|Posted September 13, 2008|
Ball Hawk defense delivers sudden blowout
DURANGO, Colo. - Early in the second half, the ThunderWolves were in a dire situation against Fort Lewis.
After a paltry first half, littered with mistakes and a porous defense, the Pack somehow were tied 7-7 at halftime. And an arm injury to starting quarterback, Bobby Washington (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) left the Pack in a bleak situation against a Skyhawk team looking to cash in on the momentum of their Hall of Fame night at the college.
But the ThunderWolves did what young teams on the rise do - thrive on adversity.
The Pack defense shifted into overdrive, forcing six second half turnovers, resulting in 30 second half points as the Pack scored a sudden 37-7 blowout over Fort Lewis.
The win improves the Pack's record to 2-0, making them the only team in the RMAC so far this season with an unblemished record.
The momentum began to change when the defense turned around a porous first half. After allowing the Skyhawks to go 14-for-17 through the air out of their four wide receiver set, the Pack rejected the Skyhawks' first three pass attempts of the second half, and upped the ante even higher.
Jerry McWilliams (Jr., Fountain, Colo.) forced a fumble at midfield, handing the offense over to Washington's replacement, Sean Gavin (Fr., Canyon Country, Calif.), who directed the offense well, setting up a Kyle Major (Fr., Littleton, Colo.) field goal that gave the Pack a 10-7 lead.
Another quick forced turnover by the ThunderWolves, this time forced by Lee Meisner (Fr., Sterling, Colo.) on the ensuing kickoff return, set up another Major field goal.
On the Skyhawks' next possession, Marco Macaluso (So., Pueblo, Colo.) picked off a pass, setting up Major's third field goal and giving the ThunderWolves a much more solid 16-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
And as the Pack relaxed, big plays came, and a blowout was in order.
Backup tailback Jesse Lewis (Fr., Loveland, Colo.), spelling starter Brandon Gray (So., Burdett, Kan.), who turned in his second straight 100-yard performance with a 126-yard game, scored on a 41-yard touchdown run, giving the ThunderWolves a 23-7 lead.
On the Skyhawks' next possession, the Pack defense struck again, as McWilliams picked off a pass that set up another touchdown-scoring drive, brought home on a run by Layton Dickerson (Fr., Tucson, Ariz.), the ThunderWolves had a 30-7 lead.
Then, just as quickly, Jon Bailey (Fr., Fort Morgan, Colo.) picked up a fumble on the Skyhawks' next possession, and it was suddenly an awe-inspiring 37-7.
"The defense and special teams competed at a very high level for us, especially in the second half," Pack coach John Wristen said. "Our units executed well, and I'm really proud of their efforts."
The win puts the new program in a precarious position - the team to beat. The Pack sits alone at the top of the RMAC, and it's a position the team relishes, Wristen said.
"We know we're a new program, but we're in it to win it," Wristen said. "We're here for the long haul."
The long haul continues Saturday, when the ThunderWolves host RMAC kingpin, Chadron State, at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.