Warriors "Little Guys" come up big

04/09/03 NIFL Fan Article by Philip J. Rogich, Syracuse, UT

Wide receivers Eugene Mirador (5'9") & Mike Montoya (5'8") combine for 193 yards and 4 touchdowns in a contest of undefeated teams. Prior to the game, Coach Leslie stated that these two need to step up and have a big game. Running backs Omar Bacon and Emmitt White were sitting out this game with injuries from the Billings game. The plan was to line up with no running backs and four wide outs. Three of which would run deep taking the defensive backs with them and one of them running a route underneath. Leslie’s plan worked like a charm. Mirador & Montoya were open all night long.

After the game Mirador was very humble about leading all receivers and having a career night (110 yards & 2 touchdowns). "My coach told me to go out and have a good game and I guess, I had it." "I did all-right."

The Warriors got the ball first and drove 45 yards in five plays. Ending in a Ragsdale to Montoya 10 yard touchdown pass. It was followed by a very uncharacteristic PAT failure by kicker Pete Garces. The Bucks then fumbled the ball on their first drive. The ball was recovered by Dee McCormick This game looked like it might get out of hand fast. On the first play of the Warriors next drive Ragsdale threw an interception. The Bucks then got their running game going. They drove 44 yards in 10 plays. The drive ended in a two yard touchdown run by Michael Burks. Burks ended the night leading all rushers in yardage with 79 yards. The first quarter ended with the Warriors trailing 6-7.

In the second quarter the Warriors defense and quarterback Danny Ragsdale went to work. Dee McCormick and Trevor Bell each had an interception. McCormick & Bell have averaged one interception per game this season. Ragsdale threw for 202 yards and six touchdowns in the first half. He made touchdown throws to four different receivers in the half (Grow 2, Montoya 2, Quinn 1 & Mirador 1). The Bucks only score of the quarter was a 18 yard field goal. Halftime score Warriors 40 - Bayou Bucks 10.

In the second half the Warrior put it in to cruise control. Ragsdale threw one more touchdown before being replaced by Tony Alvarez at the end of the third quarter. Line backer turned running back, Rob Love rushed for 18 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucks made quarterback change as well. They did manage to score 26 points in the second half but the game had been over for sometime. Final score Warriors 61 - Bayou Bucks 36.

The player of the game was Danny Ragsdale. He was 26 for 33, 266 yards and 7 touchdowns with only one interception in three quarters of play. His counterpart Will Burch left the game early as well, 5 of 13, 1 TD and 2 INT. Danny played the whole game with a brace on a very sore knee. After this he had this to say about his lone interception, that came because of pressure from the defense. "Once I threw that first pick, I said to myself, I have to quit being a little girl and start taking some hits." He credited the whole team with the win. Ragsdale showed he is a true leader and willing to do what it takes to win. Danny leads the league in several categories including most passing yards.

This game was a team win, everybody stepped up and got the job done. Kickers made tackles and receivers made blocks. Others played in new positions because of the injuries. Credit needs to be given to the line on both sides of the ball. The offensive line did not give up a single sack to a defense that leads the league in that category. The defensive line slowed down a high powered running game. Rob Love once more lead the team in tackles with 8.5 and had one forced fumble. He is ranked fifth in the league in tackles. The defensive backs made the majority of the tackles in the game (Jason Potter 6.5, Shawn Kojima 4.5, Garrett "Wild Man" White 4, Dee McCormick 3.5 & Trevor Bell 2.5). Trevor Bell also returned an interception and kicks for 114 all purpose return yards. Several of the Warriors showed us their dancing skills during celebrations. The best dancer award goes to Mike Thomas as he temporarily joined the Warrior Dancers during a time out.

The game time entertainment consisted of a dog show. They did high flying stunts, while catching frisbees. After the game the team and dancers joined the fans on the field for a victory celebration. These autograph and photo sessions have become a tradition in the E - center. They are a big hit with the Warrior Nation both young and old..

The Warriors have a bye week to rest and heal. Both E. White and Bacon should return. Ragsdale should be back to 100% and you may see the return of Kautai Olevao. In two weeks the Warriors travel to Rapid City for a re-match. The Red Dogs will be out to avenge the 71-16 preseason loss to the Warriors. While the Warriors must show once more they can win on the road. The game can be heard on 1280 AM.


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