Quick strikes lead Storm
SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. -- It was a great example of the quick-strike offense that has been the Southern Vermont Storm's calling card in the first two games of the New England Football League's 2014 schedule.
Linebacker and captain Adrian Gruber stopped a drive with an interception and on the very next play, Storm quarterback Will Cole found receiver Marcus Anderson for a 62-yard touchdown to take a 14-6 lead.
The 14-point swing was a jumping off point for the Storm, who won its second game to start the year, 35-18, over the Northern Berkshire Kings in an NEFL Class A matchup.
"Will has been on fire in the first two weeks," said Storm coach Pat Seaver. "The man is an athlete. We needed the quick strikes."
After the Storm missed a field goal on its first possession, the Kings came back three plays later. Quarterback Joe Wiggins broke contain over the left side for a 78-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead.
Wiggins was the offensive star for the Kings, running for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Under center, he was 6-for-16 for 68 yards and three interceptions.
The Storm took the lead for good on the next possession, as Cole marched the offense down the field. He found Anderson for 34 on second-and-7 from midfield, then hit Mike Dunham for an 18-yard touchdown.
Cole had an impressive day, completing 14-of-28 for 340 yards and four touchdowns -- two to Anderson and two to Dunham. Anderson caught eight balls for 218 yards, while Dunham had 87 yards on four catches.
Mike Woodson led the way on the ground, running 14 times for 63 yards.
"Will is formidable, I had some doubts when [former quarterback] JC [Lebarron] moved of who would be the quarterback and Will stepped up," Anderson said.
After Cole and Anderson hooked up after the Gruber interception, the Kings pulled within two when Qujay Sumpter hit Dante Turner for a 31-yard touchdown pass, and it looked like the momentum was turning. But after a Storm fumble, Wiggins was intercepted by Perry Snyder, who returned it 40 yards into Kings territory.
The defense was stout for the Storm, as the Kings were held to 153 yards on the ground -- 78 on one play. Along with the interception, Gruber led the defense, along with linebacker Billy Demers. The two combined for double digit tackles, keeping the Kings' offense in check.
"Those guys are our leaders and part of a nice core on defense," Seaver said. "They gave us the ability for the offense to get the ball back."
The Storm took advantage of the short field as Cole ran in a sneak for a 1-yard touchdown and a 21-12 lead, then after a questionable fake punt call deep on the Kings' side of the field, Cole found Anderson for his second score with three seconds left in the half and a 28-12 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Wiggins scored on an 8-yard scramble to give the Kings some momentum, but the Storm's quick strike offense came out again -- scoring in five plays, the touchdown a 40-yard pass from Cole to Dunham between two defenders.
Anderson helped seal the win with five minutes left in the game, coming in on defense with an interception.
"I had my guy on the left hand side and I just read the quarterback's eyes," Anderson said. "I have fun on defense."
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