By Steve Gunn and Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON – Obviously the West Michigan Ironmen can’t score a touchdown every time they get the ball.
Last week the Ironmen recorded touchdowns on all 10 of their offensive possessions in an easy win over Cincinnati.
On Saturday they kept the streak going for a while, scoring TDs on their first two possessions – on the first play each time.
Quarterback Alex Carder hit Corey Johnson for a 30-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage. He added a 32-yard scoring pass to Ronald Johnson on the Ironmen’s first play of their second possession.
That early burst propelled the Ironmen to a 55-27 victory over the Northern Kentucky Nightmare at L.C. Walker Arena.
The victory gave the Ironmen a five-game winning streak and a 5-1 record with two games remaining in the regular season. They remain in first place in American Indoor Football’s Mid-Western Division.
The team will host Cincinnati next Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
“Every quarter, every week it gets a little better,” said Ironmen Coach Ty Lynk. “These guys are stepping out and they’re playing as a team, not as an individual here, an individual there.
“We’ve just got great people. Great people, great athletes and right now it’s all clicking.”
While the Ironmen didn’t get six points on every possession, their scoring efficiency remained very good. They scored touchdowns on 8 of 12 possessions Saturday.
The home team led 14-0 after one quarter, 28-7 at halftime and 35-19 after three quarters.
They also displayed an impressive arsenal of offensive weapons, with six different players scoring touchdowns. Donovan Campbell led the way with three touchdown receptions, while Corey Johnson, Ronald Johnson, Korey Ringer, Justin Mott and Jamie Potts added single TDs.
Carder completed 16 of 24 passes for 244 yards and six touchdowns. Campbell finished with seven catches for 111 yards.
Over the past two games the Ironmen have scored 128 points, compared to 33 for their opponents.
“We’re able to distribute the ball in different ways so it’s really hard for a team to shut down one particular person,” Lynk said. “We even have some backups that didn’t play that could step in and do some things for us. We’re blessed, we’ve really got some good talent on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Ironmen’s swarming, aggressive defense also continued to impress, holding the Nightmare to one touchdown on six possessions in the first half.
The defense thrilled the crowd with numerous big plays, including two interceptions by Deonte Hurst, and five quarterback sacks – two apiece by Rony Nelson and Ryan Armstrong and one by Luther Robinson.
Nelson also had a fumble recovery while Armstrong and Karey Morrow both blocked Northern Kentucky field goal attempts.
“Our defensive line really rushed solid,” Lynk said. “Now our defensive backs are starting to catch on. A lot of these guys never played arena football before.”
The only dark spot for the Ironmen came on the team’s opening drive of the second half, when Corey Johnson hit the end zone wall on an incomplete pass, was helped off the field and did not return to the game.
Lynk said was too soon to judge the severity of Johnson’s injury, which involved one of his ankles.
WEST MICHIGAN 55, NORTHERN KENTUCKY 27
WM 14:28-Corey Johnson 30 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-7 NK-0
WM 9:50-Ronald Johnson 32 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-14 NK-0
NK 11:00-Justin Williams 9 yard catch from Kyle Hogan (PAT good) WM-14 NK-7
WM 7:56-Donovan Campbell 11 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-21 NK-7
WM :19-Donovan Campbell 1 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-28 NK-7
NK 6:30-Justin Williams 12 yard run (kick failed) WM-28 NK-13
WM 3:45-Donovan Campbell 8 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-35 NK-13
NK :20-Matt Money 11 yard catch from Kyle Hogan (2-pt failed) WM-35 NK-19
WM 14:30-Korey Ringer 21 yard catch from Alex Carder (kick failed) WM-41 NK-19
WM 8:50-Justin Mott 13 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-48 NK-19
WM 2:33-Jamie Potts 20 yard catch from Alex Carder (Jamie Potts kick) WM-55 NK-19
NK :20-Deshawn Hayes 10 yard run (2-pt converted) WM-55 NK-27