Tennessee Valley's championship celebration and player intros may have taken longer than expected, but the defending af2 chamipions made quick work of the Quad City Steamwheelers in Saturday's 74-20 win in their home opener.
Demetrius Derico was announced for the introduction, however, it took several minutes for the defensive back to respond to the call.
The opening drive saw Vipers (1-1) quarterback Kevin Eakin lead his team inside the red zone, only to have a pass intercepted in the end zone. Quad City (1-1) could not muster anything offensively and were forced to attempt a 60-yard field goal that fell well short of the crossbar.
On the ensuing possession, Eakin found Bradly Chavez from four yards out to give the Vipers an early 7-0 lead following the first of 10 successful extra points by kicker Nick Hayes.
Vipers nose guard Marcus White ended the Steamwheelers next drive on first down when he sacked J.J. Raterink for a safety, leaving the Vipers ahead 9-0 in the early going.
Just 33 seconds later Chris Bocage returned the kickoff 58 yards to the end zone, pushing the Vipers' lead to 16-0.
Quad City then got on the scoreboard with a 27-yard touchdown toss to Jesse Schmidt. Schmidt hauled in seven touchdowns in the Steamwheelers opening contest, but was held to just five catches for 80 yards and this lone score on the night.
Eakin led the Vipers down the field for another touchdown, this time to Bocage, giving the Vipers a 23-7 lead.
Defensive back Desmond Foster then set his sights on a Raterink pass and picked off the signal caller and returned the ball 23 yards, setting up Eakin and Chavez for their second touchdown of the night.
The ensuing kickoff saw the officials have one of their infamous meetings at the goal line. Referee Mark Curles then announced that the return team had run out of the end zone and then back into the end zone, resulting in another Vipers safety.
Chavez then hauled in his third touchdown catch of the night from Eakin. If you've lost count, the score is 39-7 Vipers, and it is not even half time.
The Steamwheelers then drew a little closer when Raterink found 2007 Ironman of the Year Jack Walker for a touchdown. Walker would finish his night with 36 yards on seven catches and one score.
Bocage would then make his third trip to pay dirt, second by way of an Eakin pass pushing the Vipers lead to 46-13 going into the half.
Quad City's luck would not change on the second half's opening kickoff. Akeem Lockett recovered a Steamwheelers fumble for a Vipers' touchdown.
Two consecutive turnover on downs led to two Vipers touchdowns, Eakin to Bocage and backup quarterback Tony Colston's first touchdown pass of the season to Michael Johnson.
Eakin finished much better than last week, completing 20-of-26 passes for 194 yards and six touchdowns.
The Vipers defense forced another fourth down turnover, however, Benji McDowell would fumble on the Vipers ensuing possession giving the Steamwheelers a chance for their first score of the second half.
Quad City decided to go with backup signal caller Brian Zbydniewski, however, the results would not be much different. Travis Blanchard picked off Zbydniewski at the goalline.
Colston then found Chavez for his fourth touchdown catch of the night, putting the Vipers ahead 74-13.
The Steamwheelers would end the scoring and round out the final score when Zbydniewski flipped a screen to tight end Jason Jones and Jones rumbled his way into the end zone.
On a side note, I caught a pass from Kevin Eakin in the second quarter in the stands. Heck of a catch too, if I must say so myself.
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