Stampede defeat Phoenix, host Green Bay in playoff opener Saturday
Despite missing a number of starting players, the Twin Ports Stampede defeated the Minnesota Phoenix 16-0 Saturday in Woodbury, Minn.
With the win the Stampede improve to 7-1 on the year and clinch the NEFL’s Western Division title and the No. 3 seed in the upcoming playoffs.
The Stampede will host the Green Bay Gladiators, whom they defeated 41-7 earlier in the season. The game will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ole Haugsrud Field.
The Stampede played Saturday’s game without guard Jimmy Johnson, who missed his first Stampede and semi-pro game ever; quarterback Dave White, who was attending his sister’s wedding in Detroit; and defensive players Tony Murray, Tim Manns and Travis Larson, who were out due to injuries.
Leading the Stampede to victory over the Phoenix was back up quarterback Matt Sickler, who was 5-of-8 passing for 53 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Running back Jalon Hopkins had 145 yards rushing on 19 carries and a touchdown; Hollis Dukes had 81 yards on 14 carries and Maurice Henderson was the leading receiver with three catches for 30 yards.
Leading the defense was defensive back Carl Ragsdale with seven tackles and four passes defended. Another defensive back, Hood McMillan, was the defensive player of the game with six tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and two passes defended.
Greg Nelson added two sacks, and Aaron Tody had a sack for a safety in the first quarter as the Stampede defense accumulated six sacks on the day.
All-Star team named
The Stampede had 16 players nominated for the 2010 NEFL All-Star game Aug. 14 in Wausau. Those nominated were: White; Dukes; Hopkins; wide receivers Ryan DeZurik and Maurice Henderson; tight end Charles Fields; offensive linemen Jimmy Johnson and Korey Jazdzewski; center Andy McKinnon; defensive ends Josh Gosar and Antonio O’Neal; linebacker Tim Manns; and defensive backs Nelson, Courtney Walters, Carl Ragsdale and Tony Murray. … Dukes, Fields, Gosar, Manns and Walters were elected as starters for the White team with Murray, Ragsdale and Nelson selected as alternates.
Northern Elite Football League
Chippewa Valley Predators 7-0
Fox Valley Force 7-1
Twin Ports Stampede 7-1
South Metro Dragons 6-1
St. Paul Pioneers 6-2
Green Bay Gladiators 5-3
Eau Claire Crush 3-5
Rochester Giants 2-6
Minnesota Phoenix 2-6
Kimberly Storm 2-6
Central Wisconsin Spartans 0-8
U.P. Arctic Blast 0-8
Saturday, July 17
Twin Ports Stampede 16, Minn. Phoenix 0
Saturday, July 24
Gladiators at Twin Ports Stampede, 4 p.m.
St. Paul Pioneers vs. South Metro Dragons at Minnetonka, 7 p.m.
Chippewa Valley Predators and Fox Valley Force have first-round byes