Wheelers' Gooch shreds Stealth defense
By Don Doxsie/ QUAD-CITY TIMES
Who needs the X-Man? The Quad-City Steamwheelers now have the I-Man.
Former Davenport West star Ira I-Man Gooch averaged almost 30 yards every time he touched the ball Saturday night as the Wheelers recovered from a slow start to trounce the Wichita Stealth 68-36 at The Mark of the Quad-Cities.
The Steamwheelers, coming off only the second loss in their history, struggled for nearly a quarter against the Stealth and former Quad-City
star Xavier X-Man Patterson.
But the Wheelers finally got going behind Gooch, Chris Anthony and Tony Zimmerman to push their season record to 6-1.
I dont know
why we came out so out of sync, Gooch said. But we didnt put our heads down. We just kept it together and kept going.
the time it was over, Gooch had 341 all-purpose yards and a new nickname. The public address announcer began referring to
him as I-Man as he repeatedly shredded the Stealth on kick returns in the second half.
They can call me whatever they
want, as long as they keep cheering, Gooch said.
The I-Man finished with 169 yards on five kickoff returns, 119 yards
on three returns of missed field goals and 53 yards on four pass receptions. He scored only one touchdown, but had four kick
returns of more than 50 yards.
When we were recruiting him, I could see on film that he was a great kick returner,
Wheelers coach Rich Ingold said.
He has no fear. He throws his body into the mess. He keeps it alive. He was our best offensive
weapon tonight. Scheme-wise, they were not going to let him have a big night catching the ball. They were double covering
him ... Im just glad hes on our side.
Gooch didnt do it by himself. In fact, it was Anthony, another former Quad-Cities
high school star, who got the Wheelers rolling after Wichita opened an early 9-0 lead. Anthony finished with eight receptions for 134 yards and four touchdowns,
the last of them coming on a 38-yard pass in which he breezed past Patterson to catch a pass from backup quarterback Dan McMullen.
McMullen was in the game because Zimmerman, the Wheelers improving young quarterback, limped off after throwing a touchdown pass to McMullen.
Zimmerman had another solid
game after he and his teammates got off to a horrible start.
Tony was pressing a little bit at the start, Ingold said.
He had a fire in his eye and he was just anxious to get going.
Wichita, the second-lowest scoring team in the league,
was playing without its biggest offensive weapon, Pascal Volz, but it rolled down the field to score in just three plays on
the opening series.
Zimmerman fumbled the snap on the Wheelers first play and Wichita recovered although it failed to convert the turnover into points. But Zimmerman was tackled in the
end zone by af2 sack leader Bryan Henderson on the next play and the Stealth had a 9-0 lead.
It should have been about
16-0, Wichita coach Land Jacobsen said. We got the ball at the 8-yard line once and didnt score. If we score a touchdown there,
then they have a little more of a hole to dig out of. We needed to get up on them like that to have a chance.
Anthony got the Wheelers on the board late in the first quarter when he made a diving catch, then scrambled to his feet and ran the last few yards
into the end zone, completing a 32-yard scoring play.
He added TD catches of 9 and 11 yards before the half was over,
the last one coming with just six seconds to go before intermission.
The Wheelers defense also recovered from its slow start, holding the Stealth in check until backup quarterback Jay Alexander came in to
throw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
The thing about our defense was our pass rush showed up, Ingold said.
We were throwing them out of rhythm.
Don Doxsie can be contacted at (563) 383-2289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quad-City Steamwheelers 68, Wichita Stealth 36.
The same two teams meet again next Saturday in Wichitas Kansas Coliseum.
Tony Zimmerman, who has played almost every down at quarterback for the Quad-City Steamwheelers this season, limped off the field near the end of their victory Saturday night.
Zimmerman was hit on the leg by a
helmet as he threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dan McMullen in the fourth quarter. He was helped to the locker room and later
helped out of the building.
"Theyre going to do X-rays, but they seem to think its just a bruise, Zimmerman said.
"Someone just came in and hit me at the end of the play. Thats all that happened.
McMullen took over at quarterback
for the last few minutes of the game and threw a 38-yard scoring pass to Chris Anthony on his first play.
Steamwheelers lineman T.J. Schneckloth had his own personal cheering section at Saturdays game.
Schneckloth teaches at Tuman Elementary
School in Davenport. As an incentive to get participants in the schools annual Parents Night, the class that got the most parents to come was
promised a "field trip.
It was supposed to be a picnic, but when it was rained out Schneckloth arranged to have winning
third-graders come to The Mark on Friday to see where he plays football. They got an added surprise when they got there free
tickets to Saturday nights game with Wichita.
Former Steamwheeler star Xavier "X-Man
Patterson received a mixed reception from the crowd of 6,253 at The Mark.
There was a smattering of cheers and quite
a few boos when the one-time af2 Ironman of the Year was introduced before the game.
Patterson didnt do much in the
game until the final minute of the first half. Then he caught a quick screen off his shoe tops and scooted 17 yards up the
right sideline for a touchdown.
He did his familiar X signal to the crowd, but it wasnt as well-received as it used
Patterson caught two other passes in the game. He also burned on a 38-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback
Dan McMullen to Chris Anthony late in the contest.
New way of doing it
Former Westmer High School
star Josh Fourdyce reached a milestone when he caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Tony Zimmerman in the second quarter. It
was the fifth touchdown of his af2 career, but the first one hes gotten on a pass.
played without its stellar offensive specialist Pascal Volz, who was sent home for personal reasons, but replacement Corey
McCoy did a solid job.
In fact, it only took McCoy three plays to get a touchdown, hauling in a 31-yard scoring pass
from Matt Hicks on the opening series.
He finished with seven receptions for 87 yards and almost broke loose for a
touchdown on a kickoff return as the first half ended, finally being tripped up on a shoestring tackle by the Steamwheelers Shawn Orr.
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