Late Bismarck touchdown sinks Storm

05/19/02 Sioux Falls Argus Leader
It was a game that showed just how bizarre indoor football can be. For one thing, time expanded. Two minutes grew into about two weeks.

In those manic final two minutes, the Sioux Falls Storm saw its hopes rise, then soar, then sink, then resurface, and finally bottom out. The Storm lost at the Arena for the first time this season, falling 65-58 to the Bismarck Roughriders on Saturday night.

The primary culprit was Bismarck quarterback Danny Ragsdale. The undersized, diabolical passer staked the Roughriders to a lead in the first half, then thwarted Sioux Falls throughout the second half.

The Storm did bottle him once, holding Bismarck to a three-and-out late in the fourth. With 1:38 remaining and Sioux Falls down by seven, the Storm got the ball at its 5.

On the second play of the drive, Storm quarterback Ryan Aulenbacher faked a short pass, then went deep to the recently signed Matt Holmlund. Two plays later, running back David Ruter took a pitch 5 yards for a touchdown.

And when Ruter ran in the two-point conversion, Sioux Falls had its very first lead of the game, 58-57.

But there was a flaw with the drive: It was too quick. A whole 47.5 second remained - and that turned out to be more than enough time for Bismarck.

After a short kickoff and a penalty was called for the Storm fans tossing free foam football on the field, the Roughriders had the ball at the Storm 20. Four plays later, Quentin Cradle ran in the winning touchdown.

Yet time still remained. Aulenbacher nailed Corey Walker with a 19-yard strike, giving Sioux Falls the ball at the 20 with three second left. But no more miracles were left: Aulenbacher's pass to the end zone sailed out without anyone touching it.

The first half was as strange as it was eventful. In the space of the game's first five plays from scrimmage, there were three touchdowns, two turnovers and three penalties. On the strength of Kyle Sires' interception return for a touchdown and a 36-yard scoring hookup between Ragsdale and Duane Monlux, Bismarck led 13-6 with four minutes gone by.

The Roughriders advanced with impunity throughout the half. Ragsdale went 15-for-20 for 183 yards and four TDs - numbers that few quarterbacks generate in a full game against the Storm defense.

With 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Storm scooted into Roughrider territory. Then, with 13 seconds left from the Bismarck 19, Aulenbacher flipped a lob toward Jesse Haines who floated over his defender for a touchdown that made it 36-22 at the break.


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