Using an explosive first half that featured three touchdown passes by quarterback Nate Davis and two interceptions by a tough defense, the Amarillo Venom brush aside the New Mexico Stars 62-34 to begin their preservation of the Lone Star Football League championship on March 23 at the Cal Farley Coliseum in the Amarillo Civic Center. In an event that included a championship banner unveiling and a spotlight of local champions that included WT Head Coach Don Carthel, the Venom treated its fans with a possible preview of things to come this 2013 campaign.
“We got the [win], but we still have a lot of work to do. But I’m excited about the win though,” Venom Head Coach Julian Reese said, who notched his eleventh win of his young head coaching career.
The contest started off with a bang as wide receiver/defensive back Raymond Johnson returned the opening kickoff for an Amarillo Venom touchdown, and following a one-point safety on the kickoff to the Stars, the Venom jump out to an early 8-0 lead. In response, New Mexico drove down the field until a Tim O’Neal sack limited the Stars to a field goal. However, an Amarillo fumble on the next possession put the football back into New Mexico hands, culminating into a go-ahead touchdown pass to give the Stars a 9-8 lead due to a missed PAT.
In response, the Venom challenged and overwhelmed New Mexico as Davis hooked up with receiver Alex Watson for two scores while a recovered onside kick and a juke by Davis that threw off the entire New Mexico defense for an easy goal line strut to lead the Venom to a 29-9 lead. When the Stars started to drive, two Amarillo interceptions by Kevin Brown and Ron Evans Jr. halted the Stars and aided a Davis to Johnson touchdown pass to give the Venom a 36-9 advantage going into the break.
Once the second half started, the Stars gave the Venom the football via a David Irizarry interception that resulted in another Davis to Johnson touchdown pass to extend the Venom lead to 43-9. The New Mexico offense showed signs of life with a drive that led to a Seth Smith touchdown rush to cut the Amarillo lead to 28 before the Venom responded with a touchdown rush of their own by Tim O’Neal to keep the Stars at bay with a 49-15 lead. Slowly but surely, the Stars started to chip away at the lead, as a Roland Bruno produced two touchdown scampers while Nate Davis hooked with receiver Anthony Clark to bring the score to a 56-28 in favor of Amarillo.
New Mexico used a Venom muff on the return to recover and score via touchdown pass from Stars quarterback KJ Black to receiver Dexter Manley to bring the Stars within 22 before Nate Davis threw his sixth touchdown pass to Alex Watson for his third touchdown catch to close the game in a 62-34 Venom victory.
“I feel like we did a good job as an offense and a defense,” Davis said, Ball State grad and former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. “We still have a lot of work. We left a lot of points out there. I missed a lot of throws and missed some reads. You get lucky sometimes, but we can go back, watch the film tomorrow and correct ourselves.”
Amarillo begins their campaign with a 1-0 record while New Mexico capped its two game road trip with a 1-1 record. After the Easter break, the Venom travel to Abilene to take on the Bombers on April 6 before heading to San Angelo to battle the Bandits on April 13. The Venom then return to the Cal Farley Coliseum on April 20 to tangle with the Laredo Rattlesnakes at 7:05 pm. Tickets for the game are available at the Amarillo Venom office or the Civic Center box office on game day.