Louisville defeats Vipers
HUNTSVILLE -- Last week Tennessee Valley Vipers backup quarterback Chris Gunn sparked a comeback win over Birmingham. He was the starter Saturday night against the Louisville Fire. Gunn had another good night. He completed 23-of-37 passes for 322 yards and seven touchdowns, with one interception, plus a 6-yard touchdown run. But it wasn't enough as Louisville beat the Vipers 62-56 before an announced crowd of 3,112 at the Von Braun Center. The Fire improved to 4-4 while Tennessee Valley fell to 2-6 in arenafootball2. "I had a pretty solid night personally," Gunn said. "But it's a team sport." The Vipers scored the final points with 14 seconds left but failed to recover the ensuing onside kick. "At the end I would've loved to have had the ball on the onside kick," Vipers coach Chris Williams said. "I'll have to look at the film. I know it's arena football. We fought there to the end." Fire quarterback Brett Dietz completed 26-of-35 passes for 304 yards and eight touchdowns, with one interception. Rob Mager caught 12 passes for 123 yards and five touchdowns. Torrey Day had 12 catches for 180 yards and five touchdowns for Tennessee Valley. "We had a lot of blown opportunities," Vipers offensive guard/nose tackle Stan Primus said. "And those little mental mistakes gave Louisville the advantage. But they didn't dominate. Literally, I think we gave the game away." Louisville opened the scoring with a five-play, 43-yard drive capped by Dietz's 3-yard touchdown pass to Mager. Dave Hendrix kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Fire lead. Tennessee Valley answered after the ensuing kickoff. Gunn threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Day to end a three-play, 37-yard drive. Steven Lee added the extra point. The Fire took a 14-7 lead on Dietz's 8-yard touchdown pass to Mager. Louisville then recovered an onside kick and drove 27 yards in five plays for another Dietz-to-Mager touchdown pass from 8 yards out and a 21-7 lead. The Vipers answered early in the second quarter with Gunn's 25-yard touchdown pass to Ron Monteilh, capping a five-play, 45-yard drive. But Louisville responded with another Dietz-to-Mager touchdown, this time from 35 yards, which upped the lead to 28-14. Lee's 28-yard field goal cut the Vipers' deficit to 28-17 at 8:31 in the second quarter. Dietz connected with Mager again from 9 yards out in the final seconds for a 35-17 halftime lead. The duo's fifth touchdown of the night culminated a six-play, 30-yard drive. Gunn directed a nine-play, 44-yard drive to start the third quarter, capped by his 1-yard touchdown pass to Day. After a defensive stop, Gunn led a five-play, 21-yard drive which he ended with a 6-yard touchdown run. The Vipers trailed 35-30 after three quarters. The Fire went up 41-30 on Dietz's 37-yard touchdown pass to Lance Taylor, who played in college for Alabama. Nate Green's 20-yard interception return upped the lead to 48-30 with 11:48 left. Gunn threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Heyward Skipper to cut the Vipers' deficit to 48-36. But the Fire answered with Dietz's 40-yard touchdown pass to Taylor. Tennessee Valley climbed within 55-43 at 5:28 on Gunn's 27-yard touchdown pass to Day and Lee's extra point, capping a four-play, 46-yard drive. But the Fire answered again with Dietz's 12-yard touchdown pass to Taylor which upped the lead to 62-43. Gunn threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Day and the Vipers trailed 62-50 at 2:37. After a Fire turnover, Gunn threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Day and the Vipers trailed 62-56 with 14 seconds remaining. Dietz was named the Schutt Player of the Game while Taylor was named the U.S. Army Ironman of the Game. Kofi Smith was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Game. The Vipers return to action next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the road against the Florida Firecats.
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