By: Bryce Koon
The Columbus Lions showed off just how lethal their offense can be in their lopsided victory over the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. The Lions won a big road game and are now at the top the NAL standings with their 77-38 victory. Mason Espinosa had a career day for the Lions and the defense scored as well.
Mason Espinosa had a great game and threw for over 300 yards and eight touchdowns. Espinosa also ran for a touchdown to give him nine total touchdowns on the day. The receiving corps had a huge game as well, including last week’s hero Durron Neal. Neal hauled in four touchdowns, Jarmon Fortson caught two and Tristan Purifoy caught two as well. Jeremy Johnson joined in on the fun as well. The former Auburn Tiger threw a touchdown and caught one. He also took over the long-snapping duties during the game. The offense showed up big in this game and the Lions kept their foot on the gas pedal until the clock struck zero.
The Lions defense displayed their physicality and toguhness on Sunday night. The Lions were flying around the field, making great tackles to stop the Steelhawks in their tracks. The defense was also able to put some points up on the board themselves. The Lions forced a safety and four total fumbles. Deylan Buntyn recovered one of those and scampered for five yards to score a touchdown for the Lions defense.
The Lions did one of the hardest things in any sport, go on the road and come back home with the win. Also, the Massachusetts Pirates lost to the Carolina Cobras, which now gives the Lions sole possession of first place in the NAL. The Lions return home for a bye week before traveling to Jacksonville for their next game.
By: John-Paul York
The Cobras gave their fans a roller coaster of emotions last night, down 59-39 at the start of the 4th quarter, the offense, defense and special teams came together as a collective unit to pull out a thrilling win against a strong Massachusetts Pirates team. After taking a 72-65 lead with 10 seconds left in the game, the Pirates and Sean Brackett would have one more opportunity but would be sacked by a host of Cobras as time expired.
On their opening drive, the Cobras would go three and out and Craig Peterson's missed field goal would set up Brackett and the Pirates offense deep in Carolina territory. Brackett would take advantage of the good field position, finding Devonn Brown for a four yard touchdown. Then after both teams going three and out, it would be Charles McCullum's turn as he found Jordan Jolly all alone for a Cobras touchdown. What started as a low scoring affair, saw a 7-7 tie starting the 2nd quarter.
The 2nd quarter the fans got to see Cedric Poole make a termendous interception and run the ball to the Pirates 6-yard line. McCullum would once again take advantage of the field position that the defense gave him by finding Tyron Laughinghouse for a score. The Pirates would keep pace, by scoring a touchdown on their first play on the next drive. The Cobras next series would be cut short when McCullum would be picked off by linebacker Pasquale Vacchio, as he returned the ball to Carolina's 7-yard line. The Pirates would score on the ensuing drive with wide receiver Mardy Gilyard finding the endzone. McCullum would be picked off again on the Cobras next drive, this time by John Hardy-Tuliau. The last minute before halftime both offenses would get hot with both scoring two touchdowns. With the missed PAT's and Peterson hitting the deuce, the Pirates led 32-30 at the half.
The Pirates would extend their lead after receiving the ball at the start of the 3rd quarter when Brackett would find Gilyard again. Hardy-Tuliau would once again intercept the McCullum pass and after a 42 pass to Brown, the Pirates woauld punch it in with a 2-yard run by offensive lineman, Dashawn Johnson. Needing points to keep pace with the Pirates, it would take three plays to do so, with Laughinghouse grabbing the touchdown as he dove over the wall for one of the greatest catches we've witnessed this season and Peterson tacking on the PAT and the deuce on the kickoff would cut into the Pirates lead. The Pirates next drive would be deja vu to their previous one, with Brackett throwing a deep pass to Pearson this time and Johnson rushing it into the endzone. On their next drive, McCullum would throw a pick-6 to Eddie Norrils as the 3rd quarter expired, giving the Pirates a commanding 59-39 lead and a feeling of redemption for the only loss on their record.
The pep talk that Coach Back and Coach Schmidt gave the team before the start of the 4th quarter breathe new life into the Cobras as McCullum shook off the pick-6 and went back to work. First connecting with Phillip Barnett on a 15-yard pass and then finding Laughinghouse for a 15-yard touchdown strike, which Peterson followed with another deuce. A penalty backed the Pirates up on their own 1-yard line, and Brackett who had been flawless made a costly error when he fumbled the snap, giving way for Jermaine Jones to pick it up and take it into the endzone. The defense would not let up, with Poole picking off Brackett again, giving the Cobras the ball on their own 2-yard line. After not picking up the first down, Coach Back left his offense out their to go for it on fourth down and a detrimental pass interference call against the Pirates kept the Cobras drive alive. With 5:00 minutes left in the game, McCullum and Brackett would exchange interceptions, giving Carolina the ball back. McCullum this time would find Barnett in the endzone and Peterson coming through with the deuce on the kickoff would give the Cobras their first lead since the 2nd quarter. Brackett and the Pirates weren't ready to give up yet, as he connected with Brown on a 45-yard touchdown as the clock hit one minute. Not wanting the Cobras to be able to regain the lead with just a field goal, the Pirates opted to go for the two-point conversion which the Cobras defense snuffed out. Down by just a point, with 10 second left, McCullum would find Laughinghouse for what would be the game winning touchdown and a successful two-point conversion would give the Cobras a seven point lead with just a few seconds left in the game. Brackett was not ready to throw in the towel yet, connecting with Gilyard, down to the Cobras 11-yard line. The last play of the game would see a host of Cobras swarmming Brackett and sacking him as the clock hit :00.
This win sends the Cobras into their bye week sitting at 5-2. With the Pirates also at 5-2 and the Columbus Lions only having one loss, it's shaping up to an exciting second half of the season. The possiblity of two of these teams playing for the NAL championship is not a reach. We will have to stay tuned as the season rolls on.
By Tonya Swim
Amarillo, Texas-The Amarillo Venom wasted no time putting numbers on the board against the Texas Power Saturday night at the Cal Farley Coliseum.
The Venom received the ball first from Power kicker Micheal Small. Raymond Johnson Jr. took the ball out the the Venom 19 where Nate Davis and company started with their first possession.
Davis immediately found Venom newcomer Terrell Smith in the endzone for a touchdown just 53 seconds in the game. Conner Hollabaugh came out to kick the point after, but it was blocked. A flag on Power Arthur Jones gave Hollabaugh a chance to redeem and the Venom were on the board with a 7-0 start.
Hollabaugh's kick hopped into the stands so the Power got their first start on their own 10 yard line.
Power Quarterback Eric Herrera saw the first snap go over his head into the endzone where the Venom recovered. Hollabaugh got the PAT and the Venom go up 14-0.
Hollabaugh's kick again went into the stands giving another touchback and the Power try again with the ball on their own 5.
Herrera tried a pass but it fell short, then a handoff to Keith Miller, but Miller was stonewalled by Dren Johnson and Jeff Branch. Herrera kept the ball but D. Johnson again was there with a stop putting the ball on the Power 21. The next play was deja vu when Herrera again saw the snap go over his head into the endzone to again be recovered by Branch. Hollabaugh finished off the score with an extra point and the Venom move to 21-0 11:28 in the first quarter.
Cedrick Crowell for the Power took the ball at kickoff to the Venom 24 where Venom newcomer Richard Mitchell and R. Johnson Jr. put an end to his run.
Power offense came out, Herrera tried failingly a flipout toss, then like the movie Groundhog day, Herrera again saw the snap fly over his head into the endzone but the Power recovers only giving the Venom 2 for the Safety. Venom 23 Power 0.
R. Johnson Jr. grabbed the kickoff and ran it out to the Venom 12 then in just the second possession of the game for the Venom, Davis finds Alex Watson Sr in the endzone. with a 38 yard pass! Touchdown Venom. Hollabaugh found the uprights increasing the score at 9:19 in the first 30-0.
Crowell ended up with the kickoff and took it out to the Power 21.
Herrera found Desmond Comfort with a pass for a for a three yard gain, stopped led by Steven Fluker. Herrera fumbles the next snap, but recovers for a one yard loss. Herrera passes to Devante Harrison for a two yard gain stopped by Cashmin Thomas. With a series of plays, Herrera handed off to Comfort the a one yard gain, then a keeper where he met Desmond Railford for no gain.
Another incomplete pass brought up fourth and nine then his next attempt was knocked down by Fluker while flags flew. Flag was on the defense but the retry failed and the ball was turned over on downs at the Venom 10.
The third possession for the Venom, Davis found R. Johnson Jr. with a 30 yard pass into the endzone, TOUCHDOWN. Hollabaugh missed the Xpt. Venom 36 Power 0.
The ball again finds itself skipping into the stands for a touchback. The Power take possession at their own five yard line.
Herrera had an incomplete pass then calls his third (and final timeout) with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
A pass to Harrison brought the ball down to the Venom three, but two handoffs to Comfort was stopped by Railford, one for no gain and one for a loss of one bringing up the third and four at the end of the first quarter.
Herrera started the second quarter trying to find Harrison with a pass, but Terrious Triplett got his hands on the ball bringing up fourth and four.
A toss to Comfort was stopped for a loss of three by Fluker and the Venom took over on downs on their own nine.
Fourth Venom possession had Davis passing to Venom newcomer Ricardo Johnson TOUCHDOWN. 13:13 in the second, xpt good FLAG-on Power Jacques Lewis and at 12:52 left in the half, Venom 43 Power 0.
Power start off with another touchback getting the ball at midfield.
Miller ran for a gain of three, another gain of three then just a gain of one due to Mitchell and Thomas stopping the ball on the Venom 18. Next play saw Herrera sacked by Branch for a seven yard loss, then a snap fumbled and recovered put the ball on the Venom 20. Two incomplete passes with finish out the Power possession and the Venom take over on downs on their own 20.
Davis tossed to Jer'yl Christian for no gain, then in a comedy of errors, Davis saw a bad snap roll into the endzone and recovered by Power Marcques Barnes for a touchdown. The two point conversion was no good and the Power is on the board. Venom 43 Power 6.
Small kicked off towards R. Johnson Jr. who took the ball down for a 50 yard kickoff return touchdown! Xpt was good and with 5:20 left in the half, Venom 50 Power 6.
Crowell took the ball for the Power placing the ball on the Venom 13, but after three plays, the pass was picked off by Triplett who was stopped at the Power 21 with 1:53 left in the half.
Venom quarterback Arealus Lee Jr. came out for his first play of the season, and not being warmed up, fumbles the snap. One minute warning. Lee handed off to Christian bringing up first and ten on the Power 9, then an illegal defense penalty was declined. Lee passes to Jordan DeCorte in the endzone for a touchdown. Hollabaugh finishes, 36.5 seconds left in the half, Venom 57 Power 6.
Miller grabbed the next kickoff and rushed down to the Venom 5 but the Power couldn't convert and the Half ended seeing the Venom up 57-6.
The second half, the Power got the ball first, and Harrison brought it down to the Venom 21.
Herrera used Miller to gain first two yards, then seven before using keepers to gain three but then met Louvan Green losing two. An incomplete pass and a pass to Harrison for a touchdown. Another try at a two point conversion was thwarted by Railford, at 10:40 in the third the Venom were up 57-12.
Smalls' kickoff was taken by Thomas who ran for a 35 yard return starting the Venom on the Power 15.
Lee handed off to Christian for a gain of two then again for two before a toss to Thomas that put the ball on the Power 6. A flag on DeCourt pushed the Venom back to the Power 18, but Lee found Smith in the endzone for a touchdown. The Venom tried a two point conversion when Hollabaugh took a pass from Lee then tried to pass into the endzone, but it was incomplete. 8:13 in the 3rd Venom 63 Power 12.
The next kickoff saw the Power gain 10 extra yards due to a dead ball foul on R. Johnson Jr. being assessed.
Beginning on the Venom 10, Herrera put the all in the endzone for a touchdown, but again failed to convert for the 2 points. 6:46 left in the third, Venom 63 Power 18.
R. Johnson Jr. again took the kickoff and running 52 yards returned it for a touchdown. The extra point added, the Venom went up 70-18 6:03 in the third.
Hollabaugh's next kick was fielded into the endzone, giving the Power the ball on their own 5 yard line.
Herrera used a handoffs to move the ball up to the eight, but a false start moved them back to the two. Next play saw a one yard gain but a Herrera was sacked for a loss of one. Herrera's pass found Harrison, who picked up the first down and brought the Power to their own 19. A handoff to Comfort lost two yards and a pass to Harrison was stopped by Triplett on the Power 21. His next pass was incomplete, but a roughing the passer took the ball up to the Venom 14. Ending the third quarter.
The next four minutes saw the Power gain, then with flags on the Venom, gain up to the Venom six before a handoff to Miller resulted in a touchdown. The two point conversion was good and with 10:35 left in the game, Venom 70 Power 26.
Watson took the next kick off and ran 24 yards. A dead ball foul pushed the ball further up to the Power 14.
Lee handed the ball off to Christian twice for a total gain of 21 yards, but a false start pushed them back before another hand off got them up to the one yard line. A keeper from Lee added six more to the board. Hollabaugh added the one putting the Venom up 77 Power 25 with 7:36 left in the game.
Hollabaugh's kick again gave the Power a touchback and they started midfield.
Herrera used passes to get up to the Venom 18, then a false start put them back on the 23. A quick pass over the middle to Justin Holden put them on the 14 but a stop by D. Johnson for a loss backed them up one. Two more incomplete passes kept them at a standstill then Smith picked off a pass and the Venom took over at their own 15 with 1:05 left in the game.
After the one minute warning, the Venom let the clock run out thrusting them into a 7-2 season with a 77-25 win over the Power.
Most will never see their team play a travel team, so I asked Alex Watson Sr., other than the obvious difference in the level of play against a seasoned team, what he thought about the Power. "Gotta tip your cap to those guys. They never quit." he said.
The first quarter seeing such remarkable plays, both good and bad depending on who you were rooting for, what was the buzz on the Venom bench? "We really just wanted to come out and execute in all phases of the game, so to see our preparation pay off was very gratifying for us, had us all pretty hyped." stated Watson.
The next game for the Venom is against the Duke City Gladiators in Albuquerque on May 26.
Photo courtesy of Jason Helmick Alex Watson Sr makes the play
By Rob Disario
I was very fortunate to meet with Massachusetts Pirates Head Coach, Ameer Ismail and discuss the team's only loss to date. On April 21 the Pirates lost to the Carolina Cobras in enemy territory. The morning of that match-up news broke from arenafootballtalk.com that the Pirates lost Quarterback Sean Brackett and star receiver Orlandus Harris Sr. to the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders mini-camp. I asked Coach Ismail how he dealt with that loss. “We had two and half days (with a) new quarterback...Robert Kent and Danny Southwick just got off the plane” Ismail remembered. “Trying to get the timing right…” he added. We went on to say the fill-in quarterbacks came through for them on such short notice and he appreciated their hard work.
I asked if the missing offensive stars were the reason for the loss against Carolina and Coach Ismail said it was more than that. “There were a lot of factors.” For those that remember, during the game tensions became so high Coach Ismail was ejected from the game. “I’m not gonna complain about the refs,” Coach said. “But we got a couple bad calls and then when they didn’t call a cut [block] I got upset” he retold. “I have to protect my players; Bill Vavue was cut down!”
Upon exiting the field after ejected and making his way to the locker room, Coach Ismail hugged-it-out with Massachusetts Pirates team owner, Mr. Jawad Yatim and then vanished into the Greensboro backstage. I asked what the young owner said to him? Coach Ismail smiled and replied “He said he loved the intensity...and we’re gonna get this win for you!” Coach Ismail went to say how Mr. Jawad Yatim supports him and encourages his coaching style, “It’s great to work with an owner who's so knowledgeable of the game and supports me!”
After their win against the Lions and again against the Mammoths, the Massachusetts Pirates are well on their way to becoming the team to beat in the National Arena League. They meet with the Carolina Cobras this Saturday May 19th at 7pm, for a rematch of their only loss. This is their opportunity to make right what once went wrong! Arena Football Talk wishes Coach Ameer Ismail and the Massachusetts Pirates good luck on Saturday and the rest of the season.
By Chris Mabry
With over 24 hours to go until week 12 kicks off the CIF season, the league announced their player of the week in the specials team department.
Trey Boone of the Bismarck Bucks is your Special Teams player of the week. In week 11, he had 5 kick returns for 124 yards and a touchdown. Plus he also had 5 total tackles during the game.
Boone also had an impressive night as a wide receiver. He caught two passes for 11 yards and one of those passes ended up a touchdown. However, Boone's Bismarcks Bucks were defeated by the Omaha Beef 79-78 at home in overtime.
This week the Bismarck Bucks have to face the Wichita Force on the road. As it looks right now in the north conference standings of the CIF season, the Bismarck Bucks are sitting in fifth place at 4-5. As for the Bucks opponent, the Wichita Force are in dead last at 3-6 in the north conference.
By Tonya Swim
Amarillo, Tx-The Amarillo Venom will host the Texas Power Saturday night at the Cal Farley Coliseum.
The Texas Power is a travel team that is currently in the Champions Edge Indoor Football League and is taking the spot of the now defunct Dallas Marshalls for their last two travel games.
This is not the first time the Venom has faced the travel team, but with a travel team as an opponent, a whole different set of problems for the hosting team comes into view.
Rookie Quarterback Arealus Lee, who is getting his first start this season explains, "It's not necessarily more difficult, it's a little more nerve wracking from a standpoint that, and not to talk down about anyone that plays semi-pro or on a travel team because that's how I got back in football, I played on a travel team, semi-pro, things like that. It's a little more nerve wracking because these guys aren't getting paid, so they have less care for their bodies. They can be out there in one play, see an opportunity and just take a shot whereas, people that are under contract may see that as a fine, a suspension or even a ban. That hurts our family because we're not able to collect a check, not able to do what we've been hired to do more or less. So I don't think it makes it more difficult, um well, it could make it more difficult just because you don't necessarily have a game plan for them. With travel teams, there's so many guys in and out, you have guys that might not show up, might show up, so you really never know what to expect. You can kind of get a general idea, but it makes it a little difficult to get a game plan on them just because they might play a different game, play a different style of ball that we're not accustomed to in the CIF. So, those two things are a little bit nerve wracking about playing a travel team. They are unpredictable, more scary because you don't know what they are going to do. It makes you second guess it, doesn't put fear into you, just second guess it."
The Power team is fluid in players but that doesn't diminish what they are coming in to accomplish. "This is an important game. They(Power) are coming in here to win and make a statement. This is a must win for us." stated Julian Reese, head coach for the Venom.
The Power is poised to join the CIFL next season so if you haven't already seen them, this would be a great opportunity.
Saturday is also Salute to Every Day Heroes night with free tickets to all First Responders, Dispatchers and Military with a valid ID courtesy of Potter- Randall 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District, ER Now, NewsChannel10, and BRITKARE ORTHOTICS and IV Rejuvenation Station Amarillo.
Saturday's events also include a costume parade and characters and mascots will be in attendance for the kids to help celebrate the birthday of the Venom mascot, Striker, courtesy of Yellow City Comic Con. Have the kids wear their favorite costume to participate in the kids parade at the game.
Game time is at 6pm or the broadcast can be viewed live on Pluto TV Channel 221.
Name-Arealus Lee Jr.
Favorite Quote-"The people that mind don't matter, but the people that matter don't mind."
By Tonya Swim
Amarillo, Texas-Texans have always regarded football thereinas itself as an entity. For those outside of the Lone Star State however, it is, just another sport.
Texas boys are practically raised holding a football in hopes of playing under those Friday night lights, it's a lifestyle. New York City though, is a different story.
Arealus Lee Jr., quarterback for the Amarillo Venom knows all to well how that is.
Growing up in New York, there were not a lot of football teams, so AJ's first sport was baseball. "Baseball, Soccer and then Boxing believe it or not." he said. "I started playing football relatively late. I would say I was about 12 or 13 when I got into it. "
However, Football in high school was not his only focus. AJ played Basketball, Track, Lacrosse as well as Baseball at Easton Area High School and Butlet Senior High School in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.
Grabbing a scholarship for Basketball, AJ headed to University of Pittsburgh where he played shooting guard and small forward, then graduated with a degree in Business and Sports Management and Administration.
AJ was a reserve quarterback behind Warren Smith, (now with the Washington Valor, Arena Football League) in 2017 playing for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League where one of his favorite memories came from. "I'm a team guy and we got to the semi-finals last year." He said. "Just the come back to get there and everything is probably my best memory. Just being apart of that team, a lot of critics saying we shouldn't have been there, things like that. We earned our way there for sure.”
The Venom however, are in the Championship Indoor Football League, and not all leagues are the same. "I would say I kinda would go with the level of competition but then I wouldn't. The CIF has turned out to be pretty competitive. The speed is a lot different. The guys out here are just plain faster.
Guys in Pennsylvania are a lot bigger size wise, and in this league it's just plain speed that I have to get used to." said Lee.
Speed is not the only difference for this true blue Northerner though. "I love it here.
(In Amarillo) I'm from bigger cities and I'm used to walking out and seeing skyscrapers and things like that, being able to look out and see just flatland, it's beautiful here." said Lee.
Texans are known for their friendliness. Is Amarillo holding up to that standard? "The fans in Amarillo are fantastic! Every where I go, whether I have Venom gear on or not, they recognize me. Kids love me. My job, they love me here, the fans are just some of the best." stated Lee.
Every player I have ever encountered has some sort of game day ritual. Some are mild and ho hum, some are very staunch and superstitious. AJ is the latter. "I'm a real superstitious guy. Believe it or not, I have a pair of underwear I wear for every game, I wash them every week that are only for game day. I get up in the morning and relax a little bit, talk to my son, play with him a little bit. If it's a home game, spend some time with my son before the game. Get to the arena about 2:00, we have lunch, a team meal together and a team chaplin." Lee said. "Hit the field with some warm ups, but my game day routine always consists of music, I'm really big into music, getting taped and then writing family members that have passed names on my wrist tape, ankle tape, things like that have been a part of my routine since high school."
AJ came in for the Venom in the backup QB position playing behind Nate Davis, but that doesn't bother him at all. Team player should be tattooed on his arm. "I'm a team guy. I'm there to help him out. If he's seeing something differently, or if I'm seeing something differently we have that open communication where we can discuss and talk about it. There's been multiple times this year where things haven't gone the right way and then I saw something on the sideline and he comes to the sideline so we can discuss it and the very next play we go for the touchdown. So, it's difficult just from the team standpoint because we're not producing sometimes the way that we should, but I'm one of those guys that I'm here. If I get put in I get put in, if not, then I'm going to do my best to help the team in what ever way I can." Lee said.
The Venom host the Texas Power Saturday night at 6 pm in the Cal Farley coliseum.
By: Bryce Koon
Fireworks went off in the Columbus Civic Center last night as the Columbus Lions were able escape with a narrow victory over the Carolina Cobras, due to some late game heroics. Wide Receiver Durron Neal hauled in a 19-yard pass from quarterback Mason Espinosa to tie the game as time expired. Kicker Lindsey Wolfe , who struggled all game, came up big in the endme by converting the extra point to give the Lions the victory. Columbus trailed by 13 with just over a minute remaining. A quick score by Jarmon Fortson and big missed field goal by the Cobras allowed for the Lions to come from behind and win.
Both teams were slow to start as the first quarter ended scoreless, but the neither team wasted time scoring after that as the score at the end of the first half was 23- 20 Cobras. The first half ended in a weird way as the Lions kicked it short and that gave the Cobras just enough time to march into the break with a three-point lead.
Both teams matched each other in the third quarter, before the Cobras pulled away to take 10-point lead heading into the 4th quarter.
With about four minutes left in the contest, the Lions roared back from a 13-point deficit to come away with the victory.
Quarterback Mason Espinosa threw for seven touchdowns on 276 yards. Triston Purifoy led the team in yards with nine catches for 110 yards. The standout though in the passing game was Jarmon Fortson. Fortson caught four touchdown passes on the game which was very
The Cobras came into the game at the top of the standings and now drop to 4-2. After the miraculous ending the Lions improved their record to 3-1 on the season.
Next Sunday the Lions travel to Lehigh Valley to face the Steelhawks. Kickoff is scheduled at 7 pm.
By Tonya Swim
The Amarillo Venom entered the Dr. Pepper Arena with a 4-1 season and a bye week to get healthy.
The Venom received the ball first and Cashmin Thomas got them started bringing the ball out to their own 16 yard line.
Nate Davis and company lined up and in 32 seconds, found Xavier Amey and the Venom put the first points of the game on the board. Connor Hollabaugh kicked the ball through the uprights making the score 7-0.
The Texas Revolutions first possession of the game saw the first penalties, two in fact but didn't stop Quarterback Andrew Jackson from getting the ball up to the Venom six before handing off to Darius Fudge for a touchdown at 11:05 in the first quarter. The possession didn't end there however, as the Venom and Revs went tit for tat with the penalties and the extra point kick was given a take two off of the Venom 23 yard line. The Venom penalty would be assessed on the kickoff, the game is now seven all.
Venom Raymond Johnson took the next kickoff and brought the ball out to their own 14 yard line. The penalty being assessed, Davis took over with the ball on the Venom nine. After a flag on the Revs pushed the ball up to Venom 24, Davis had an incomplete pass then a handoff to Johnson for a pickup of 8 before a fumble and Rev recovery that they turned into a touchdown. A delay of game flag pushed the Rev kicker, Jarod Haynes,
10 yards but that didn't stop the score going up to 14 for the Revs with 7:21 left in the first quarter.
Johnson again took the kickoff giving the Venom with their next possession at their own 21. A possession of incomplete passes and a fumbled snap left the Venom with a field goal attempt, but it went wide leaving the score Venom 7 Revs 14 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
The end of the first quarter saw the Revs with possession starting on their own five yard line. Jackson used a series of passes and handoffs to get the ball up to the Venom 13 when the first quarter ended. Switching sides, Jackson and the Revs continued their tromp down the field with a touchdown pass to finish up at 12:06 in the second quarter. The pat from Haynes was good putting the Revs in a padded 21-7 over the Venom.
In another possession of errors, the kickoff found Johnson, but the ball rolled out of his hands into the endzone for a safety tacking on the one point for the 22-7 score. After much discussion, a compromise was reached, the Revs got to keep their one point, but the Venom kept the ball on their own five yard line.
Davis found Alex Watson Sr and Johnson in two plays where they got to the Rev three yard line. Reese threw the Challenge flag in hopes Johnson made the touchdown, but the ruling on the field stood and the Venom continued on the Rev three yard line. On second and goal, Davis found Watson in the endzone. Hollabaugh got the ball through the upright making it a seven point game. Venom 14-Revs-22 with 9:45 left in the half.
Revs took the kickoff up to the Venom 23 where it was stopped by Arealus Lee. Jackson took possession and used four plays before handing off to Fudge for a run into the endzone. The Revs again had padding. Haynes extra point added to that leaving the Venom 14 Revs 29 with 5:34 in the half.
Venom Thomas ran the ball out to their own 23 where Davis made short order of the possession with a 23 yard touchdown pass to Johnson. The pat barely left the ground before it was blocked leaving the score short. Venom 20 Revs 29 with 4:55 left in the half.
Revs took the next kickoff all the way to the house! Touchdown! FLAG!
Against the Revs bringing the ball all the way back to the point of the penalty, the Rev nine yard line. Jackson used up three minutes of the clock with a series of passes and handoffs to be to the Venom 13. Jackson handed off, but fumbled and the ball rolls into the endzone! A Rev player falls on it, touchdown. Haynes, perfect on the night, did not disappoint. Venom 20 Revs 36 with 1:54 left in the half.
Johnson took the next kickoff and headed to the zone, but was tripped up on the Rev 14. Davis took over and in one play pass to Watson, pushed the score up to Venom 28 Revs 36. In lew of one point, Davis went for a two point conversion pass to Johnson and completed. Venom 28 Revs 36, 1:08 left in the half.
The next kickoff took a discussion on the part of the referees, finally starting Jackson on his own nine yard line. Using his passing game, in three plays found the Revs again adding six to thier score. Haynes stayed perfect and with 39 seconds left in the half, Venom 28 Revs 43.
Thomas took the next kickoff out to the Venom 21 where Davis took over. A Venom penalty put the ball back on the 16 then Davis threw an interception and the Revs took over.
Jackson's first play was an incomplete pass tipped by Thomas then a pass that was stopped on the Venom four by Demario Donnell. The first half ends with an incomplete pass and a score of Venom 28, Revs 43.
Second half started with a bang when the kickoff was fumbled in the endzone by the Revs giving the Venom a touchback.
Davis took the ball on the Venom five, but on the third play was intercepted giving the ball to the Revs on the Venom three yard line.
Jackson started with a handoff to Fudge, but lost a yard. An incomplete pass then another handoff to Fudge again changed the scoreboard when he pushed into the zone. Venom 28 Revs 50, 11:33 in the third.
Another short kick into Lee gave great position for Davis to start with a touchdown pass to Johnson then a two point conversion pass to Watson bringing the Venom up to 36 with 10:59 in the third.
Revs Joe Adams took the next kickoff to the house, and this time got to keep the points. Haynes remained perfect and with 10:50 left in the third, the quickly building score was Venom 36 Revs 57.
Answering the Revs score, Johnson took the ball to the Venom 14 then Davis used passes to Watson, Amey and Johnson to move the ball down to the Revs 14. Davis scrambles on the next play, but finds Amey in the endzone for a touchdown. Flags flying, touchdown was called back for holding, but the Revs had an illegal contact so the penalties offset and the play was repeated. Davis' pass was incomplete but saw more flags fly. Holding, Venom. Davis sets up for another pass, flags, offsides Revs. The ball on the Revs 19, Davis found Watson on a slant pass then on the next two plays runs in for a touchdown, and those points stuck! Davis tried for the two point conversion, flags, illegal procedure Venom. The ball pushed back to the Rev seven, Davis runs the ball in for the two point conversion. Venom 44 Revs 57 with 4:34 left in the third.
Adams took the kickoff, but the Revs was charged with holding putting the ball back to the Rev seven. Jackson handed to Fudge twice, but had two incomplete passes before being intercepted by Terrious Triplett.
Starting on the Rev five yard line, Davis runs the ball up to the one, then tries a handoff to Jer'yl Christian for a no gain to end the third quarter.
Davis again runs, but no gain then scrambles, but his pass was incomplete. The Revs got the ball on downs 13:22 in the fourth.
Jackson used up nearly five minutes with incomplete passes, one complete pass to Adams, and three handoffs to Fudge before the ball was turned over on downs at the Venom 7 with 8:39 left in the game.
Davis takes the ball to the Venom 10 with a pass to Amey but an interception by Frankie Solomon Jr gave the Revs a touchback with 7:37 left in the game.
The next six minutes of the game saw both teams turn over the ball in downs on their next possessions. The Revs took over the ball and on their possession with several plays got another touchdown with a pass to Adams. Haynes added to the score and with 21 seconds left in the game the Revs went up to 64, Venom 44.
With this loss the Venom move to 4-2 and the Revs improve to 3-5.
When I asked Venom player Demario Donnell why the team seemed to struggle this game, "We just have to play a full game. We will be fine. Small errors that can easily be fixed. We beat ourself. We will be fine."
You can catch the Venom with the next game at home beginning at 6pm cst.
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks have announced their fourth head coach in franchise history. The team has hired former AFL and AF2 Coach Danton Barto. Barton most recently was a scout for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. In 3 seasons coaching in the AFL, one with the Las Vegas Gladitiors in 2007, and two seasons with the Command in KC from 2011-2013, Barto posted a 11-41 record. Before he went to Las Vegas, his final three seasons with Memphis in af2 went 10-6, 13-3 and 11-5, including an ArenaCup title.
The downfall of the Steelhawks has been evident since Chris Thompson moved on to be the head of football operations for the Albany Empire of the Arena Football League. Kohler was announced the head coach of the team for 2018 only weeks before the season started, as he moved up from the defensive coordinator position.
This past week, Bob Kohler stepped down from his coaching duties. In his three games as head coach, Kohler and his Steelhawks went 0-3 on the year, with many evident issues taking place. James Parham was named the team’s interim head coach, until the new coach was announced.