Week 17 - Crush fall short to Nighthawks, 54-52 Jun 10, 2017 19:46:54 GMT -8
Post by DiamondThief on Jun 10, 2017 19:46:54 GMT -8
WICHITA FALLS, TX - When the Colorado Crush and Wichita Falls Nighthawks get together, it definitely is not boring.
The Crush were a two-point conversion away from sending tonight's game into overtime, but Liam Nadler's for the two-point conversion fell to the ground, and the Nighthawks emerged with the 54-52 home win In Texas.
Colorado won the first meeting in thrilling fashion back in week 10 as Kyle Kaiser caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Nadler with 17 seconds remaining. Nadler threw for 273 yards and seven touchdowns, and Kaiser tallied 100 yards on five catches and four touchdowns in the Crush's 77-73 win in Loveland, Colorado.
The Nighthawks are in prime position to earn a playoff spot. Should they defeat the Nebraska Danger, they are in as the second seed. Should they lose, they will be eliminated from the playoffs. The Iowa Barnstormers host the Sioux Falls Storm in next week's season finale. The winner will win the United Conference and the loser will be at the mercy of the Nighthawks' result. Wichita Falls can only earn the second seed. Two teams from each conference make the playoffs.
The Crush will finish their season at home against the Arizona Rattlers, who have already clinched the United Conference regular season title. The real bad news for the franchise is that, barring a new owner stepping in, the team is likely to fold after nine seasons in the IFL.
Mikes Bergner put the Crush on the board with a 41-yard field goal on their opening drive. The Nighthawks answered on a nine-yard pass from Charles McCullum to Tyler Williams before the Crush scored on an eight-yard strike from Nadler to Anthony Jones Jr. to put Colorado up 10-7 with 1:09 left in the first quarter.
Much of the game was a see-saw battle with one team answering the other.
Williams scored for the Nighthawks on a three-yard run, and Nadler found Kendall Sanders for 25 yards. McCullum brought the Nighthawks right back on his six-yard run with just under two minutes left in the second quarter. Bergner, who hit all four of his field goals on the night, tied the game at 20-20 with his 43-yard boot at the 6:29 minute mark. McCullum found former Crush receiver Demarius Washington for nine yards for the score before Nadler found Sanders from 14 yards out. Bergner's 16-yard field goal as time expired gave the Crush a 30-27 lead at halftime.
The Nighthawks took the lead on a nine-yard pass from Jordan Jolly, which was answered by the Crush via Bergner's 18-yard field goal. McCullum found Jolly again on a three yard touchdown pass, but the Crush came right back to score on Josh Ford's three-yard run. Nadler's pass for the two-point conversion failed and the Crush trailed 41-39 at the end of the third quarter.
McCullum put the Nighthawks up by 11 on a five yard run with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Crush came back on an 11-yard strike from Nadler to Sanders. Wichita Falls scored with 6:47 left in the fourth quarter as Troy Evans hauled in a nine-yard touchdown from McCullum, but Rockne Belmonte could not convert on the extra point attempt. The Nighthawks held a 54-46 lead.
Nadler then led the Crush on a 10-play, 35-yard drive, capped by his 13 yard pass to Jones. Colorado lined up for the two-point conversion attempt to tie the contest, but were unable to convert.
It was a fairly even game statistically, with the Nighthawks maintaining an edghe in total offense with 222 total yards to the Crush's 200. Wichita Falls held a 71 to 43 yard advantage in the running game. Colorado committed seven penalties for 60 yards, while Wichita Falls had eight infractions for 85 yards.
McCullum finished 16 of 21 for 152 yards with five touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed eight times for 36 yards and a pair of scores. Williams rushed 12 times for 35 yards and a touchdown, and caught five passes for 35 yards and another score. Jolly hauled in six passes for 57 yards and ttwo touchdowns, while Evans had three grabs for 48 yards and a touchdown. Michael Carter led Wichita Falls with 7.5 total tackles and two pass break ups, and Michael Green had seven total tackles and a half a sack.
Williams leads the IFL in total yards (2,323) and total points scored (174) this season.
Nadler went 16 of 27 for 159 yards and five touchdowns. Ford amassed yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, while catching three passes for 31 yards. Sanders, who just signed with the Crush on June 1, had six receptions for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Jones added three grabs for 23 yards and a pair of scores, and Lovie Rose III had 4 catches for 18 yards. Ace Clark led the Colorado defensive attack with his eight total tackles and half a sack. Antonio Marshall had an interception, and Phillip Lewis has 1.5 tackles for loss and a blocked extra point attempt.
The Nighthawks (12-3) will host the Nebraska Danger (8-7) in a game featuring two teams which each need a win to earn the second seed their respective conferences. kickoff for that June 17 match up will be at 5:05 p.m.
The Crush (3-12) will host the Arizona Rattlers (10-4 heading into their week 17 matchup at home against the Cedar Rapids Titans on June 11) on June 16 at 6 p.m. The Crush are out of the playoffs. The Rattlers have clinched first seed in the playoffs and will host either the Nebraska Danger or the Spokane Empire in the Intense Conference Championship game.
All of the listed times above are are pacific daylight time. Both of those games are available for live streaming on the IFL's Youtube channel.
(Graphic courtesy SCtoC)
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