CEDAR RAPIDS – The Cedar Rapids Titans and Sioux Falls Storm have met in the conference title game in each of the past four seasons.
If the Titans have any hope to make it five, they will need to dig out of an ever-increasing hole.
Cedar Rapids surrendered touchdowns on the first three possessions of each half and were routed by Sioux Falls, 51-26, Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“Still too many mistakes,” Cedar Rapids Coach Marvin McNutt said. “When you make mistakes, you can’t beat a team like Sioux Falls.”
The lopsided score was a harsh indicator of how much ground McNutt and his rebuilt roster have lost to the six-time Indoor Football League champion Storm (2-0).
Before Saturday, Cedar Rapids had won three of four home games with Sioux Falls and stamped itself as the franchise most likely to topple the Storm dynasty. Now, Sioux Falls’ stranglehold on the United Conference looks even tighter as Cedar Rapids is 0-2 for the first time in the six-year history of the club.
“It’s still early, we’re still young, still some spots that need to be adjusted,” McNutt said.
Cedar Rapids quarterback Brion Carnes, who was signed Feb. 13 following his release from the Iowa Barnstormers, connected on first-half touchdown throws of 26 and 36 yards to receiver Tre Parmalee, who caught five passes for 78 yards. Carnes added two late TD tosses to former Iowa receiver Damond Powell and finished 13-of-26 passing for 198 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
“It’s early,” Carnes said. “It’s the second game of the season. We progressed and got a lot better since last week.”
The Cedar Rapids defense had its moments in the second quarter. Faced with a 21-6 deficit after three possessions, the Titans forced a field goal and stopped the Storm at the 1-yard-line on the final play of the half when Sioux Falls quarterback Lorenzo Brown was corralled by the Titans’ trio of defensive lineman Carlif Taylor and defensive backs Tony Grimes and B.J. Lowery, a former Iowa player.
While the goal-line stand kept the halftime score at 24-12, any defensive momentum was short-lived. Brown opened the second half with touchdown passes of 36 and 44 yards to Melvin German, sandwiched around a five-yard strike to Korey Williams that blew the game open at 45-12 midway through the third quarter.
“Just knock down some of the mental errors,” said linebacker Curtis Thomas, who collected nine tackles.
Former William Penn linebacker Fred Griggs collected a game-high 11 tackles, while Lowery added 10.
Brown threw for 147 yards, ran for 74 and accounted for four total touchdowns for the Storm.
Cedar Rapids hosts Wichita Falls on March 3 in another playoff rematch from last season.
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