GRAND ISLAND, NE – The Nebraska Danger and the Tri-Cities Fever combined have won the last four Intense Conference Championships. Tonight they faced off once again to see who would head to the United Bowl. After losing the regular season game to the Fever, the Nebraska Danger won the Intense Conference title 86-43.
The first quarter went back and forth. An early defensive stop by the Danger defense set the tone and forced a field goal attempt by Tri-Cities. Kicker Brady Beeson for the Fever missed the kick wide left, turning over the ball to the Danger. However, on the ensuing drive running back Waymon James fumbled the ball and it was recovered and ran into the end zone for a touchdown for Tri-Cities, giving them the lead 7-0 four minutes into the game. The Danger responded with a touchdown that was set up by a long throw from Jameel Sewell to Troy Evans for 25 yards before a quarterback sneak topped off the drive, tying the game 7-7. The Danger then scored once again as Waymon James nabbed a high floating pass from Jameel Sewell for a 27-yard touchdown. Nebraska led 13-10 with 47 seconds to go in the quarter.
“We took a little longer than I would have liked to settle into our rhythm but once we did I was happy with how the guys played tonight,” said head coach Mike Davis.
Tri-Cities got an early touchdown to take the lead 16-13 in the second quarter. However, the Danger responded with a 22-yard touchdown from Troy Evans who broke two tackles as he hauled a Jameel Sewell pass into the end zone, giving the lead back to Nebraska 20-16. The Danger defense then stepped up along with the help of a very rowdy crowd in the Heartland Events Center. A Malcolm Williams interception ended a scoring threat from Tri-Cities around the eight minute mark. Jameel Sewell then found Marcus Barnett for a 10-yard touchdown giving the Danger a 27-16 lead. The Fever did not go away as Dominique Blackmon found DeJay Lester for a three-yard touchdown, cutting Nebraska’s lead to five 27-22. The Danger struck back in less than 20 seconds when Troy Evans reeled in another pass for a TD, extending the lead back to twelve points 34-22 to end the half. Jameel Sewell finished the half with a perfect 9-9 passing for 135 yards and four touchdowns. Troy Evans led the way in receiving with three catches for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“Troy did an amazing job in the first half with his two touchdown catches, and I can’t say enough about Marcus (Barnett) who was flying all over the field the entire game. Give Jameel credit as well because without him none and his arm it would be hard for those guys to do what they did,” Davis said.
The Nebraska offense didn’t miss a tick to start the second half, marching down the field and scoring a touchdown in the opening three minutes to make the score 41-22 off another Jameel Sewell pass to Marcus Barnett. The Fever had an answer for this one though, putting together a solid drive and ending with a touchdown, cutting the lead to 13 but missing an opportunity to complete a two point conversion. Jameel Sewell showed off his running ability on the next drive as he broke tackles and ran over defenders on his way to an 18-yard gain. A defensive pass interference call in the end zone against the Fever placed the ball at the two-yard line. Waymon James ran the ball in for a touchdown on the ensuing play, giving the Danger a 20 point lead 48-28. Nebraska’s defense made a stand, forcing Tri-Cities to kick a field goal, gaining three points. The quarter ended with the Danger’s Marcus Barnett finding the end zone for the third time pushing the lead to 24 points 55-31.
The Tri-Cities Fever continued to show some resiliency as the fourth quarter began, scoring a touchdown to try and cut away at the Danger lead now at 18 points 55-37. The Fever attempted an onside kick but failed to recover it giving Nebraska the ball at the 10-yard line. Waymon James scored for the second time tonight on a 10-yard rush, gaining back the lost points making the score 62-37. The Danger defense put the nail in the coffin when Fever quarterback Dominique Blackmon fumbled the ball. The turnover gave the Danger the ball at the 21-yard line with 12:14 left in the game. A field goal and almost three minutes off the clock moved Nebraska a little closer to the win with a score of 65-37. On the following drive Fever quarterback Blackmon had his pass tipped into the hands of Braylon Webb who returned the ball 40 yards for a Danger touchdown. After a few more scores, and breaking the team record for scoring in a single game, the Danger pulled away for an 86-43 victory.
“Tonight we celebrate, but we know that there is a huge challenge ahead of us in the United Bowl with the winner from the United Conference. Doesn’t matter if it is Cedar Rapids or Sioux Falls we have to take care of us first. One more game,” Davis said
With the victory, the Danger will play the winner of the United Conference Championship game between the Cedar Rapids Titans and the Sioux Falls Storm on Saturday, July 11th in the United Bowl for the IFL Championship.