Philly Sports Live

Nighthawks crush Destroyers in home opener

(Via Omaha Nighthawks) The Omaha Nighthawks were firing on all cylinders as they crushed the Virginia Destroyers 38-10 Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park.

From kickoff to final play, the team’s energy never waned — a far cry from the atmosphere in Las Vegas last week, when the Nighthawks fell 6-41 to the Locos.

“Several things changed, starting with the fact that we finally got to play a home game,” said head coach Bart Andrus. “There’s a certain comfort level that comes with that. I also think the players were embarrassed about how they played in Las Vegas, and they made a commitment to change that.”

The Nighthawks made scoring plays in all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams.

“This win was a total team effort,” Andrus said. “It ended up being one of the better team efforts I have seen in a while.”

Quarterback Jason Boltus led off the team’s scoring effort with a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter. He added another touchdown with a 26-yard pass to Preston Brown in the third quarter and finished the night with 125 total passing yards.

“Jason took another step in the right direction as far as development,” Andrus said. “He’s becoming a more polished quarterback. His decision-making in this game was really good. He’s also a guy that has a little mobility. He likes to run ball, and he’s not afraid to run ball, which obviously helped us.”

The Nighthawks defense also had a banner night, holding Virginia to a touchdown and a field goal. They were especially potent in the red zone, allowing the Destroyers only two scoring plays out of their five red zone appearances.

Defensive leaders included Trey Lewis (5.5 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss), Steve Octavien (5.5 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss) and Phillip Dillard (4.5 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss).

Antonio Fenelus came up with a big play in the fourth quarter when he returned an interception for a touchdown to seal Omaha’s victory with 3:31 remaining in the game.

“This really was an example of all 11 guys doing the job they were supposed to do and trusting each other,” Andrus said. “I was really pleased with the team effort that our defense made.”

Perhaps Omaha’s most exciting play of the night came midway through the third quarter, when Aaron Weathers returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.

“That was worth the price of the ticket right there,” Andrus said.

Although the crowd turnout wasn’t as large as it has been in past years, Andrus praised the fans who were there for their enthusiasm and support.

“We said going in that whether we had a crowd of 10 or 10,000 our guys were going to play hard for them, and for the people who came, I think it was an awesome game,” he said. “We hope to see more fans out to see this team play in the next game. At the same time, we really want to show the national television audience what football in Nebraska is all about.”

The 2-1 Nighthawks will continue the season with another home game as they take on the 3-0 Las Vegas Locomotives at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at TD Ameritrade Park. Tickets can be purchased by calling 402-403-3776.