Turnovers Trip up Danger vs Storm

Turnovers Trip up Danger vs Storm

By Austin Druse, Staff Writer

While the IFL doesn’t have a league-santionced “Rivalry Week,” there was no love lost between Sioux Falls and the Danger on Saturday. Sioux Falls held on for a 45-37 road win, despite multiple comeback attempts from the Danger.

“We both have good teams this year, and there have been chippy matchups between us in the past few years, tonight was another example of that,” head coach Mark Stoute said. “It’s just disappointing that we couldn’t come up with the win.”

Sioux Falls did not take long to put points on the board, as it scored on the first play from scrimmage. Lorenzo Brown Jr. found a streaking Judd Harrold for the 18-yard score. Nebraska would tie the game on the ensuing drive with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter. Jesse Scroggins hit Eric Thomas over the middle for the touchdown, with the ensuing point after tying the game at seven apiece.

The Storm responded with another deep ball from Brown. On a third-and-long, deep in his own territory, Brown heaved a pass 30 yards downfield and found Mike Tatum for six, reclaiming the lead for Sioux Falls. The Danger had a chance to tie the game before the end of the first quarter, but Angelo Pease fumbled on the Storm two-yard line, which was recovered by Sioux Falls for a touchback.

Brown threw for 48 yards and two TDs in the first quarter, while Scroggins threw for 32 of his own and one touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Danger backed the Storm deep into their own territory on three straight stops. Miles Bergner attempted a 50-yard field goal but pushed it wide-right, allowing the Danger to take over. Nebraska wouldn’t capitalize on the miss, though. Scroggins fumbled a handoff that was recovered by Chris Martin, setting up the Storm offense on the Danger 14-yard line. A five-yard rushing TD by J’Vontez Blackmon gave the Storm the 21-7 lead.

With 3:43 left in the half, Scroggins found Kenzel Doe on a drag route for a 14 yard score. The ensuing PAT was missed, pitting the Danger in a 21-13 hole. Just inside of a minute left in the second quarter, Brown found Harrold again for a 32-yard pass that set up first and goal on the five for the Storm. A few plays later, the pair connected again for a 10-yard touchdown. The Storm led 28-13 through two.

“They really hurt us through the air. There were a few missed coverages here and there, and that put us in a hole at the break. It’s tough when you have to try and dig yourself out of a situation like that,” Stoute said.

Quarter number three didn’t see much scoring, as neither team crossed the goal line, but each kicked two field goals. The Storm connected on the latter of their kicks, with Bergner missing a 50-yarder that hit the jumbotron, while hitting a 39-yard attempt with 2:29 left in the third. As for the Danger, Brad Hatfield missed a 54-yard attempt with just over 12 minutes left in the third while hitting his next attempt from 33. Sioux Falls led the Danger 31-16 after three quarters of play.

The Danger had its opportunities to complete the comeback, but often couldn’t respond on the defensive end to the Storm’s attack. Fifty one seconds into the fourth, Scroggins scrambled and found Doe again for another strike, that time from 9 yards out. Nebraska looked to go for two, but was forced to kick after being pushed back due to an illegal motion penalty. The Danger trailed 31-23 at that point. Sioux Falls marched right down the field and scored on another long ball from Brown. He found Mike Tatum on a deep crossing route for six. Tatum was shaken up on the play as he collided with the wall but managed to hold on.

Just under a minute later, Scroggins found Eric Thomas on a 5-yard out and Thomas was just able to break the plane after extending his arm while getting tackled, cutting the deficit to 8, 38-30, with 8:41 to go. Bergner would attempt another kick, but have difficulty with items hanging above the field. On a 39-yard attempt, his kick hit a speaker and dropped short, keeping the Storm lead at 8 with just over five minutes remaining. Nebraska looked to take advantage of that mishap, but instead gave up a score on a pick-six by Sioux Falls’ Jabari Gorman. Gorman batted the pass to himself and returned the INT for 15 yards and the points, putting the Storm up 45-30.

“That didn’t exactly kill us, but it was a big blow to what we were trying to do. Anytime you have a missed field goal, it’s a great chance to score quickly and capitalize on some momentum. . . their guy just made a great play, they had some pressure on Jesse, and you see six points going the other way,” Stoute said.

With 2:30 left, Scroggins found Thomas again, this time on a deep fade on the left sideline. Thomas went up in coverage and came down with the 25-yard reception. Sioux Falls would run out the clock in the final minutes, moving the ball into the red-zone but opting to run out the clock instead of add to its point total. The Danger drop to 4-2 with the loss, and the Storm improve to 4-1.

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