The Pittsburgh Power improved to 3-1 on the season after their 56-14 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo in front of a crowd of 5,224 at CONSOL Energy Center. The game was a special Friday night edition of “NET10 Wireless Arena Football” broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The Power, who set a franchise record for largest margin of victory at home, was led by defensive back Virgil Gray, who made Power history with three interceptions in the game. Back-up quarterback and jack linebacker Arvell Nelson had a game-high 11 tackles. The 14 points scored by the VooDoo was a franchise-low for New Orleans (1-3).
Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Grady threw for five touchdowns, three of which went in the hands of wide receiver Aaron Lesué and two to wide receiver Tyrone Goard. Lesué finished the game with a game-high 10 catches for 115 yards.
On the first play from scrimmage, VooDoo defensive back Cameron McGlenn intercepted Grady’s pass and returned the ball to the Power 14-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Kurt Rocco connected with wide receiver Quorey Payne for a touchdown. Stefan Demos made the point after to give the VooDoo a 7-0 lead at the 12:30 mark of the first quarter.
The Power would go on to score the game’s next 49 points over the 54:29, beginning with a Lesué 5-yard touchdown catch from Grady. Julian Rauch made the PAT to tie the score at 7-7.
Pittsburgh took advantage of a Gray interception and converted it into a score when Grady connected with Lesué for a 6-yard touchdown on fourth and goal. Rauch added the point and gave the Power their first lead of the game, 14-7, with 12:05 remaining in the second quarter.
Pittsburgh went up 16-7 just seven seconds later when Rocco was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety. The Power extended their lead to 22-7 on Lesué’s third touchdown of the game, a 5-yard catch from Grady. The point after was no good. On the VooDoo’s next possession, the Power defense created a turnover on downs and capitalized three plays later when Grady found a wide open Goard for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Rauch’s point after was good and with 1:54 remaining in the half, the Power built a 29-7 lead.
New Orleans started their next drive at their own 3-yard line and Power linebacker Anthony Hoke intercepted Rocco and returned the ball for a touchdown which earned Hoke the Cutters Catch of the Game award. The point after was no good. The first half ended with Gray’s second interception of the game and the Power ahead 35-7.
The only touchdown of the third quarter was Goard’s second score of the game, which came on a 6-yard catch from Grady at the 3:53 mark. Rauch’s point after was good, increasing Pittsburgh’s lead to 42-7.
The fourth quarter opened with fullback Tommy Taggart scoring on a 3-yard run. Rauch’s PAT was good, extending the Power’s lead to 49-7. Nelson, in at quarterback, added to the lead on a 9-yard keeper with 3:20 remaining in the game. Rauch’s extra point made the score 56-7.
New Orleans closed out the game’s scoring with 54 seconds remaining on a L.J. Castille touchdown catch from Rocco. Demos’ kick was good, putting the score at 56-14. The 42-point margin of victory was the largest home victory in Power franchise history.
The Power will go for a franchise-tying fourth straight victory on Saturday, April 19, when they travel to Phoenix, AZ, to take on the defending ArenaBowl Champions the Arizona Rattlers. Kickoff at US Airways Center is set for 9:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast on TribLIVE Radio and ESPN3.