Blaze Take Home the Bacon in Victory Over Barnstormers
Sunday July 21, 2013
Utah Prevails 55-41 in Inaugural Iowa Bacon Bowl
Des Moines, IA – Playing for nothing but pride, and bragging rights to the Inaugural Bacon Bowl, the Iowa Barnstormers and Utah Blaze put on an entertaining and hard fought battle Saturday night in front of a crowd of 8,262 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Ultimately the Blaze prevailed with a 55-41 victory over Iowa. With the loss, the Barnstormers now stand at 6-11 on the season, while Utah improves to an identical 6-11 record.
Barnstormers head coach Mike Hohensee decided to start rookie Quarterback Brian Reader in a surprise move. However Reader struggled early on, throwing 2 first half interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Utah’s Arness Ikner. Meanwhile Blaze Quarterback Tommy Grady returned to the starting lineup and had an efficient night completing 19 of 34 passes for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns.
With the Blaze in front by a score of 17-7 early, Hohensee replaced reader with Quarterback J.J. Raterink. The veteran signal caller quickly connected with WR Darius Reynolds for a 22 yard scoring strike, and then ran for a one yard score with :33 seconds remaining in the second quarter to cut the lead to 24-21. However Grady and the Blaze responded with their own touchdown drive to take a 31-21 lead into halftime.
The second half was more of the same. Utah opened up their biggest lead of the night at 38-21 when Grady connected with WR Dejay Lester from 16 yards out. Once again, the Barnstormers rallied to within 3 points as WR Marco Thomas caught scoring passes on consecutive drives. However, this was as close as Iowa would get as the Blaze scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. With the win, the Blaze not only received the Iowa Bacon Bowl trophy, but each player and coach received 5 pounds of fresh Iowa Bacon courtesy of Eden Farms.
The Barnstormers close the 2013 season with another home game next Saturday night, July 27th when the defending Arena Bowl champion Arizona Rattlers come to town. The first 2,000 fans will receive a FREE Barnstormers “Black Storm” T-Shirt, courtesy of Scrap Processors, Inc. Fans can purchase their tickets for the season finale at the Wells Fargo Arena box office, by calling the Barnstormers at 515.633.2255 or online at www.theiowabarnstormers.com.
Russell Athletics Offensive Player of the Game: QB Tommy Grady, Utah
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Arness Ikner, Utah
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Dejay Lester, Utah
Cutters Catch of Game: Iowa’s Darius Reynolds over the shoulder TD Catch
AFL Highlight of the Game: Ikner interception return for TD.