Capitol loss for Night Train in home opener

03/30/02 LaCrosse Tribune
Colby Vogt spent much of last week being examined by doctors. Now, it appears the La Crosse Night Train quarterback will spend much of the next week being examined by his coach.

Vogt had, as his roommate Ryan Hubbard put it, "a glass-full" of fluid removed from his non-throwing left elbow Thursday night during an eight-hour hospital stay. The quarterback bounced back to throw for 81 yards and three touchdowns Friday night, but La Crosse lost to the Lincoln Capitols 41-21 in the franchise's first National Indoor Football League home game at the La Crosse Center.

"I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to play until an hour before the game," said Vogt, whose elbow swelled to three times its size and became infected after he was hit in practice.

For the second straight game, La Crosse had a slow start, falling behind 14-0 in the first half after Lincoln's Damon Benning and Rayshawn Askew each scored on runs inside the 3 yard line.

"We've got to come out in the first half right away, and the second half right away, and not get behind," Vogt said. "You gotta come out and move the ball down the field the whole time."

With his left elbow heavily bandaged, Vogt connected with Frank Jackson and Hubbard on 7-yard touchdowns before the half, and La Crosse pulled even at 14, before giving up another touchdown just before the half.

"I've played with Colby before," said Hubbard, who played with Vogt on the Minnesota Purple Rage of the IFL two years ago. "We're comfortable with each other. He knows what I'm going to do. I know where he's going to go."

Hubbard slipped behind a defender and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Vogt late in the third quarter for the Night Train's only other score. Vogt completed 15 of 30 passes, but also threw three interceptions, an improvement from his seven in the first game, but still not where coach John Schimon would like his quarterback to be.

"He's improved from the first game, definitely," Schimon said. "But he was not seeing his open guys down field. In the first game, he threw it down field and didn't hit his underneath guys."

Schimon said he would examine the tape to see exactly where the mistakes were being made, but he didn't need tape to see some things.

"I'm going to take a close look at the quarterback position and decide what we're going to do there," he said. "Our receivers are open, we just gotta get them the ball. That's the big problem we're having right now. The receivers are open. The routes are open. Not to put the pressure on the quarterback, but he has to get them the ball."

Lincoln quarterback Josh Luedtke had no trouble finding his receivers in the second half. He hit Joseph Koroma on a 41-yard touchdown pass, then connected with David Brown on a 27-yard score to put the game away. Lincoln kicker Chace Long added two 20-yard field goals in the fourth.

"I don't want to say too much about the quarterback situation," Schimon said. "I want to look at the tape and decide what happened. I don't want all these rumors flying around that Colby's done."

Who would be the quarterback even if Vogt were 'done' is certainly a question mark, since the Night Train cut Justin Fjelstad - the only other quarterback on the roster - Wednesday

Running back Doby Howard took over as quarterback in the final minutes Friday, after Vogt hurt his lower back on the final touchdown pass to Hubbard. He completed just one of his five passes, but scrambled for 32 yards.

"I would have let (Vogt) finish the game," Schimon said. "He was hurt. He could throw, but he couldn't move. I said, 'Sit. Relax. Live to fight another day.' "

Vogt said playing in front of the home crowd of 2,950 helped the Night Train improve after a blowout loss in their franchise opener. But he expects the team to play better April 7 when La Crosse hosts the Sioux City Bandits.

"When you get down 14-0 it takes them out of it a little bit," Vogt said. "When we did do things right, you could feel the energy and the adrenaline. We've got to give them more to be happy about."

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