When I thought about putting this post together for this week, I had hoped it would be our local team in this slot but in the heavyweight semi-pro football of matchups, this game went to the Oklahoma Thunder as they defeated the Nashville Storm, 29-16 in Gridiron Bowl VII played in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.
To save any confusion, this is NOT the NBA team that plays in Oklahoma City.
Never heard of this Thunder team or the Gridiron Bowl?
The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is one of the few stable semi-pro football leagues in the United States. The GDFL currently has 25 teams and just finished their sixth season with the Gridiron Bowl.
The Thunder defense dominated the defending champion Nashville Storm, scoring a defensive touchdown in the third quarter and shutting down Nashville’s rushing offense, holding them to 28 yards. The Thunder also forced four turnovers and sacked the Storm quarterback six times in the game.
With the Thunder leading 15-14 in the third quarter, the Storm blocked a punt and took over possession at the Thunder 7. Nashville tried two running plays but were unable to gain positive yardage. The Thunder intercepted a third-down pass to end the threat. Oklahoma QB Brandon Noohi completed passes of 70 and 20 yards on the ensuing drive. The drive was capped with a 5-yard run by Josh Birmingham to extend the Thunder lead to 22-14.
The Thunder won their fifth national title. Their first since 2013. The win over Nashville snapped the Storm’s 21-game win streak.
Gridiron Bowl Results:
- 2010 – Gridiron Bowl I: Carolina Warriors 15, Kentucky Wolverines 7
- 2011 – Gridiron Bowl II: Chambersburg Cardinals 19, Oklahoma Thunder 14
- 2012 – Gridiron Bowl III: Central Penn Piranha 49, South Buffalo Celtics 14
- 2013 – Gridiron Bowl IV: Oklahoma Thunder 56, Lehigh Valley Storm 8
- 2014 – Gridiron Bowl V: Central Penn Piranha 21, Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters 19
- 2015 – Gridiron Bowl VI: Nashville Storm 31, Crescent City Kings 28
- 2016 – Gridiron Bowl VII: Oklahoma Thunder 29, Nashville Storm 16