By Steve Robinson | March 14, 2009 - 10:29 pm
Posted in Category: Bloomington Extreme, The Normalite

FootballBLOOMINGTON – Bloomington Extreme quarterback said he saw people wearing purple – his alma mater, Lexington High School’s primary color – being worn by a number of fans turning out for the start of the Indoor Football League season at U. S. Cellular Coliseum on Saturday.

That was because LHS and Monmouth College alum Mitch Tanney, well-traveled as a player in the Arena Football League and its developmental offshoot, arenafootball2, was playing close to home – with the Bloomington Extreme of the Indoor Football League, as they got ready to start the 2009 season with a rematch against league champion Sioux Falls Storm.

The Storm won the league’s 2008 championship last August, beating the Extreme, 40-35. The Extreme were the league’s Eastern Conference Champion in 2008.

But other colors came into play as the evening’s contest against the league champion Sioux Falls Storm continued, finishing with fans leaving blue, as Sioux Falls spoiled the Extreme’s season opener, beating Bloomington, 50-47.

Bloomington (0-1) owned a 38-35 lead with 12:40 left in the game’s fourth quarter after Tanney hit receiver Keith Brooks in the end zone from 19 yards out to put Bloomington in front, 38-35, following an extra point from Peter Christofilakos.

Bloomington ExtremeSioux Falls (1-0) responded with an eight play, 39 yard drive, punctuated by an 11 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terrance Bryant to receiver Sean Treasure, with 7:15 left. The extra point by kicker Parker Douglass pushed the Storm in front, 42-38.

Christofilakos hit a 43 yard field goal with 4:15 left, capping a Tanney-guided Extreme drive, cutting Sioux Falls’ lead by one, 42-41.

After a missed Sioux Falls field goal, Bloomington struck quickly, going 12 yards in two plays, ending in a 10 yard touchdown pass from Tanney to receiver Robert Redd, the second score assembled by the pair. That touchdown gave the Extreme a 47-42 lead, and the Extreme opted to go for two points, to force Sioux Falls into having to score a touchdown.

But Tanney’s two-point conversion pass failed.

Sioux Falls started their next set of downs from their own 12-yard line, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Bloomington helped push Sioux Falls to the Bloomington 9 yard line, where Bryant connected for another touchdown, this time to receiver Tavon McGee, with 45 seconds left in the game. Sioux Falls opted for two points and went in front, 50-47, on the successful conversion play to receiver James Terry.

Bloomington receiver Keith Brooks took the ensuing kickoff back to the Sioux Falls 14-yard line, and a handoff from Tanney to Brooks got the ball down to the Storm’s 12.

From there, Christofilakos positioned himself for a 20-yard field goal, but the ball sailed away from the goalposts, disappointing the crowd of 6,038.

Sioux Falls StormThe Rundown: Bryant and McGee connected for Sioux Falls’ opening score of the game, from 14 yards out, at 13:04 in the first quarter, but Bloomington broke up the extra point. Still, Sioux Falls owned a 6-0 lead.

Bloomington struck with their first possession, at 12:23 in the first quarter, as Tanney connected with former NFL receiver Peter Warrick from 19 yards out, putting the Extreme in front, 7-6 after Christofilakos’ extra point.

Storm defensive back Kevin Adams blocked a Christofilakos 33 yard field with 47 seconds left in the first quarter, running it in for a touchdown. Douglass’ extra point gave Sioux Falls a 13-7 lead.

Tanney connected with Redd for the first time on the night to start the second quarter. Tanney hit Redd with a 30 yard touchdown pass, capping a two play drive. Christofilakos’ extra point gave Bloomington a 14-13 lead.

Bryant connected with Treasure for the first time on the night from seven yards out for a touchdown at 10:20 in the second quarter, putting Sioux Falls in front, 19-14 after a failed Douglass point-after try.

Extreme running back Keith Brooks’ 1-yard run at 5:01 of the second quarter capped a 6 play, 33 yard drive, and put Bloomington up, 21-19, after Christofilakos’ extra point.

Warrick’s successful 5-yard pass reception from Tanney at 2:46 in the second quarter helped increase Bloomington’s advantage, 28-19.

Sioux Falls cut that lead, 28-25, as Bryant connected on a 27-yard pass to receiver Brent Little, with 37 seconds until halftime, but Douglass’ extra point failed.

Treasure’s 2-yard scoring run at 7:49 in the third quarter, capped a 8-play, 39 yard march for the Storm, giving them a 32-28 lead.

The two sides closed out the third quarter by each kicking a field goal – Christofilakos from 38 yards out at 5:01, cutting the Storm’s lead, 32-31; then Douglass hitting one from 24 yards at 1:10, inching in front of the Extreme, 35-31.

Little Things Added Up: Tanney, a veteran of the 50-yard game by way of his experience with af2 teams such as the Tampa Bay Storm and the Alabama Steeldogs, said that, looking back at the game, things were not adding up for the Extreme as the game progressed.

“If you look back at the game as a whole, there’s a lot of little things that we didn’t take care of,” Tanney said after the game. “A lot of times, a lot of little things add up to bigger things, and on the scoreboard, it resulted in our winding up on the short side of (the game).

“I thought we did a lot of things well on both sides of the ball, but, we also did some things that we will have to look at and correct, then move on.”

IFLExtreme head coach Kenton Carr said that, with Tanney coming from the Arena Football League, where his last team was the New Orleans VooDoo, a learning curve is needed until his quarterback gets a complete grasp on how the IFL’s brand of the 50-yard game is played.

Tanney, who went 14-for-23 passing for 124 yards and five touchdowns, agreed: “This is definitely a change from being in (arenafootball2) and then Arena League last year.” Tanney said that even though his IFL education is continuing, he thought the Extreme “played well in spots offensively.”

He said he enjoyed the crowd support, particularly from the folks from Lexington who drove down to see his Extreme debut.

“The crowd was loud, they supported us, and hopefully, that will continue the rest of the year,” Tanney said.

After the game, Extreme head coach Kenton Carr said he had not had the chance to ask Christofilakos about the missed field goal. He said he “still believes Christofilakos is the best kicker in the league.

“It was a tough first loss,” Carr said. “I thought we had them. Frankly, I’m embarrassed. I think we’re a much better team than that, or at least, I thought we were. We got out-played and out-coached, and, like I said, I’m embarrassed. I thought we were better than that to be honest with you.

“That blocked field goal for a touchdown tonight…that happened to us in the championship game last year,” Carr recalled. “You can’t give up those kind of points.”

The Extreme are on the road for the next two weeks, with games at Sioux City next Saturday and at Muskegon on March 28, before Tanney and company return to U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Saturday, April 4 to face the Sioux City Bandits in a 7:05p.m. game.