HILLSBORO – The Vancouver Venom and Portland Nightmare entered their match up on Sunday each looking for their first win of the season. After a hard fought battle in the intense heat at Hare Field, Dre Edwards of the Nightmare carried his team, literally and figuratively, to victory.
Portland Nightmare runningback Dre Edwards must have had an extra serving of Wheaties for breakfast, as he set PNFL season highs in carries (25) and rushing yards (171) en route to three touchdowns – all of which came in electrifying fashion.
Among his many highlight reel worthy runs, perhaps none was more impressive – or important – as his first touchdown of the day, a 29 yard scamper down the sideline on 4th down. After turning the corner, three Venom defenders cut off Edwards against the sideline, giving him no chance but to go down or go out of bounds. However, the laws of physics apparently didn’t apply on that particular play, as Edwards somehow managed to lower his frame under the defenders, only to appear on the other side of them seconds later in the endzone. It was a play that perfectly demonstrated the Nightmare’s strategy for the day – hand the ball to number five, sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch him work.
Despite Edwards’ record setting day, the Nightmare didn’t secure the victory until the final minutes, as the Venom put together a fantastic performance on defense, forcing multiple turnovers, collecting nine tackles for loss, and even taking an interception to the house for a game tying touchdown. Kevin Nesbitt of the Venom had a career day on defense, posting six tackles, three of which were for a loss, including one sack in which he blew up the Nightmare quarterback. Oh, and to fulfil his quest of stuffing the stat sheet, Nesbitt also added a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on the day.
Babacarr Secka of the Venom stood out in all three phases of the game, as he caught three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown (coming from a pretty throw by Justin Easter to the corner of the endzone), recorded six tackles and returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown, and added 61 yards on two kickoff returns. His two touchdowns accounted for all of his team’s scores in their 20-14 defeat.
In what certainly had to be a heartbreaking loss, this game served as yet another example of the marked improvement for Venom over the course of the season. They will certainly hope to continue their quest for improvement as they face the Sentinels next week in Vancouver in a rematch of their opening weekend defeat.
Meanwhile, the Nightmare finally moved into the win column, which will help them add confidence as they prepare to face the Benton Bulldawgs next week at Hare Field.