The Pittsburgh Power (11-3) clinched the first-ever playoff berth in franchise history after a 57-27 victory over the Iowa Barnstormers (6-8) in front of a crowd of 6,657 at CONSOL Energy Center this evening. With the win, the Power extended its franchise-best winning streak to eight games.
Power quarterback Tommy Grady was 24-of-31 with 7 touchdowns. With his 334 yards passing performance, he moved ahead of AFL Hall of Famer Jay Gruden to move into 13th place all-time in passing yards. Receiver Rodney Wright pulled in 8 catches for 107 yards and 4 touchdowns. Receiver Prechae Rodriguez had 9 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku had seven catches for 111 yards and one touchdown.
Defensive back Al Phillips set a franchise record with 14 tackles. Brandon Freeman and Andre Jones each had an interception.
On the first play from scrimmage, Freeman intercepted Barnstormers’ quarterback Carson Coffman and returned the ball to the Iowa 6-yard line. However, the Power could not capitalize and turned the ball over on downs. The Barnstormers were the first to get on the board after a 10-play 48 yard drive was capped with a Darius Reynolds 1 yard touchdown run. Kicker Ross Gornhall added the extra point to give Iowa a 7-0 lead. The Power answered with a 26 yard touchdown pass by Grady to Wright. Julian Rausch kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Iowa regained the lead early in the 2nd quarter on a Reynolds 11 yard touchdown catch. Gornhall kicked the point after to make the score 14-7. The Power tied the score at 14-14 when Grady found Shaun Kauleinamoku for a 24 yard touchdown catch and Rausch kicking the extra point. Iowa went ahead 20-14 on Derik Steiner’s 1 yard touchdown rush. Gornhall’s PAT attempt was wide right. With 10 seconds remaining in the half, Tommy Taggart’s 1 yard touchdown tied the score and Rausch’s extra point gave the Power its first lead of the game at 21-20 heading into halftime.
On the third play of the 3rd quarter, Grady connected with Rodriguez for a 20 yard touchdown catch. Rausch added the extra point, extending the lead to 28-20. Iowa got within one point of tying the game after Coffman found Reynolds for a 4 yard touchdown and Gornhall’s extra point made the score 28-27. The Power responded with Wright’s second touchdown catch of the game from Grady’s 9 yard pass. Rausch kicked the extra point to make the score 35-27.
The Power defense opened the 4th quarter by forcing the Barnstormers to turn the ball over on downs. They took advantage of the situation as Rodriguez caught his second touchdown of the game from Grady, this time from 31 yards out. Rausch’s extra point attempt was good and the Power’s lead was extended to 15 points at 42-27. After the Power’s Jones intercepted Coffman, the offense turned the miscue into a score when Grady found Wright for a 4 yard touchdown catch, his third score of the game. Rausch kicked the extra point making the score 49-27. The Power’s defense forced a safety on Iowa’s ensuing possession when Curtis Young forced an intentional grounding call on Coffman. This made the score 51-27. The Power closed out the game’s scoring on Wright’s fourth touchdown catch from Grady from 41 yards that made the final score 57-27.
The Power will be away from CONSOL Energy Center for the next four weekends. Next week they face the Jacksonville Sharks on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, June 28th. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm ET. Following their trip to Florida, they visit the New Orleans VooDoo on Monday, July 7th. After a bye week, the Power travel to Iowa to face the Barnstormers on Saturday, July 19th. The Regular season concludes at home against in-state and division rival Philadelphia Soul. Kickoff at CONSOL Energy Center is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET. All of the games will be broadcast on TribLIVE Radio and the Philadelphia game will also air on thisTV Pittsburgh.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tommy Grady, Pittsburgh
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Al Phillips, Pittsburgh
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Rodney Wright, Pittsburgh
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Shaun Kauleinamoku’s touchdown catch
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
James Bryant/Maurice Fountain sack