TULSA, OK–With the close proximity between the two cities and with a large concentration of Dallas Cowboys fans in the Tulsa area it isn’t surprising that in a pre-season online poll, Tulsa Talons fans were looking forward to the first meeting between their beloved arena football team and the brand new Dallas Vigilantes. Add to that the near instant tension created by the fact that Rich Ingold, the coach of the Vigilantes faced Tulsa coach Mitch Allner in the 2007 Arena Cup Championship when he coached the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers and the stage is set for a new classic rivalry to start. A shootout at the BOK Corral, if you will.
The Talons enter the game riding the momentum of a week one win over the Tampa Bay Storm 69-58 and strong showings from quarterback Justin Allgood and defensive back Jamar Ransom while the Vigilantes enjoyed an extra week to prepare with a bye. In fact the only action the Vigilantes have seen to this point was a meaningless preseason game against the Bossier Shreveport Battle Wings in which they won. A lot of firsts would occur for both teams tonight.
Dallas would strike first on a handoff from Shane Stafford to Josh White after the Talons went three and out on their first possession. Justin Allgood would connect with Jamar Ransom on a short two yard toss. Dallas would answer when Stafford would find Kenny Anderson in the end zone with a pass at quarter’s end to take the lead 14-7.
After the Talons scored, it was a bit of a melee as a few of the Vigilantes took exception to the celebrating that Ranson did after he scored. it was very reminscent of a scrum you might see in a Tulsa Oilers hockey game as pushing and shoving erupted several times between the two teams. A surprising number of unsportsmanlike conduct flags were thrown in the game tonight, all adding to the new rivalry.
The second quarter was owned by Dallas as they would score three times. Josh White would score his second touchdown on the night taking a handoff from Stafford a yard into the end zone. Tulsa all-purpose specialist Jeff Hughley would carry a Justin Allgood handoff two yards to bring Tulsa to within 6 with 7 minutes to go in the half. Shane Stafford would connect with Larry Brackins for a two yard strike. Justin Allgood would tie Craig Strickland’s all time record in touchdown passes at 212 on a strike to Donovan Morgan with 54 seconds remaining in the half to close to within 7 of the Vigilantes who held the lead 28-21. Mark Lewis of Dallas would then kick a field goal with the score-clock at 0:00 to give the Vigilantes a 10 point cushion at the half 31-21.
For most of the second half, Dallas held the lead but in the end the Talons came up big on a touchdown catch by Donovan Morgan in the third quarter on a 23 yard bomb from Allgood with six minutes remaining in the third and that was capped off by a 19 yard fumble return by John Scott after Gabe Nyhuis forced Stafford to cough up the ball. Justin Allgood would then convert on the Dallas miscue with a two yard run with two and a half minutes remaining to put the Talons within 3 points In the end, it was the Talons defense that played the hero as they forced another fumble in the ensuing Dallas possession and Allgood would sneak the ball in to give the Talons enough to top the Vigilantes 63-58.
Justin Allgood would best his mentor Craig Strickland by three touchdown passes tonight and he now holds the all time record for Tulsa Talons touchdown passing at 215. He would finish tonight going 23-for-10 with 5 touchdown passes and 182 yards and one interception while his opponent Shane Stafford went 47-for-31 for374 yards with 5 touchdown and no picks.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The Talons return home after a two week road trip on May 8th to take on the Alabama Vipers at 7:05 in the amazing BOK Center. Tickets are available at the BOK Center box office,at bokcenter.com and by calling the Talons office at 294-1000.