The Virginia Destroyers beat the Las Vegas Locomotives, 17-3, in the United Football League championship game on Friday night before a standing-room crowd of 14,172 at the Sportsplex in Virginia Beach, giving Head Coach/General Manager Marty Schottenheimer his first championship after more than 200 professional coaching victories.
In a game dominated by defense, Destroyers safety Aaron Rouse whose threee interceptions included one in the end zone and another returned for a 46-yard touchdown was named the game’s Most Valuable Plaayer. Rouse graduated from First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, about 20 minutes up the road from the Sportsplex.
Neither team was able to move the ball consistently, and most of the scoring was set up by big plays on defense and special teams. The Destroyers completely shut down the Las Vegas offense, as the Locos did not manage a first down until midway through the third quarter. Virginia had more success moving the ball and eating up the clock, but even so the Destroyers’ offense was more workmanlike than explosive.
The Destroyers led 17-3 at halftime, and neither team scored in the second half. Virginia running back Dominic Rhodes, the league’s offensive MVP, rushed for 90 yards but averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Quarterback Chris Greisen completed 21 of 31 passes for 154 yards, but had trouble finding open receivers downfield. Virginia put up 254 yards of offense, compared to 154 for Las Vegas.
The Destroyers took charge of the game midway through the first quarter, when Rouse stepped in front of a Vegas receiver and picked off a pass from Chase Clement. With nothing but open field in front of him, Rouse returned the interception 46 yards untouched, dancing the final 20 yards into the end zone. The kick by Delbert Alvarado gave the Destroyers a 7-0 lead. It was Rouse’s second interception of the first quarter.
The Destroyers’ second score was set up by the special teams, as Clifton Smith’s 60-yard punt return built by brooken tackles, good cuts and solid blocks gave Virginia the ball inside the Las Vegas 10-yard line. Two plays later, Rhodes scored from two yards out to make it 14-0.
The Locos got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Clint Stitser. The field goal was set up by the Las Vegas defense, as Alfred Malone delivered a crunching sack on Greisen, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Montavious Stanley deep in Destroyers territory.
After Stitser’s field goal with 4:40 remaining, Greisen led the Destroyers on the only sustained drive of the first half 12 plays and 75 yards – but they could not get into the end zone. Virginia settled for a 21-yard field goal by Alvarado in the final seconds for a 17-3 lead.
Virginia’s defense continued to come up with big plays in the second half sacks by Eric Moore and McKinley Boykin, and a key stop on a fourth-and-1 play. In the fourth quarter, with the Locos trying to pull within a touchdown, Rouse came up with his third interception of the night outleaping tight end Jamie Petrowski in the fronnt corner of the end zone and coming down with the ball.
The Las Vegas defense was just as impressive in the second half, with linebacker Brandon Moore coming up with a diving, one-handed interception in the fourth quarter to keep the Locos’ hopes alive.
In the game’s final minute, the Locos drove toward the end zone and Clement ran the ball inside the 5-yard line, only to have a personal foul move the ball back 15 yards. On the next play, Maurice Fountain sacked Clement to put the game out of reach. It was the sixth time Clement was sacked.
Las Vegas Locos (3-2) vs. Virginia Destroyers (4-1)
Date: Oct 21, 2011
Site: Virginia Beach, VA
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Las Vegas Locos 0 3 0 0 3
Virginia Destroyers 7 10 0 0 17
VA 08:32 Aaron Rouse 46 yd interception return (Delb. Alvarado kick)
VA 13:54 Dominic Rhodes 2 yd run (Delb. Alvarado kick)
LV 04:40 Clint Stitser 32 yd field goal
VA 00:05 Delb. Alvarado 21 yd field goal
About The United Football League
The UFL provides high-quality professional football during a traditional fall season while embracing innovation and fan interaction. The UFL serves its local communities with pride and dedication, and aims to provide every fan with an exciting and memorable game experience. The inaugural 2009 champion Las Vegas Locos won a second championship in 2010, lifting the William Hambrecht Trophy with a 23-20 win over the Florida Tuskers. The 2011 season will feature the Locos, Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions and Virginia Destroyers. The UFL is led by Commissioner Michael Huyghue and is funded by a consortium of private investors. For season tickets, more information and to interact with passionate football fans, please visit www.UFL-Football.com.