After four hours of playing, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (4-4) lost a heartbreaker of a game in the fourth overtime period to the Chicago Slaughter (3-6) with a final score of 51-54. In a game that featured five ties, it was the Steelhawks that were left disappointed with the final score.
The first quarter ended with the first tie of the game as both teams put a field goal and touchdown on the board. The Steelhawks coming off a WR Aaron Higdon 11 yd run.
The Steelhawks took a 23-17 lead into half time after QB Dale Fink threw two touchdown passes. The first touchdown drive of the quarter began after the Steelhawk defense blocked a Slaughter field goal. That drive was capped off by a 20 yd touchdown reception by Higdon. WR Irani DeAraujo got the second touchdown of the quarter finishing off an exciting drive to finish the quarter. The Steelhawks got the ball with 45 seconds left in the quarter after an interception by Steelhawk DB Marvin Johnson. With two seconds left, DeAraujo dove for a 4 yd pass in the endzone that was tipped first by Higdon.
The third quarter featured both teams again trading touchdowns. Lehigh Valley scoring off another DeAraujo pulling in another touchdown, this one on a 2 yd throw from Fink. Chicago matched the touchdown later in the quarter. Even touchdowns in the third kept the Steelhawks in the lead, 30-24, heading into the fourth.
The Steelhawks scored early in the fourth quarter via a RB Ryan Leafey run to punch it into the endzone from 1 yd out. The Slaughter matched that touchdown with their own after getting the ball off a missed long field goal. After a Chicago interception, they scored with 35 seconds left to tie the game at 37. The Steelhawks had a chance to take the lead with a field goal but an errant snap created a turn over on downs to give Chicago the ball back. On the last play of regulation, the Slaughter had a bad snap of their own as they attempted a field goal sending the game into the overtime still tied at 37.
The IFL has similar overtime rules to the NCAA, so with the game clock turned off, Chicago started the first OT off at the Steelhawks 20 yd line. RB Lucian Walker scored his second touchdown of the game as he ran it in from 8 yds out. Needing to answer Chicago’s touchdown, Lehigh Valley took possession. On a surprise play, Fink took the snap on the first play and took off for the endzone scoring on a 20 yd run.
The Steelhawks had the ball first to start the second ot period. After getting a first down, DeAraujo hauled in his third touchdown of the game on a 10 yd pass from Fink. The Slaughter matched the touchdown with their own as QB Perry Patterson completed a 7 yd pass to QB Juice Williams.
Chicago started with the ball in the third OT period. On the first play of the series, the Steelhawk defense and LB Brian Brikowski came up huge as he forced a fumble and DL Bryan Jean-Pierre recorded his second fumble recovery giving the Steelhawks a chance for the win. The Slaughter defense ended that chance and the OT period with an interception.
As the fourth OT started, the Steelhawks again started with the ball. A Fink interception gave Chicago the ball back. The Slaughter worked the ball to the Steelhawk 3 yd line. Needing to just put points on the board, Chicago’s K Chris Nendick kicked an 18 yd field goal on third down to end the game. It was the Steelhawks that were left on the wrong side of a 51-54 final score. It was a heartbreaker of a game that was the first quadruple overtime game in IFL history.
Offensively, QB Dale Fink was 13 of 28 for 139 yds, 4 tds, 3 ints… WR Irani DeAraujo had6 rec for 55 yds, 3 tds… WR Aaron Higdon had 87 total yds and 2 tds… RB Ryan Leafey had 23 carries for78 yds, 1 td… Defensively, DL Brian Brikowski 8 tackles, 2 sacks… DL Bryan Jean-Pierre had 4 tackles, 1 sack… DB Marvin Johnson 11 tackles, 1 sack… LB Matt Cohen 12 tackles… DB Calvin Harrison 10 tackles
The Steelhawks will be in Reading this Saturday to face the Express for the third time this season. The following week they will be in Green Bay and then will be returning to the Valley for three home games in a row beginning May 19th against Omaha, Reading, and Green Bay.
Steelhawks tickets can be purchased by visiting the Stabler Arena Box Office at 124 Goodman Drive in Bethlehem or online at www.lehightickets.com. Don’t miss out on the fun and exciting atmosphere that is Steelhawks Professional Indoor Football!