Warriors burst the Storm's cloud

04/30/03 NIFL Fan Article by Philip J. Rogich, Syracuse, UT

The Warriors returned home this week to face the Sioux Falls Storm. Coach Leslie stated, "it’s good to be home, where the referees know what they are doing." The Warriors suffered their first loss of the year last week in Rapid City. According to Leslie there were many very questionable non calls in the game. Leslie went on to say, "I just want to put that game behind us."

The Storm come into this game ranked third in the Pacific West, while the Warriors were in first place. The strength of the Storm is their big and quick defensive line. While the Warriors rely on their high powered passing attack and their speed.

On the first play of the game Danny Ragsdale hit Cory Grow with a 40 yard touchdown pass. The Warriors were off to a quick start and never looked back. On the Storms first set of downs, Trevor Bell picked off Johnson. Utah then drove 35 yards. The drive ended with the second Ragsdale to Grow touchdown. The Storm finally managed to score on their second possession. The Warriors answered back quickly with a Ragsdale to Bacon touchdown pass. The second quarter was a defensive battle with neither team scoring. Utah was up at the half 21-7.

In the second half the Storm scored first on a Jamison 5 yard touchdown run. Ragsdale and company then went to work. They drove 39 yards to score on 19 yard Ragsdale to Quinn touchdown pass. The Storm and the Warriors trading touchdowns to round out the third quarter. In the forth quarter the Warriors really cam alive. The defense intercepted the ball two more times and the offense outscored the Storm 24-14. The Warriors remain undefeated at home.

Danny Ragsdale had a huge night. He ended the night 33 of 43 for 375 yards and 8 touchdowns. His lone interception came on a tipped pass. These are big numbers for indoor football and would have been a great game for an outdoor quarterback. Ragsdale stated, "no one has been able to stop our passing game all year." "We’ll continue to throw the ball and make teams beat us." Danny went on to say, "the line blocks well, the receivers run great routes and I make good decisions." Ragsdale leads the league in every quarterback category but one (quarterback rating in which he is ranked number two).

Danny Ragsdale is the league’s best quarterback but he has a great receiving corps to help him out. Running back Omar Bacon lead all players in catches and receiving yards with 13 catches, 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cory Grow lead all players in scoring with 92 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Eugene Mirabar had 95 yards receiving and Jason Quinn 61 yards receiving, each also had a touchdown. The Warriors have at least two or three receivers in each of the leagues top ten receiving categories.

Leading the defense this week was Garrett "Wild Man" White. He had 6 tackles (1 for a loss), 1 interception and two pass deflections. Rob Love and Shawn Kojima had 5.5 tackles each. The Warriors defense showed why they have the best turnover ratio in the league with a +8. Utah had four players with interceptions (G. White, Love, McCormick and Bell). Shawn Kojima also had a fumble recovery.

The Warriors got it done with special teams as well. For the second week in a row Trevor Bell had 100 yards on kick returns. Kicker Pete Garces was perfect on PAT’s with eight. He also had a 28 yard field goal and recorded two tackles.

The only problem the Warriors had in the game was a familiar one, injuries. Big man Mike Thomas went down with a knee injury. He will require surgery and will be sorely missed. Bell, Love, Quinn and others had minor injuries as well but were able to play. The Warriors were with out the services of RB/WR Emmett White. He was in Los Angeles for an NFL try-out camp. He should return next week.

Earlier in the week Quarterback Danny Ragsdale was contacted by the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League. They made him an offer to come and play to replace their third quarterback injury of the year. When Ragsdale was asked about the offer, he replied, "the bottom line is that I am staying." "Coach Leslie and the Warriors have been loyal to me and I’m going to be loyal to them." Warrior fans have cause to celebrate. Ragsdale leaving would have been devastating to the team.

This week the Warriors travel to Austin, TX to play the Rockers. The Rockers are the third place team in the Atlantic South and are ranked 16th in the leagues power poll. They also average 38 points per game. The Warriors are still the number one team in the Pacific West and are ranked 3rd in the leagues power poll. The Warriors average 53.4 points per game. This game should be another big win for the Warriors. Tune to 1230 AM for all the action.

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