The Rush start the 2012 season on a high note.

The Rush start the 2012 season on a high note.

The Chicago Rush's 2012 season opener had a cloud hanging over it initially. Half of last years players are gone, there were health concerns about starting Quarterback Russ Michna, and then of course there was the AFL's labor issue that came out of nowhere on Friday night. But despite all of that, the Rush overcame the odds, answered the questions, and dominated the Tampa Bay Storm 70-48 to begin the AFL's 25 Anniversary. Russ Michna threw for 247 yards and 8 touchdowns. 4 of those touchdown passes were caught by Reggie Gray, 3 by Marquis Hamilton, and the last one by Jared Perry. Michna was only sacked once, but did get hit a couple times.

Other than that the Rush's O-Line was flawless. But the Rush defense was the star of the show. They only gave up 48 points, held Tampa Bay to just 1 touchdown in the 4th quarter, and Linebacker Kelvin Morris had 2 interceptions both of which were returned for touchdowns. After the game Rush Head Coach Bob McMillen said: "These guys are hungry, they came to play, and in the end we won." Russ Michna said that he felt good after the game despite the hits that he took. "I feel like an old man most of the time, but I'm ok after tonight's game."

Kelvin Morris said that Storm Quarterback Stephen Wasil was giving away the plays all night. "I could read his eyes, I could read his hands, he wasn't trying to hide what he was doing." And Reggie Gray said that the Rush offense benefited from zone defense all night. "We were just trying to manipulate the coverage, and when we did it left guys open." When asked about the labor dispute, nobody would really talk about it. The only thing Coach McMillen would say is: "All that matters is that our guys came to play football tonight. I'm aware of what happened with Pittsburgh and Orlando on Friday night, but all that matters to me is that my team is on the field."

The Rush get a bye week next week before hosting the embattled Orlando Preadators on March 22nd. Orlando used mostly replacement players in Friday night's season opener against Pittsburgh {Who also had roster issues}, when the AFL players union had claimed to go on strike. But according to a press release by the AFL's league offices, all appears to be coming back to normal and the Preadators will have their regular players on March 22nd. But for now, I'll take a Rush victory.

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    Gabe Salgado

    Aside my columns for The Locker Room, I also write for Bleacher Report, Chi City Sports, Midway Madness and Football Nation. I'm also a sports reporter for Rivet News Radio. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82

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