Danger holds off Colorado for Intense Conference championship
Article posted on: 2013-06-22 00:00:00
By Tony Chapman
Nebraska Danger Staff Writer
Charlie Bosselman couldn't find a comfortable place in the Heartland Events Center on Saturday.
The Nebraska Danger owner paced the upper concourse, snuck behind a dasher board to watch some of the fourth quarter before finally hiding in the far tunnel for the final minute of the Intense Conference championship game.
Finally, when Colorado's final pass fell to the turf — securing a 55-50 Nebraska win — he could celebrate the third year franchise's first conference championship and a trip to the 2013 United Bowl against three-time defending champion Sioux Falls.
"What a tremendous championship game," Bosselman said after the game, as the Danger players and fans celebrated an undefeated season at the Heartland Events Center. "We had such great fan support from the start. We could not have done this without the support of the entire community."
It was everything you'd ask for in a championship game.
For sixty minutes, neither team turned the ball over and the game hung in the balance until the last play — an untimed down after Nebraska was called for a personal foul on what could have been the game's last play. But, Ice quarterback Willie Copeland's final pass to Kyle Kaiser fell to the turf.
"What a football game," Nebraska head coach Mike Davis said. "Like our other games, we just couldn't seem to put them away. Give Colorado a ton of credit; they played a heck of a game. We might have made just one or two more plays than them and that's about it."
Nebraska took a 55-44 lead with 52 seconds left in the game and appeared to be in control when Randy Bell bulldozed his way in from the 2-yard line. But, Colorado scored with 11 seconds left on a pass from Copeland to Patrick Walker to cut the lead to 55-50.
Kaiser then recovered Phillip Welch's on-side kick and the Ice three plays to score. After the teams traded personal fouls, Colorado's last shot was from the Danger 18-yard line. It appeared Kaiser had found a seam but failed to turn around resulting in an incomplete pass.
"It looked like they might have had something on that last play," Davis said. "In that last minute you feel like the game will never end. We were fortunate to be standing when it was all over."
The teams battled to a 24-24 halftime score, and Colorado attempted an on-side kick to open the third quarter but the Danger recovered and struck quick. All-IFL quarterback Jameel Sewell scored on a 13-yard run just seconds later to give Nebraska the lead for good at 31-24. After the Danger defense held, Bell scored from 12 yards out and a 38-24 lead.
After Colorado cut the lead to 41-38 in the third, Nebraska rolled the dice on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-goal from the 4, the Danger put the game in the hands of Sewell and he responded with a hard fought touchdown run for a 48-38 lead.
"In a big game, you have to trust your best players to make plays," Davis said. "That was a big play for us and we just didn't feel like we could give them any momentum. Jameel made a heck of a run."
The stat sheet went to Colorado. They had 28 first downs to the Danger's 17 and ran 20 more plays from scrimmage to outgain Nebraska 277-243. Copeland accounted for six touchdowns, and was 18-for-36 passing for 168 yards.
Sewell ran for 58 yards and threw for 122 as he added five more touchdowns to his franchise record 77 from the regular season.
Nebraska advances to the league title game against the Storm, which defeated Cedar Rapids 44-20 in Sioux Falls on Saturday night. The teams traded games in the season series with Nebraska snapping Sioux Falls 21-game win streak on March 2nd in Grand Island with a 30-21 win. The Storm won at home 43-41 on May 4th. Both teams are 11-4 on the season.