RAMPAGE DOWNED BY DESPERADOS 55-25
The Grand Rapids Rampage gained a season-low 150 yards while giving up aseason-high 312 yards as it lost 55-25 to the Dallas Desperados Saturdaynight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Grand Rapids has lost to the top team from each AFL conference within the last week: Dallas (National Conference) and Colorado (American Conference), which both clinched playoff berths this weekend.
Ryan Van Dyke, the Rampage's third starting quarterback this season, was 18-of-33 for 147 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. A mishandled snap from lineman Bryant Shaw to Van Dyke on the Rampage's first possession was the lone turnover of the game. It led to a Dallas 14-0 lead, which soon became 21-0 after a blocked Peter Martinez field goal led to another Desperados touchdown.
The Rampage reached the end zone for the first time with 9:04 left in the first half when FB/LB Chris Avery slipped in from a yard out. Avery's 12 yards on the night helped him pass ArenaBowl XII MVP Rick Hamilton for 13th all-time in rushing yards in league history (730).
Grand Rapids gave up its sixth safety of the season on the team's next possession and after Dallas' ensuing touchdown, the Rampage trailed 36-7 at halftime.
The Rampage put together an impressive 10-play drive to open the second half; however, Defensive Player of the Game Duke Pettijohn made three touchdown-saving tackles inside the Dallas five-yard line to end Grand Rapids' possession. Grand Rapids was 0-of-3 on fourth down and just 2-of-9 on third down, while Dallas converted 7-of-8 on their third down conversion attempts.
Two plays after the Grand Rapids turnover on downs, former Rampage QB and Offensive Player of the Game Clint Dolezel hit former Rampage WR/LB Dialleo Burks on an 11-yard strike to put Dallas up 43-7. Dolezel finished 18-of-28
for 285 yards with eight TDs and no interceptions. The Rampage's all-time leading passer is now 5-2 all-time vs. Grand Rapids.
On the Rampage's next drive, Van Dyke completed all three pass attempts for 30 yards, culminating in a 19-yard touchdown pass to OS Anthony Hines, who caught five balls for 44 yards.
As the fourth quarter began, the Rampage made its only defensive stop as it forced a 57-yard field goal attempt. Rampage WR/LB Timon Marshall returned the missed field goal 48 yards which set up a Grand Rapids field goal. Marshall's 168 all-purpose yards led the Rampage, which gives him an AFL-leading 2,123 on the season. He caught seven passes for 64 yards (with one TD) and returned four kickoffs for 56 yards. Marshall has led the Rampage in all-purpose yards all 12 games this season.
A failed Rampage onside kick attempt led to a quick Dolezel-to-Burks one-yard score. Van Dyke followed by completing both pass attempts, including a 21-yard touchdown to Marshall to pull the Rampage to 49-23. Another failed Grand Rapids onside kick attempt put Dallas in position for another short touchdown when Dolezel connected with WR/DB Bobby Perry from three-yards away. The extra point attempt was blocked by Rampage FB/LB Chris Ryan. DS Johnnie Harris scooped up the loose ball and sprinted into the end zone to give Grand Rapids two points to close out the game's scoring.
The Rampage returns home to Centennial Wireless Field at Van Andel Arena, where the team has won five of its last seven contests, to take on the Western Division-leading Arizona Rattlers next Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. Grand Rapids plays three of its final four games at home.