Fire Finish 2008 with a Bang
Louisville, Ky- With their playoff hopes doused, the 7-8 Fire kicked off their season finale against the Pirates of Peoria at home in Freedom Hall, where 11,537 Fire faithful arrived for the hopeful payback victory. The Fire defense wasn't up to par during the first half. Defensive lineman Bernard Jackson, with a series of hurries and tackles for losses seemed to be the only man on the field. On the Pirate's opening drive, Jackson tackled Phillip Brock for a short loss. However, the Fire momentum was quickly subdued by Peoria's Quarterback Donald Carrie's pass to Phillip Brock to draw first blood with 11:40 left to play in the first quarter. The extra point was blocked by none other than Jackson
Three plays into their 1st drive, Danny Southwick completed the first of his many passes to Ricardo Lenhart for a touchdown. Kight's kick was good. On the ensuing Pirates' drive, Carrie had a full field pass broken up by Fire DB Matt Forbes. Jackson added pressure. Nonetheless, Carrie soon found a wide open Brock for another TD hookup. The kick was good and the Pirates led 13-7. The Fire's next offensive drive was spoiled, however, as Southwick threw an interception to Kyle Lockett, giving the ball back to the Pirates. The Pirates concluded the first quarter with Carries's pass to De'Tario Frederick for a one-play drive into the end zone, placing them up 20-7.
The Pirates continued to roll as Carrie once again found Brock for a long touchdown pass. Extra point batted by who else than Bernard Jackson making the score 26-7. The Fire then failed to capitalize on good field position as Nick Roberts' goal-line run on 4th down was no good for a turnover and the score remained 26-7. Peoria penalties plagued the ensuing drive and Jackson hurried Carrie once again for a throwaway. The Peoria FG attempt was good, 29-7 Peoria.
Things got exciting for Fire fans as the PNC Player of the Game, Perry Kyles returned ensuing kickoff from the end zone for a TD. Following the PAT, Peoria led 29-14.
The wind was quickly lifted from the Fire's sails, as Kight's onside kick to Eugene Lockett failed. He returned the kick for a 10 yd TD, placing the Pirates up 35-14.
The Fire's offense then picked up on their own 17, where Southwick was sacked for a loss of three yards. He then completed a pass to Lenhart for a first down, followed by another Lenhart hookup, this time for a TD, making the score 35-20 before the half.
The Fire got back on track quickly in the second half scoring with 13:06 left in the third quarter. Southwick's screen pass to Tavoris Horton resulted in a Fire TD. Southwick completed on a two-point conversion to Lenhart, drawing the Fire closer 35-28. Carrie and the Pirates drove to the 1 yard line, where a fourth down Phillip Brock ran for a Peoria touchdown and took there last lead at 42-28. On the following drive, Southwick completed an off-the-wall pass to Craft for a 1st down to the Peoria 22 yard line. The very next play, he completed a 22 yard pass to Tymere Zimmerman for the Cutter's Catch of the Game. Kight's connected on the extra point making the score 42-28. The Pirates picked up at the twenty yard line after Kight's kickoff flew out of play. A Peoria fumble recovered by Keller Speaks gave the Fire a chance to tie the game.
They began at their own 27, where Southwick led the offense on a three-play drive. Fire newcomer Brent Craft ran the ball into the end zone. Kight's extra point tied the game at 42.
The Pirates resumed their offense at their own 20. On third and twelve, Carrie's intended pass for an open Reggie Gray was incomplete, leading to a Pirates kick. Fire return man Perry Kyles returned his second kick of the night for a 57-yard touchdown to give the Fire a 48-42 lead. Carrie was able to lead his team down the field and connected on a 3-yard pass to De'Tario Frederick. Bernard Jackson blocked the extra point (which was his third block of the evening) keeping the game tied at 48. The following drive, Southwick completed a 25-yard pass to Brent Craft for a touchdown and the Fire took the lead 55-48. Perry Kyles was then able to intercept a Carrie pass and return it to the 15 yard line. Southwick was then able to connect with Lenhart for a 4-yard pass. The Fire led 62-48 with 1:00 left in regulation.
With 1:00 left to play and fourteen points left to score, the Pirates began their desperation attempts, yet not before Bernard Jackson could get another hurry resulting in a Carrie throwaway. It was all too little too late as the Fire held on to win their season closer over the Buckos of Peoria 62-48. The team finished the 2008 season with an 8-8.
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