by Randy Snow
May 15, 2006 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) - Battle Creek Crunch
Two weeks ago, the Battle Creek Crunch traveled to New York to face the Rochester Raiders. The Crunch lost the game by the score of 63-28. This week, the Raiders came to Michigan, but the results were almost identical as the Raiders (4-1) came away with a 61-27 win at Battle Creek (1-4).
Crunch WR/DB Eric Gardner returned a kickoff 36 yards for a touchdown on the team's first possession. It was his second kickoff return for a touchdown this season and gave Battle Creek a 7-6 lead in the first quarter. The lead changed hands four times in the first half and ended with the Raiders leading by just six points at the half, 20-14.
The Crunch tied the score 20-20 in the third quarter thanks to a touchdown grab by Gardner. Later in the quarter Gardner scored again, this time on defense, when he scooped up a Raiders fumble and scampered 8-yards for another touchdown. That brought the Crunch to within seven points of Rochester, who led 34-27 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, however, Battle Creek failed to convert twice on fourth down plays and gave up 27 unanswered points as Rochester pulled away from the Crunch for a 61-27 win.
For the game, Gardner caught 4 passes for 49 yards and one touchdown. He also had five rushes for 11 yards and returned a fumble for another touchdown. Battle Creek WR/DB Herb Haygood caught five passes for 40 yards and Crunch WR/DB Chesaurae Rhodes caught 4 passes for 24 yards. Battle Creek quarterback Tim Kubiak completed 15 of 28 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and was intercepted twice.
"We're getting better in a lot of areas," said Crunch head coach Bob Kubiak. "We've just got to put (a complete game) together. We were in the game the whole time except for a couple of key plays. Good teams make big plays and if we're going to be a real good team in this league, we've got to find a way to make big plays."
Crunch defensive lineman and line coach Anthony Allsbury injured his ankle in the first quarter, but not before he recorded a sack of Raiders quarterback Matt Cottengim. Allsbury saw very little action the rest of the game. Luckily, the Crunch have a bye next week, which will give him time to heal before the next game. The defensive front has been much improved since Allsbury put on the pads in week two of the season.
Because it was Mother's Day, the Crunch invited a very special person to participate in the pre-game coin toss, Josie Kubiak. She is the mother of Crunch head coach Bob Kubiak as well as Crunch starting quarterback Tim Kubiak and backup quarterback Ken Kubiak.
"She always said she wanted to see her boys play on Sunday, so this was her chance," said coach Kubiak. "It wasn't the NFL, but we'll take it."
The Crunch have next week off and will travel to Pennsylvania on May 27 for their first ever game against with the Lehigh Valley Outlawz (3-2).