Week 2 Wrap-up
03/26/03 Randy Schad
Expansion teams upsetting conference champions. Shattered attendance records. Game-winning catches over the boards. Welcome to Week 2 in the NIFL, where as the Utah Warriors will attest, anything can -- and often does -- happen.
Billings 46 @ Utah 55
The Warriors responded to the critics with a home win against the heavily favored Outlaws, holding Billings to only 12 points in the first half. After allowing 28 points in the third quarter, the Utah defense resurfaced, holding Billings to a single touchdown in the fourth quarter and intercepting quarterback Albert Higgs twice in the final two minutes -- both times by Garrett White -- to halt any hopes of a comeback. Utah teammate Emmett White led the receiving effort with 7 catches for 108 yards and three TDs.
Ohio Valley 46 @ Tennessee 21
The defending champion Greyhounds started where they left off last season, stifling the RiverHawks hopes for an NIFL debut upset. After a Tennessee field goal on the opening possession, the 'Hounds scored 21 unchallenged points and turned on the autopilot. Ohio Valley QB Shane Franzer threw for 166 yards and 3 TDs, and the defense contributed with a blocked field goal, an interception, and a recovered fumble. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee coach Heath Shuler has announced that QB Steve Christie, who replaced a faltering Bryan White in the second quarter, has been named the new starter.
Evansville 40 @ Fort Wayne 41
The Freedom defense stepped up late in the fourth quarter to hold onto a 1-point lead and win their franchise debut -- a true nail-biter -- in front of league record attendance. Freedom RB Rocky Harvey tied the game by plunging into the end zone from 1 yard out with just over two minutes remaining, and kicker John Deittrich came out to put the go-ahead point on the board. Less than two minutes later, the 9,162 fans were on their feet as Fort Wayne's Alf Fertil and Ron Brown sacked Bluecats QB Akili Roberson on a fourth and thirteen at midfield to secure the victory. Bluecats offensive lineman Seth Morris suffered a serious injury just prior to halftime, and was taken off the field. Initial speculation is a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Tri-City 54 @ Oklahoma 33
The Tri-City Diesel held true to their namesake, overpowering the Crude with an impressive ground game. The Diesel ran 35 times for 120 yards, 87 of those coming from RB Sherman Jones. Tri-City racked up 34 second half points en route to a 54-33 tromping of the injury-riddled Crude. The Enid News & Eagle Online reported that Oklahoma's Chris Mathis suffered from dehydration and was transported to the hospital. None of the other injuries were reported as serious.
Sioux Falls 26 @ Rapid City 30
The Red Dogs, who trailed the Storm by 14 points in the first quarter, were finally able to overcome the deficit -- and a wall -- with just over a minute remaining to advance to 2-0. Trailing 26-23, Rapid City's Adrien Perez made a leaping catch over the boards to cap off a 46 yard drive and put the Red Dogs ahead by 3. Dusti Bakowski's point after made the score 30-26. After the Storm returned the ensuing kickoff to the 25, Rapid City's Greg Van Leer made a one-handed interception of a Ryan Johnson pass to seal the win.
Lincoln 21 @ Show Me 24
After a scoreless first quarter, the Believers and Capitols took turns scoring touchdowns until a field goal by emergency kicker Steve Bohlken put the Believers up 17-14 early in the third quarter. Lincoln's John Hall responded with a 13 yard dash to put the Capitols back on top 21-17. The scoreboard changed for the last time halfway through the fourth quarter when Believers WR Scott Pingel wrestled in a 45 yard TD toss from Rick Little at the goal line, his second score of the night.
Austin 28 @ Beaumont 34
Beaumont WR Pat Palmer caught 3 of Derrick Taite's 4 touchdown passes, and the Drillers defense tallied 3 interceptions to win their second straight over the Austin Rockers. The Rockers, opening the season with a loss, receive a bye next week before going on the road to meet Lake Charles (1-0), while the Drillers head to Evansville (0-1).
Myrtle Beach 14 @ Houma 29
The Stingrays offense struggled Friday against the Bayou Bucks, scoring only a touchdown in each of the first two quarters before lying dormant for the remainder of the game. Houma RBs Michael Burks and Nemesis Bates each put up two touchdowns, one of which was a 49 yard dash by Burks in the third quarter. Combined, the duo ran the ball 24 times for 94 yards and 4 TDs. Neither team was able to score through the air.
Tupelo 25 @ Lake Charles 50
The FireAnts struggled offensively for the second straight week, dropping to 0-2, while LandSharks RB David Winbush was able to rack up 88 yards on 17 carries. Lake Charles (1-0) goes on the road to Lexington, while Tupelo hopes to pick up their first win in Fort Wayne (1-0).
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