By TYLER ANDERSON For Amarillo Globe-News

With less than a minute to play, a pair of turnovers in the game’s closing moments sunk the Amarillo Venom, as they fell to the Wichita Force 59-51 on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

Trailing 52-51 with 33 seconds remaining, Venom quarterback Nate Davis threw a pass directly into the hands of Wichita linebacker Jason Catchings, who returned the interception for a Force touchdown. On the ensuing possession and down by eight points, a fumbled snap and recovery by Wichita defensive lineman James McCartney sealed the Force victory.

“We laid an egg,” said Venom coach Julian Reese following the loss. “We have to be consistent. Our offense hasn’t done anything in the last few weeks. We have to be consistent, all across the board. Consistency is the key to winning championships. We can’t spurts when we’re playing well. You can’t do that when you expect to be a championship team.”

Facing a 20 point deficit in the closing moments of the first half, Wichita scored 21 unanswered points going into and coming out of halftime to give the Force a 28-27 lead at the 10:59 mark in the third quarter.

“We didn’t change anything on offense, we just started executing,” said Force coach Paco Martinez. “It was the same thing for defense. We have a championship-caliber team. We have the heart and we believed the whole time. We told ourselves in the second half, we have to make every play that’s going to be important. In the second half, we made more than they did, and we came away with a win.”

Amarillo had built an early 27-7 lead with less than a minute to go in the first half, culminating in an interception by defensive back Jemichael Williams.

Williams picked off the pass from Wichita quarterback David Olson before taking it back for a 49-yard touchdown return.

“I knew that (Olson) wasn’t an accurate passer,” Williams said of the play. “We were playing man-to-man, and I had to option to read either the tight end or the running back. They didn’t go out, so I came down like I was coming down for a run. I saw the quarterback look over to my side. I knew that my teammate was forcing the receiver back inside, so I took a step back and he threw it straight to me.”

Amarillo was led by wide receiver Raymond Johnson Jr., who caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown while returning a kickoff for a touchdown late in the third quarter. The 50-yard return was Johnson’s sixth touchdown return of the season.

The loss was the Venom’s first home setback of the year, as Amarillo closed out its home stretch with a 2-1 record with one home game remaining on their regular season schedule.

The Venom fall to 6-4 so far in their 2016 campaign, while Wichita improves to 8-2. The Venom sink to third place in the CIF Southern Division, as Dodge City soundly defeated San Angelo at home by the score of 90-46.

“QUOTE,” Reese said. “QUOTE.”

The Venom will now head west, playing the final game of a three-game season series against the Duke City Gladiators in a game with heavy playoff implications at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M.

Force 59, Venom 51

Wichita 0 14 28 17 — 59

Amarillo 7 20 21 3 — 51

FIRST QUARTER

AMA— Nate Davis 1 run (Jacob Felton kick)

SECOND QUARTER

AMA— Wyreaz Bradley 19 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

WIC— Dorrian Roberts 7 kickoff return (Jordan Drake kick)

AMA— Davis 1 run (conversion failed)

AMA— Jemichael Williams 49 interception return (Felton kick)

WIC— Clarence Anderson 20 pass from David Olson (Drake kick)

THIRD QUARTER

WIC— Olson 2 run (Drake kick)

WIC— Dontra Matthews 33 fumble recovery (Drake kick)

AMA— Davis 8 run (Felton kick)

WIC— Brett Soft 22 pass from Olson (Drake kick)

AMA— Raymond Johnson Jr. 22 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

WIC— Olson 4 run (Drake kick)

AMA— Johnson Jr. 50 kickoff return (Felton kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

WIC— Drake 17 field goal

AMA— Felton 24 field goal

WIC— Soft 18 pass from Olson (Drake kick)

WIC— Jason Catchings 35 interception return (Drake kick)

Wichita Amarillo

First downs 12 20

Rushes-Yards 13-54 22-77

Passing-Yards 153 131

Total Yards 40-207 53-208

Comp-Att-Int 13-27-2 14-31-2

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 10-64 11-84

Individual statistics

RUSHING—

Wichita: Clarence Anderson 4-31; David Olson 5-19. Amarillo: Wyreaz Bradley 8-31; Nate Davis 9-29.

PASSING –

Wichita: Olson 13-27-2-153. Amarillo: Davis 14-31-2-131

RECEIVING—

Wichita: Anderson 6-63; Brett Soft 4-65; Benji Love 2-11; Rashad Daniels 1-14. Amarillo: Raymond Johnson 6-74; Julian Walker 3-20; Kent McDonald 3-12; Jordan DeCorte 1-30; Bradley 1-19.

get a By TYLER ANDERSON

For Amarillo Globe-News

Since their embarrassing road loss to San Angelo a few weeks back, the Amarillo Venom defense has improved with each passing week.

The improved defense played a major part of the Venom’s 48-27 victory over the Duke City Gladiators in a Champions Indoor Football regular season matchup on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

The Venom defense, which was statistically toward the bottom of the CIF, recorded three critical defensive stops and three turnovers in front of a home crowd of 2,570 fans.

“We challenged the defense to be consistent,” Venom coach Julian Reese said. “They played really well last week in the fourth quarter, and we wanted it to carry over this week. They stepped up and played pretty big, so I’m really excited at what they’ve done.”

In a back-and-forth matchup that saw the Venom make a crucial goal line stand to hold on to a slim 24-21 lead going halftime. The defense continued to come through in the second half, limiting the Gladiators to just six points.

Earlier in the game, defensive back Leroy Trahan took advantage of a Duke City miscue with an interception at the 6:21 mark in the first quarter.

“I was just in my zone coverage and it seemed like the receiver ran the wrong route,” Trahan said of his big play. “The quarterback threw the opposite way. Since I was over there already, I seen it up in the air and told myself to go get it. When I caught it, I tripped and fell though.”

Along with Trahan, defensive backs Jevin Colbert and Ronnie Goforth contributed to the victory, with a fumble recovery and a late interception respectively.

The Venom’s 17-point fourth quarter burst was helped in large part by running back Leonard Dixon Jr., who ran for 64 yards on 11 carries.

“Leonard is a running back,” Reese said of the Union College product. “He has a quick first step and a cut back that’s like no other. We’re excited to give him the ball each and every time.”

Duke City was led by wide receiver Dello Davis, who churned out 60 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. Running back Emmanuel McPhearson gained 11 yards and three touchdowns on six carries.

With the victory, Amarillo improved to 6-3 with command over second place in CIF Southern Division, while Duke City falls to 5-5 for far in the 2016 season.

The Venom will host the Wichita Force in the final game of their three-game home stretch, starting at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

Venom 48, Gladiators 27

San Angelo 7 14 6 0 — 27

Amarillo10 14 7 1 7 — 48

FIRST QUARTER

DCG— Emmanuel McPhearson 1 run (Cody Nuzzo kick)

AMA— Nate Davis 2 run (Jacob Felton kick)

AMA— Felton 16 field goal

SECOND QUARTER

DCG— McPhearson 2 run (Nuzzo kick)

AMA— Julian Walker 15 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

DCG— McPhearson 5 run (Nuzzo kick)

AMA— Davis 2 run (Felton kick)

THIRD QUARTER

AMA— Tommy Curry 30 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

DCG— Dello Davis 3 pass from Taylor Genuser (conversion failed)

FOURTH QUARTER

AMA— Felton 17 field goal

AMA— Raymond Johnson Jr. 20 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

AMA— Cameron Edwards 3 pass from Davis (Felton)

Duke City Amarillo

First downs 15 23

Rushes-Yards 9-23 25-120

Passing-Yards 158 202

Total Yards 40-181 56-322

Comp-Att-Int 22-42-2 18-28-2

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1

Penalties-YardS 13-82 8-40

Individual statistics

RUSHING—

Duke City: Landrick Brody 3-12; Emmanuel McPhearson 6-11. Amarillo: Leonard Dixon Jr. 11-64; Wyreaz Bradley 9-30; Nate Davis 4-23; Raymond Johnson Jr. 1-3.

PASSING –

Duke City: Taylor Genuser 21-31-2-158. Amarillo: Davis 18-28-1-208

RECEIVING—

Duke City: Dello Davis 8-60; Damien Clark 7-41; Terrance Compton 2-19; Sedrick Johnson 2-13; Brock Ringo 1-18; McPhearson 1-7. Amarillo: Johnson Jr. 6-82; Tommy Curry 6-73; Julian Walker 4-40; Kent McDonald 1-10; Cameron Edwards 1-3.

free ticket to the game.

Following their worst performance of the season, the Amarillo Venom defense responded with its best performance by picking up four interceptions in their 52-35 victory over the San Angelo Bandits on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

Out of those four interceptions, three were captured by defensive back Jemichael Williams.

“I’m very excited,” Venom head coach Julian Reese said. “There was always a time for something to click and that’s what clicked. Jemichael, who played with one hand, has to be the player of the game with such an exceptional game.”

Taking a 9-7 halftime lead by way of Randall grad and kicker Jacob Felton’s three field goals, the Venom scored 43 of their total points in the second half alone.

With a 26-21 lead with 8:14 left in the game, two consecutive interception returns for touchdowns by defensive lineman Ahotoetu’u Liu and Williams to lift the Venom to a 39-21 advantage.

Fullback Wyreaz Bradley led the Venom on the ground, gaining 88 yards and a six-yard touchdown scamper on 15 carries.

While San Angelo (2-7) was plagued by four picks by quarterback Chris Mitchell, the Bandits were led by wide receiver Stephen Alfred, who caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Antonio Bray caught eight passes for 74 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for another score.

The Venom (5-3) won the season series against San Angelo, defeating the Bandits 2-1.

Amarillo will return for the second game of their three-game home stretch, this time hosting the Duke City Gladiators at 7:05 p.m. next Saturday at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Cal Farley Coliseum.

Venom 52, Bandits 35

San Angelo 7 0 14 14 — 35

Amarillo 3 6 10 33 — 52

FIRST QUARTER

AMA— Jacob Felton 25 field goal

SAB— Antonio Bray 1 run (Mark Zlatek kick)

SECOND QUARTER

AMA— Felton 38 field goal

AMA— Felton 27 field goal

THIRD QUARTER

AMA— Wyreaz Bradley 6 run (Felton kick)

SAB— Bray 3 pass from Chris Mitchell (Zlatek kick)

AMA— Felton 16 field goal

SAB— Austin Smith 19 pass from Mitchell (Zlatek kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

AMA— Nate Davis 1 run (Felton kick)

AMA— Ahotoetu’u Lio 29 interception return (Felton kick)

AMA— Jemichael Williams 49 interception return (conversion failed)

SAB— Stephen Alfred 24 pass from Mitchell (conversion failed)

AMA— Davis 4 run (conversion failed)

SAB— Bray 16 pass from Mitchell (Bray pass from Mitchell)

AMA— Kent McDonald 2 pass from Davis (Felton kick)

San Angelo Amarillo

First downs 16 21

Rushes-Yards 5-11 23-128

Passing-Yards 237 241

Total Yards 48-248 35-290

Comp-Att-Int 22-42-4 18-23-2

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 13-84 16-105

Individual statistics

RUSHING—Duke City: Chris Mitchell 2-6; Antonio Bray 3-5. 7 Wyreaz Bradley 15-88; Nate Davis 5-22; Leonard Dixon Jr. 3-18

PASSING—San Angelo: Mitchell 22-42-4, 246; Amarillo: Davis 9-21-0, 76.

RECEIVING—San Angelo: Antonio Bray 8-74; Stephen Alfred 7-94; Austin Smith 3-43; Jason

Stephenson 1-16; Desmond Marrs 1-8; Austin Benson 1-6; T.J. Bryant 1-5. Amarillo: Raymond

Johnson 2-23; Tommy Curry 2-18; Julian Walker 2-13; Kent McDonald 2-12; Jordan DeCorte 1-10.

Your Amarillo Venom have partnered up with Make-A-Wish and Team Tatum to make a difference in our community thanks to our sponsors BritKare Orthotics, Glass Doctor, National Wild Turkey Federation, and ABC7 NEWS.

At the May 14th home game, all area kids will be able to perform on field. Participants will need to fill out a waiver and rehearse the choreographed dance to perform. We have asked many PE and music teachers from around the area to teach this FUN ROUTINE to their students.

Participant cost is only $5 and includes the game ticket and on field participation. The entire $5 amount will be donated directly to Team Tatum. A portion of tickets will benefit Make – A – Wish North Texas. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate. Participants will need to take their completed waivers to one of the following to receive their game day ticket:

Prior to game day- Amarillo Venom office- 2801 Paramount Amarillo, TX

  • Game Day only-Amarillo Civic Center Box office or Amarillo Civic Center Gate 7

CHANCES TO LEARN THE ROUTINE –
The Amarillo Venom Vixens will be hosting a dance camp this Saturday from noon – 1 pm or 1-2pm at the Civic Center so everyone will have a chance to learn. It is only $5 which will also get them a ticket to the game and the opportunity to dance at halftime.

Thursday evening the Vixens will be in Canyon and Amarillo at area parks. Watch the Venom Facebook and Twitter for locations and times.

The choreographed dance routine can be found on the YouTube channel: amarillovenom

Participants can also search the following video titles on YouTube:

  • Venom Vixens invite you to perform at May 14, 2016 Make-A-Wish Night- Introduction
  • Venom Vixens invite you to perform at May 14, 2016 Make-A-Wish Night- Full Routine with Music
  • Venom Vixens invite you to perform at the May 14, 2016 Make-a-Wish Night- Full Routine with Counts
  • Venom Vixens invite you to perform at May 14, 2016 Make-A-Wish Night- Music

We are also excited to host FCA huddles for the first ever VENOM/FCA Night. Coach Julian Reese and many of the Venom players will have the opportunity to visit with the area youth and coaches before the game, they will also enjoy a fun tailgate, and end with a FUN evening cheering on the Amarillo Venom.

The AMARILLO VENOM is a proud member of Champions Indoor Football.