Danger clinch home-field advantage in playoffs with 50-34 win

After winning the first two matchups earlier in the season, the Nebraska Danger won a third against the Wichita Falls Nighthawks 50-34 solidifying their first place standing in the Intense Conference.

The first quarter saw both the Danger and the Nighthawks trade some punches. The Danger started off quick as Jameel Sewell hit Gavin Otte for an early touchdown, giving Nebraska the 7-0 lead. However, the Nighthawks capitalized on their next two possessions. After a field goal, Nebraska’s Waymon James fumbled the ball on a kick return, giving Wichita Falls excellent field position. They quickly turned it into seven points to lead 10-7 with six minutes left in the first quarter. The ensuing drive by the Danger was highlighted by a 21-yard pass from Sewell to Marcus Barnett before a quarterback sneak capped it off with a touchdown. First quarter scoring ended there, with the Danger leading 14-10.

The second quarter was almost completely one-sided. Sewell started off the action when he fumbled the snap at the three-yard line, quickly recovered it, and finished by rushing in for the touchdown, giving the Danger a ten point lead. The Nighthawks offense sputtered as the Danger defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Kenronte Walker. On the next possession James ran for 16 yards, setting up a 24-yard touchdown pass from Sewell to Otte for the second time in the game. James averaged 6.4 yards per carry in the first half and had a total of 32 yards through two quarters. As the last minute of the half approached, the Nighthawks managed a field goal, cutting the Danger lead to 14 points, 27-13. Twenty-six seconds left in the half didn’t faze or slow down the Danger offense though. Sewell hit Troy Evans for two passes that resulted in a touchdown covering 27 yards. Sewell finished the half a perfect 8-8 with 118 yards passing. The action continued with 7.3 seconds left, as the Nighthawks’ Marcus Jackson hit Jimmy Pipkin for a touchdown.

“I thought we played well in the first half. Jameel, Waymon, Gavin all made big plays and gave us a huge advantage as we headed to the locker room,” Head coach Mike Davis said.

The Nighthawks began the second half with a statement drive. Quarterback Marcus Jackson capped it off with a 12-yard rushing touchdown, as he made a good move to evade a Danger defender. The next drive would be Nebraska’s toughest of the night. Sewell completed a 15-yard pass to Evans, but the Danger drive stalled and ended with a missed field goal. The quarter ended with Nebraska still in the lead 34-26.

The fourth quarter didn’t see much scoring on either side. James scampered into the end zone for a five yard rushing touchdown two minutes in to the quarter, extending the Danger lead by 14, 40-26. The Nighthawks followed up with a nice drive that stalled, but they still looked to get three points for their effort. Ali Mourtada was called upon for Wichita Falls, but missed for a third time in the game leaving nine points on the field for the night. The Danger Defense performed well all game, only allowing 191 total yards compared to the Danger’s 246. The Nighthawks did not give up, scoring once more, but an onside kick attempt was returned by the Danger for a touchdown, making the final score of the game 50-34.

“We made it to the conference championship for the third year straight. That’s great, but our goal is to win the whole thing. We basically just started a brand new two-game season because if we lose, we are done. So we have to stay focused as we head into this game with Tri-Cities in a few weeks,” Davis said.

With the win tonight the Danger will host the Tri-Cities Fever on June 26th at the Heartland Event Center for the Intense Conference Championship.