Hondo S. Carpenter


With Chad Salisbury back at the helm, the Grand Rapids Rampage defeated the Western Division-leading Arizona Rattlers 45-42 on Centennial Wireless Field at Van Andel Arena Sunday afternoon. Rampage kicker Peter Martinez made a team-record four field goals, including a 36-yarder with no time remaining, to give Grand Rapids the victory.

Salisbury, who missed the Rampage’s last two games with an oblique strain, became the first quarterback in team history to win his first four home starts. He completed 22-of-45 for 266 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions, earning his third 2006 Offensive Player of the Game honor.

Following Arizona’s touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion to tie the contest at 42, the Rampage began its final drive pinned at its own two-yard line with 2:40 left in the game. After three of Salisbury's passes were broken up, Grand Rapids faced a fourth and 10. Instead of opting for a long, nearly impossible 64-yard field goal attempt, Rampage head coach Sparky McEwen decided to go for it. Grand Rapids had an earlier success on a fourth down when Salisbury connected with Josh Bush on a 35-yard touchdown for the game’s first points.

This time, on fourth down, Salisbury hit a sliding Anthony Hines for 19 yards and a first down to keep the drive alive. Following three Chris Ryan rushes to run the clock down to four seconds, Martinez stepped in to nail the game-winning field goal. This marked the 15th time in team history that the Rampage had a game decided on the final play and its first since 2003. Grand Rapids is now 8-7 in these situations.

Martinez connected on field goals of 16, 19, 25 and 36 yards. His lone miss, a 42-yarder, bounced off the net structure into the hands of Rampage lineman Jason Berger at the Rattlers’ 10 with four seconds left in the half, giving Martinez another shot for three points. He connected on the shorter 25-yarder to give the Rampage a 22-14 halftime lead.

Bush earned his third 2006 Ironman of the Game honor after grabbing four balls for 74 yards with two touchdowns, returning three kickoffs for 67 yards and posting 3.5 tackles. He also led the Rampage with 141 all-purpose yards.

Timon Marshall became the first Rampage player in team history to post 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards in kickoff returns in the same season when he grabbed a 14-yard pass at the end of the first half. He finished with seven receptions for 76 yards with a touchdown, three kickoff returns for 28 yards, 6.0 tackles and a pass breakup.

Johnnie Harris earned his third 2006 ADT Defensive Player of the Game honor after recording 5.5 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. He now stands at five interceptions in 2006, which ties a Rampage single-season record (Michael Baker, 1999; Mark Ricks, 2003).

The Rampage, which has won four of six games at home this season, takes on the Nashville Kats next Saturday, April 29 on Centennial Wireless Field at Van Andel Arena. Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. Tickets for this and all Rampage home games are available through StarTicketsPLUS (1.800.585.3737), at all Michigan Meijer locations


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