DURHAM — The North Carolina Bison have come a long way in a short period of time.
Just two months ago, owner Harold Turner wasn’t even sure he’d have a team. Only five prospects showed up at the initial tryout.
But Turner kept the faith and now, midway through the season, the Bison are undefeated (5-0, 2-0) and in first place in the Coastal Division of the Gridiron Developmental Football League after Saturday night’s 60-21 win over the Virginia Titans at Durham County Stadium.
The Bison almost had a forfeit on their hands after their initial Saturday opponent, the Rock Hill Scorpions, were dismissed from the league last week for “failing to address a directive by the league office as well as breaching a number of league policies,” GDFL Vice President of Operations Tracey Hardney Scott wrote in a letter to league members. “This organization isn’t in good standing and NO GDFL team should compete against them.”
The Bison hastily contacted the Titans of the Mason-Dixon Football League who agreed to the match-up, even though their season doesn’t start until July.
“We owe them a debt of gratitude,” Bison coach Doug Hall said. “We called them on Wednesday and they agreed to give us the game.”
The Bison are averaging over 35 points per game and winning by an average margin of 20 points.
Quarterback Allen Lee, making his second start of the season, has thrown for almost 500 yards in two games. Saturday, Lee threw a 40-yard touchdown strike to Chris Garmon to make it 19-7 and ran 49 yards for another score to put the Bison up 27-7.
Running back/wide receiver Tony Dixon, who is averaging 98 rushing yards a game, scored four touchdowns to help put the game out of reach.
“Both played under me with the (semi-professional) Durham Chargers,” Hall said. “So I knew what they could do.
“Allen has really changed the dynamics of the game. Teams don’t blitz as much when he’s in the game because of his speed. Now, we just have to work on our discipline and not let teams bring us out of our element.”
The Bison’s next home game is July 19 against the Palmetto Havoc.
The Carolina Phoenix’s one-year run as IWFL champions has ended. Carolina lost to the New York Sharks 60-12 in the first round of the playoffs Saturday night. New York scored on its first three possessions and returned an interception for another score to take a 26-0 halftime lead and never looked back.