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Nighthawks shut down Danger

Nighthawks shut down Danger

After losing to Wichita Falls just one week ago, the Danger looked for redemption at home but came up short in a 44-20 loss at the Heartland Events Center Friday night.

The Nighthawks elected to receive and took the opening kickoff clear to the Nebraska eight-yard line. Just a few plays later, Wichita Falls running back Tyler Williams ran the ball in for a touchdown. A missed point after attempt gave them the early lead 6-0. The Danger had a tough time offensively only managing 18 total yards in the first quarter and missing two field goals. Nebraska's defense stepped up throughout the quarter, forcing the Nighthawks into a couple fourth down situations, one of which resulted in a missed 33-yard field goal by Wichita Falls kicker Rockne Belmonte. The Nighthawks, however, got in the final punch of the first quarter when quarterback Charles McCullum found former Danger receiver Troy Evans for a six-yard touchdown extending their lead, 12-0 after another missed point after attempt. The Danger ended the quarter by finally getting their first and only first down as time ran out.

"We missed some good opportunities in the first quarter to put points on the board but our offense just couldn't find any rhythm. The defense really stuck in there but even with some missed PAT's and field goals we still found ourselves down 12 at the end of the quarter," said Head Coach Mike Davis.

The offense built off of their third down conversion when Dante Perez, who was having his first start with Nebraska, found O.J. Simpson for a 16-yard touchdown, cutting the Nighthawks lead to five points. Wichita Falls answered the Danger touchdown with a long drive, ending with another scoring pass from McCullum. The Nighthawks then completed a two-point conversion giving them a 20-7 lead. After the kickoff, Perez wasted no time looking deep and completing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Marquel Wade. With that score, the Danger once again made it a one-possession game with a score of 20-14. The next drive, the Nighthawks found themselves in a fourth and short situation. The Danger defense left a large hole on the left side of the defensive line, allowing running back Williams to get through for a first down. However, the next play the Danger defense forced a fumble in the end zone that defensive lineman Matthew Hardison recovered for a touchback with 6:25 left in the half. Nebraska's offense sputtered on the ensuing drive after Perez was sacked for a loss of nine yards, eventually leading to a missed field goal and leaving the score 20-14 with 2:33 left in the half. The Danger defense made a stand the next time out on the field, forcing another field goal attempt by Wichita Falls which was missed after hitting a speaker in the Heartland Events Center. After getting the ball back, Danger quarterback Perez, while trying to throw the ball away, ended up throwing an interception. The Nighthawks still led in total yards with 207 compared to the Danger 84. They made quick work of the 26 seconds they had getting two more first downs, having 13 in the first half. The half ended as Wichita Falls kicked a field goal, making the halftime score 23-14.

"At the half this was a one possession game so we felt really good about where we were at headed into the third," Davis said

The third quarter began with Nighthawks kicking the ball out of bounds, giving the Danger the ball at the 25-yard line. On the next play Perez fumbled the ball but it was recovered by Nebraska for a loss of two yards. After two incomplete passes, the Danger attempted a field goal that was blocked and recovered by Wichita Falls at the 25-yard line. The Nighthawks then moved the ball down the field, capping off the drive with a rushing touchdown from quarterback McCullum giving them a 16 point lead 30-14. A short kick off gave the danger the ball at the 23-yard line to start their drive. After making their way to the six-yard line Perez again threw an interception to Deante Purvis in the end zone. Purvis then returned the ball to the 10-yard line. The Danger defense got an interception of their own a few plays later but could not get the offense going. A low snap got away from Perez which he scooped up but was quickly sacked for a loss of 17 yards. A fourth down field goal was attempted by Gable who missed it wide left. Gable was 0-5 on field goals tonight with 2:51 left in the third quarter and a score of 30-14. Wichita Falls once again went on the move on the next drive but Jabari Gorman snagged an interception over the middle with five seconds left in the third to keep the Danger alive heading into the fourth.

To start the fourth, quarterback Quentin Williams made his first appearance for the Danger. A few positive plays later Nebraska was knocking on the door at the six-yard line. Williams used his feet to scramble to the two-yard line bringing up a fourth down for Nebraska. The Nighthawks defense made a big stop, forcing the turnover on downs after sacking Williams at the three-yard line. After the Nighthawks scored again, the Danger put together a productive drive that included a 21-yard rush by Williams. That play set up a shovel pass on fourth down to Jameon Lewis for the touchdown. A missed two point conversion made the score 37-20 with 4:30 left in the game. The Danger then attempted an onside kick which was recovered by Wichita Falls at the Danger four-yard line. The Nighthawks punched in another touchdown on the short field extending their lead to 24 points, 44-20. The game ended as the Danger were driving for a touchdown and time ran out.

"We made a lot of mistakes today, interceptions, penalties at bad times, not being lined up. Football is a game of rhythm and momentum and we just couldn't find that tonight. Now we go back to the drawing board and get ready for the next game, "Davis said.

The Danger next play on June 10th at the Heartland Events Center against the Spokane Empire.

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