Warriors come from behind to upset Outlaws

04/02/03 NIFL Fan Article by Philip J. Rogich, Syracuse, UT

Coach Leslie and his Warriors show great poise in coming back against a great Outlaw team on the road. Despite the 90 total points scored, this was a defensive battle. The Warriors defense came up big intercepting Albert Higgs five times.

Billings got the ball first and drove the ball 34 yards in six plays for a touchdown. The score was a three yard rush by Yohance Humphery. Humphery established the Outlaws rushing game in the first half. He ended the game leading all rushers with 71 yards and leading in total yards with 119 yards. He also lead Billings in scoring with 2 touchdowns and 1 two point conversion. The Warriors then answered back with a 33 yard drive of their own. The drive ended with a three yard touchdown run by Emmitt White. White ended the night with 2 rushing touchdowns and 35 all-purpose yards.

Billings then scored 13 unanswered points. Utah looked like they were down for the counts. Trevor Bell intercepted a Higgs pass to help turn things around. After the turnover the Warriors drove 40 yards for the score. The Warriors ended the half only down three points.

The Warriors came out ready to go in the second half. They got their running game going with Omar Bacon. He lead the Warriors in rushing (60 yards) & scoring ( 2 TD’s and 1 two point conversion). He also ended the night with 82 all-purpose yards. The Warriors scored 10 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game. The Outlaws were not ready to die. They battled back to take two point lead on a Higgs to Meier 19 yard touchdown pass. Utah answered back with a 17 yard Ragsdale to Quinn touchdown pass. Quinn had a career night last week against his former Billings team mates. After that score Utah never looked back. They went on to win the game 50-40.

Former Outlaw Cory Grow had a great night in his return to his former home arena. He lead all receivers in yardage with 107 yards, with 7 catches. He also had a big touchdown despite being held by a Billings player. Danny Ragsdale once again shows why he was last years MVP. Despite intense pressure he was 14 of 22 for 151 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INT. He also rushed for 27 yards. He was sacked four times and knocked down several times. Rookie kicker Pete Garces had to be the offensive MVP. He had three field goals of 42, 45 and 35 yards. Along with his 3 PATs his scoring helped Utah come out on top.

The Warriors whole defense can be given the defensive MVP award. They came up big intercepting Higgs five times. Dee McCormick had two interceptions while Bell, Kojima and Ah-You each had one. Albert Higgs ended the night 13 of 30 for 134 yards, 3 TDs and 5 INT. Rob Love lead all players in tackles with 8, while Trevor Bell and Garrett "Wild Man" White each had six. Henry Kaufusi had a sack. Former Outlaw Jeff Main was the iron man of the game, playing offense, defense and special teams. He played at least four different positions in the game.

Despite the loss, Billings had several high points. They finally have a kicking game with newly signed kicker Heppner. Keyon Kemp had 85 yards on 4 kick off returns. More than likley the Warriors can look forward to seeing the Outlaws again in the play-offs.

As a team, the Warriors can be proud. After two games they are ranked #1 in the league in passing scoring offense and turnover margin. They are ranked #2 in kicking scoring, offensive scoring, red zone scoring and total offense.

The Warrior did show they have some things to work on. They had 20 penalties for 103 yards. The Warriors also need to keep the injuries down. Henry Kaufusi went down with a season ending Achilles Tendon injury in Billings. The week prior, Lance Sopoaga had a season ending neck injury, while Junior Baker had a season ending Achilles Tendon injury vs. The Red Dogs. The good news is that Trevor Bell returned from a practice injury to have a great game in Billings. Kautai Olevao who broke his arm against the Red Dogs should return soon.

Up next for the Warriors are the Houma Bayou Bucks in the E - Center on Saturday, April 5th . Experts have picked the Warriors as an 18 ½ point favorite. The Warriors can’t afford to get overconfident and look past them. The Bucks are 2-0 and could surprise the home team favorite. After the Bucks game, the Warriors get a much needed bye week to nurse some injuries.

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