Thunder tumbles in Louisville, falls to 5-8
Receiver DeMarcus Mathes and QB Glen Gauntt were injured in the 57-32 loss.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Mahoning Valley Thunder lost their second straight game in af2 Saturday night, a 57-32 defeat to the Louisville Fire at Freedom Hall.
The Thunder (5-8) remain tied for last place in the East Division with the Albany Conquest, Friday night’s opponent at the Chevrolet Centre.
The Thunder are tied for 10th place in the American Conference playoff standings.
The game was marred by injuries to Thunder wide receiver DeMarcus Mathes and quarterback Glen Gauntt.
Mathes hits wall
During the Thunder’s first offensive series, Mathes flew head-first into the padded end zone wall and did not get up. Mathes complained of a temporary loss of feeling in his body and was transported to an area hospital for x-rays, according to a Thunder spokesman. As he left the field, Mathes gained feeling in his legs and was able to move his feet for the paramedics.
X-rays on his neck were negative and Mathes rejoined the team following the game, walking under his own power.
Gauntt completed 10-of-17 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns before aggravating an injury to the thumb on his right hand in the second quarter.
He was replaced by Mike Schneider, who finished the game 14-of-28 for 157 yards. Schneider also threw a pair of TD passes and, like Gauntt, was intercepted once.
All four touchdown passes went to Chris Johnson, who caught 10 passes overall for 140 yards. Johnson was activated from the injured reserve list earlier in the week, filling the vacant spot left by Chris Archie who was placed on team suspension.
Kenneth Johnson added eight catches for 84 yards.
Fire QB’s numbers
Louisville’s Joel Steele was 12-of-23 for 198 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Tiger Jones caught seven passes — four of them for TDs — for 141 yards.
The Fire jumped ahead 14-0 on a 17-yard run by Tony Stallings and a 38-yard pass from Steele and Jones.
A Gauntt-to-Chris Johnson 33-yard pass made it 14-7 after one period, and the Fire led 29-19 at halftime.
The Thunder closed to 35-26 midway through the third quarter on a 16-yard pass from Schneider to Chris Johnson, but Louisville pulled away with two scores in a six-minute span, both Steele-to-Jones passes, to make it 48-26 with 9:43 remaining.