Bloomington, Ill. – Three weeks after the Bloomington Edge and the Kansas City Phantoms played one of the most exciting games of the season, the two teams lined up against each other once more at the Silverstein Eye Center Arena in Kansas City. In the first installment of this budding rivalry, the Phantoms were looking for the new franchise’s inaugural win. The Edge rained on that parade by staging a 17 point comeback to steal the victory. When the two teams crossed paths again on Saturday night it was another action packed affair.
After some early offensive fireworks, both defenses found different ways to change the game in the first half. Bloomington flexed its defensive muscle by orchestrating back to back goal line stands. Not to be shown up in front of their home crowd, the Kansas City defense forced turnovers on three consecutive Bloomington possessions to close out the half.
The Phantoms got the ball first and scored on a one play drive. Quarterback Jared Elmore connected with David Olson on a 33 yard touchdown pass just 27 seconds into the game. Frank Seuer’s kick was good, and the Phantoms jumped out to quick a 7-0 lead.
Bloomington answered, but it was anything but quick. The Edge put together a 10 play 29 yard drive which culminated with Caleb Holbrook hitting Trayon Nash on a slant route for a five yard touchdown. The drive also drained over six minutes off of the clock. Cody Barber’s kick was good tying the score at 7-7.
On the Phantoms second possession, Elmore found Anthon Parks for another big pass play setting up Kansas City with a first and goal on the Bloomington four yard line. That is when the Edge defense, looking very every bit as stout as last week when it held Bismarck to a mere 21 points, increased the pressure to keep Kansas City out of the end zone.
Fresh off the goal line stand, the Edge offense went right back to work. Holbrook scored from 2 yards out on a keeper, but the key play of the series was when he roped the ball to J.J. Hayes for a 19 yard gain earlier on the drive. Barber’s kick was true, and the Edge moved ahead 14-7.
The Phantoms started the following possession with great field possession on the Bloomington 12 yard line. On 4th and six from the eight, Olson threw his third incompletion of the drive and the Edge forced their second goal line stand in a row.
With the Edge offense having the opportunity to open up a two score lead, the Kansas City defense made some noise of its own when Derricus Perdy intercepted Holbrook’s pass on 2nd and ten from the Bloomington eight yard line. There would be no 3rd consecutive goal line stand either. Kicker and back-up Kansas City quarterback Frank Seuer came in and delivered his first touchdown pass of the game to Anthony Parks from five yards out. Dallas Herndon, who assumed kicking duties when Seuer replaced Elmore at quarterback, missed the extra point leaving Bloomington with a one point 14-13 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Kansas City defense to make another huge play. On the Edge’s next possession, Phantoms defensive back Carlos Anderson stepped in front of Holbrook’s pass intended for J.J. Hayes. The Phantoms followed their second interception with their best drive of the game going 40 yards in ten plays. Seuer was a perfect 5 for 5 on the series, but it was running back O.J. Simpson who scored from two yards out. After another missed extra point by Herndon, Kansas City led by five 19-14.
Bloomington got the ball back with just over a minute left in the first half, but a broken play on second down resulted in a fumble recovered by Kansas City. It was the Edge’s third turnover in three drives. The Phantoms were able to take advantage of the miscue when Seuer found Parks for the duo’s second touchdown link up of the game. The third time was the charm for Herndon who knocked through the PAT allowing the Phantoms to head into half time with a 26-14 lead.
The second half started almost identically to the first except with the roles reversed. This time it was the Edge with the quick strike touchdown. On 2nd and ten from their own four yard line, Holbrook found a wide open Hayes for Bloomington’s longest touchdown pass of the season. Nash ran a slant which was the same pattern he scored on in the first quarter. The Kansas City secondary over played Nash’s slant route never seeing Hayes wheel right past them up the sideline. He was ten yards past the nearest defender, and Holbrook hit him in stride. Barber’s extra point brought the Edge to within five 26-21.
Seuer got off to a slow start in the third quarter. In the Phantom’s first possession of the second half, he was picked off by defensive end Brandon Golson. Golson, in an incredible act of athleticism, disengaged from the offensive linemen who was blocking him, and timed his jump perfectly to snag Seuer’s pass right out of the air.
The interception set Bloomington up with great field possession at the Kansas City 19. Holbrook found Hayes for the second time on consecutive drives, this time from six yards out, to capitalize on the turnover. Barber kicked his fourth extra point of the game, and the Edge went back in front 28-26.
The basketball style lead changes continued throughout the 3rd quarter. Seuer and Phantom wide receiver Jared Elmore were in synch on a 34 yard touchdown pass giving Kansas City the lead 33-28. Bloomington went back in front 35-33 three plays later when Holbrook rushed for a six yard touchdown.
After the Phantoms turned the ball over on downs and Holbrook fumbled on a 3rd down scramble, Herndon hit a 34 yard field goal for Kansas City giving them a 36-35 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Bloomington narrowly avoided catastrophe on their first possession of the 4th quarter, when Dunn was able to recover his own fumble. Two plays later, Holbrook displayed excellent pocket presence on a 3rd and long play by sidestepping a would-be tackler and finding Lewis down the sideline for a 22 yard gain. Dunn scored from 4 yards out, but Barber missed the extra point leaving the score 41-36 in favor of the Edge.
It looked like Kansas City jumped back in front when Seuer hit Parks in the end zone, but a holding penalty against the Phantoms negated the score. On the next play, Seuer tried to find Darrian Miller, but Edge defensive back Dominique Patterson got a great break on the ball and picked it off to turn Kansas City away.
On the very next drive for Bloomington, Holbrook faked a toss to Dunn before setting his feet and throwing an absolute dart to Nash who was behind the entire Kansas City defense. Barber nailed yet another extra point, and Bloomington opened up their first two score lead of the game 48-36.
Seuer made things interesting by hitting Jared Elmore on a 48 yard touchdown pass, but Bloomington continued to have answers. Holbrook found Lewis from 9 yards out with just over two minutes left to play to push the advantage back to 12. The game was sealed several plays later when Edge defensive back Anthon Hughes made a miraculous one handed interception to end Kansas City’s night.
With the win, Bloomington improves their record to 4-1 on the season. After Omaha lost to Sioux City earlier in the evening, the Edge is in sole possession of second place in the CIF North division. They will travel to Western Michigan next week to take on the Ironmen who they beat 64-20 in week one. The Edge returns home on April 22nd for a re-match with Kansas City. For tickets please call (484) 840-3343 or visit www.bloomingtonedge.net.