CEDAR RAPIDS (Green Bay Blizzard) - The Green Bay Blizzard (4-1) earned a hard fought win Saturday night in front of a tough road crowd at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. The Blizzard used 21 unanswered fourth quarter points to slip past the Cedar Rapids Titans (2-3) by a final score of 59-46. The teams traded blows through the first three quarters in a game marred by turnovers and special teams mishaps.
Just four weeks earlier the Blizzard crushed the Titans in their home opener at Brown County Arena by a margin of 42 points. It was clear from the outset Saturday night, however, that the Titans came into this match up much more prepared and with a chip on their shoulder. Titans quarterback Willie Copeland found running back Tyler Batts out of the backfield for a quick touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The Blizzard answered with an Adrian Trevino field goal from 23 yards out on their first possession, and later in the quarter grabbed their first lead of the evening when Bryan Pray reached up with one hand and snagged a four yard pass from backup quarterback Scott Burnoski in the back of the end zone as he was pushed over the boards. Burnoski replaced temporarily injured starting quarterback Donovan Porterie for that one scoring drive. The first quarter ended with Green Bay holding a 10-7 advantage.
Batts opened the second quarter the same way he did the first, by crossing the goal line and giving the Titans the lead once again. Batts was featured all night and finished with 56 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs. Porterie made his return on the next possession, despite a leg injury, and found Pray again in the end zone for an 8 yard score to grab a 17-13 lead. Porterie had a hand in the next three scoring plays as well, but only one resulted in points for the Blizzard. On the next two possessions he had passes intercepted and returned for scores by the Titans' Jamil Abdullah and T.J. Simmons respectively. Following the turnovers, Porterie atoned for his mistakes by hitting Desmond Tardy with a 23 yard dart as he streaked into the end zone for his only score of the game, momentarily knotting the score at 25. The Titans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Green Bay took advantage of great field position when LaRon Council bulldozed his way across the goal line from four yards out for a score. After a defensive stand Porterie added a one yard TD run of his own to stake Green Bay to a 38-25 lead. The half ended on a Copeland to Daron Clark five yard touchdown pass as the halftime buzzer sounded and Green Bay lead 38-31 at the break.
The defenses tightened in the second half and each team was held scoreless for one quarter. The Titans owned the third quarter and grabbed momentum when they blocked a Trevino field goal attempt into their end zone, where the ball was knocked out of play for a safety. Copeland then found Antuan Bloom for a 20 yard scoring strike and the Titans tacked on a third interception return for a touchdown as T.J. Simmons snatched a tipped pass out of the air and weaved his way 14 yards to the house for his second touchdown of the night. That defensive touchdown pushed the Titans to a 46-38 lead heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Green Bay from the first whistle as they managed to outscore Cedar Rapids 21-0 in the decisive period. The scoring was started on another short TD run by Porterie and continued when Porterie later found Bryan Pray in the end zone for Pray's third TD reception in the game. The outcome remained in doubt until B.J. Hill stepped in front of a fourth down pass by Copeland and raced 32 yards untouched for a touchdown to provide the finishing touches on the 59-46 victory for Green Bay.
Porterie struggled with his accuracy at times, but finished a gutty performance on an injured leg by completing 8 of his 19 passes for 116 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with the three interceptions. Defensive back Aaron Moore led an opportunistic Blizzard defense with 11 tackles, an interception in the second quarter, and a forced fumble.
The Blizzard return home next Friday, April 13th to take on the Chicago Slaughter at the Resch Center. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.