By Mike Biana
Follow him on Twitter @mikebiana
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
If you can’t stand the Inferno, get out of The BankUnited Center.
The Miami Inferno, the newcomers of the Ultimate Indoor Football League, dazzled in front of their home crowd on Sunday, all but bullying the Missouri VooDoo on their way to a 69-8 victory. It was the team’s first game at home. Despite the small sample size, it’s evident that the Inferno have a definite home field advantage.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric as the fans in attendance provided incredibly energy appropriate for the team’s first home outing. The loud and at times downright rabid crowd donned orange and blue shirts, hats, and other gear emblazoned with the sharp Inferno logo, providing the authentic feel of a home game. Coupled with the strong victory, the buzz inside “The BUC” all but signified the start of a beautiful relationship between the new franchise and its fans.
The Inferno went on a rampage early, putting up a 50-spot in just the first half alone. While Miami relied heavily on its running game in the season opener, head coach Pete Taylor opened up the playbook in this one, highlighting starting quarterback and former FIU star Tavares Woodley in his play calling. Woodley accounted for six touchdowns on the day, throwing for five and rushing for another.
Meanwhile, defensive lineman Bernard Williamson pulled out a performance reminiscent of Chicago Bears great William “The Refrigerator” Perry getting in some time at running back and plodding ahead for two short touchdown runs in the first half.
However, it wasn’t just the offense that was running on all cylinders. In fact, it was usually the Inferno’s swarming defense that led to a short field for the offense. Linebacker Jack White had two interceptions on the day, returning one for a touchdown in the first quarter.
There was no “black magic” for the visiting VooDoo, as the team from Missouri couldn’t muster any offense whatsoever for a majority of the afternoon. Their lone touchdown came on the first drive in the fourth quarter, a juggling catch down the middle of the field by wide receiver Trevor Fanning. Their other score was a defensive one: a safety, midway through the second quarter. The VooDoo are off to an 0-2 start, including a loss in their opener to the Corpus Christi Fury by a count of 60-20. The Fury will be coming into town for a showdown in Coral Gables on June 15th.
As for the Inferno, they play again on June 8th, the team’s second home game of the season. They’ll be squaring off against the Florida Tarpons, the UIFL’s reigning champions, for the second time this season. Tickets are on sale here.