Vindy.com

Published: Monday, July 23, 2007

Vipers send Thunder tumbling



Mahoning Valley's 58-39 loss on Saturday eliminated its playoff chance.

By BILL BRYANT

HUNTSVILLE TIMES

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Mahoning Valley Thunder came into Saturday's game at Tennessee Valley needing a rare win on the road and a lot of help on top of that to keep its slim af2 playoff hopes alive.

It turned out the Thunder was in a much more giving mood than the Vipers.

During the second and third quarters, Mahoning Valley turned the ball over three times, gave up a net recovery for a touchdown and surrendered 29 straight points on its way to a 58-39 loss in front of a crowd of 3,952 at the Von Braun Center.

Records

The Thunder dropped to 6-9 with Saturday's finale coming at home against Green Bay. The Vipers improved to 7-8, clinching a playoff berth in the process.

"There's no excuses," Mahoning Valley coach Mike Hold said. "We just didn't play well."

After allowing back-to-back scoring drives by the Vipers to open the game, the Thunder rebounded briefly when Chris Johnson took a short curl pass from Mike Schneider and turned it into a 39-yard touchdown.

Derek Schorejs' point after cut Mahoning Valley's deficit to 15-7 with a minute left in the first quarter.

But the game turned against the Thunder a couple of drives later.

Schneider was intercepted in the Tennessee Valley end zone by Carlos Campbell, and the Vipers soon afterward turned that miscue into a 7-yard score by fullback Brandon Isaiah. That gave them a 21-7 edge and took a substantial bit of air out of Mahoning Valley.

Schneider's giveaways

"You can't throw an interception there," said Schneider, who went 23-of-45 for 236 yards and four touchdowns while subbing for the injured Glen Gauntt.

"If you throw three interceptions like I did, you're not going to win in this league."

Plagued by dropped and otherwise incomplete passes the rest of the second quarter, the Thunder went into the locker room trailing 29-7 at the half.

Mahoning Valley's malaise continued into the third quarter, when it failed to cover the second-half kickoff.

The opportunistic Campbell recovered the ball for the touchdown, and the two-point conversion set the Thunder back 37-7.

"In this game, the team that creates opportunities is the one that's going to be the most successful," Hold said.

"It's a game of momentum, and that creates opportunities. Their players wanted it more tonight. Give them credit."

Vipers strike again

After another Schneider interception and a failed possession, Tennessee Valley struck again when backup quarterback Tony Colston — Vipers starter Chris Gunn threw for a pair of scores and ran for another — found Travis Blanchard streaking down the field for a 35-yard touchdown.

That made it 44-7 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Tennessee Valley got a little sloppy at that point, allowing three touchdowns — a 6-yard scoring pass from Schneider to Brian Majors, a 22-yarder from Schneider to Kenneth Johnson and a 1-yard Tim Murphy run — in a six-minute span to make things briefly interesting.

But Gunn returned to the game to steady the Vipers and they got a pair of short Isaiah rushing touchdowns to put the issue to rest.

Bill Bryant is sports editor of The Huntsville (Ala.) Times.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mahoning Valley's 58-39 loss on Saturday eliminated its playoff chance.

By BILL BRYANT

HUNTSVILLE TIMES

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Mahoning Valley Thunder came into Saturday's game at Tennessee Valley needing a rare win on the road and a lot of help on top of that to keep its slim af2 playoff hopes alive.

It turned out the Thunder was in a much more giving mood than the Vipers.

During the second and third quarters, Mahoning Valley turned the ball over three times, gave up a net recovery for a touchdown and surrendered 29 straight points on its way to a 58-39 loss in front of a crowd of 3,952 at the Von Braun Center.

Records

The Thunder dropped to 6-9 with Saturday's finale coming at home against Green Bay. The Vipers improved to 7-8, clinching a playoff berth in the process.

"There's no excuses," Mahoning Valley coach Mike Hold said. "We just didn't play well."

After allowing back-to-back scoring drives by the Vipers to open the game, the Thunder rebounded briefly when Chris Johnson took a short curl pass from Mike Schneider and turned it into a 39-yard touchdown.

Derek Schorejs' point after cut Mahoning Valley's deficit to 15-7 with a minute left in the first quarter.

But the game turned against the Thunder a couple of drives later.

Schneider was intercepted in the Tennessee Valley end zone by Carlos Campbell, and the Vipers soon afterward turned that miscue into a 7-yard score by fullback Brandon Isaiah. That gave them a 21-7 edge and took a substantial bit of air out of Mahoning Valley.

Schneider's giveaways

"You can't throw an interception there," said Schneider, who went 23-of-45 for 236 yards and four touchdowns while subbing for the injured Glen Gauntt.

"If you throw three interceptions like I did, you're not going to win in this league."

Plagued by dropped and otherwise incomplete passes the rest of the second quarter, the Thunder went into the locker room trailing 29-7 at the half.

Mahoning Valley's malaise continued into the third quarter, when it failed to cover the second-half kickoff.

The opportunistic Campbell recovered the ball for the touchdown, and the two-point conversion set the Thunder back 37-7.

"In this game, the team that creates opportunities is the one that's going to be the most successful," Hold said.

"It's a game of momentum, and that creates opportunities. Their players wanted it more tonight. Give them credit."

Vipers strike again

After another Schneider interception and a failed possession, Tennessee Valley struck again when backup quarterback Tony Colston — Vipers starter Chris Gunn threw for a pair of scores and ran for another — found Travis Blanchard streaking down the field for a 35-yard touchdown.

That made it 44-7 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Tennessee Valley got a little sloppy at that point, allowing three touchdowns — a 6-yard scoring pass from Schneider to Brian Majors, a 22-yarder from Schneider to Kenneth Johnson and a 1-yard Tim Murphy run — in a six-minute span to make things briefly interesting.

But Gunn returned to the game to steady the Vipers and they got a pair of short Isaiah rushing touchdowns to put the issue to rest.

Bill Bryant is sports editor of The Huntsville (Ala.) Times.

Monday, July 23, 2007
The Mahoning Valley Thunder came into Saturday's game at Tennessee Valley needing a rare win on the road and a lot of...