GDFL Game of the Week: OKC vs. Oklahoma Thunder
Preseason #1 and #3 teams in the nation face off in Bixby
BY: Michael Stewart, Public Information Director, Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters
Just two games removed from playing in Gridiron Bowl V in Memphis, Tenn. last season, the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters will face one of their biggest tests of the upcoming year. The top-ranked team in the Gridiron Developmental Football League travels to Bixby, Okla. to revive an old interstate rivalry with the 2013 GDFL National Champion Oklahoma Thunder Saturday, June 6 with kickoff set to begin at 7:00 p.m. at Bixby High School.
The Bounty Hunters opened their season last weekend after being forced to postpone the first two games of the schedule due to torrential rain in the area. But, against the Twin City Spartans last week, Oklahoma City started the season off right with a 53-0 shutout victory, after scoring 26 points in the first half. The Spartans can somewhat be viewed as a barometer for how each team will fare, with both teams partaking in high scoring shutout games against them. The Thunder are coming off of a bye week in which they earned a 74-0 win over Twin City in their first road game of the season played May 23. They started their season May 16th in Bixby with a 76-6 win over the Lawton Hellcats.
Expectations loom high for the Bounty Hunters, after competing in the most competitive Gridiron Bowl in league history played on Sept. 27, 2014, ultimately dropping a 21-19 decision to the Central Penn Piranha. The Bounty Hunter defense created multiple turnovers against Central Penn, but ultimately could not get into the endzone at the latter end of the contest. After being that close to capturing two championships in a single season (OKC won the Texas XFL league in 2014), the Thunder will prove to be the first major test in a revival of the Turnpike Rivalry that has been two years in the making.
Two of the most dangerous players that the Thunder have in their arsenal are QB Brandon Noohi and former OSU player Prentiss Elliott. Noohi, a former UCO standout, was a member of the predecessor to the Bounty Hunters in the Oklahoma City Diamondbacks, which gave the Thunder their first ever loss to an in-state team four years ago at Millwood High School. Elliott is the top offensive player for the Thunder, as he consistently looks to be a threat to score every time he is locked up man-to-man. Another player that can’t be ignored is Ryan Gallimore, a former receiver for the Diamondbacks, and another big play receiver for the Thunder.
Countering the offensive attack, will be the lethal defense of the Bounty Hunters, led by Langston University standout and GDFL All-Star Lionel Bibbins. Bibbins has been known to play both linebacker and defensive line, and also has the ability on offense to score as a tight end, so don’t rule out the possibility of him play all three phases of the game (special teams included) in the game. Other defensive standouts include Lamont McDonald, who has the ability to work past double teams to put pressure on the quarterback, and Myshun “Sonny” Bowie. Expect the Thunder to air it out early and often if they can’t get their running game going on the ground.
The Bounty Hunter defense will include a capable one-two punch between “The Monster” Reggie Arnold and Justin Johnson. If that forces the Thunder to put eight men in a box, then OKC has options to air it out to former Philadelphia Eagle Gerald Jones, along with other in-state standouts such as former SE OSU standout Zak Frederick and East Central alum Cleotha Ewins. All three receivers have been especially known for great hands if they go on a hotstreak with the pigskin. But, don’t forget about former Bacone Warrior and Midwest City Bomber Vincent Pinniy. One of, if not THE fastest player(s) on Bounty Hunters, Pinniy can break the game open with a kickoff return or in one-on-one coverage against a questionable defender. The contest may boil down to who makes the bigger plays between Pinniy and Elliott on their respective sides of the football.
Join us for our weekly coach’s show at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday morning (today) on KEBC 1560 AM, The Franchise 2 in Oklahoma City. Colby Powell will join Bounty Hunter coaches Brian Kelly and Kevin Cox to preview the contest. Then, tune back into The Franchise 2 at 7:00 p.m. to hear all of the action live as it happens from Bixby.
If you do happen to make it out to Bixby, the Oklahoma Thunder are giving away a 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer at the game. The team will be selling raffle tickets, and the lucky winner will get a chance to kick a field goal to win the vehicle. So, in addition to watching an outstanding football game, you also have the chance to win a new car. A recap with interviews will be posted here by the end of the weekend.