GRAND ISLAND, NE – Little went wrong for the Nebraska Danger on Monday night as they opened the 2014 season with an impressive 68-13 win over the Lincoln Haymakers of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League at the Heartland Events Center.
The Danger scored on their first four possessions – including a highlight reel 45-yard scamper by Troy Evans – and never looked back in building a 40-13 lead at the half. Evans, who was an all-IFL player for Wyoming last season, was one of many new Danger players to get in the scoring act, giving head coach Mike Davis a tough job as he’ll cut his team to 25 players for the IFL opener at Sioux Falls next Friday.
“We’ve got plenty of competition going on in camp which is a good problem to have,” Davis said. “We have some decisions to make on both sides of the ball. We’ll try to put together the best roster we can for the upcoming season.
While plenty of newcomers got in on the action, it was the Danger veterans who set the tone. They needed just nine plays to score 25 points on their first four series.
Marcus Barnett scored on a 6-yard run on Nebraska’s first possession, and reigning IFL Most Valuable Player Jameel Sewell scored on a 1-yard run to give the Danger a 19-0 lead before his night was done. He also threw a 30-yard pass to Kayne Farquharson.
After that, the Danger newcomers poured it on.
They led 40-13 at the half behind a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Cody Kirby, who was the IFL Rookie-of-the-Year last season for the Chicago Slaughter, and Fresno State running back Milton Knox, Jr. Kirby then led a rout in the second half as he threw touchdown passes to Andre Piper-Jordan and Maurice Avery and the Danger defense pitched a second half shutout.
“It was a great start for us,” Davis said. “I was happy with how we played on both sides of the football. Last year when we played Lincoln, it was a close game in the third quarter and we were a little sluggish to start. We didn’t have that tonight. It was a good team effort.”
Evans led the Danger with 90 yards of total offense on just six touches. Sewell was 3-for-3 passing for 62 yards and Kirby was 7-for-11 for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Kearney native and Ohio University graduate Noah Keller led the Danger defense with seven tackles. Nebraska forced 11 plays of negative yardage and added the final score of the game when Randy Salmon recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Next up for Nebraska is a trip to South Dakota for a United Bowl rematch with three-time defending champion Sioux Falls. Last season the two teams split a pair of regular season games before the Storm posted a 43-40 win in the championship game. Kickoff at Sioux Falls Arena next Friday is 7:00.