AFL: Pittsburgh Power Grounds the Iowa Barnstormers 58-28

Dominic Errico@SteelCityVoiceCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2011

It was blackout night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.  9,190 diehard Power fans showed up to watch the Pittsburgh Power go for their first victory of the season.  The Iowa Barnstormers were coming off a Week 1 bye and had not yet seen action.

The Power offense moved the ball methodically down the field on the first drive, featuring a great one-handed catch by Jason "Whatyoutalkinbout" Willis. 

The drive appeared stalled deep in Iowa territory and Pittsburgh sent Paul Edinger out to attempt a field goal. 

Edinger missed the kick, but Denayne Dixon was called for running into the kicker, and the Power had new life. 

Joshua Rue pounded the ball into the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead and brought out a chorus of "Rues" from the Power faithful.

It didn't take long for Iowa to respond.  Brad Banks hit Todd Blythe on a long pass to tie the score up at 7-7.  This would become a recurring theme during the game.

Jerome Mathis ran the ensuing kickoff out to midfield and Pittsburgh went to work again.  Iowa did a solid job containing Pittsburgh in close until fourth down when Bernard Morris hit Irv Campbell for a touchdown pass to make it 14-7.

Banks continued to torch the Power secondary by hitting Blythe for a second score.  It was shaping up to be a back and forth game. 

On the Power's third drive, Bernard Morris escaped disaster twice.  He fumbled the ball but managed to recover, and then he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown; however, the play was nullified by another costly Iowa penalty on defense.

This time, Joshua Rue got the Ruebirds going again as he pounded into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. 

Brad Banks then started to unravel a bit.  Under heavy pressure from Neil Purvis, Banks threw the ball up for grabs and it was intercepted by Tyrrell Herbert.

Lonnell DeWalt made a stretching catch on a high pass from Bernard Morris to give Pittsburgh a 28-14 lead.

Iowa seemed to get a bit of momentum towards the end of the first half but a missed field goal from Piotr Czech ended that as the first half closed with the score 28-14 in favor of the home team.

Iowa came out in the second half needing to build some momentum.  Tyrrell Herbert had a possible second interception in his hands near the goal line but couldn't hold on.  A short time later, Banks found Blythe for the third time in the game, making it 28-21.

The Power came on for their first drive of the second half with backup quarterback Kevin McCabe in the game due to shoulder soreness by starting quarterback Bernard Morris.

McCabe struck quickly to Jerome Mathis on a long bomb to reestablish a two-touchdown lead for Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh got their second defensive stop of the night by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down.  Banks, who had been very accurate in the first half, was starting to unravel a bit. 

McCabe then connected on his second touchdown pass of the night to Joshua Rue.  This was Rue's third total score of the night.  The score was 42-21 for the Power and the rout was on.

Pittsburgh would add touchdowns from Mike "Joystick" Washington, an interception return by Lonnell DeWalt and a field goal from Paul Edinger

Iowa got a fourth and final touchdown from Banks to Blythe.

Credit goes out to the Power defense for some big stops through the game.  They intercepted three passes from Banks, had several near picks and really stepped it up in the second half.

Pittsburgh will be on the road in Milwaukee on Monday, March 28th to face off against the Mustangs.