The Tulsa Talons were crowned National Conference champions for the second time in team history on Saturday night with a 67-47 victory over the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings.
The Talons were the first to put points on the board with a 6-yard TD run by Jermaine Landrum. Both teams played a tough defensive game, keeping the score in the single digits going into the second quarter.
Penalties plagued the second quarter, as both teams battled to stay on top. Tulsa's Jeff Hughley caught a 10-yard TD pass by QB Justin Allgood, but Bossier's Jamaal Perry answered back with a 13-yard TD pass from Quincy Carter. The Allgood to Hughley combo struck again with a 17-yard TD connection. After trading scores, Bossier-Shreveport got the last score of the half making the score 27-25 Talons.
Just as the first half ended the second half began; with a Battle Wings score to put the team ahead, 32-27. After another Bossier-Shreveport TD, the Talons scored three unanswered touchdowns. This was the beginning of the end for the Battle Wings.
The fourth quarter started with a 37-yard interception return by Tulsa's Don McGee. Bossier-Shreveport battled back to get on top with an accidental drop kick by Brian Hazelwood, giving the Wings two points instead of one, making the score 47-46 Battle Wings. The Talons closed the game with three unanswered TDs, two of which came from U.S. Army Ironman Player of the Game Jeff Hughley.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers will represent the American Conference in ArenaCup8 after they defeated the Green Bay Blizzard 46-43 in front of a deafening crowd of 5,635 Pioneers fans at the Wachovia Arena. Pioneers QB Ryan Vena led the team by completing 25-of-37 pass attempts for four touchdowns and 253 yards on the night. The Blizzard were led by Schutt Offensive Player of the Game WR/DB Scott Burnoski who caught 10 passes for three touchdowns and 174 yards.
The conference championship started with the Pioneers scoring on their second play when Vena connected with WR Marcus Furman for a 29 yard touchdown. The Blizzard attempted a field goal on the next drive but missed and resulted in a David Davis field goal on the Pioneers next possession. The Blizzard scored their first touchdown of the game on a 29 yard pass from Blizzard QB Zeke Dixon to Burnoski to finish out the first quarter.
The Pioneers defense stepped up in the second quarter as they held the Blizzard to their one yard line. Pioneers WR/DB and U.S. Army Ironman of the Game Larry Kendrick intercepted Dixon’s pass on the five yard line and ran in for a touchdown to give the Pioneers a 19 point lead. The first half came to an end when Pioneers C Beau Elliott prevented a Blizzard touchdown off of a missed field goal attempt by Davis as time expired.
The Blizzard came out strong in the second half by outscoring the Pioneers 27-14, but the Pioneers players made big plays to seal the game for the home team. The ADT Defensive Player of the Game, Pioneers DB TuTu Ferguson, intercepted a Blizzard pass with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter which resulted in a Pioneers score on the next drive. The Blizzard matched the touchdown but were unable to capitalize on an onside kick with 20 seconds left to give the Pioneers the conference championship.
The Pioneers will head to Bossier-Shreveport next week to face the National Conference Champion on Saturday, August 25 to compete for the ArenaCup8 title.