Lost in the aftermath of the Phantoms’ loss last night was a come-from-behind victory on the road by the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks professional indoor football team.
A long ride to North Carolina on a bus and a much more skilled opponent than the one we saw the ‘Hawks dismantle at the PPL Center last Sunday combined to give the 2017 Black-and-Vegas-Gold a much tougher test.
Here’s the report from SteelHawks Media services, followed by some photos from last week’s game by Jack Mitroka:
Boone, NC: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-0) went to the bear’s den and snuck away with a victory over the High Country Grizzlies (1-1) in their first road contest of the season. In a game full of ups and downs, the defense sealed the deal in the final seconds to keep the Steelhawks lead intact, 48-42.
The Steelhawks started out dominating the first quarter; scoring 13 unanswered points before the Grizzlies brought enough pressure to get a sack in the endzone and get on the scoreboard with a safety. Back to back interceptions for each team ended the quarter.
High Country turned it on beginning the second quarter, keeping quarterback Warren Smith Jr. under constant pressure and forcing two straight turnovers on downs. Converting each turnover for touchdowns gave them an eight point lead before Lehigh Valley was able to break the pressure and move the ball. The Steelhawks capped the half with a Smith Jr. to Warren Oliver Jr. drive, ending with a 15 yard touchdown pass. DB Eddie Davis III recorded his second interception of the half as time ran out to keep High Country out of the endzone. At the end of the half, the score was tied at 21.
The third quarter would be controlled by the Steelhawks; who started off strong with a THIRD Davis III interception in which the ’Hawks capitalized on with a 42 yard touchdown pass from Smith Jr. to Darius Prince. Lehigh Valley went up by a second score after an Eddie McClam sack leads to a fourth down where Rodney Hall Jr. broke up the pass attempt; that then led to a Brandon Renford touchdown grab for the ‘Hawks. High Country would score their first points of the quarter on their last possession to get back within six.
The fourth quarter was pure nail biter. The Grizzlies scored two unanswered touchdowns to take an eight point lead with 6:45 on the clock. Lehigh Valley would cut the lead to two with 4:23 left when Smith Jr. connected with Prince on a 35 yard touchdown pass. The Steelhawks would get the ball back with just over a minute left when the defense forced a turnover on downs. With 23.6 seconds left, offensive lineman Curtis Nealer scored his first ever touchdown on tight end delay; Wyreaz Bradley punched in the two point conversion giving the ’Hawks an uncomfortable six point lead with 19.3 long seconds left. After a controversial call in the final drive, Lehigh Valley had 1.9 seconds and one play to survive. The final play was an incomplete pass after defense took away all passing options. Final score: Lehigh Valley 48, High Country 42.
Davis III now has six interceptions in two games. Defensive Lineman Tommy Dover has two scoop and scores in two games. Smith Jr. accounted for six touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rushing). Prince has five touchdown receptions on the season.
Lehigh Valley will be in Jacksonville for their next game to take on the 2-0 Sharks on Saturday, April 1st. The ’Hawks will be back on Embassy Bank Field in the PPL Center on Sunday, April 9th, for a 5pm kickoff, when they host the Columbus Lions.
Special thanks to Jack for the photos.
See you at the arena,