What a difference a year makes.
On Saturday night the Defenders gave nearly 1200 opening night fans in the Cox Business Center a dominating, near perfect performance where head coach Derek Rasmussen’s team sent a clear message to the rest of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League – Defenders are a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
The Defenders began the scoring onslaught with only: 36 seconds elapsed off the clock, when quarterback Zac Rasmussen (Coach Rasmussen’s brother) scampered 40 yards and into the end zone for the first touchdown of the 2014 season. The PAT kick by new kicker Tommy Frevert was good, and the Defenders were off and running. Rasmussen would score one additional time, and the commissioned 2nd Lieutenant stationed at Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma City would complete seven of nine passes for 68 yards and would rush for 58 yards, 40 of which would come in his first quarter TD run.
Hubert Anyiam emerged as a favorite target of Rasmussen on Saturday night, as he and his relief quarterback Brady May would connect for three touchdowns and 60 yards, which included a 34-yard strike from May in the fourth quarter. On the ground, the rushing assault was led by KingJack Washington, who ran for 78 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, it was a beastly performance by the Oklahoma Defenders. Former Oklahoma Sooner and Detroit Lion Ronnell Lewis led the way with six tackles, and Ki’Ounta Cathey made the defensive play of the game late in the third quarter when he recovered the fumbled snap of a Kansas field goal attempt against the end boards with a little over four minutes to play. The Defenders defense only allowed one touchdown and limited the Koyotes to only 43 total yards on the ground. Conversely, the Koyotes allowed the Defenders 147 rushing yards.
The only time the Koyotes dented the scoreboard was in the second quarter of the game when Damien Dunning found Wayne Shephard for a 41-yard passing touchdown, but by then the Defenders has 20 points on the board with no sign of letting up.
The 72 points scored by the Defenders is the fourth all-time highest points they have scored in team history. The three previous times the Defenders score in excess of 70 points was in the 2012 season, the one and only season the team was a member of the American Professional Football League (APFL) in 2012. The most the Defenders could manage in any game in the 2013 season in the CPIFL was 62 against the Koyotes in the second week of their inaugural season. The team’s highest all-time points scored was 88 against the now-defunct Mid Missouri Outlaws that season.
“Tonight was all about sticking to the game plan and sending a message,” Coach Rasmussen said after the game, “We have two big games against Dodge City and Wichita coming up and I wanted the guys to come out in the first game as winners.”
From here as the Coach mentioned it’s a trip to Dodge City, Kansas for the first road game of the season against the CPIFL’s newest team, the Law. Then the Defenders return home for a Sunday afternoon matinee with the defending 2013 CPIFL Champions Wichita Wild at 3:05pm in the Cox Business Center.
Tickets are on sale at the Cox Business Center, and the BOK Center Box Office. Information on Season Tickets (starting at only $30),group tickets rates and suite reservations can be obtained by calling 918-403-9926 or by visiting www.oklahomadefenders.com.