Bloomington, Ill. – There’s a new rivalry brewing in the Champions Indoor Football League. The Bloomington Edge, fresh off their thorough dismantling of Western Michigan last week, hit the road Monday night to take on the Kansas City Phantoms. The Phantoms showed early that they would not be pushed around in their own arena, and opened up an 17 point lead midway through the third quarter. The Edge had their own agenda, however, and finished off the game with 22 unanswered points to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Illinois State alum Darrelynn Dunn started the scoring for the Edge with a rushing touchdown on the game’s first possession. He would end the night with 3 scores and 59 yards on 14 attempts. Five of those attempts came on Bloomington’s last possession of the game. The Edge took possession of the ball with a 6 point lead and 3:44 left on the clock. On first down Offensive Coordinator Rod Miller called Dunn’s number on a quick pitch that went for 6 yards. Miller went back to it on second down and Dunn broke off a fourteen yard run. It worked so well Miller ended up calling the same run play 5 times in a row.
“If it’s not broken don’t fix it,” said Coach Miller about the last possession of the game. “Dunn was running hard so we just kept feeding him the rock. He’s a guy we want holding the ball when the game is on the line.”
Another guy the Edge wanted getting the ball when the game was on the line was star wide receiver J.J. Hayes. Like Dunn, Hayes also had three touchdowns on 8 catches for 118 yards. The first one came on the Edge’s second possession. Quarterback Caleb Holbrook pumped Hayes on a short stop route which got the cornerback to stop his feet. With the defender flat footed, Hayes accelerated right past him allowing Holbrook to lay the ball up and right into Hayes’ hands 27 yards down the field in the end zone.
“The corners were over playing the short routes a little too much, so we talked about it in between possessions and decided to take a shot,” Coach Miller said describing the chain of events that led to the touchdown.
Hayes’ other two touchdowns were equally poetic. For his second score, which took place at the beginning of the 4th quarter, he knifed through two defenders to catch a fifteen yard pass from Holbrook which cut the Phantom’s lead to two. Hayes came right back on the next possession to give the Edge the lead for good with an equally impressive seventeen yard grab for his third touchdown of the game.
As if scoring the go ahead touchdown wasn’t enough, Hayes gave a final hurrah to the Edge faithful on the last play of the game. Faced with a 4th and short, the Edge coaches decided to go for it instead of taking a chance on a long field goal. Holbrook found a wide open Hayes on a stop route for a first down allowing the Edge to run out the clock and seal up the victory.
The defense took a few series to get back to the level where they played in their opener, but when the Edge needed stops they got them. The Phantoms had three consecutive empty possessions in the second half which set the table for the comeback victory. Brandon Pittman led the defense with 9 tackles and 2 sacks. Brandon Golson was in on 7 tackles, and Illinois State graduate Dontae McCoy was in on 5.
“I can’t say enough about our determination tonight,” commented Head coach Ameer Ismail after the game. “We got behind by three scores in the third quarter and no one was rattled. I always like to look at guys when they don’t know I am looking at them to read their body language. There was no quit in this team tonight. There was never any doubt that we would win the game. It was a great night for the Edge.”
The game had all the passion and big plays that has become the signature of indoor football, and left the fans savoring for more action. After the 6 hour bus ride back to Bloomington the Edge has a short week, and will put their 2-0 record on the line this Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum against the Omaha Beef. Kick-off is at 7pm. The Edge will be partnering with the March of Dimes and will donate $5 for every advanced purchased sideline ticket to the March of Dimes. For tickets please call 484-840-EDGE or visit www.bloomingonedge.net.