Red Dogs clobber Crude, 56-27
04/13/02 Rapid City Journal
RAPID CITY -- Rapid City scored 33 unanswered points over the final 181/2 minutes of the first half as the Red Dogs blasted the Oklahoma Crude 56-27 in a non-conference National Indoor Football League game Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The win halted a two-game Rapid City losing streak and lifted the Red Dogs to 2-3 overall this season. More importantly, Rapid City played with the same swagger that lifted the Red Dogs to a division championship last year.
"Once we started going, everybody started to believe," said first-year Rapid City head coach Dan Maciejczak. "All of a sudden I saw the twinkle in everybody's eyes. Everything changed, and it was back to the old Rapid City Red Dogs of the old as far as making big defensive plays and our offense coming out."
The game looked to be a repeat of a pair of recent Rapid City losses as turnovers left the Red Dogs in a 21-10 hole with 3:37 left in the opening quarter.
Oklahoma's Marvin Owens scooped up the opening kickoff, which was booted around by the Red Dogs' Ryan Cole and Jesse Adams inside the Rapid City 10, and stumbled into the end zone to stake the Crude to a 6-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
Just over five minutes later, Brian Gaines picked up a Jason Murdock fumble and ran to paydirt from 12 yards out to put Oklahoma up 15-10.
"The beginning of the game summed up what we do," said Maciejczak. "We were making dumb mistakes and putting people in the game."
A Brian Mills 15-yard touchdown catch got Rapid City started. Then the Red Dogs' defense took over and the offense took advantage of the openings provided by a defense that has played with its back to the wall all season.
Eric Rice stepped in front of a Waylon Jones aerial at the Rapid City goal line to halt an Oklahoma drive. Three plays later, receiver Casey Veenhof made a juggling catch in the end zone for a 35-yard TD reception to give the Red Dogs their first lead, 22-21.
"I don't know if I caught it as much as it stuck in my hands," said Rice, who also serves as the Red Dogs' linebacker/defensive coordinator, with a laugh, recalling the interception.
Rice was in the right spot again as he stopped Jones, who was scrambling with the ball on a broken play, short of a first down at the Rapid City 10. Jesse Adams broke loose for a 40-yard TD run on the next play and the Red Dogs led 29-21.
"Once we got that interception and got on top, I knew they'd start to feel that sense of urgency and start throwing the ball," noted Rice. "Then we've got a call where we can turn our linemen loose and we don't play run anymore. We were giving that call a lot."
The Crude had first-and-goal at the Rapid City 8, but the defense stiffened, registering a pair of sacks to thwart Oklahoma. A high snap kept the Crude from getting off a field goal attempt.
Taking over at their 13, the Red Dogs wasted no time as Murdock hit a leaping Mills with a 37-yard strike to put Rapid City up 36-21 with 5:15 left in the first half.
The Crude went three-and-out from deep in its own territory, and kicker Mike Scott was short with a 46-yard field goal attempt. Two plays later, Antonio Conley used his speed to turn a short slant route into a 27-yard touchdown reception and the rout was on as Rapid City went to the half leading 43-21.
"We opened the ball up well and had a lot of big plays," said Maciejczak of the first-half outburst. "That's what we're about this year."
While the Crude's defense scored 12 of its 21 early points, Oklahoma struggled to get its offense on track, going 35 minutes without putting a point on the board.
"The bottom line is that we had some guys who decided they wanted to play the way they wanted to play and not the way they were taught to play and the wheels fell off," said Oklahoma head coach Morris Lollar.
"If we'd have stuck to the things we were taught to do, it would've been a lot more competitive game."
The Crude rushed 31 times for only 27 yards, and Jones was forced to throw early and often to make up for the lack of a running game. Jones finished the night 15 of 27 for 144 yards and two scores, but he was also sacked seven times for 34 yards in losses and picked off twice.
"You need to run the ball effectively, but for whatever reason, our running back (Anthony Davis) decided he wanted to dance in the hole instead of hitting it," said Lollar. "I didn't want to put the ball up 50, 60 times. Their defensive line is just teeing off on you. You need to keep them honest."
Murdock, in his second game at quarterback for Rapid City, finished the night 12 of 21 for 214 yards and five TDs. Mills had four catches, all touchdowns, for 104 yards. Adams finished with 39 rushing yards.
Mike Nincehelsern led the Red Dogs with four sacks and 14 tackles overall. Andrae Rowe had 31/2 sacks and six total tackles for the game.
Maciejczak was pleased with getting his first home field win as a head coach, but he is far from satisfied.
Before the game, Maciejczak told his team, "We have nothing lose anymore. We're the conference champs, blah, blah, blah, but we can't rest on our laurels. We're sitting at 1-3 and we can't lose anymore.
"We have 10 steps. We just stepped up one and we've got nine more. Right now we've got nowhere to go but up."
The next step for the Red Dogs is next Sunday when Rapid City takes to the road to face the Bismarck Roughriders. Oklahoma plays host next Saturday to the Sioux City Bandits, a team that knocked off the Crude 63-3 its season opener.
Oklahoma 21 0 0 6-27
Rapid City 16 27 3 10-56
Oklahoma-Marvin Owens 8 fumble recovery (Mike Scott kick failed)
Rapid City-Aaron Turner 43 FG
Oklahoma-Scott 37 FG
Oklahoma-Brian Gaines 12 fumble recovery (Scott kick failed)
Rapid City-Brian Mills 24 pass from Jason Murdoch (Turner kick)
Oklahoma-Adrian Perez 10 pass from Waylon Jones (Scott pass failed)
Rapid City-Mills 15 pass from Murdoch (Murdoch pass failed)
Rapid City-Casey Veenhof 36 pass from Murdoch (Johnny Johnson run failed)
Rapid City-Jesse Adams 40 run (Turner kick)
Rapid City-Mills 37 pass from Murdoch (Turner kick)
Rapid City-Antonio Conley 27 pass from Murdoch (Turner kick)
Rapid City-Turner 46 FG
Oklahoma-Perez 4 pass from Jones (Scott kick failed)
Rapid City-Mills 30 pass from Murdoch (Turner kick)
Rapid City-Turner 37 FG
First downs 12 12
Rushes-yards 31-27 15-52
Passing yards 151 214
Comp-att 16-29-2 21-21-0
Return yards 12-207 6-80
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 10-65 2-18
Time of Possession 40:29 19:31
Sacks 1-9 7-34
RUSHING-Oklahoma: Anthony Davis 17-36, Brian Gaines 1-0. Rapid City: Adams 5-39, Johnson 6-25, Murdoch 4-(-4).
PASSING-Oklahoma: Jones 15-27-1-144, Larr Hendricks 0-1-1-0, Johnny Merrill 1-1-0-7. Rapid City: Murdoch 12-21-0-214.
RECEIVING-Oklahoma: Perez 6-52, Corry Edmonds 5-56, Wes Bell 4-37, Davis 1-6.
Rapid City: Mills 4-106, Veenhof 4-62, Conley 3-38, Fred Maseman 1-8.