Voodoo Kick It Into Overdrive, Rock Gladiators 63-24

Posted: March 22, 2008 in Voodoo

NEW ORLEANS, LA — The New Orleans VooDoo ended a three-game winning streak that the Cleveland Gladiators brought into the Graveyard and came out of the game with their own their own three game surge as they held them scoreless in two quarters for a 63-24 win. The VooDoo defense forced five turnovers, while steady play on offense and two special teams touchdowns gave them their highest margin of victory over an opponent ever. The 24 points was the lowest figure New Orleans gave up to an opponent in team history.

Improving to a 3-1 record, the VooDoo now stands alone in first place in the Southern Division. They achieved their first three game win streak since the 2005 season and will look to extend it to four when they travel to Denver to face the Colorado Crush next Sunday at 3 p.m.

The VooDoo tied a club record with four interceptions in the winning effort, while DB Calvin Spears set a team mark with three picks in picking up Defensive Player of the Game honors. DL Henry Bryant and DL Lauvale Sape each picked up sacks, highlighting the ferocious pass rush, while DB Lin-J Shell had his third interception of the season and DB Keon Raymond had four passes defensed.

QB Danny Wimprine completed 19 of 26 passes for 235 yards with four touchdown passes. Offensive Player of the Game James Jordan had 11 receptions for 113 yards with two touchdowns.

WR Wendall Williams captured Ironman of the Game honors with one reception for three yards, returned a missed field goal 53 yards for a touchdown, and had a net recovery for a score.

The VooDoo began the game by taking the opening kickoff and starting at their own 13 yard-line. VooDoo Coach Mike Neu started the game by calling a run play to James Lynch good for eight yards. QB Danny Wimprine then completed three of four passes, including a 16-yard fade for a touchdown to WR James Jordan to give the VooDoo a seven point lead.

Cleveland was then stopped by the VooDoo defense on downs, keyed by a fourth down play where DL Henry Bryant sacked Gladiators QB Raymond Philyaw. The signal caller coughed up the ball and it was recovered by LB Umar Muhammad.

Wimprine took advantage of the stop immediately, finding WR Javarus Dudley for a 20-yard strike that put the VooDoo up 14-7 after K Jonathan Ruffin‘s extra point.

Cleveland responded with a long kickoff return by WR Otis Amey that put them in VooDoo territory, but the Gladiators were unable to convert and DB Keon Raymond knocked down a fourth down pass in the end zone.

On their next offensive drive, Wimprine found a newly activated but familiar face in WR Tyronne Jones, last year’s leading receiver for the VooDoo for a 37-yard touchdown pass to give New Orleans a 21-0 lead with over two minutes left in the first quarter. This tied a club record for points in a first quarter.

The Gladiators finally got on the board early in the second quarter after being held scoreless in the first, when Philyaw ran a seven-yard quarterback scramble into the end zone to put Cleveland on the scoreboard.

Wimprine and the starting VooDoo offense took over possession at their own 5 yard-line with 13:49 left in the second stanza. Wimprine drilled a 16-yard completion to Jordan, and then FB James Lynch

contributed with a seven-yard run to move into Cleveland territory. However the VooDoo were unable to convert and Ruffin missed the field goal attempt after a strong start to the drive.

The VooDoo continued to put heavy pressure on Philyaw and nearly got out of the ensuing defensive drive on a key third down play, but Philyaw released the ball before a VooDoo defender hit him and WR Robert Redd made a spectacular grab at his foot for the first down. However on a third down play in VooDoo territory, the pass rush was too much for Philyaw and following an incompletion, Cleveland was forced to kick a field goal, pulling them within only 11 with 2:18 remaining in the second stanza.

The VooDoo successfully milked the clock on their last offensive drive of the half as Wimprine completed several short passes, screens and Lynch executed two key runs in the end zone, punctuated by a two-yard scamper into the end zone that left 29 seconds on the clock.

Even though 29 seconds is usually more than enough for a score, the Gladiators were unable to score and the VooDoo capitalized on an unsuccessful field goal as time expired for the second straight week when WR Wendall Williams returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to put a dagger through the Gladiators’ hearts, while helping his teammates walk into the locker room with a 35-10 halftime lead.

The second half began with the Gladiators accepting the opening kickoff and trailing by 25 points.  DL Michale Spicer, fresh off of a three sack performance the week before, forced Philyaw into a hurried throw in VooDoo territory that was intercepted by DB Calvin Spears. Following a facemask call on Cleveland following the return, the VooDoo would take possession at their 23-yard line.

Wimprine fired an 18-yard strike to Jones for the score, his second TD reception of the game and Wimprine’s fourth TD pass of the game, which following Ruffin’s extra point extended the VooDoo’s lead back to a high of 32  points, at 42-10.

Following a couple of completions by Philyaw, the VooDoo’s defensive pressure resulted in Spears’ second interception of the game at the three-yard line, preventing a Cleveland score.

Wimprine threw his first interception on his 105th passing attempts of the season.

However a score would be prevented and the VooDoo successfully shootout Cleveland in the third quarter when Spears grabbed his third interception of the night and his first off of backup QB Jose Davis, who relieved an injured Philyaw (hand).

The VooDoo failed to convert on the next drive and Ruffin missed a field goal attempt, but DB Lin-J Shell took the ball back for the VooDoo with a 41-yard interception return. Lynch would then punch in a rushing TD to give the VooDoo a 48-10 lead.

Davis then completed a 31-yard pass to WR Cornelius Bonner for a touchdown to put the Gladiators on the scoreboard for the first time in the second half with over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Steve Bellisari took over the reigns for Wimprine at quarterback and threw a quick TD pass to Jordan, his second scoring grab of the contest and team-high ninth of the season.

The VooDoo then quickly got on the board again when Williams scored his second special teams touchdown of the game when the kickoff bounced off of the net and he jumped on it for a net recovery to give the VooDoo a 63-17 lead as the contest was decided.

NOTES

 

*DB Calvin Spears had a club record three interceptions. Spears has already surpassed his prior career-high for picks with five on the season.

 

*The VooDoo defense forced five turnovers, while turning the ball over only once. They are now +8 in turnover ratio on the season

 

*With 21 points in the first quarter, it was tied for the most points scored by the VooDoo in a first quarter all-time.

 

*By holding the Gladiators scoreless in the first and third quarters, it marked the 12th and 13th times in club history that they have done it in a 15 minute period.

 

*WR Wendall Williams‘ 53 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown was his second in two games and the second in club history. Williams’ return came at exactly the same time as in last week’s win vs. Tampa Bay, as time expired in the first half.

 

*The VooDoo took the lead in the all-time series with the Gladiators with a 2-1 edge.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Offense: James Jordan

Defense: Calvin Spears

Ironman: Wendall Williams

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