Venom advance in CIF playoffs

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

In their first home postseason appearance since the 2013 Lone Star Football League championship, the Amarillo Venom made a strong statement.

The Venom scored just two points shy of triple digits, soundly defeating the Dodge City Law 98-56 in a Champions Indoor Football Divisional Round playoff matchup on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

Amarillo (9-4) advances to the CIF Southern Division championship and will play for a chance at a berth to the 2016 Champions Bowl, squaring off against the top-seeded Texas Revolution at 7 p.m. next Saturday at the Allen Event Center in Allen.

“We’re right there on the edge of our true potential,” said Venom coach Julian Reese following the victory.

“When we needed the big plays, we got it them. (Quarterback Nate Davis) played well, the defense caused turnovers and we finished the game strong. It also gives us some confidence and shows what we can do at this level. I believe that the consistency is key still, especially when we go in and play for a championship berth next week.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Venom set the tone for the game following a 13-yard run by Dodge City quarterback Derrick Bernard. In the point-after attempt by kicker Jared Wood, defensive end Desmond Raiford burst through the Dodge City line and swatted the ball downfield.

“All year long, I’ve been going outside when I’ve tried to block kicks,” Raiford said, describing the block. “So I thought that I’d give them a little inside flavor, a little bit of juice back in. All Dodge City was seeing on film all year was me going to the outside. I figured that I’d give a little sauce. It was a smaller guy too, so he was definitely expecting to take me outside. I went with the swim inside, and I got there.”

Defensive back Percy Turner then scooped up the ball and took it in for the two-point score.

“Desmond made a great block on it,” said Turner, who was brought into the lineup before the June 2 transaction freeze. “I saw it bounce up and I told myself ‘take it to the house, score, score, score.’ I just wanted to do something for the team and I made a play, that’s it.”

From the return onward, the game had shifted to Amarillo’s favor, as the Venom scored 25 unanswered points by halftime.

By the break, the Venom held a commanding 32-6 lead and didn’t allow the Law to come back into the game for the rest of the contest. Dodge City also struggled with turnovers and had trouble in the redzone, losing the ball five times and going 1-of-6 respectively.

Quarterback Nate Davis turned in his best performance of the season, going 23-of-36 with 372 yards passing and six touchdowns. The Ball State grad also rushed for 14 yards and five more trips into the endzone.

“When I told Coach Reese before the game, is that I wanted to play consistent,” Davis said of his performance. “I wanted to take whatever they gave us. That’s what I did. Whatever they gave us, I took it.”

Wide receiver Raymond Johnson Jr. led the Venom receiver corps with nine catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, defensive back Jemichael Williams turned in nine tackles, a forced fumble and a recovery.

Fellow defensive backs Leroy Trahan and Jevin Colbert acquired two interceptions, while linebacker Kendric Causey tallied a sack.

Dodge City was led by Bernard, who went 16-of-28 with 233 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Bernard also led the Law in rushing, with 118 yards and two touchdowns in 13 attempts.

The victory was the most dominant performance by the Venom since their 109-31 victory over the LEXFA All-Stars of Mexico on March 23, 2014. The Law conclude their 2016 campaign with an 8-5 overall record.

Venom 98, Law 56

Dodge City 0 6 28 22 — 56

Amarillo 0 32 28 38 — 98

SECOND QUARTER

AMA— Wyreaz Bradley 2 run (Felton kick)

DCL— Derrick Bernard 13 run (Jared Wood kick blocked)

AMA— Percy Turner PAT return

AMA— Davis 1 run (conversion failed)

AMA— Raymond Johnson Jr. 45 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

AMA— Davis 4 run (Felton kick)

AMA— Felton 35 field goal

THIRD QUARTER

AMA— Leonard Dixon Jr. 2 run (Felton kick)

DCL— Daniel McKinney 25 pass from Bernard (Ricardo Johnson 2 pass from Bernard)

AMA— Johnson Jr. 24 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

DCL— McKinney 27 pass from Bernard (conversion failed)

DCL— Johnson 45 pass from Bernard (Wood kick)

AMA— Julian Walker 30 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

AMA— Walker 22 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

DCL— Bernard 15 run (Wood kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

AMA— Felton 39 field goal

DCL— Dominique Carson 2 pass from Bernard (Carson 2 pass from Bernard)

AMA— Davis 7 run (Felton kick)

DCL—Brandon Venson 13 pass from Bernard (Wood kick)

AMA— Davis 3 run (Felton kick)

AMA— Davis 2 run (conversion failed)

Dodge City Amarillo

First downs 14 29

Rushes-Yards 20-124 22-73

Passing-Yards 16-207 23-372

Total Yards 50-331 58-445

Comp-Att-Int 16-28-2 23-36-0

Fumbles-Lost 3-3 1-1

Penalties-Yards 12-96 13-71

Individual statistics

RUSHING—

Dodge City: Derrick Bernard 13-118; Ricardo Johnson 1-5; Dominique Carson 5-3; Daniel McKinney 1-minus 2. Amarillo: Wyreaz Bradley 9-36; Leonard Dixon Jr. 6-15; Nate Davis 6-14; Greg Jones 1-8.

PASSING –

Dodge City: Bernard 16-28-2-233. Amarillo: Davis 23-36-0-372.

RECEIVING—

Dodge City: Carson 7-73; McKinney 5-80; Johnson 2-58; Brandon Venson 2-22. Amarillo: Raymond Johnson Jr. 9-152; Julian Walker 5-84; Jones 3-65; Kent McDonald 2-16; Tommy Curry 2-7; Dixon Jr. 1-35; Bradley 1-13.