June 30, 2012 (Lancaster, PA) With two teams that utilize atmospherics in their nicknames, the Storm and the Lightning, the weather at the Manheim Township Athletic Complex couldn’t have been clearer. However, the main concern for the night’s game wasn’t the sky, it was the heat. At kickoff, the temperature on the field reached 112 degrees.
The two Gridiron Developmental Football League teams struggled to move the ball down the field and the first quarter ended scoreless for both sides. The first score of the game would come midway through the second quarter, when after a Lightning turnover, the Storm scored on a 12-yard pass from QB Jamie Sellers to receiver Devon Blake. The touchdown by Blake came after another scoring attempt was called back for a holding penalty. “Penalties hurt us tonight,” Storm head coach Joe Ruffino said, “We allowed Lancaster to stay in the game, because we couldn’t control the penalties.”
With the penalties being a thorn in the side of the Storm, the defense once again was sharp, only allowing Lancaster in the red zone twice during the entire game, “you got to give the defense a lot of credit for stopping the offense of Lancaster,” Coach Ruffino added, “Coach E (defensive coordinator Eric Landis) had a good game plan for tonight. We knew that the team we played three weeks ago was going to be different than the one tonight and we were ready for them.” He added, “We have two guys in Garret Hood and Chris Medina who can’t get to practice every week and they made 15 tackles, between the two of them. Then you have the defensive soul of the team, Orrin Marshmann, who made 9 tackles too. We have some outstanding defensive talent on this team.”
The real turning point in the game came with six minutes to go in the first half, and down by seven points, the Lightning began a long drive, that started on their own 28-yard line. Now it was Lancaster’s turn to make some costly penalties, and the drive stalled at the Storm’s 25-yard line. With seconds to go in the first half, Lancaster missed a 43-yard field goal and the ball was returned by the Storm to their 18-yard line. After Jamie Sellers took a knee on the final play of the first half, the score was 7-0 in favor of the Storm.
Both teams battled hard and defense held strong for both sides in the third quarter, keeping the score still 7-0.
The Storm’s second score came late in the fourth, when after a Storm punt put Lancaster on their own 1-foot line, the defense once again held and when receiving the ball back, the Storm marched a seven play 42 yard drive capped off by running back Stacy Burnett’s 9 yard run. That would be the final score of the game, 14 – 0, in favor of the Storm. This was the Storm’s third win of the season and the first by shutout.
“Lancaster came prepared,” said Coach Ruffino, “I think our players took them too lightly at first, but we have winners here and they knew how to win the game.” “We should have had more points than 14,” said Coach Ruffino, “We missed a few opportunities to score and when we were moving the ball, the penalties pushed us back. They’re small mistakes that we will have to correct this week during practice.”
“What’s also is going to go unnoticed in tonight’s game was our offensive line,” explained Coach Ruffino, “they really did an outstanding job, in excessive heat against a strong defense to keep the holes open and the defenders off.”
The Storm returns home to J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, this Saturday night at 7:05 PM versus the D.C. Explosion as the Storm hosts “Armed Forces Salute Night”. Any current or former members of the military may show their MILITARY/VETERANS ID CARD to receive free admission to the game and a $5.00 per person charge for any guests they bring to the game. It is also encouraged that those Veterans who attend please wear displaying hats, medals or any other signifying items so you can be truly thanked by the Storm.