1. Nashville Storm v Central Penn Piranha
    NAFL National Semi-Final
    October 31, 2009


    MECHANICSBURG, Pennsylvania -
    Often in sports, huge games never live up to the hype. That wasn't the case in the NAFL Final 4 Game between the Nashville Storm (13-0) and Central Penn Piranha (13-1). The game play surpassed everyone's expectations, and produced one of the most memorable games in NAFL history.

    The Nashville Storm scored 22 points in a span of 5:19 to overcome a 31-9 fourth quarter deficit against the Central Penn Piranha, and force overtime. In the extra session, it only took the Storm 2:17 to score the game-winning touchdown, which was a 25-yard pass from Phellepe Hall to DeQuinn Watford. With the victory, the Nashville Storm have punched their ticket for the NAFL National Championship in Miami.

    These two prominent NAFL franchises last met in 2004. The Piranha jumped out to a 17-0 lead at halftime, until the Storm scored 10 second half points to tighten the score at 17-10. The game came down to the final play. With the ball at the Central Penn 12-yard line, Nashville lofted a pass to the back right corner of the end zone, where Piranha cornerback Roman Morris knocked down the pass attempt as time expired. Had the Storm scored and converted the extra point, the game would've gone into overtime.

    Five years removed from that epic NAFL Final 4 contest between these two national powerhouses, it's hard to believe that the next meeting between the Central Penn Piranha and Nashville Storm could be even more exciting. On Saturday October 31, 2009, these two teams found a way to provide perhaps the most dramatic finish in NAFL playoff history.

    The game began in exciting fashion, as the Nashville Storm offense ignited a powder keg of offensive fireworks by both teams. Quarterback Phellepe Hall (22-37, 347 yards, 3 TD / 2 INT) completed back-to-back 25-yard passes to Roger Moore and DeQuinn Watford on the game's opening drive. Following an incompletion, Hall connected with Jeremie Whittaker (5-118 yards, TD) on a 21-yard strike.

    It only took the no-huddle Storm offense 4 plays to move the ball down to the 1-yard line of the Piranha. On the next play, fullback Kelcey Williams scored on a 1-yard run. Garrett Morgan added the extra point to give Nashville an early 7-0 lead.
    On their first possession, the Piranha would respond in a huge way. Facing a third-and-8 situation, Piranha quarterback Mark Jarmon fired a laser down the right sideline. His pass went inches over the hands of a Storm defender and right into the hands of his intended target, Troy Ham (2-102 yards, 2 TD), who raced 65 yards for the game-tying touchdown. Andar Rehm added the extra point to knot the game at 7 points each.

    For the hundreds of fans in attendance, this was just the beginning of a crazy, bizarre playoff game that was taking place on Halloween.

    The Piranha found a way to stop the Storm's spread offense, and forced a punt. The Central Penn offense proceeded to impose their will on Nashville via the ground game. It only took the Piranha 2:49 to cover 60 yards, all on the ground. It was capped with a 1-yard touchdown run by Emne'ko Sweeney (17-71 yards, TD). With 6:11 left in the opening quarter, it was 14-7 in favor of the Piranha.

    The Piranha defense forced a three-and-out, and took over deep in their own territory (17-yard line). The Storm defense allowed one first down, before halting the Piranha at the 28-yard line. On fourth down, the ball was snapped over the head of Jeremy Ricker and into the end zone. The Piranha punter kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone, and gave the Storm 2 points. At the time (0:06 left - first quarter), this play seemed insignificant. However, later in the game those 2 points would prove to be huge.

    The Piranha defense continued their dominance, as free safety Mike Baldwin (6 tackles, interception, 2 passes defended) picked-off a Phellepe Hall pass and returned it 4 yards to the 37-yard line of Nashville.
    Mark Jarmon wasted no time in keeping the momentum rolling in favor of the Piranha. The veteran Piranha quarterback hooked-up again with Ham, this time it was a 37-yard strike. Just like that, the Piranha had a 21-9 lead early in the second quarter.

    The high-octane Storm offense responded with a 63-yard drive, which moved the ball down to the 12-yard line of the Piranha. Hall lofted a pass to the right back corner of the end zone. Piranha cornerback Marcus Sargeant came down with the jump ball, and recorded the interception. Another bullet had been dodged by Central Penn.
    The Piranha responded with a long drive of their own, before it stalled at the 6-yard line of Nashville. Andar Rehm connected on a 25-yard field goal with 3:35 left in the first half.

    Each team had one more possession before halftime, but neither team could score. The Piranha took a commanding 24-9 lead into the locker room. Despite having all of the momentum, the Piranha knew that this game was far from over.
    After both teams exchanged punts to start the third quarter, the Piranha began the next drive at their own 9-yard line. During the next 5:44 of game time, the Piranha offense pieced together a back-braking 91-yard scoring drive. It was capped with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jarmon to Jason Harris. With 0:16 remaining in the third quarter, the Piranha now held a commanding 31-9 lead.

    The Storm were forced to punt on their next possession. Following a Piranha punt, Nashville got the ball back with only 10:13 left in the game. If there had been a travel agent on site, the Piranha fans and players probably would have been making flight reservations for Miami.

    However, that's why you play the full 60 minutes of football. The Nashville Storm traveled over 12 hours via bus to play against the Central Penn Piranha in the NAFL Final 4, and they weren't about to go down without a fight. If the Storm had any chance to win the game, it had to begin on the ensuing drive.

    Phellepe Hall cranked-up the spread formation Storm offense, and led an 87-yard scoring drive that took 3:11. The touchdown was a 32-yard pass from Hall to Jeremie Whittaker, in which the Storm receiver made a spectacular catch, and then broke a tackle to get free and into the end zone.

    It was much too early to be chasing points, but the Nashville coaching staff opted to go for the 2-point conversion. Hall's pass attempt was knocked down in the end zone by a Piranha defender, making the score 31-15 at the 7:02 mark.

    The Storm defense forced a three-and-out, and took possession at their own 42-yard line with 4:25 remaining. At this point the Storm had some momentum, but there didn't seem to be any concern on the Piranha sideline. That was about to change.

    Hall needed less than a minute (0:43) to put Nashville back in the end zone. A 39-yard pass to Whittaker help set-up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Ivan Burley. Trailing by 10, the Storm were forced to go for another 2-point conversion. This time they were successful, as a Storm receiver made a diving catch at the goal line, and rolled into the end zone.
    That made the score 31-23 with 3:46 left in the contest. Nashville officially had the attention of their counterparts from Central Penn.

    All the Piranha needed to do was notch a couple of first downs, and they could run out the clock. The ensuing drive started well, as the Storm were called for a spearing penalty on the kickoff return. The Piranha started at their own 34-yard line. A reverse by Darren Echols moved the football into Storm territory. One more first down would've put the final nail in the coffin of the Storm. However, that nail never got hammered.

    On second down, Mark Jarmon scrambled down to the 33-yard line, and had gained enough yardage needed for the game-clinching first down. With the clock approaching the two-minute warning, the Piranha were in position to potentially run out the clock, or attempt a field goal with very little time remaining. However, there was a flag on the play. It was a costly holding penalty against the Piranha. This forced the Piranha into a second and long situation, and eventually a third-and-16.

    Instead of running the ball to make Nashville burn a timeout, the Piranha opted to try and get the first down via a pass attempt. Jarmon's pass fell incomplete, forcing the Piranha to punt. The Storm sent Mario Merriwether deep to receive the punt. The Bethel College product only had one prior punt return on the night (11 yards), but he had already torched the Piranha special teams unit for 147 yards on 7 kickoff returns. He was a touchdown waiting to happen.

    In the moment when his team needed him the most, Merriwether produced perhaps the biggest play of his minor league football career, against one of the top teams in nation. Merriwether had trouble fielding the punt, but finally gathered it in at the 22-yard line. He found an alley on the near side of the field, and squirted down the sideline into Piranha territory. Merriwether had blockers, and made one final cut back into the middle of the field, and he was gone. The dangerous Mario Merriwether had finally broken the containment of the Piranha special teams unit, and had given the Storm a chance to tie the game.

    Emotions were running so high, that almost the entire Nashville Storm team ran into the end zone and jumped onto Merriwether. The Storm were flagged for excessive celebration. By NFL rules, a 15-yard penalty would be assessed on the kickoff.

    Trailing by two points, everyone in the stadium at Memorial Park knew that the game might be decided on the upcoming 2-point conversion. Phellepe Hall brought his troops to the line of scrimmage in the familiar spread formation with multiple receivers. Hall dropped back to pass, and was pressured to roll to the right side of the field. It may have only been 4-5 seconds in real time, but it seemed like an eternity for all of the players, coaches, and fans that were anxiously watching the play develop. At the last moment (Hall's trademark play), Hall fired a bullet to the back of the end zone where a Storm receiver had broken loose from the Piranha coverage. The catch was made, and the Nashville Storm had made an improbable comeback to tie the game at 31 points.

    Having to kickoff from their own 15-yard line, the Storm opted to pouch-kick it, and not let the dangerous return men of the Piranha beat them. It was a great decision, as one of the up-backs was forced to field the kick. It was only a 5-yard return, but the Piranha had the ball at their own 47-yard line. With 1:35 left in the game, the Piranha had 1 timeout, and only needed to gain about 18 yards to be in field goal range (52 yards).

    There was more than enough time for the Piranha to utilize passing or running plays. However, the Piranha decided to go with their aerial attack. An incomplete pass and a 2-yard scramble by Mark Jarmon set-up third-and-8. Jarmon tossed another incomplete pass, and the Storm still had time to win the game during regulation.

    Following a 10-yard punt return by Mario Merriwether, the Storm had the ball at their own 23-yard line with 0:27 left. Nashville ran a couple of plays before having Hall take a knee to run out the clock.

    As it was mentioned, the last time these two teams met, the Piranha almost lost a 17-point lead, and the game nearly went into overtime. This time, a 22-point lead had been squandered, and the game was going to overtime.

    The drama continued to build, as the most important item of business to begin the overtime was the coin toss. The way things had been going, it was no surprise when the Nashville Storm won the coin toss.

    Despite his phenomenal performance in the kick return area, the Piranha kicked the ball to Merriwether. He responded with his longest kickoff return of the game (38 yards), and was finally tackled at the 47-yard line of the Piranha. The Storm only needed about 17 yards to be in legitimate field goal range. They were able to do even better than that.

    Facing a second-and-2 situation at the 25-yard line, Nashville had a free down to take a shot at the end zone. Phellepe Hall tossed a pass toward the back of the end zone, where his receiver was running a post pattern. Hassan Brockman had great coverage for the Piranha. Brockman and wide receiver DeQuinn Watford were running stride-for-stride into the end zone. Both players leaped toward the ball, and Brockman broke up the pass by tipping it into the air. Brockman fell down, and Watford stayed with the play, making a diving catch in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

    It was an incredible finish to a game between two of the top teams in the country. The Nashville Storm showed a lot of heart as they completed an improbable comeback. It was pandemonium in the end zone, and this time the entire team, coaches, and staff members of the Nashville Storm celebrated without garnering a penalty.

    On the Piranha sideline and in the stands, it was very somber. They had a great season, but unfortunately for the Piranha, they had a victory in the bag and let one get away.

    As is the case when you have two professionally run organizations like the Piranha and Storm, the post game hand shake and team prayer were done with class. Not only was it a spectacular comeback, but it will also go down as one of the greatest games in NAFL history.

    The Nashville Storm (13-0) will face the St. Paul Pioneers (14-1) in the 2009 NAFL Championship Game, on November 14th in Miami, Florida.

    Inside the Numbers
    The statistics for this game were just as impressive as the storyline. The Piranha and Storm combined for 68 points, 812 total yards, 37 first downs, and 26 penalties for 199 yards. Equally as impressive was the fact that there were only 2 turnovers in the game, and the winning team committed both of them.

    The game also produced 17 big plays (20+ yards) from the line of scrimmage (Piranha 9, Storm 8), and 6 big plays on kick returns (Piranha 1, Storm 5). In fact, the average distance of a touchdown scored in this game was 30 yards.

    Game Stats
    First Downs: Storm 21, Piranha 16
    Rushing Yards: Storm 36, Piranha 333
    Passing Yards: Storm 324, Piranha 119
    Total Yards: Storm 360, Piranha 452
    Comp-Att-INT: Storm 22-37-2, Piranha 3-8-0
    Punts - Average: Storm 5-43.0, Piranha 5-36.6
    Fumbles - Lost: Storm 1-0, Piranha 1-0
    Penalties - Yards: Storm 12-85, Piranha 14-114
    3rd Down: Storm 1-8 (13%), Piranha 5-11 (45%)
    "Red Zone" Scoring: Storm 2-3 (2 TD), Piranha 2-2 (TD / FG)

    Individual Leaders
    Roosevelt Turner (Piranha) 9-99 yards
    Emne'ko Sweeney (Piranha) 17-71 yards, TD
    Nick McConnell (Piranha) 8-70 yards

    Phellepe Hall (Storm) 22-37, 347 yards, 3 TD / 2 INT
    Mark Jarmon (Piranha) 3-8, 126 yards, 3 TD / 0 INT

    Jeremie Whittaker (Storm) 5-118 yards, TD
    TDDeQuinn Watford (Storm) 4-65 yards, TD
    Roger Moore (Storm) 4-58 yards
    Ivan Burley (Storm) 5-52 yards, TD
    Troy Ham (Piranha) 2-102 yards, 2 TD

    Combined Yards
    Mario Merriwether (Storm) 273 combined yards (147 KO return, 99 punt return, 27 receiving), TD
    Darren Echols (Piranha) 101 combined yards (52 rushing, 31 punt return, 18 kickoff return)

    Nathaniel Claybrooks (Storm) 10 tackles
    Danny Roberson (Storm) 6 tackles, 2 sacks
    Will Stilley (Storm) 5 tackles
    Desmond Scantling (Storm) 5 tackles
    Mike Baldwin (Piranha) 6 tackles, INT-4 yards, 2 passes defended
    Tyree McCants (Piranha) 5 tackles, 1 pass defended
    Marcus Saregeant (Piranha) 4 tackles, 1 INT-0 yards, 2 passes defended
    Jermaine Thaxton (Piranha) 5 tackles
    Mark McCutcheon (Piranha) 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended
    Melik Brown (Piranha) 3 tackles, 1 sack

    # vimeo.com/7732839 Uploaded 4,229 Plays 0 Comments
  2. NAFL Rd 3 Playoff

    Lightning 19
    Storm 14

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  3. NAFL Rd 2 Playoff

    Generals 7
    Storm 13

    # vimeo.com/3505267 Uploaded 670 Plays 3 Comments
  4. Highlights from the Nashville Storm 2008 season. The Storm advanced to the 3rd round of the NAFL playoffs. They finished with a 13-1 record


    # vimeo.com/4043028 Uploaded 79 Plays 0 Comments
  5. Highlights from the Nashville Storm 2008 season. The Storm advanced to the 3rd round of the NAFL playoffs. They finished with a 13-1 record


    # vimeo.com/4043057 Uploaded 964 Plays 0 Comments

Nashville Storm


The Nashville Storm are a minor league outdoor football team entering our 8th season of play in the NAFL, North America’s largest minor outdoor football league with 124 teams. We are an amateur rather than a professional football organization, although…

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The Nashville Storm are a minor league outdoor football team entering our 8th season of play in the NAFL, North America’s largest minor outdoor football league with 124 teams. We are an amateur rather than a professional football organization, although we feature numerous players who have played football professionally in the past or who will play football professionally in the future. Playing football for the Nashville Storm, therefore, has usefulness for players seeking both professional and collegiate opportunities.

Over its’ first 7 years, the Nashville Storm has consistently been a championship-contending football program in the sprawling, coast-to-coast NAFL (http://www.nafl.org). The Nashville Storm has compiled an aggregate 84-16 record in its’ first 7 years of play; the Storm has won the NAFL Southern Conference Championship in 2003, 2004, and 2006, earning berths in each of those years in the “Final Four” of the NAFL’s National Playoffs. In 2006, the Nashville Storm, after winning the NAFL Southern Conference Championship, became the first visiting team to ever win an NAFL1 Semifinal or “Final Four” playoff game by traveling 825 miles to Voorhies, NJ and upsetting the 1 seeded and undefeated South Jersey Lynx 27-24. This victory put the Storm in the NAFL National Championship Game at Disneyworld for the first time, where the Storm lost an epic struggle with the Dallas Diesel 24-19, a game that was in doubt up until the final play.

In closing, these are the objectives of The Nashville Storm Minor League Men’s Football Organization:

1 - To provide the Nashville area’s best over-18 football players not currently playing in a professional or collegiate program with the opportunity to display their abilities against the highest available level of football competition.

2 - To tirelessly promote the abilities of Nashville Storm players so that those who seek either professional or collegiate opportunities have the best possible chance to realize their goals.

3 - To provide the football fans of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee area with the opportunity to enjoy football played by outstanding adult athletes at a price lower than an evening at the movies.

4 - To go to Las Vegas, Nevada on a Saturday night in November and bring an NAFL National Championship back home to the greatest fans on the planet, the football fans of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

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