Week 10 - late TD lifts Crush over Nighthawks, 77-73 Apr 21, 2017 21:11:25 GMT -8
Post by DiamondThief on Apr 21, 2017 21:11:25 GMT -8
LOVELAND, CO - The Colorado Crush made plays on both offense and on defense in the final 17 seconds as they stunned the Wichita Falls Nighthawks tonight, 77-73.
It was just Colorado's second win of the season and its first at home. The win drew the Crush to within 2.5 games of the Arizona Rattlers, who head into week 10 second in the Intense conference. Two teams from each conference will reach the playoffs. The Nighthawks, who fell to 7-2 are in a battle for one of the United Conference's two playoff spots. They are in second in the conference standings and just a game up on the Iowa Barnstormers, who visit the Cedar Rapids Titans on April 22.
Wichita Falls' kicker Rockne Belmonte gave the Nighthawks a three-point lead on a 20-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the game. It then took just one play for the Crush to take the lead on a 25-yard pass from Liam Nadler to Kyle Kaiser. Nighthawks quarterback Charles McCullum had one last chance with six seconds to go and the ball on the Colorado 10 yard line, but his pass into the end zone was intercepted by the Crush's Ace Clark as time expired.
The Crush's largest lead was 11 points, while the Nighthawks led by 10 points on three separate occasions.
The Nighthawks scored first, on a rouge on the opening kickoff when Crush running back Zavier Steward was unable to advance the ball out of the end zone. Steward redeemed himself three-and-a-half minutes later when he scored the game's first touchdown on a four-yard run.
The teams combined for 41 points in the first quarter, capped by Kaiser's first touchdown pass from Nadler, a 21-yard strike which put the Crush up 26-15 at the end of the opening quarter.
It would be short-lived as the Nighthawks scored twice on a pair of Jordan Jolly passes from McCullum. The scores allowed them to take a 28-26 lead. early in the second quarter. After Nadler's 4-yard touchdown dive regained the lead for the Crush, the Nighthawks scored on a 36-yard pass from McCullum to Demarius Washington and on a one-yard pass from McCullum to Phillip Barnett. With 11 seconds left in the half, the Nighthawks held a 42-32 lead.
Daniel Lindsey, with at least one of two plays of the night (Clark's game-winning interception being the other), returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards for a touchdown and Wichita Falls' lead was just three at the intermission, 42-39.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, entering the fourth with the Nighthawks still up by three.
The Crush tied the game at 56-56 early in the fourth quarter on Spencer Groner's 21-yard field goal. The Nighthawks went up by a touchdown twice, but the Crush answered each time. That set up Belmonte's field goal, and Nadler, Kaiser and Clark's late-game heroics.
Both teams had stellar offensive outings, as indicated by the final score. Colorado amassed 374 total yards, with a 101 to 67 edge in rushing yards. The Nighthawks were flagged for eight accepted penalties for 77 yards.
Nadler had easily his best game of the season, completing 18 of 23 passes for 273 yards with seven touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed three times for 35 yards and a pair of scores. The performance could very well put him in the running for IFL Offensive Player of the Week. Kaiser hit the century mark in receiving, totaling 100 yards on five catches, with four of them being touchdowns. Chris Gant caught three touchdowns from Nadler while accumulating 50 yards on five catches. Lovie Rose III added five grabs for 54 yards. Defensively, Lindsey had 7.5 tackles in addition to his interception and kickoff return touchdown. Cardelro Jones also had 7.5 tackles.
McCullum was strong, going 22 of 29 passes for 273 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He has 17 touchdown tosses in the past two games. He also ran six times for 44 yards and a score. Former Crush receiver Washington had five receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Jolly caught four passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns, and Troy Evans had five catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Michael Carter had an interception for the Nighthawks; his fifth of the season.
The Crush (2-6) will travel to Iowa to face the Barnstormers (4-2 heading into week 10) on April 29 for a 5:05 p.m. kickoff. The Nighthawks (7-2) will be at home on April 29 to face the team which gave them their first loss of the season, the Sioux Falls Storm. The start time for that one is 5:05 p.m. All times are pacific time. Both of those games, as well as all of the leagues games this season are available for streaming on the IFL's Youtube channel.
(Graphic courtesy SCtoC)
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