LIONS SCALP SEMINOLES 14-11
Cleveland holds off Detroit rally to capture "Showdown in Motown"
August 22, 2005
Barnburner. Slugfest. Slobberknocker.
Any one of the aforementioned adjectives would be an accurate assessment of Saturday night's game at Detroit's Redford High School.
Following a scoreless first half of play, the Cleveland Lions finally broke through for two touchdowns in the second half and held off a resilient Detroit Seminoles squad to capture a 14-11 victory.
Cleveland (7-0, 4-0 MCFL) now are the sole owners of first place in the Mid Continental Football League. Detroit (6-1, 3-1 MCFL), the previous #1 team in the country according to the American Football News, lost for the first time in seven contests.
As expected, the two defenses made their marks in the opening half of play. With the exception of a few long jaunts by both offenses, the defenses were nearly inpenetrable. Cleveland flexed its muscles early and often, forcing three Seminoles' turnovers in the second quarter. Each time, however, the Lions were unable to capitalize.
Detroit QB Robert Hunt, last season's MCFL Most Valuable Player, was picked off twice in the second stanza. The second, an errant throw in the left flat, was nabbed by Cleveland LB Tim Weeks who returned the ball to the Detroit 5 yard line. The Lion offense was unable to parlay the turnover into points, however, as three straight passes fell incomplete. A 22 yard field goal attempt by Joe Lindway was equally unsuccessful. Lindway slipped on the attempt, and the ball sailed beneath the crossbar.
The third quarter saw much of the same, as the defenses continued to throw up roadblocks on two frustrated offenses. Following a fumble recovery near midfield, the Lions attack finally got the ball rolling. Several bursts by RB Chip McClain moved the ball into deep into the 'Noles redzone. Backup RB Marshall Dos-Reis ripped off a 7 yard run to the Detroit six yard line. On third down, Lions' QB Jon Hunek found TE Mike Parris alone in the endzone with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter. Joe Lindway tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The score was the first allowed by the vaunted 'Noles defense in MCFL play--a span of nearly 11 consecutive quarters.
Detroit retaliated on their ensuing drive, moving the ball down to the Cleveland 21 yard line before fizzling. Rasko Apostolovski's 38 yard field goal was high and true, cutting the Cleveland lead to 7-3 with a little over 11 minutes to play in the game.
A confident Lions' offense took the field following the kickoff with good field position. A short run moved the ball to the 40 yard line. Hunek then found WR Melvin Stewart on second down on a comeback route on the left side. Stewart sidestepped the defender, used two key blocks and outran the 'Noles secondary while crossing the field for a 60 yard touchdown scamper. The extra point pushed the Cleveland lead to 14-3 with 10:04 remaining.
Once again, the Seminoles responded with a balanced drive keyed by Robert Hunt and RB Prince Pack. Receptions by TE Dennis Smith and WR Don Lonsway set up a 1 yard touchdown burst by De'Undra Evans. Detroit's first two point conversion attempt was wiped out by an illegal procedure penalty. The 'Noles regrouped and Robert Hunt's picture-perfect fade to WR Artez Battle was snared on a diving attempt in the back corner of the endzone, cutting the deficit to a mere three points.
Following a three-and-out series by the Lions, Detroit took over at their own 21 yard line with just over 4 minutes left on the clock. Detroit efficiently moved the ball downfield against a winded Lions defense. A holding penalty short-circuited the drive, however, and consecutive sacks on the ensuing plays forced a 4th and 29 situation for the Detroit offense.
Robert Hunt avoided the rush on the 4th down play and bought time as he rolled out to his left. With a Lions' defender wrapped around his waist, he completed a miraculous pass to Artez Baker near the first down marker. After the chains were brought in for a measurement, the 'Noles realized they were 5 feet short and the game was all but over.
Three straight kneeldowns by Hunek expired the clock and the Lions escaped with a hard-fought 14-11 victory. Hunek, in his first season with the Lions, led the team with 161 yards passing and 2 TD. His favorite receiver was Stewart, who caught three balls for 82 yards a score.
On defense, the Lions were led by linebackers Mel King and Tim Weeks. Each recorded 3.5 tackles, while King added two sacks and Weeks chipped in with a fumble recovery and interception. CB Hassan Brown also added an interception.
The Lions will return to the playing field on September 10th in Cincinnati to face the Kings Comets. The Lions will pick up an additional win next week through a forfeit victory against the now-defunct Ohio Swarm.
Continue to check back at www.clevelandlions.com for exciting updates and look for features on the Lions in local media in the upcoming weeks!