Amarillo Venom splits on a tough road trip

Sports Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Sports Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

After opening at home with a victory against New Mexico, the Venom endured a road trip that included a successful rally against the Abilene Bombers 58-54 on April 6 before falling against the San Angelo Bandits 70-51 on April 13.

Despite starting strong against New Mexico, the contest against the Bombers started out on the rocky side as Abilene applied pressure on Amarillo quarterback Nate Davis via a pick six by Abilene defensive back Archie Reed to give the Bombers an early lead. Along with scoring drives by quarterback Byron Ingram and relentless pressure by the Abilene defense, the Venom fell to a 27 point deficit in the second quarter. However, the Venom slowly came back to life by scoring 14 unanswered points to come within striking distance as both squads head into the half with Abilene on top 28-20.

Led by Davis, the Venom began to mount a furious comeback and attained a 44-42 advantage by the start of the fourth quarter. It was then that the Venom and the Bombers would exchange points until Davis hooked up with wide receiver Doug Williams to give Amarillo the final strike before defensive back David Irizarry intercepted a late Bomber pass to ensure the victory.

During the middle of the two road trips, the Venom were dealt with a serious blow as Davis was called up by the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League. Davis was signed after the Talons lost not one, but two quarterbacks for their own campaign. This situation left Coach Reese to rest hopes of a continued winning streak on the shoulders of Justin Johnson and Kevin Lauchland.

At San Angelo, the Venom started off strong with two interceptions off of Bandits quarterback Craig McClelland but came up short by failing to convert both turnovers into points. The first half proved to be sloppy as missed field goals and lead changes hampered both squads before the Bandits started to turn around as McClelland and wide receiver Matt Washington had three touchdown scores to give San Angelo a lofty 34-23 lead going into the half.

The start of the second half saw momentum continue to swing in favor of the Bandits as McClelland hooked up with wide receiver Garret Tidwell and responding to an Amarillo kickoff return for a touchdown with a McClelland touchdown scamper to end the third quarter with a 51-29 advantage. However, as the Venom fought frantically to make it a ballgame by using an Alex Watson touchdown run and a Lauchland to Williams touchdown pass before the Bandits finally pulled away to seal their first victory of the young Lone Star Football League season.

In the stretch, Amarillo keeps its head above water with a 2-1 record while Abilene falls to 2-1 (after a victory against New Mexico last weekend) as San Angelo captures their first victory of the year at 1-2. The Venom looks to rebound when they return home to host another 2-1 squad in the Laredo Rattlesnakes at the Cal Farley Coliseum at the Amarillo Civic Center on April 14 at 7:05pm. Tickets start off at $10 while Student tickets are $5 and are available at the Venom Office at 901 South Buchanan or at the Civic Center Box Office.