Danger come up short in season's first home loss

Danger come up short in season's first home loss

By Ross Struss
Staff Writer

The Danger had a tough time slowing down the Nighthawks potent offense losing their second game in a row 64-55.

The game got off to a quick start as Edward Wesley for the Nighthawks returned the opening kick 40 yards to the Nebraska 4-yard line to set up a quick touchdown run on the next play. Nebraska responded on the next drive, scoring on a 2-yard quarterback rush by Jameel Sewell. A missed point after attempt kept the lead with the Nighthawks 7-6. Things kept up for the Danger as they rounded out their scoring for the quarter with a rouge point on a tackle by Okechukwu Okoroha in the end zone making the score 14-10. However, Wichita Falls did not sit around long, scoring with 4:45 left in the quarter. A missed point after by the Nighthawks made the score 16-14.

The second quarter brought about a plethora of scoring by the Nighthawks as they cashed in touchdowns on each of their next two possessions. With a score of 30-14, Nebraska shot themselves in the foot as a kick return for a touchdown was called back by three penalties on the Danger. Their drive then started at their own seven-yard line. Two more penalties nearly stalled the drive before Sewell hit O.J. Simpson for an 18-yard first down. Sewell capped off an 8:14 drive with his second rushing touchdown of the night, making it a nine point game 30-21. The Nighthawks wasted no time as quarterback Charles McCaullum hit former Danger receiver Troy Evans for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Danger got the last chance to score in the first half with one minute to go. After driving the length of the field, Danger kicker Cody Thornton scored 3 points as the clock ran out. Wichita Falls still led at the end of the first half with a score of 37-24.

"We played a good first quarter. Then it fell apart in some ways. We got sloppy and as a result we started making penalties and that killed us. We got behind and from there it was hard to catch up," Head Coach Mike Davis said.

A scary start to the third quarter saw the Nighthawks run back a fumble for a touchdown. However, it was called back by an illegal hands to the face call on Wichita Falls. O.J. Simpson got in another score for the Danger, getting the game back to within one possession, 37-31. A five minute drive by Wichita Falls was nearly stopped by the Danger defense on two occasions. However, Nebraska could not get off the field and the Nighthawks completed another touchdown pass to Troy Evans, extending their lead back to 13 points, 44-31. The ensuing drive stalled out for Nebraska at the Nighthawks five-yard line. The Danger once again called on Thornton to get three points on the board leaving them only down 10, 44-34. A Corey Cooper sack on second down set up a third and long for the Nighthawks as Nebraska looked to get the ball back. Quarterback McCullum had other ideas as he hit Troy Evans for the third time on the night for a 28-yard touchdown pass extending the lead to 16 points, 51-34. Nebraska cut it back to 10 on a 20 second touchdown drive with O.J. Simpson scoring again with a 26-yard catch. Simpson to this point had six catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The 3rd quarter ended with the Nighthawks still leading 51-41.

A lengthy Nighthawks drive to start the fourth quarter ended in a field goal after the Danger defense stiffened up. Wichita Falls kicker Rockne Belmonte got it through the uprights giving the Nighthawks a 13 point lead, 43-41. The Danger offense responded by taking advantage of the defensive stop and getting the ball into the end zone via a Sewell quarterback sneak, cutting the lead to six points 54-48. A long kick by Thornton ended up with a short return by the nighthawks starting their drive at their own six-yard line. The next play McCullum hit Troy Evans for 26 yards and then Tyron Laughinghouse for a 16-yard touchdown pass extending the lead back to 13, 61-48. The next drive the Danger got back to within one possession again after Sewell connected with Simpson for his third receiving touchdown on the night, making the score 61-55. After a bad bounce gave the Nighthawks good field position they were helped out by a personal foul penalty on the Danger giving them the ball at the 11-yard line. The Danger defense again held them to a field goal but the Nighthawks extended their lead to nine points with 2:03 left in the game. An interception thrown by Sewell sealed the game for the Danger with a final score of 64-55.

"We fought our way back into the game after a rough first half. But again we made one too many mistakes in order to win. When they score on all except one possession we have to play better to win. Now we go back to work and get ready for Billings," Davis said.

The Danger next play the Billings Wolves on April 2nd at the Heartland Event Center in Grand Island.

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