By Eric Benner Herald Writer
EVERETT — Defense is somewhat of an oddity in the arena football game.
The Everett Raptors, however, made it a priority Thursday night, coming up with four key interceptions to lead them to a 52-35 Indoor Football League victory over the Nebraska Danger at Comcast Arena.
Jihad Morris and Cashmin Thomas intercepted two passes each, and all of four ended Nebraska drives in the red zone.
The game was never really in question for the Raptors.They trailed only in the game’s opening minutes after Danger kicker Alex Tejada kicked a short field goal made to make it 3-0. Everett led for the game’s remaining 54 minutes.
After giving up the field goal, the Raptors’ offense scored early and often. Everett’s largest of the night came with 7 minutes and 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter when quarterback Blake Bolles passed to Everett Community College alum Andre Piper-Jordan to make it a 33-15.
Bolles threw for five touchdowns and completed 13 of 33 passes for 194 yards. That was a vast improvement from his 8-for-27 performance last Saturday against the Colorado Ice.
Piper-Jordan once again led the Everett receiving corps with two touchdowns. He caught four passes for 55 yards in the game.
Travis Poole caught five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. Teammates Maurice Young ( three catches, 55 yards) and Lonnie Sanders (three catches, 22 yards) also had a touchdown grab each.
Running back Marcus Robinson added a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
The one Danger player the Raptors had trouble stopping in the game was running back Daniel Libre. He scored twice in the second half, on runs of 20 and 19 yards, and finished with 85 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Nebraska Quarterback Rocky Hinds struggled against Everett’s much-improved defense, finishing just 7-for-18 with 77 yards, only one touchdown throw and three interceptions.
Danger receiver Corey Surrency caught one touchdown pass and had 63 yards receiving to lead Nebraska.
The Raptors Mike Tatum scored on a 55-yard kickoff return 9:30 into the second half that kept the scoring momentum rolling for the Raptors.
The victory was Everett’s first at home this season, and second overall. The Raptors improved their record to 2-4 while the Danger fell to 1-4 in the Intense Conference standings.
The Raptors next play April 13 on the road against in-state rival the Tri-Cities Fever.