Danger Offense falls short with new backup quarterbacks

Danger Offense falls short with new backup quarterbacks

The Nebraska Danger slowed down the Iowa Barnstormers' potent offense but couldn't stop them as they fell 37-30.

The Iowa Barnstormers came to Grand Island on the heels of putting up 72 points in a victory against Green Bay last Sunday. However, the first quarter was not a display of Iowa's offense as the Danger held them to just 62 total yards and no points. Iowa's kicker Josh Gable missed two field goals, squandering a couple scoring opportunities early in the game. Nebraska on the other hand was breaking in a new quarterback in Anthony Abenoja from Pittsburg State University. Abenoja shook off any first game jitters and tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to O.J. Simpson with 4:23 left in the first quarter giving the Danger the first and only score of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw a scoring explosion. It started with Nebraska extending their lead, as running back Jeff Scott scampered three yards into the end zone. Kicker Brendan Hanaphy missed the extra point, leaving the Danger with a 13-0 lead. The Barnstormers did not go away, however, as former Danger backup quarterback Brion Carnes made two passing touchdowns, allowing them to take the lead 14-13 for the first time with just over four minutes left in the half. The lead flip-flopped again when the Danger scored a field goal but with less than a minute left, Iowa scored a quick touchdown giving them the lead right back. The half ended on a missed Hanaphy field goal as the Barnstormers led 20-16.

"We knew there were going to be some rough patches in the game since we were breaking in two new quarterbacks. But the defense played well in the first half and slowed down an offense that was pretty potent," Head Coach Mike Davis said.

Scoring slowed back down in the second half. A missed field goal on the opening drive for Nebraska was a blown opportunity. However, on the following drive, an Iowa fumble led to a long Nebraska drive that saw another new quarterback, Brendan Crawford, come in for Nebraska. A third down scramble by Crawford for 16 yards meant the Danger would attempt another field goal. An illegal defense call, though, would prove fruitful, giving the Danger a chance to get into the end zone. Two plays later on a read option play, quarterback Crawford snuck in from four yards out giving the Danger the lead as the quarter ended 23-20.

Barnstormer quarterback Carnes started the 4th quarter with a 16-yard pass to Johnny Thomas. The Danger defense made a big stop on third down, forcing a field goal attempt that Iowa kicker Josh Gable missed wide left. The next Nebraska drive succeeded in taking five minutes off the clock but ended when Hanaphy missed a field goal, turning the ball over to the Barnstormers. Only leading by three points, the Danger needed a stop in order to secure a victory as time was winding down. The clock rolled under three minutes left in the game as Carnes hit Brady Roland for a 16-yard touchdown, giving Iowa the lead 27-23. Iowa nearly got a rouge point on the kickoff, but Jabari Gorman got out of the end zone and ran 51 yards to the Iowa five-yard line. On the next play, Crawford used a quarterback keep play and ran in to the end zone giving the Danger back the lead 30-27 with 2:12 left in the game. Iowa once again used some long gains to quickly move the ball down the field. Carnes hit Roland again, this time for an 11-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left in the game giving Iowa a four point lead 34-30. A block in the back on the kick return made things harder for the Danger. Crawford came out for Nebraska, hoping to orchestrate a comeback in the final minute of the game, but a scramble on fourth down was stopped short, ending Nebraska's hope of a victory with 23 seconds left. Using their timeouts, the Danger forced Iowa to take a field goal and a 37-30 lead, giving them one last chance to tie the game. The final Hail Mary play by Crawford resulted in an interception for the Barnstormers to end the game.

"Overall we played a pretty good game but we left some opportunities on the field that would have made a difference at the end of the game," Davis said.

The Danger next play on Friday May 6th at the Green Bay Blizzard.

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