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Beef Wins 19th straight with strong third quarter

    Omaha beef

June 2, 2024 – National Arena League (NAL)
Omaha Beef Press Release

The Omaha Beef locked up home court for the NAL Championship Game with a 54-34 victory over the Colorado Spartans on Saturday night in Loveland, Colorado. Omaha used a 29-point third quarter to rally from a 28-19 halftime deficit to a 48-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Beef will host the Carolina Cobras next Saturday, looking to extend their winning streak to 19 games. If the Beef beat the Cobras, then Sioux City will return to Liberty First Credit Union Arena on June 15th, otherwise if Carolina wins on the 8th, then they will return the following week to play in the championship game.

Omaha didn’t have much offense in the first quarter as Colorado jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The Spartans used a five-yard run by Khalik Hayes and a four-yard run by Ladarius Skelton to take an early lead with 3:55 left in the quarter. The Beef got on the board with 1:23 left when Tommy Armstrong took over from two yards out, but Paul Ortiz missed the extra point and the Beef trailed 14-6 after the first quarter. Colorado added two Skelton touchdown runs in the second quarter to extend the lead to 28-6 before Omaha put more points on the scoreboard. With 2:05 left in the half, Armstrong hit freshman Isiah Scott for a 39-yarder and the extra kick was good to make it 28-13. Armstrong scored his second rushing touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half, but the PAT was blocked and at halftime the Beef trailed by nine, 28-19. Beef gained 120 yards in the half compared to Colorado’s 160 yards.

It was a much different game in the second half as Omaha showed why it is undefeated. Beef used its number one defense to shut down the Spartans’ passing game, and return man Ortiz paid dividends in the third quarter. Omaha pulled within two points when Armstrong had his third rushing touchdown of the night (18th of the season) with 9:52 left after the defense forced a turnover on downs. On the next Spartans drive, Rodell Rahmaan forced Jason Whittaker to fumble and it was picked off by Trey Dudley-Giles who returned it 31 yards to give the Beef their first lead 33-28 with 7: 13 in the quarter. Ortiz hit the ensuing shot over the crossbar for his first deuce of the season, making it 35-28. Dylan Pettway then added more points on Colorado’s next drive as he sacked Whittaker in the end zone for a safety, extending the lead to 37-28. Armstrong again connected with Scott on a 24-yard pass, giving the Beef a 44-28 lead, and once again Ortiz went through the goal post on the kickoff and two to make it 46-28. Then it was back to the defense that scored again as on Colorado’s fourth play they were called for holding in the end zone giving the Beef another safety and a twenty point lead, 48-28. In the third quarter, Colorado gained just one yard while giving up two fumbles and two fumbles.

The Spartans finally scored again with 8:50 left in the game when Skelton rushed for his fourth touchdown from two yards out to make it 48-34. The Beef ground game took up much of the quarter, and backup quarterback Taz Wilson finished the scoring when he hit Jordan Barton on a 9-yard pass with 56 seconds left, making the final score 54-34.

Armstrong finished the night rushing six times for 21 yards and three touchdowns while going 9 of 14 for 129 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Taz Wilson entered the game for the fourth quarter and went 5 of 9 for 47 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions. Jeff Mack had another strong game carrying it 13 times for 63 yards and catching four balls for 54 yards. Isiah Scott had a strong opening night as Beef caught three passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The Beef defense was led by two-time Defensive Player of the Week Ponce Deleon with 13 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. Rudy Ngougni (6 tackles) and Rodell Rahmaan (3 tackles, 1 forced fumble) recorded two sacks, while Pettway (six tackles) added one. Adorian Beach (five tackles) picked off Whittaker once.

Colorado did not have a passing touchdown in the game after entering the contest leading the NAL. Whittaker finished the night 13 of 24 for 138 with two interceptions and was sacked five times. Ladarius Skelton led the Spartans on the ground, rushing six times for 35 yards and four touchdowns. The top three wide receivers for Colorado were held in check as Deonte Rarrieck (5-33 yds) Skelton (4-54 yds) and Steve Newbold (4-20 yds) struggled as the Spartans offense won only 13 yards in the second half. Justin Castell led the Colorado defense with 13 tackles, while Samuele Hammond and Jack Robinson had sacks and Newbold and Javarius Thompson each had an interception.

OTHER NOTES:

Season ticket holders and sponsors have until June 8 to reserve their seats for the June 15 championship. Single game tickets may be purchased by calling the front desk at 402-346-2333.

During the June 8 game, the Beef will honor the new Hall of Famers during a halftime ceremony.

Omaha Beef 2024 Schedule (7-0)

Colorado Omaha

March 24th 2:00pm CT @ Carolina Cobras W 54-43 First Downs 16 19

March 30, 6:30 PM CT Vs Colorado Spartans W 45-32 Rushing Yds 65 92

April 19 7pm CT Vs Idaho Horsemen W 63-14 Passing Yds 108 138

May 4, 6:30pm CT Vs Oklahoma Flying Aces W 42-36 Total Offense 173 230

May 11, 6:30 PM CT Vs Sioux City Bandits V 33-6 Third Down 2-8 2-6

May 18 7:10 PM CT @ Sioux City Bandits W 34-32 Fourth Down 1-5 0-0

June 1st 8pm CT @Colorado Spartans W 54-34 Sacks 2-21 5/42

June 8, 6:30pm CT Vs Carolina Cobras Points Off Turnovers 14 23

Penalties 13-70 9-59

Beef statistics

All-time beef vs. (As of 06/24/24)

Overall Record Regular Season Postseason Home Away

Sioux City Bandits 28-24 24-24 4-0 15-11 13-13

Oklahoma Fly Aces 4-0 4-0 0-0 3-0 1-0

Carolina Cobras 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 1-0

Colorado Spartans 2-0 2-0 0-0 1-0 1-0

Idaho Horsemen 1-0 1-0 0-0 1-0 0-0

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