Fever defeat Stockton again, 42-35Posted: Updated:
Kennewick, Wash. - The Tri-Cities Fever (2-11) needed to prove one thing to themselves as they took on the Stockton Lightning (4-9); that they could put a full game together as a team and compete. When the offense stumbled the defense stepped up and when the defense faltered the offense drove the field with precision. All added up to the Fever's second victory of the season; 42-35.
The first quarter of play saw a score from each team as QB Colin Drafts (27-36-2888; 5 TD's) received his first start with the Fever since 2007. Drafts connected with the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game winner WR Brandon Copeland (14-135; 4 TD's) on a 3-yard play to even things up with the Lightning at 7.
As Stockton began to drive for the go ahead score, Aaron's Defensive Player of the Game LB Chris Hemphill tipped a ball off an out route from Lightning QB Chad Cavender right into the hands of DB Jamie Hattley (9.0 tackles, one interceptions, one break-up).
That set up a seven play drive ending on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Drafts to Copeland.
Stockton and Tri-Cities would trade scores on the following three possessions, but a missed PAT by Lightning K Steve Irvine would keep the Fever on top 21-20.
Ensuing kickoff was then fumbled by DB Emery Beckles (3.0 tackles) and recovered by the lighting inside the redzone. As the Lightning tried to take the lead before half, Cavender's pass was intercepted by Fever DB Devon Walker (4.0 tackles, one interception, one break-up). Fever K Michael Braunstein (2-3 FG's; 4-5 PAT's) made a 20-yard field goal to end the half; 24-20.
The second half started quickly for the Fever as Drafts connected on the first play from the line of scrimmage with WR Finas Rabb (4-59; 1 TD) who made his defender miss and broke for a Fever season high 45-yard touchdown reception. Shortly after the score, Braunstein's kickoff hit the netting bar and the Lightning barley recovered on the half yard line. One play later LB Curtis Terry (5.0 tackles, 2.0 sacks, one safety) broke through the line and sacked Cavender in the endzone for a safety as the Fever went up 32-20.
The offense couldn't seem to find the endzone after that as a missed field goal and two turnover cost them from scoring another point during the third quarter. The defense held their ground as Hemphill grabbed his first interception of the night and Stockton only managed to score one time (PAT failed) to bring the score 32-26 at the end of the third.
Stockton looked to steal the game away from the Fever in the forth as they recovered a botched snap from Drafts and scored to take the lead bye one. Drafts would recover like a true veteran and two plays later connected with Copeland for the forth and final time on a 30-yard pass to give the Fever the lead 39-33. Braunstein would tack on a 25-yard field goal after Hemphill pulled in his second interception of the night.
The Fever defense then gritted their teeth and forced a turn over on downs to seal the second victory of the season.The Fever defense set season highs throughout the game. DL Julian Riley added 3.0 sacks along with Terry's to total 5.0 for the game; season high by 2.0 sacks . Hemphill, Hattley and Walker pulled in four interceptions; season high. And the defense allowed a season-low 33-points and recorded their first safety of the year.