March 20, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Normally, this is one of my favorite times of year, with the NHL regular season making that frantic last push for the playoffs. This year, of course, I've had to endure a vast wasteland since the Super Bowl, with nothing but basketball (blech) and baseball (double blech) as far as the sporting eye can see.

But that all ends today with opening day for the Fort Wayne Freedom, as they kick off their United Indoor Football season against the Ohio Valley Greyhounds. Despite the Freedom's 1-4 record against OV, I think they've got a real shot to win today since they return 15 starters from last year's 8-6 team (which defeated the Hounds in Fort Wayne last year, breaking a 30-something-game winning streak) and OV is sporting a lot of new faces, including the entire offensive line.

Rocky Harvey's back, Antoine Taylor is healthy again, and Jeremy Dutcher has returned from Grand Rapids of the AFL, so I think the offense will be better than ever.

Game story and pictures after the break.

The Freedom jumped out to a 16-0 lead and held on to win, 29-25. It's clear that Ohio Valley is not the same team they used to be, especially on the O-line, giving up four sacks and a safety in the first quarter alone. Overall, Fort Wayne's defense was solid - anytime you only give up 25 points in indoor ball, you've done your job - but the offense was definitely not in synch yet, with two dropped snaps and QB Antoine Taylor showing the rust of not playing since the first half of last season. He bulked up 20 pounds over the offseason to improve his durability, and it looked to me like he lost a step in the process. He's never been the most accurate passer anyway (he overthrew two wide-open receivers for sure touchdowns), and his scrambling to make plays was his best asset. Hopefully his re-learning curve will be short.

OK, pictures. Here's Rocky Harvey scoring FW's second touchdown. It looks like he's stopped here, but he slips to the outside and finds the corner:
Rocky Harvey scoring FW's second touchdown

Jeremy Dutcher hauls in a 30-yarder for his second TD of the game. He was Grand Rapids' third-leading receiver last year - why on earth did they let him go? Oh, well. Their loss, our gain.
Jeremy Dutcher's second TD of the game

I'm not sure I like everything about this new league. Last year, we had the Freedom Starz:
Freedom Starz

This year, the South Side High School cheerleaders:

Dana Overton catching the game-winner. Yeah, it's a bit blurry, but I was shooting from the upper level behind the opposite end zone, so give me a break.
Dana Overton catches the game-winner

The line was tough against the run, harrassed Hounds QB Zac Bruney all day long, and came up big when they needed to most. Here Rachman Crable and (I think) Lamar Martin force an incompletion on third down in the last two minutes of the game:
Crable and Martin force Zac Bruney to throw it away

And the bottom line:
Fort Wayne Freedom 29, Ohio Valley Greyhounds 25

Posted by Chris at March 20, 2005 01:47 PM

Category: Sports

Do they still have the Civil War reenactors shooting off volleys?

Posted by: Susie at March 22, 2005 06:52 PM

Yep. They've moved from the one corner of the north end zone to the other one, but they're still there.

Every now and then, one of their shots blows a perfect three-foot-wide smoke ring. There was one in Sunday's game that made it almost all the way to the scoreboard.

Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at March 23, 2005 04:48 PM