Mistakes doom Danger against Storm

Mistakes doom Danger against Storm

By Ross Struss
Staff Writer

The Sioux Falls Storm came to Grand Island as the defending IFL Champions and played that way, defeating the Nebraska Danger 62-44 at the Heartland Events Center Saturday night.

The first quarter showed the offensive prowess of both teams. The Storm were the first to strike as quarterback Lorenzo Brown scampered into the end zone for a touchdown. Nebraska hit back quickly as Jameel Sewell found Lyle McCombs for a 15-yard touchdown pass, tying the score at seven a piece with 10:48 left in the first quarter. The Danger special teams made a big stop on the ensuing kickoff tackling Sioux Falls at their own five yard line. Four plays later, Storm quarterback Brown scrambled on a broken play into the end zone giving the Storm the 14-7 advantage. Kicker Brendan Hanaphy returned to the Danger this week and nailed a 45-yard field goal on the next drive to cut the Storm lead to four points 14-10. The Nebraska defense made their biggest stop of the game at this point, when Dominic Clarke broke up a pass forcing Sioux Falls into a fourth down field goal attempt that they made, making the score 17-10. The Danger had thoughts of tying the game back up but McCombs fumbled the ball on the first play of the drive. Turning the ball over to the Storm effectively ended the first quarter with Sioux Falls leading 17-10.

Just a few plays after forcing a Danger turnover, the Storm punched in another touchdown when Brown hit a long pass to Caleb Holley, extending their lead to 14 points, 24-10. The Danger were not out however, as Sewell found OJ Simpson for a touchdown on the next drive keeping the game in reach 24-17. The Nebraska defense made a stop on the next Storm drive in the red zone, but an illegal contact penalty gave another chance to Sioux Falls. They cashed in the opportunity with a touchdown making the score 31-17. A stalled drive for the Danger saw Hanaphy come out for a 38-yard field goal attempt which was right down the middle, cutting the Storm lead to nine points 31-20 with 3:30 left in the half. The ensuing kickoff Korey Williams returned the ball for the Storm for a 52-yard touchdown with 3:19 left in the half. The Danger, down 18, did not flinch. The team came out and Sewell hit Marquel Wade for 11 yards and a first down. Three plays later, at the one minute warning, Nebraska had worked their way to the 13 yard line. Hanaphy put through another field goal for the Danger making the score 38-23. The Danger D forced a turnover with five second left in the half. A long pass by Sewell fell incomplete on the next play ending the half. "In the first half I thought we played pretty decent. If we could have managed a couple more defensive stops it would have been even better but mistakes hurt us and put us behind," Head Coach Mike Davis said.

The first drive of the half for the Danger started out promising, but after a Sewell touchdown run was called back for a holding penalty the drive stalled out. Hanaphy came on to attempt his fourth field goal of the night and missed it wide left from 39 yards out leaving the score 38-23. The Storm didn't take long to score. Quarterback Brown found Brandon Johnson-Farrell wide open down the left side for a 44-yard touchdown pass extending their lead to 22 points, 45-23. Lyle McCombs found a spark for the Danger on the kickoff returning the ball 33 yards to the 25 yard-line. With 4:57 left in the third quarter, Sewell found OJ Simpson for a 19-yard touchdown pass, bringing the lead back within two possessions for Nebraska, 45-30. A long kickoff return kept the Storm in striking position on the next drive but the Nebraska defense stiffened up and held the Storm to a field goal making the score 48-30 with 2:14 left in the 3rd quarter. The Danger capitalized on the defensive stop when Sewell ran 14 yards and leaped over a defender for a touchdown cutting the Storm lead to nine points, 48-37.

A short kick left Sioux Falls once again in scoring position and this time the defense could not hold. The Storm got in another touchdown with 14:54 left in the game extending out the lead 55-37. Nebraska made it within the five yard line on the next drive and tried to punch in a touchdown on fourth down, but failed turning the ball over. The first play of the Storm possession, Storm quarterback Brown hit a 48-yard pass to Mike Tatum for a wide open touchdown, making the score 62-37.

Nebraska, to their credit, did not stop playing. The Danger drove the length of the field, scoring on a McCombs run, making the score 62-44. The Danger defense got the ball right back with an interception caught by Dominic Clarke on the first play of the Storm drive. The Danger drove to the other end of the field but an interception put an end to the drive with 50 seconds left in the game. A couple of running plays by the storm put an end to the game, with a final score of 62-44.

"Too many mistakes killed us in this one, that's all there is to it. Give the guys credit though. They fought their hearts out and all we can do is get back to work to become a better football team," Davis said.

The Danger next play Friday, April 29th against the Iowa Barnstormers at the Heartland Events Center.

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