The train keeps rolling. For the third straight week the Atlanta Firebirds are victors, claiming a dominating 41-17 win over the Mississippi Cottonmouths.
Mississippi scored the game’s first seven points, but it was all Atlanta from there, as the Firebirds scored 41 of the game’s next 44 points.
“After a performance like that, you have to feel like we’re starting to hit our stride a little bit,” said coach Rob Ryan. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum rolling.”
Mississippi opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a 93-yard drive punctuated by a 14-yard pass from Ricky Ray to Jerell Adams.
Atlanta answered with a pair of scoring drives. They got on the board with a 68-yard drive, capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley to Cameron Meredith.
The second possession saw them gouge the defense for 92 yards on just 7 plays, with Barkley and Meredith hooking up for a 42-yard scoring bomb.
Mississippi added a late field goal to make it a 13-10 game at halftime.
Barkley padded the lead with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Robert Davis in the third quarter.
The Firebirds finished with a bang, scoring a trio of fourth-quarter touchdowns to blow the game out of the water. Barkley tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the game, hitting Derrick Griffin from 17 yards out, and the defense joined the fun as Aldon Smith sacked Ricky Ray, knocking the ball loose, for Brandon Boykin to scoop it up and return it 21 yards for a score. Matt Breida finished Atlanta’s scoring with a 7-yard touchdown.
Mississippi added a garbage-time score with an 11-yard pass from Connor Cook to Adams.
Barkley finished the game 18 of 25 for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Breida ran for 87 yards on 23 carries.
Meredith hauled in 7 catches for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Boykin led the defense with 7 tackles and the fumble recovery. The pass rush was on point, racking up 4 sacks, with Ethan Westbrooks notching two and Aldon Smith and Grady Jarrett each tallying one.
The Firebirds (3-2) hit the road again this week to face a desperate Seattle Orcas (1-4) squad.
“They want a win bad. They’re going to be scratching and clawing,” said Ryan. “We’ve got to pack our hard hats and be ready to work.”