UNITED BOWL III
United Bowl III MVP Casey Veenhof of Sioux Falls
United Bowl III would mark the third time in four years that its combatants would face off in a championship setting. The Lexington Horsemen defeated the Sioux Falls Storm to win another league's championship in 2004 while the Storm evened the score with their United Bowl II win last year.
The two teams had met earlier in the 2007 campaign on June 23 at Rupp Arena in Lexington as Sioux Falls handed Lexington a 76-45 defeat.
United Bowl III was played on Saturday, August 4th at the Sioux Falls Arena before a capacity crowd of 4,907. Much like Devin Hester’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start Super Bowl XLI, Mulder returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to start the scoring in UBIII. On the subsequent kickoff, Sioux Falls failed to return the kickoff out of the end zone, giving Lexington a rouge and an 8-0 lead on the Storm. The remainder of the scoring in the quarter was done by Sioux Falls’ Adam Hicks who added two field goals and Lexington’s Eddie Eviston who threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to John Cooper. The score at the end of the first quarter was Lexington 18, Sioux Falls 6.
The second quarter saw four different players (Sioux Falls’ James Jones-twice and Marques Smith-once, Lexington’s Harry Lewis and Jarrod Rouanzoin-once each) score five straight touchdowns on five straight possessions to make the score 31-27. On the subsequent possessions, each team threw an interception. Prior to that, there had never been an interception thrown in United Bowl history. With 20 seconds remaining in the half, Eviston hit Rayshawn Askew with a 21-yard touchdown pass to give the Horsemen a 37-27 edge. The score stayed the same going into halftime.
Five plays after Jones’ 18-yard kickoff return, Bryant rushed in from two yards out to bring the Storm within four at 37-33. Lexington followed suit when Eviston threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chad Spencer to go back up 11, 44-33. Sioux Falls’ Smith ran in from three yards out with 7:01 remaining to have the score be 44-40. Collin Barber of the Horsemen added two field goals from 42 and 47 yards in the final six minutes to give Lexington a 50-40 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter would be the difference-maker in the game. On five straight possessions, the teams swapped scores. Sioux Falls scored first on a 19-yard pass from Bryant to Casey Veenhof to come within three at 50-47. Barber then made a 32-yard field goal to push the lead back to six, 53-47. The next possession, the Storm finally took their first lead on a four-yard run by Leon Hall Jr., which made the score 54-53. Eviston rushed in from seven yards out with 2:01 remaining to give Lexington a 59-54 lead. Sioux Falls then engineered a six-play, 32-yard drive, which climaxed with Veenhof catching a nine-yard touchdown pass and the subsequent two-point conversion to put the Storm up 62-59. With three seconds remaining, Barber tried a field goal from 51 yards out and missed. Thanks to a penalty, he got a second chance from 38 yards out. The kick was wide right and the Storm hung on to win their 38th win in-a-row and third straight United Bowl. Veenhof was named game MVP for his efforts as he caught seven passes for 74 yards and the two touchdowns.