Arena Cup Champions
Backup quarterback Tony Colston led the Vipers on a 4-play 39 yard drive in overtime and capped it off with a three yard rush on a two-point conversion to lead the Tennessee Valley Vipers to a 56-55 win over the home standing Spokane Shock in Arena Cup 9.
Colston had to enter the game on just the Vipers second possession after starting quarterback Kevin Eakin was injured on his lone touchdown pass of the game.
Eakin tossed a score to Alonzo Nix and while Nix celebrated, Eakin lay on the turf in pain as a Shock defender rolled into his ankle.
So, Colston, who had been the team’s back up since Andy Hall was traded to Austin, stepped in and had a career night. Colston completed 20-of-30 passes for 288 yards and seven touchdowns. To his credit as well, the signal caller did not turn the ball over.
Arena Cup 9 was full of record setting performances. The Shock crowd of 10,662 was the largest crowd to witness an Arena Cup since the inaugural game in 2000 in which the Vipers also played in, but lost to Quad City.
Four receivers also tied Cup marks with four touchdown receptions. Alonzo Nix and Gary Elliot each hauled in four scores for the Vipers, while Kelvin Dickens and Raul Vijil each grabbed four as well. Vijil’s 166 yards receiving led all receivers. Dickens gained 159 yards on 13 catches also.
Defensive player of the game, Desmond Foster recorded 13.5 tackles, an Arena Cup record, and also an interception.
Both teams swapped scores the entire night. Tennessee Valley trailed only twice, once after Nick Hayes missed an extra point and Spokane converted to lead 35-34, and once more after scoring first in overtime.
Travis Blanchard scored yet another rushing touchdown during the contest. Blanchard scored on the ground in every game but the loss at Florida.
Eric Scott recorded the only sack for the Vipers bringing his playoff total to 5, which led the team.
Before the season began, Scott told me that if the Vipers didn’t win a championship, they “didn’t do their jobs.”
Eric, job well done.
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