(Photo Cred: Kevin Adams Photography)
The Oklahoma Thunder went on the road this past weekend to St. Peters, Missouri, and came away with their 18th consecutive win, this one a 48-2 thrashing of the Missouri Valley Pitbulls.
Quarterback Brandon Noohi connected with standout receivers Prentiss Elliott and Cam Cotton several times to lead the Thunder offensively and linebackers B.J. Hodshire, Shawn Jackson and DeWitt Jennings and defensive end C.B. Boyd led the charge on defense.
(Photo Cred: Kevin Adams Photography)
Defensive back Shad Scarborough also had a pick-six for the Thunder, which looks to become the first ever back-to-back Gridiron Developmental Football League Champions in the playoffs, which are fast approaching.
“The playoff picture is looking good for us right now,” Thunder defensive coordinator Morgan Clements told Developmental Football USA. “We just have to do our part. It would be great to have a first-round bye to address any health issues players may have, but we also like to keep our guys active and moving. So, if we are called to play, we will be ready.”
This weekend, the Thunder are on the road again against the Arkansas Nightmare, which they just routed 62-8 in Tulsa earlier this month in a game dedicated to the life and career of former player Joey Crawford.
“It’s always great to win and win big, but it was fitting because that’s the way Joey lived – big,” Thunder defensive coordinator Morgan Clements told Developmental Football USA.”
“Anytime you honor a past player, you want to come out and make a big stand and show out in their honor, but that game was more than just a game for a retired player, or to honor our first inducted Hall of Famer, it was to honor our Thunder family member that had passed away.
“Joey was a superman. A great football player, teammate and family man. That hangs heavy on the hearts and minds of those who knew him. It was really great to see past players come out and watch the game in honor of Joey. It was great of the ownership group to present his family with his retired jersey, a Thunder helmet signed by present and past players, coaches and staff members who knew him.”
Following the re-match with the Nightmare, the Thunder should be returning to Tulsa for a home playoff game once the playoff picture shapes up this weekend.
“Guaranteed home games are always a plus,” Clements said. “We get to sleep in our beds and our friends, family and fans get to come and support us without having to travel and we know that we will play on a high quality field. At this point I have not seen any possible match ups for the playoffs, but we welcome anyone. We will be prepared. We know that we will get everyone’s best and that it’s win or go home, so we will do everything we can to make sure we are not the ones going home. In the GDFL, there are a lot of good teams that can make a deep run. Everyone turns it up a notch in the playoffs.”
Teams typically turn it up a notch against the Thunder, but the Thunder turned things up a notch several years ago, when their organization kicked off in 2008 by winning 50 games in a row. Judging by their five national championships in eight years, things are still up a few notches for the Thunder.
In July, running back Adidassr McDonald has been big as he put together a 145-yard and three-touchdown performance on 17 carries against the Nightmare in the last meeting between the two teams, and Cotton stood out again that day with seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
“Cotton has really stepped up his game, along with our offensive line, with the leadership from Jon Means and Lamont McDonald,” Clements said.
Defensively, Antonio Gillespie has been a force, with four tackles, two sacks and two hurries against the Nightmare.
“Our whole defensive line has been playing great by putting pressure on the opponents quarterback and freeing up our linebackers so they can do our jobs,” Clements said.
In the last meeting against the Nightmare, the special teams also rose to the occasion on kickoff as Larry Lee punched the ball out of the grasps of the return man and Rashad Boyd scooped it up and scored a 20-yard touchdown.
Kickoff for the Thunder’s regular season finale against the Nightmare is set for 7:00 in West Memphis, Arkansas.