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Crunch Lose Opener to Pirates

by Randy Snow

Originally posted on OurSportsCentral.com, Saturday, April 8, 2006


In the first night of action for the Great Lakes Indoor Football League, the Battle Creek Crunch played host to the Port Huron Pirates last night at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek before an announced crowd of 1,474 fans. A number of fans from Port Huron also made the trip to Battle Creek to see their team's first game as well. They did not go home disappointed as the Pirates defeated the Crunch by the score of 62-22.

The Crunch received the opening kickoff to begin the game. Return man Eric Gardner caught the ball at the two-yard line and scampered 48 yards down the field for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Pirates then scored 30 unanswered points of their own and took a 30-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Crunch began to make a comeback. A 19-yard field goal by former Central Michigan University kicker Chuck Selinger cut the lead to 30-10. WR/DB Gardner then scored the team's first touchdown in the second quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Crunch quarterback Tim Kubiak to make the score 30-16. The PAT was blocked. Port Huron then added a touchdown of their own, but failed on a two-point conversion, making the score 36-16 at halftime.

The Crunch were shut out in the third quarter and at the start of the fourth quarter, Battle Creek Head Coach Bob Kubiak decided to make a change at quarterback. He sat his brother, Tim, and sent in his other brother, Ken.

"Both those guys are competitive," said Kubiak. "I just wanted to see them both get a little time on film. I didn't want it to be mop up duty (for Ken)."

For the game, starting quarterback Tim Kubiak completed seven of 12 passes for 60 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. His brother, Ken, completed four of seven passes for 40 yards and one interception.

WR Brian Dolph, who played in the Arena Football League in 2001 and 2002 registered the first pass completion in team history in the first quarter, but had only two receptions for nine yards on the night. He had only one word to sum up his performance. "Rusty. We shot ourselves in the foot," said Dolph. "We made a bunch of mistakes that we shouldn't have made."

"We got behind and we didn't take advantage of some miscues," said coach Kubiak. "They took advantage of our miscues, but we didn't take advantage of theirs." Kubiak was also pleased with the crowd that came to the team's first game. "Despite the score, with two or three minutes left, there still was nobody really leaving the place. I think it was a good time. I think people enjoyed themselves."

In spite of the outcome on the scoreboard, Crunch owner Mike Powell was also pleased with his team's first game. "We had a lot of people helping us out (behind the scenes), so a lot of people wanted to see us succeed. There are still a lot of things that we can improve on." Even with the loss, Powell was optimistic about the team's future on the field. "We had a lot of good hits, a lot of good plays, unfortunately not many of them were not ours, but we'll get there. We'll get there"

Freelance writer Ted Kluck, who was given a roster exemption by the league and is writing about his playing experience with the Crunch for ESPN.com was in the game for just two plays. He was the long snapper on the first two extra points in the first half, the first was successful, but the second was blocked. "I snapped great in practice, I snapped great in warm ups and then skipped them both back there (during the game). That's why I write for a living! I was disappointed. I feel terrible. I'm going to go home tonight and think about those two snaps for the next three hours.

"They did a great job getting everything together as an organization," Kluck said. "The atmosphere was fun. Obviously, when you don't play well, you don't feel good about it, but hopefully the fans will come out again and give us another chance. I really respect these players we've got on this team. They're a great bunch of people and a great bunch of athletes, too. We just had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on tonight. If we had, things would have been different."

The Crunch will host the Marion (OH) Mayhem next Thursday night, April 13, at the Kellogg Arena. Kickoff is set for 7:05

In the other GLIFL game played last night, the Rochester Raiders defeated the visiting NY/NJ Revolution, 71-13.


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