15 day lay off hurts Night Train

04/02/03 Jason Christopherson

It had been 15 days since the La Crosse Night Train made their victorious 2003 debut to a sold-out La Crosse Center when the Train came into Kearney to play the Diesel Saturday night.  And somewhere in those 357 hours since the last horn sounded, the momentum of the victory over Sioux City slipped away as La Crosse dropped to 1-1 overall with a 38-28 loss to Tri City.

The game was filled with costly mistakes and penalties on both sides of the ball.  A total of 23 flags were accepted, including 13 on the visitors.  The game was a bit sloppy, but that shouldn’t take away from the defensive performances of both teams.  Hard tackling and just plain stinginess on “D” resulted in only 358 yards of total offense between the two teams.  In fact, the Diesel only averaged 2.83 yards per play, while La Crosse was a shade over 4.3 yards on 15 fewer plays. 

Sherman Jones was the story for the Diesel.  He was continually fed the ball and rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.  La Crosse’s counterpart, Chris Floyd, carried the ball 12 times for 45 yards, but sat out most of the fourth quarter with flu symptoms.

Night Train Awards:

This is going to be tough for a couple of reasons.  One, I didn’t travel to the game.  Two, Coach Mike Brown was unavailable for comment this week.  So, I’m winging it based on the stat sheet.  If you disagree, let me know:  e-mail address is below. 

Offensive MVP: 

Could go with Quarterback Johnny Johnson, who was a respectable 10/23 for 123 yards and three touchdowns.  But he did throw two interceptions and one of those was especially costly as it was returned for a touchdown.  My pick is Larry Henderson, who roped in three of Johnson’s passes for 60 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown.  And if it was anything like his TD catch on opening night, he is very deserving of this award.

Defensive MVP:

Although Titcus Pettigrew had an interception, it seems like Derric Coakley is the winner for the second week in a row.  All Derric did was have 11 tackles, nine solo, including three for loss.  He also recovered a fumble.  Derric is clearly two-for-two for this award this year.

Play of the Game: 

If I were to guess, it would be the fourth-quarter Henderson touchdown to get the Night Train back in the game.  But statistics sheets don’t put asterisks next to great hits or impossible catches.

Coming Next:  La Crosse hosts Show Me, an upstart squad that definitely Believes in themselves after a great performance against the powerful Omaha squad.  Show Me is disappointed in the heart-breaking loss and hopes to get back over .500 on Friday night.  The Night Train are hoping the La Crosse Center magic appears again and that last week’s game was just a fluke.

Let’s hope so, Train fans.

E-mail me with questions or comments at .  If you go to a road game in the future, I would appreciate getting your take on the game.

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