This past weekend the Lockport Rampage won their first round playoff game in a hard-fought contest against the Buffalo Gladiators. The Rampage held on to win by a score of 8-2 in a defensive battle. With the win, the 2014 Rampage become the first Lockport semi-pro football team to win a post-season contest since the Lockport Invaders of the 1990s.
The story of the day was the Rampage defense, which held the Gladiators offense to just 66 net yards (1.35 yards per play). The Lockport defense featured a relentless, smothering pass rush, taking down the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage a total of 11 times for 86 combined yards lost and and creating four turnovers in the process. Leading the attack was LB Cliff McDowell, who finished the day with 6 tackles (3 solo), 1 tackle for loss (TFL), 3.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. If that wasn’t enough, McDowell also returned a fumble 59 yards for the only touchdown of the game. But McDowell wasn’t the only player in the front seven that had a big game. DE/LB Isaiah Johnson added 3 QB sacks, 1 TFL, a forced fumble, and 5 tackles (3 solo). DE Dave Gross had 2.5 sacks, 1 TFL, a fumble recovery, and 8 tackles (3 solo). LB Tom Covey and DT Ray Barker led the defense with 11 tackles apiece: Covey also had 6 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, and a fumble recovery; Barker had 4 solo tackles and added 1.5 sacks as well. LB Marcus Wyche had 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and a QB sack. Also along the defensive front, DE Will Styles added 1.5 sacks and 3 tackles; DT Mario Granatta finished with 5 tackles and a fumble recovery; DE Al Scott had 1 TFL, a QB hit, and 2 pass deflections; and DT Marcus McCoy added 2 tackles and a half sack. Strong safety Ron Dixon led the Rampage secondary with 7 tackles (4 solo), a pass deflection, and some huge hits. CB Jeremy Brown also had 7 tackles (3 solo) and a quarterback sack and forced fumble. Free safety A.J. Cleveland had 3 tackles in run support and a pass deflection, and CB L.A. Taylor added two tackles and provided lockdown coverage throughout the evening.
The Rampage defense kept the Gladiators out of the end zone and came up with a number of big plays throughout the contest, including what ended up being the game winning touchdown on the fumble recovery returned by McDowell. But the Rampage offense did enough with the football, especially late in the game, to maintain the victory. RB Tewaine Panell had several big runs and ended the night with 11 carries for 77 yards (7.7 yards per carry), including a few key runs late in the game. WR Darrel Keith also caught a 17 yard pass from QB Lamont Rhim on a critical fourth down play late in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory.
The victory is dedicated to the memory of Rampage player Al Scott’s mother, who passed away last week. Al made several key plays, including breaking up two passes along the line of scrimmage in Rampage territory. Al is a captain and key member of the team. The Rampage family dedicates this win to you and your family.
The Rampage will next take on the Nickel City Kings, who won their first round playoff game against the Southern Tier Diesel. The Rampage and Kings will square off this coming Saturday at Outwater Park, with the winner advancing to the NFA Championship.