SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With any shot of making the playoffs relying on winning the final four games on the schedule, the Utah Warriors came up short against the Sioux Falls Storm. With tornado warnings in the area, the Storm took advantage of three Utah turnovers and defeated the Warriors 62-37. The Warriors scored on the game's first possession to lead 7-0 but trailed 10-7 after the first quarter and were behind 27-10 at the half. Sioux Falls then outscored Utah 28-14 in the third to put an end to any chance the Warriors had of making a comeback.
Cole Cooper started at quarterback for the Warriors, replacing Doug Smith who missed the trip because of a separated shoulder suffered last week. Cooper started strong, going 3 for 3 on the opening drive, including a touchdown strike to Mike Rigell. Utah then held the Storm to a field goal, but Cooper was intercepted on the Warriors' next possession. That lead to a Jose Fuentes to Casey Veenhof touchdown, giving the Storm the lead they would never give up. Veenhof finished the first half with three touchdowns, one coming from Storm back-up QB Ryan Williams who took one snap while Fuentes recovered from an injury.
The Warriors then failed to score on four straight possessions while only stopping Sioux Falls on one, a failed fake field goal. In that stretch the Storm built the lead to 27-7, but Pete Garces kicked a field goal as time expired on the first half to cut the lead to 17.
Cooper finished the game 13x28 with 150 yards and 3 touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. Mike Rigell had 4 receptions for 65 yards and scored 1 time. Emmett White also had four catches for 53 yards and one score.
Justin Bivins led the Strom attack with 84 yards rushing and scoring once. Fuentes was 19x23 for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. Williams finished with four carries for 15 yards and three touchdowns, plus one reception for 28 yards and the one touchdown passing.
With Omaha losing the Warriors stayed alive in the wild card race, but will need a win in each of the final three games and some help along the way. The first step in that stretch is next Saturday, June 5 against the Beaumont Drillers at the E-Center.