THUNDER OVER BLAST: IMPACT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
Thunder struck the Blast – earn first national title berth since 2013 August 20, 2016 Tulsa, Oklahoma by Dr. Ashton Cook
Top-seeded Oklahoma Thunder won the GDFL Impact Conference championship after beating the Memphis Blast 37-11. With the victory, the team will now advance to play the GDFL defending champion Nashville Storm. The Storm won the GDFL Xtreme Conference championship last night after beating the Georgia Crush by a score of 6-2.
Despite the margin of victory, Memphis’ defense posted a very impressive effort, particularly in defending against the Thunder’s top-rated passing attack. The Thunder only completed 6 of 17 passing attempts for 69 yards in the contest, which were all season lows.
Despite the struggles in the passing game, the Thunder offense found substantial production behind its running backs and massive offensive line, led by veteran OL Jon Means. These units helped the team to average 6.42 yards per rush and dominated the game in the second half…helping to build a 31-0 lead heading into the fourth. “Obviously we struggled in the pass game,” said Thunder Offensive Coordinator Tim Smith. “In the second half it was obvious that they wanted to stop our passing game and that’s when our offensive line and running backs took over.” Kenny Sessions led the team in rushing, 99 total yards on 14 carries and 2 touchdowns.
The defense dominated as usual, although Memphis was able to hit a few passes late to eliminate what appeared to be a potential shutout through the first three quarters. Although the Blast finished with 180 total yards, the team had only gained 80 yards through the first three quarters while giving up 4 sacks during that period. LB Gus Jones had a hand in 5 of the 6 total sacks accumulated by the defense and finished with 9 total tackles and 3 hurries.
DT Billy Blackard led the team with 10 tackles (5 for loss) and two hurries. Head Coach Jeff Bigger praised the defensive effort: “This is one of the best defensive teams I’ve coached in the 32 years I’ve been coaching. We developed a plan, we prepared well, and we executed really well.”
Coach Bigger also spoke highly of the defending national champion Nashville Storm: “We have a lot of respect for Nashville. They’re well coached, talented, and have not only one of the best offensive units in the league, but a very strong defense also. They run the ball well and we stop the run… This [The GDFL Championship Game] will be a great game for our fans.”
Kickoff is scheduled for September 3 at 7pm. Tickets are $15 at the gate and available online at www.ticketstorm.com. Free admission is offered for military veterans, and current high school and youth football players joined by their teammates and coaches wearing their team’s jerseys. For more updates on the upcoming contest, see www.gdfl.org and also follow us on Facebook by searching for “Oklahoma Thunder Football Team”.