Defense Shined with 7 Sacks, Shelhamer and Cohen Jr. Could Not Be Stopped!

by Logan Semegram

It was an intense Saturday night in Tampa as the undefeated first year Thunder took on the defending FFA champion, the Southwest Florida Gladiators. What seemed like a playoff atmosphere, was only week four of the 2022 season. 

The Southwest Florida Gladiators came into Saturday with three titles in league history, along with four losses in the last five years. 

“We knew this was not going to be a walk in the park, Mario was going to be a problem," said outside Linebacker and Edge Rusher Ronnie Cohen Jr. 

Gladiator Dual-threat Quarterback, Mario Davis, who evaded what seemed to be multiple sacks, still found himself running for his life. 

Ronnie Cohen Jr. had himself a field day. He had two sacks, one causing a fumble, and applied pressure to the quarterback on 82% of his snaps on the field. 

Edge-rusher Dakota Shelhamer, who plays opposite of Cohen Jr, was just as hungry with a sack and pressuring Mario Davis on 71% of snaps he was on the field. 

I had the chance to speak with Linebacker Coach Ricky Rausch and Defensive Coordinator Cody Endris who had high praise for the boys on defense. 

“On a team with such offensive talent, the defense really took control and won us this game," Endris explained. 

Endris’ defense came away with seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. 

The Thunder offense had some issues finding rhythm as Quarterback Brian Waiters was forced into pressure in what seemed to be most drives. It was Running Back Joshua Hicks who seemed to be the X-factor. Hicks had what seemed to be his first stand out game, as well as a touchdown. 

This was only the beginning of this division rivalry, as the Tampa Bay Thunder take the first matchup in its history by a score of 21-19. 

Copy Edited by: Joshua Katz