for Eighth Victory on Season
The Wichita Wild (8-1) completed a season sweep over the Oklahoma Defenders (2-6) with a 73-7 win Saturday night in Hartman Arena in front of a crowd of 3,600 plus. Wild quarterback Rocky Hinds and running back Tywon Hubbard combined for a total seven touchdowns on the night. Defensive back Kendrick Harper led Wichita's defense against Oklahoma with a game high nine tackles and one interception which he returned for a touchdown.
The Wild offensive showcase began two plays into the game with Hubbard taking off for a 27 yard touchdown run to hand the Wild an early 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, the Wild appeared to stop the Defenders on third down, but a pass interference call brought the ball to the Wichita two yard line. Oklahoma was unable to capitalize on the penalty, as the Wild would hold the Defenders on fourth and goal at the Wichita one yard line. Hinds transitioned the defensive stand by throwing a 35 yard touchdown pass on the very next play to wide receiver Brian Murph to extend the lead to 13-0. Wichita continued the onslaught as defensive back Dan Kontz recovered a fumble at the four yard line, allowing Hubbard to cash in one play later for a 19-0 Wild lead. After a three and out for Oklahoma, Hubbard capped off the next drive with a four yard touchdown run, providing the Wild a 26-0 shutout over the Defenders as the first quarter come to a close.
Scoring in the second quarter started off slow, but midway through the period Hinds ended the drought with a three yard strike to wide receiver Tim Simmons. On the following drive for Oklahoma, the Defenders finally put points on the board with a 37 yard pitch and catch from quarterback Steve Hamilton to wide receiver Patrick Jones, cutting the Wild lead to 40-7. Wichita faced adversity on their next drive with a third down and goal from the Oklahoma 17, but Hinds came through with a 17 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarrel Kelley for a 40-7 Wild lead. Following another three and out for the Defenders, Hinds juked his way into the endzone for a five yard touchdown run to give Wichita a 47-7 lead as the game reached the half.
Defense was the theme for the Wild in the third quarter, beginning with Harper intercepting an Oklahoma pass and returning it 45 yards for his first defensive touchdown of the season and to give Wichita 53-7 lead. The dominance continued later in the quarter, as James McCartney recovered a fumble for Wichita to end the quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to Wild running back Travis Ribbing, who made three key plays in a four minute stretch to start the quarter. After ripping off a 15 yard touchdown run, Ribbing then recovered a fumble on the subsequent kickoff, followed by a 23 yard touchdown run for a 67-7 Wild lead. Harper nearly added a scintillating 58 yard kick return for a touchdown, but the play was called back as a result of a holding penalty. Two plays later, quarterback Nick Hardesty added his first touchdown with a 20 yard pass to wide receiver Rashad Daniels for the final touchdown of the night, sealing a 73-7 Wild win over the Defenders.
The Wild remain home next week, hosting I-135 rival the Salina Bombers (5-2) in a rematch on Saturday, May 11th; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST).
Indoor Football League
Storm Stay Perfect at Home
The Sioux Falls Storm (6-3) defeated the Nebraska Danger (6-3) 43-41 on Saturday night in front of a sold out home crowd. Coming into the game the Storm was riding the wave of a 28 game win streak while the Danger was ranked the league’s best team.
The Storm began the game with quarterback Terrance Bryant throwing an interception to Danger defensive end Adrian Davis. Nebraska was halted on their ensuing offensive drive and settled for a short Joe Houston field goal making it 3-0 Danger over the Storm.
Sioux Falls answered right back when Tory Harrison ran in a 1-yard touchdown giving the Storm a 7-0 lead. Danger kicker Houston then made a 27-yard field goal to answer making it a 7-6 Storm lead at the end of the first quarter.
Danger quarterback Jameel Sewell started off the second quarter scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard keeper giving Nebraska the lead back at 13-7.
The Storm got their passing game going on their next drive when Bryant connected with wide out Blake Wilson for a 3-yard touchdown. That touchdown gave the Storm a 14-13 lead in a back and forth battle.
A fumble by the Danger on their next possession gave Sioux Falls the ball back. On the first play of the drive, Bryant connected with Wide Out Mike Tatum for a 8-yard touchdown making it a 21-13 game in favor of the Storm.
Nebraska answered right back and cut the deficit to one when Sewell ran in a 1-yard quarterback keeper. With only seconds remaining in the second quarter, Sewell connected with Wide Out Andre Piper-Jordan in the corner of the end zone giving the Danger the lead at 27-21.
Storm kicker Parker Douglass hit a 30-yard field goal as time expired to make it 27-24 Nebraska lead at halftime.
Sioux Falls grabbed some early momentum to start the third quarter when Harrison ran in a 3-yard touchdown giving the Storm a 31-27 lead.
With 13:42 to play in the third quarter the Storm made it a 33-27 game when their defense forced a safety. The Danger regained the league 34-33 on their next drive off a 6-yard quarterback keeper by Sewell.
Late in the third quarter, Bryant found Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown pass making it a 40-34 game in favor of Sioux Falls.
The games seventh lead change occurred when Sewell connected with wideout Romance Taylor for a 35-yard touchdown. This gave Nebraska a 41-40 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Storm scored on an 18-yard Douglass field goal to start the fourth quarter giving the Storm a 43-41 lead. The Storm was able to hang onto the ball and run the clock to the finish as they were victorious 43-41.
Sioux Falls quarterback Terrance Bryant threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday night. He threw for a completion percentage of 74 and had one interception. Storm running back Tory Harrison also had a solid game as he ran for two touchdowns and 59 yards.
Nebraska quarterback Jameel Sewell threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He also scored three touchdowns on the ground along with 90 rushing yards.
The Sioux Falls Storm home win streak continued against the Nebraska Danger to 29 in a row. In the next home game on May 18, the Storm will be looking for redemption against the Slaughter who beat the Storm on April 27 in Chicago.
This week the Storm will travel to Cedar Rapids to take on the Titans. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:05.
Legends Football League
Seattle Mist Pull off Biggest Win in Mist Franchise History
The team to beat in the Western Conference has officially changed. The week leading up to Saturday night’s crucial matchup was filled with talks that Seattle can’t compete with the experience and tenacity of LA. Laurel Creel was considered the thorn in the side of a talented Mist team who may succumb to bad decisions and costly mistakes. Mist head coach Chris Michaelson was facing a team on the road that he had never beaten. The Mist were simply outclassed in this Pacific Division rivalry, and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the 3-time reigning champions.
By the end of the first quarter, this proved to not be the case. It was business as usual for the Temptation early in the game as they capitalized on a Seattle fumble, and then scored on a pass from Salerno to Margulies. However, the pace of the game was set on the ensuing Seattle drive. Staring at a horrific start to the biggest game of their LFL careers, this Seattle Mist team drove right back down the throats of LA behind the poise of Laurel Creel and the hands of Christine Moore to pull to within one point heading into the second.
Again, the veteran linebacker Monique Gaxiola proved her worth to this crippled LA defense with a pick six that was returned to the house. Cheers from the Citizens Business Bank Arena roared in hopes that Seattle’s signal caller would let the moment get to big for her. Seattle trailed 14-6 with 5 minutes remaining in the 1st half.
At this point, all signs pointed to Seattle shooting themselves in the foot with costly mistakes and drops that were sure to continue. Again, the crowd was wrong. The Mist, on the legs of Mele Rich, were able to drive back down the field and pull to within two. It was 14-12 LA heading into halftime, and all of a sudden it was clear that neither team was outclassed.
This wasn’t a case of veterans getting too cocky and not preparing fully for this game. Nor was the first half a matter of one team getting lucky to remain in the game, while the other is simply waiting to start dominating. No, at halftime, both teams feared they might lose.
One of the key factors in the outcome of tonight’s game was the play of LA quarterback Ashley Salerno. She was ultimately a shell of herself. She had time in the pocket, but her receivers just couldn’t get open. She had receivers open but couldn’t keep her eyes downfield. She had room to run but kept trying to force throws rather than just tuck it and display her toughness as a ball-carrier. As she fumbled one of the many bad snaps from replacement center Laura Barba, Salerno fell into the end zone for what could have been a measly safety and two points for the Mist. Instead she chose to pick up the ball and force a throw downfield, which landed right in the hands of Seattle’s Shuree Hyatt who jogged into the endzone for a 18-14 lead with 6:08 remaining in the 3rd.
Professional Indoor Football League
Nighthawks Lose to Louisiana
The Knoxville Nighthawks played a hard fought game against the Louisiana Swashbucklers Saturday at the Knoxville Civic Center Coliseum. The game came down to the last play of the night, but Louisiana came away with the win, 45-37.
Louisiana got the ball first and drove it down the field. However the Nighthawks defense stiffened up and held the Swashbucklers to a field goal. On the Nighthawks first possession quarterback Ryan Porter lead a 40 play drive down the field for the Nighthawks first score. Louisiana would score again on a 14 yard pass from Chris Mitchell to Jordan Rideaux. The score at the end of the first quarter was 10-6 Louisiana.
In the second quarter, Louisiana scored twice on 33 and a 3 yard pass from Mitchell to Cortland Bell. The Nighthawks offense could only muster two Armando Cuko field goals. The half time score was in favor of Louisiana 23-12.
The Nighthawks came out of the gate strong to start the 3rd quarter as Ryan Porter found Charles Gilbert on a 18 yard touchdown pass. That brought the Nighthawks within four points. Louisiana responded on a two play forty yard drive. Mitchell found Rideaux again on an 18 yard pass touchdown pass extending the Swashbucklers lead to 30-19. The Nighthawks responded on a 16 yard field goal and uno to bring the Nighthawks to within seven. Louisiana wasted no time as Mitchell found Brando Mcleroy on a 23 yard pass for the score. The score after three quarters was 37-23 Louisiana.
Louisiana scored on a one play forty four yard pass from Mitchell to Rideaux and it looked like Louisiana was going to lock the game up early in the fourth quarter. But Knoxville kept fighting. Porter found Deandere Brown on a 35 yard touchdown pass. Cuko made the extra point. The Nighthawks defense held Louisiana on the next series. Knoxville then went back to work on offense. Porter found Rico Joseph on a 33 yard touchdown pass. Cuko made the extra point. With 57 seconds left in the game, Louisiana was up 45-37. Knoxville's defense held strong as they forced Louisiana to a field goal attempt, but it missed the mark giving Knoxville one last chance. The Nighthawks moved the ball down the field but unfortunately could not find the endzone on the last play of the game from inside the five yard line.
This was a tough loss for our team. But I'm proud of the way they fought to end. They did not quit. said Head Coach Cosmo DeMatteo.
Ryan Porter was 33 of 53 pass with three touchdowns and 317 yards passing. Charles Gilbert had 17 reception for 158 and one touchdown.
The Nighthawks return to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Saturday, May 11th against Lehigh Valley for their second meeting of the season. The evening will be Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
Raiders Beat Defending Champs, 51-49
With less than a minute to go in the third quarter, the Raiders found themselves down by 23 points to the Albany Panthers, and their hopes for victory "" much less a competitive game "" seemed bleak. But special teams magic sparked a 28-0 run, and T.C. Stevens kicked the game winning field goal with eight seconds left to give the Raiders an improbable 51-49 win.
Following the touchdown that put Albany up 43-20, Joseph Jean-Pierre fielded the kickoff after a couple of bounces, then weaved through traffic 51 yards for a touchdown. Antwontis Cutts returned the ensuing kickoff and was stripped of the ball by Raibonne Charles, who recovered the fumble at the Panthers' 11. Warren Smith threw to Brandon Grier to pull the team to within nine at 43-34, and the game became interesting.
The drama would heighten when the Raiders' defense got their first stop all night, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down. They narrowed the gap to a mere two points on a 17 yard strike from Smith to Hakeem Moore, then perfectly executed a surprise onside kick, recovered by special teams stalwart Jean-Pierre. Four plays later, Herb Jones stuck the ball across the goal line, and the Raiders led for the first time, 48-43.
Albany was not done, though. Cecil Lester guided his team back into the lead on a beautiful pass "" and an even better sliding catch by Antwontis Cutts "" at the one minute warning. After failing on the two point conversion, the Panthers had a one point lead and no time outs left, meaning the Raiders were in control of the clock for their ultimate possession.
That possession started inconspicuously, however, as the Raiders had to burn both of their remaining timeouts after Smith scrambled twice. On third down, he hit Moore on a crossing route to the 10. A spike and two incompletions later, Stevens came on to make his second game-winning field goal in as many home games against the Panthers.
The Panthers fought until their last breath and had eight seconds to engineer a miracle. On the game's last play, Lester scrambled, pirouetted, and otherwise avoided four Raider defenders four different times, then heaved the ball into the end zone, where Ke'mon Bailey intercepted it and give the Raiders the dramatic win.
The Panthers built their lead thanks to early Raider turnovers. The Raiders' first two possessions ended with interceptions, both of which eventually led to Panther touchdowns. It was 22-0 before the Raiders held on to the ball long enough to get in the end zone, and a couple of running plays inside the Panthers' five at the end of the first half failed to gain yardage, much less points, and the clock ran out with the Panthers leading 29-6.
The 23-point comeback is the largest deficit overcome in Raiders franchise history. Smith rebounded in the second half to complete 10 of his first 11 passes and finish with 253 yards and six touchdowns. Herb Jones went over 100 yards for the second time this year, netting 132 yards and three scores on 11 catches.
The Raiders move into a first place tie with idle Alabama. Following a week off next week, they will travel to Lake Charles, LA to take on the Louisiana Swashbucklers. They'll return home May 25 to face the Columbus Lions. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm
Steelhawks Tame Lions
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (3-4) earned a hard fought win today as they defeated the Columbus Lions (3-4) 60-51. Trailing early in the game, the Steelhawks never gave in as they worked their way back into the game. This is the third game in a row that the Steelhawks have completed the Domino's Pizza 50 Point Challenge!
The offense was commanded once again by QB Adam Bednarik (37-46 pass completions, 351 yds, 6 tds) who utilized all his offensive weapons. All the receivers had big games once again, WR Tyrone Collins (13 catches, 140 yds, 1 td) was named Buca Di Peppo and Countess Communications Player of the Game, Tom Gilson also had 2 touchdowns (11 catches, 64 yds), and Torieal Gilson had two touchdowns to go along with 9 catches for 128 yards.
The real excitement started in the fourth quarter though. Trailing by 10, 43-33 the Steelhawks needed their defense to stand strong to give them a chance to win. Lehigh Valley started the comeback early as Bednarik found Gilson in the endzone from one yard out to cut the deficit to three. The Lions answered with a nine yard touchdown, QB Brian Harris found WR Maurice Dupree. The Bednarik-Gilson connection struck again, this time on a five yard hook up. A DL Travis Miller safety cut the lead to one, Columbus 50, Lehigh Valley 49. On the following kick off, Lion K Geoff Boyer hit an uno to put Columbus up by two.
Everyone's heart was pounding as time ran down and the Steelhawks had the ball. With 31 seconds left, K Evan Selman was called upon to hit a 27 yard field goal to put the Steelhawks in the lead. He answered that call as everyone inside Stabler went nuts. The pressure was then on the defense as they needed to create a stop and seal the game for the Steelhawks. And a stop they got. the defense rushed the field goal attempt and tackled the kicker in the endzone creating another safety for the Steelhawks, giving them the ball back with three seconds left. On the final play, just for good measure, Bednarik rushed the ball across the goal line as time expired making the final score; Steelhawks 60, Columbus 51.The Steelhawks will be on the road in Knoxville for their game next Saturday but then will return back home to the Valley for their final two home games of the season May 18th and 25th. The game on the 18th is Non Profit Awareness night and is also a night dedicated to the Race for Adam.