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Nebraska Danger come from 15 points down to win in overtime

By Ross Struss
Staff Writer

After a game highlighted by the inability to put the ball in the end zone, the Nebraska Danger beat the Billings Wolves 64-61 in overtime at the Heartland Event Center Saturday night.

The first quarter saw the score go back and forth. A Jameel Sewell 20-yard toss to Kayne Farquharson opened up the game, but mental mistakes by the Danger kept Billings in the game. The biggest of those mistakes, a fumble by Jasonus Tillery, was recovered and returned 35 yards by Michael Green of the Wolves, tying the game 7-7 with eight minutes left in the first quarter. The Danger were able to put together a long drive on the following possession and capped it with Jameel Sewell scoring on a one-yard quarterback sneak. However, the momentum was lost on the ensuing kickoff as the Danger allowed Wren Norris to sneak through and run 57 yards for a touchdown. The quarter ended with the score 14-14.

A fight started the second quarter with a bang, as several Danger defenders managed to push Billings quarterback Reginald Lewis through the Danger bench door. The fight resulted in two off-setting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. A few plays later, the Wolves punched through for first score of the second quarter as Lewis got a pass through the Danger defense for a one-yard touchdown. The Danger responded with a field goal from Brendan Hanaphy and allowed Billings to score a touchdown with 22 seconds left, making the score 31-24 as the teams headed to the locker room.

"The first quarter was pretty tight and then we let a few things by us in the second quarter. Tensions were high but I think that's just the nature of the game. When we went to the locker room at the half we never felt like this game was out of reach and we showed that," said Head Coach Mike Davis.

A fumble recovery on the kickoff of the second half gave the Danger the ball at the Wolves 14-yard line. The drive stalled, but the Danger managed to get three points out of it, pulling within four of the Wolves 27-31. Then Jameel Sewell showed off his ability to think quickly in the pocket as he went sideline to sideline on a 7-yard touchdown run giving the Danger the lead 34-31. The advantage for Nebraska was short lived however, as Regginald Lewis found Carl Sims for a 31-yard touchdown pass giving the lead right back to the Wolves 38-34 with under eight minutes left in the third quarter. Another field goal by the Danger wasn't enough to retake the lead as Billings scored a touchdown with just over a minute left, making the score 37-45 to end the third quarter.

A good defensive stand by the Wolves forced the Danger to turn over the ball on downs to start the fourth quarter. The Wolves wasted no time, methodically moving the ball down the field, finding holes in the Danger defense. They capped the drive with a touchdown to extend their lead to 15 points with just over eight minutes left in the game. The Danger offense found some life as Jameel Sewell found Troy Evans, who broke a tackle on his way to a 26-yard touchdown reception, cutting the lead by the Wolves to 12 points. After getting the ball back, Billings marched down the field scoring a touchdown in less than two minutes extending their lead to 14 points after a missed extra point attempt. The Danger would not die as Jameel Sewell once again threw a strike finding Demarius Washington for a 24-yard touchdown, making the score 51-58 in favor of Billings. After being gashed for 227 yards the Danger defense stiffened up forcing a crucial third down with under three minutes left. The crowd and the players responded as the defense forced Billings to try a field goal attempt on fourth down which was missed wide left and turned the ball back over to the Danger with 2:43 left in the game. The Billings defense took advantage of a couple bad passes and forced a huge fourth down play with a minute left in the game. However, Jameel Sewell found Kayne Farquharson on the very next play for a 40-yard touchdown. Brendan Hanaphy put the extra point in the back of the net, tying the game at 58 with just over 50 seconds to go in the game. Billings once again tried to kick a long field goal, this time for the win, but missed wide right sending the game into overtime still tied at 58 points apiece.

The Danger won the toss to begin overtime and elected to play defense first. After an incomplete pass to start overtime for Billings the Danger defense broke up a pass setting up a huge third down. Regginald Lewis tried to run a quarterback sneak but only gained four yards forcing the Wolves to attempt yet another field goal on fourth down. This time the kick was right down the center, giving Billings the lead 61-58. The Danger possession started with Jameel Sewell also throwing an incomplete pass. He then found Kayne Farquharson for a seven-yard gain. On third down Sewell found Demarius Washington for the 13-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone, ending the game in overtime with a Danger victory.

"Our team showed a lot of heart tonight. We fought back and showed we can face adversity. I would also add that support we have here in Grand Island is absolutely amazing. The fans showed why they are the best in the league and they deserve this victory just as much as us," said Davis.

The Danger next play at the Sioux Falls Storm on May 16th and play the Colorado Ice on May 23 back in the Heartland Events Center.

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