Warriors protect new home

from staff reports

   JOHNSON CITY -- Despite lightning and scattered showers, the Mountain Empire Warriors defeated the Carolina Storm 22-6 Saturday night in an impressive showing at Spurrier Field, their new home.
   The Warriors improved to 2-0 in the North American Football League Southeast Region, defeating a team that had beaten its previous two opponents 23-0 and 57-0.
   The Warriors' defense once again was dominant, holding the Storm to 125 total yards and scoring a touchdown and a safety against the Storm's offense. Carolina rushed for only 30 yards on 35 attempts and found few holes in the frenzied Warriors' defense.
   An early Donny Lafleur touchdown and 31-yard field goal by Nick Reggio in the first quarter set the tone for the Warriors defense to go after the Storm's offense with what is becoming its signature aggressive style.
   Carolina's score came with 34 seconds left in the game, after a near interception by Derrick Fudge would have sealed the Warriors' second shutout.
   "Our speed overwhelms people at times," said head coach Mark Tucker. "In the two games we played, our speed was a tremendous asset. I would hate to have to pass protect 20 to 25 times a game against our people with that speed."
   The defenses held to a standstill until the fourth quarter when Nick Reggio hit a career-best 50-yard field goal with 11:33 left in the game to an erupting home crowd.
   On the next possession, the Storm took an intentional safety after a James Russell sack on Storm QB Albert Jones and two false-start penalties.
   On the Storm's next possession, Eric Black saw his own gift from heaven fall to his feet. A viscious hit by Andrew Simmons on a Warriors blitz knocked the ball loose and Black knew exactly what he had to do.
   "When I saw the ball on the ground, it looked like a bag of money," he said.
   Black returned it 30 yards for the defense's first touchdown.
   The Mountain Empire Warriors host the Asheville Grizzlies next Saturday at Spurrier Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the gate or can be purchased at Pug's Subs in downtown Johnson City, Mojos in the Johnson City Mall, Cow and Coffee in the Roan Center, or at the Warriors office. Call (423)928-4324 for information