Tag Archives: ThunderTopPlay

2014 #ThunderTopPlay Champion Announced

Thunder Top Play - Eric Crocker and Varmah Sonie

It took a couple of months, but we did it! We determined the single top play of the 2014 season for the Portland Thunder.

Fitting for a defensive backfield that had three players in the league’s top 10  turnover forcers, the top play of the Thunder season was Eric Crocker’s interception of the Tampa Bay Storm’s B.J. Hall, which turned into a 23-yard touchdown run by Varmah Sonie.

The play involved one of the EIGHT fumbles between both teams in the game, six of which were picked up by the opposing team.  Tampa Bay’s Michael Lindsey forced three of them, the top mark for the AFL in 2014, including the one that sent Sonie into the end zone.

“Not again!” said Crocker, when asked about what he was thinking as the ball was poked out by Lindsey. “But Varmah was Johnny-on-the-spot, and he has great return skills, so once the ball hit his hands, I was like ‘He’s going to score anyway.'”

The cap to the play was Sonie’s roll across the end zone from the T of Tampa to the Y of Bay before Coach William Mulder stopped him and pulled him up to celebrate.

“I was just happy I got in the end zone,” said Sonie. “I think that was my first touchdown of the season on defense, so I was just excited.”

Check out the full interviews with Crocker and Sonie below.


#ThunderTopPlay, Battle Royale Finale!

Since #ThunderTopPlay never got properly resolved in 2015, let’s fix that early in 2015 with a Battle Royale among the final four.

Battle Royale graphic
2014’s #ThunderTopPlay finalists!

If you remember way back in November, we started with 32 plays from the Thunder’s five wins (because I didn’t have video from EVERY game, but I did have video from the wins – and how can a top play not contribute to a win?) We narrowed it down to four before this blog temporarily disappeared.

Now it has been resurrected, and we’re going to finish what we start.

Our final four will battle – you can vote in the poll below. You can vote for it on the Thunder Fans’ Facebook group. You can vote by hitting me with the proper hashtag on Twitter or in a comment replying to my picture on Instagram.

Let’s go to our announcer:

Coming out of the New Orleans region, it’s the No. 6 seed – K.C. “The Assassin” OHHHHHbi!

And now, from the Florida region, coming from an upset off of one of the AFL’s plays of the year, Douglas McNeil’s one-handed grab, it’s a tag-team entry! Welcome Eric Crocker and Varmah Sonieeeeeee!

I’m not sure how he’s going to do it, but Obi’s battling on two separate entries in this Battle Royale! He sees the Crocker/Sonie tag team and has picked up a teammate of his own! Out of the Los Angeles region, it’s KC Obi and Bryce Peila!

And finally, the lowest seed to make the final, an underdog all the way through, who simply “can’t stop, won’t stop” on his way to glory, it’s Dannnyyyyyyyyyyyy Southwiiiiiiiiiiick, with the longest TD run of the year!

You have until kickoff of the Oregon Ducks/Ohio State playoff championship game to get your votes in, so vote early! Vote often!

#ThunderTopPlay, San Antonio Final

San Antonio stayed true to form, continuing to be the upset bracket. We’re left with the 4 seed and 7 seed battling each other to face our Los Angeles finalist on Friday.

Here are your San Antonio finalists:

In this corner, here’s the 4 seed, the infamous Sonie/Peila tag team striking the Talons. Big reception? How about no, says Sonie, and Peila returns it into the red zone.

In the other corner, we have the longest touchdown run in Thunder history. We suspect QB Danny “Lightning” Southwick is rigging the vote somehow, but he just keeps getting through…kind of like he got through the Talons’ defense.

To vote in the Los Angeles final, click here.

Thunder Top Play, FLA Region 1 vs 4

No upsets in the Florida bracket, which is probably the strongest bracket of the four, since we were able to use highlights from two games and battle them against each other.

Both of these are fantastic catches; we can probably assume that McNeil’s catch is going to continue a run to the regional finals, but let’s not underestimate the difficulty level in managing to stay under the bars on the jump, then getting down in time to tap the toes before hauling in the INT.

To vote in today’s other matchup, click here.

Thunder Top Play, NO Region 2 vs 6

With the second big upset of the tournament, KC Obi caught that Sonie interception completely unaware like it was a kick returner.

Now he’ll have to go up against…the Thunder’s only kick return for a touchdown this year, when Jamar Howard took the onside kick from the Voodoo and didn’t just secure it, but completed a mad dash for the end zone to give the Thunder the game-winning score. A quick four-and-out later and the Thunder sealed their second home win of the season.

Which special teams highlight will move on?

To vote in today’s other competition, click here.

Thunder Top Play, SA Region 3 vs 7

Oh yes he did! Danny Southwick, starting the tournament as a 7-seed, sensed an opening and sprinted through to the second round with the longest TD run in Thunder history.

Jeffrey Solomon’s shoestring catch is a strong contender for Catch of the Year, especially impressive considering how it went unnoticed by award-givers. He takes it off the ground, Sno-cones it with one hand while sliding and flipping over by the wall, and retains the presence of mind to try to get it over the goal line before the Talons’ defender can touch him.

But who can deny Danny Southwick? The Talons’ defense definitely didn’t. Will Solomon’s great catch? Will Thunder fans?

To vote in today’s other contest, click here.

What are we doing? We wrote about this earlier in the month.

Why are we doing it? To remind you of some great moments in 2014 as we lead up to our 2014/15 Open Tryout!

Thunder Top Play, Round 2: Regional Semis

We’re through the first round, which means we’ve eliminated 16 plays from contention. Goodbye, Marquis Jackson’s big fumble return against Los Angeles that helped set the Thunder up with a halftime lead. Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson, who had the misfortune of going up against a pair of juggernauts in Round 1.

#ThunderTopPlay Bracket after Round 1
#ThunderTopPlay Round 1 is complete! Help determine the top play from the season throughout November on our “Beyond the Boards” blog!

Eleven players were involved in the remaining 16 plays, but that doesn’t mean other guys didn’t make plays. With 18 games and 40+ men who wore Thunder uniforms this season, some guys didn’t get featured as much as they deserved, because their exploits came in losses or we didn’t have video of the great play they made.

So as we enter Round 2, let’s give a special shout-out to some of the guys that didn’t get included, like DEs Donte Paige-Moss and Ayo Idowu. KR/WR Duane Brooks had some huge plays in the return game. FB Dustin Risseeuw played only one regular season game, but picked up two bar balls against San Jose in what nearly became the first win of the year for Portland. And of course, offensive linemen rarely get their day in the sun. Behind every top play is a team – even when we’re honoring incredible individual plays, let’s remember the others who helped make them happen.

Each day this week, we’ll be setting up a section final, getting ready to wrap up with a champion on Nov. 30, when we’ll declare 2014 over for the Portland Thunder. The next day, December 1, marks open tryouts, the beginning of the 2015 season for us and the first opportunity to check out the players that might end up making 2015’s #ThunderTopPlay.

If you’d like to sign up for open tryouts, you can do so here.

Open Tryouts Link

Thunder Top Play Tourney, Week 1 Recap

 Dave and Buster's Ad

We’re through a week of voting for 2014’s top play! The second round in the top half of the bracket has been set, with eight different players’ highlights being represented, a tribute to how much of a team effort these games are. The big upset of the first round was Danny Southwick, who ran past 2-seed Varmah Sonie with the longest touchdown run in Thunder history.

Top Play bracket after a week of voting

Next week will feature plays from our wins over our American Conference foes, the New Orleans Voodoo, Jacksonville Sharks, and Tampa Bay Storm. Be ready for several more great plays and help us determine who came up with the Thunder’s top play in 2014!

Don’t forget! YOU could make the top play for the Thunder in 2015! We have open tryouts on December 1 (QB, WR, DB) and 2 (FB, LB, OL, DL). Sign up early and save $20 on registration fees!

We’ll also be at the Dave and Buster’s opening in Clackamas from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, November 10 – stop by and say hi to Darron Thomas! But before you do that, go like their Facebook page. Since they got to 1,000 likes before tomorrow, we’re sending Darron with some extra prizes to give away to fans on Monday.

2014 Thunder Top Play, Day 4: Big Fumble vs. Big Hits

KC Obi, a Southern Californian, wreaked havoc on the Los Angeles KISS in the game at the Moda Center. The iconic play of the game was obviously the sack and forced fumble that resulted in Bryce Peila’s touchdown, putting the Thunder on top for good. But we couldn’t let Obi’s other work in the game go unnoticed. He posted a huge tackle for a loss early in the game and then crushed KISS returner AJ Cruz on a return later in the game.

Which rounds out the Round Two competitors in the Los Angeles Region?

To vote in today’s other battle, click here.

2014 Thunder Top Play, Day 1: Rumble vs. Robinson

It’s hard out there for Alvance Robinson. You go out, you make a great catch while getting pushed towards the wall…and you get rewarded by having to go up against a big man touchdown in the first round. Stanley Daniels’ TD couldn’t have been much easier, but the ski jump celebration pushes it into the top seed in the San Antonio region of the bracket.

Which play moves on to Round 2?

To vote on today’s other matchup, click here.