Watts leads Beef to win over Diesel

03/30/02 Kearney Cyberhub
OMAHA — Omaha Beef quarterback Troy Travis dropped back to pass late in the first quarter, was unable to find an open receiver and scrambled to his right near a first down.

But unlike last season, when a healthy Travis lit up the indoor football world with 48 touchdown passes during an MVP season, he remained on the ground after being tackled.

The Beef's 10th offensive play of the season may be the last of the season for Travis.

Travis hyperextended his left elbow, suffering possible torn ligaments. The Beef, behind rookie quarterback Kwanzi Watts and a suffocating defense, still managed to pull through for a 37-20 win over the Tri-City Diesel Friday night before 5,277 fans at the Civic Auditorium.

Omaha won its season opener in the National Indoor Football League while Tri-City fell to 1-1.

The Beef's defense limited the Diesel to 137 yards. Omaha had 220 yards, including 182 on the ground. Tri-City scored 49 points in its opener.

"We got unbelievable pressure from our defensive line," Beef Coach Sandy Buda said. "We won tonight because our defense played so well."

The Beef led 13-7 when Travis, who earlier passed for one score and ran for another, was knocked out of the game on a 9-yard run

"I put my hand out to try and break my fall and hyperextended my elbow," Travis said. "I am going in for surgery on Monday. I will be out at least 6 to 8 weeks. I have faith in Kwanzi. With that speed, and as long as he starts reading defenses, he will be all right."

Watts, a former UNO quarterback, led the Beef on three scoring drives. He rushed for 93 yards and one touchdown but struggled throwing the ball. He completed more passes to the Diesel, three, than he did to his teammates. Watts was 2 of 9 for 14 yards, including a 3-yard TD pass to Chad Mustard that gave Omaha a 30-20 edge with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter.

"Obviously, Troy is a big loss — I wouldn't be surprised if he is done for the season," Buda said. "Troy was most of our offense. When you lose a guy like that there is a sinking feeling in your belly. But that's football. Things can change in a hurry."

Watts was playing in his first indoor game.

"This game is 10 times faster than anything I have ever experienced," Watts said. "I didn't want to come in under those conditions. Obviously, those are big shoes to fill when Troy went down. The veterans showed a lot of leadership by getting behind me. And our defense was excellent."

Buda said Watts and Tory Veland, who had been working at running back, will handle the team's quarterback duties with Travis sidelined. Travis was the most valuable player of the Indoor Professional Football League last season.

"Kwanzi had some rough spots," Buda said. "He threw three interceptions, but it was his first time out in a tough situation. I just need to be patient with him and we need to go coach the heck out of Kwanzi and Tory Veland now."

The Beef put the game away on Clinton Childs' 1-yard scoring plunge with 7:31 left in the game. Childs accounted for 65 yards rushing.

Omaha led 23-10 at the half be fore Tri-City quarterback Tavar Thompson connected with Eric Ryan on a 10-yard scoring pass to open the second half. Darin Tankersly followed with a 29-yard field goal to cut the Beef lead to 23-20 with 8:56 left in the third quarter.

Linebacker Cale Good led Omaha's defense with 12 tackles, including two for loss. Good also blocked a Tankersly field-goal attempt that sailed out of the end zone for a safety in the second quarter.


Score by Quarters

Tri-City 7 3 10 0 — 20
Omaha 21 2 7 7— 37

First Quarter

OMAHA — Steve Lovell pass from Troy Travis (Forman kick)

OMAHA — Travis 2 run.

TRI-CITY — Dal Van Housen 28 pass from Tavar Thompson (Tankersly kick).

OMAHA — Kwanzi Watts 1 run (Mustard pass).

Second Quarter

TRI-CITY — FG Tankersly 41.

OMAHA — Cale Good safety.

Third Quarter

TRI-CITY — Eric Ryan 10 pass from Thompson (Tankersly kick).

TRI-CITY — FG Tankersly 29.

OMAHA — Chad Mustard 3 pass from Watts (Forman kick).

Fourth Quarter

OMAHA — Clinton Childs 1 run (Forman kick). ?

 Tri-City Omaha

First downs 8 11

Rushes-yards 26-70 32-182

Passing yards 7-16 5-13

Total yards 137 220

Return yards 6-106 6-97

Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2

Penalties-yards 7-32 1-35

  © 2001, 2002 National Indoor Football League. NIFL, National Indoor Football League, and the NIFL logo design are registered trademarks of the National Indoor Football League. The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. No portion of this site may be reproduced without the express written permission of the National Indoor Football League The National Indoor Football League take no responsibility for third-party material appearing in any bulletin board or chat sections of this site. All rights reserved.
Privacy & legal information