Vipers open season with win over Steeldogs
By Josh Cooper
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2460
HUNTSVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Vipers game notes has a "this week's quotes" section.
And this week, Vipers coach Milt Theodosatos said, "There is no substitute for winning. That is our mission."
Well, mission accomplished Friday as the Vipers opened its arenafootball2 season by defeating the Alabama Steeldogs 44-27 in front of 4,854 fans at the Von Braun Center.
"Any win is a good win," Theodosatos said following the game. "We made less mistakes than they made. We have one down and 19 to go now."
The only euphoric moment for the Steeldogs came on their opening drive when Alabama went 31 yards on seven plays, capped off with a 2-yard run by quarterback Robert Kent.
On the next play, Travis Blanchard returned Alabama's kick off 57 yards for a touchdown, and from that moment on, it was all Vipers.
The closest the Steeldogs got after that was 19-14, but the Vipers scored 19 unanswered points in between 5:20 mark of the second quarter and 2:39 of the fourth to push the score to 38-14 and effectively put the game away.
Tennessee Valley's pass rush helped the Vipers dominate like they did.
Tennessee Valley had Steeldogs starting quarterback Robert Kent on the run for most of the game.
Defensive lineman Anthony Andriano ended up having 21/2 sacks. When asked after the game about his ability to get to the quarterback, Andriano jokingly said, he couldn't really remember how many sacks he had.
"I work hard, and my motor doesn't stop," Andriano said. "We have some speed on defense and speed kills."
One small sequence that shows what kind of game this was occurred in the fourth quarter when Kent was sacked for a six yard loss on fourth and seven from Alabama's own 13-yard line.
On Tennessee Valley's ensuing possession, the Vipers converted on a fourth-and-goal from their 4-yard line, which put the score at 38-14.
"This defense was built for speed," Theodosatos said. "That's how we pressure it. When it works, I'm a great coach, and when it doesn't I'm not."
Conversely, Vipers quarterback Tony Colston had no real problems with being pressured by Alabama's defense.
Colston was able to sit in the pocket and complete 13 of 22 passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns.
"I got touched, what, one time?" Colston asked. "It all starts with the offensive. Week in, week out, we expect to have some busts, but today they played well.
"We have an off-week now, and a loss going into that would have been miserable."
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!