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Oklahoma Thunder
Oklahoma Thunder logo

Founded 2008
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Home field LaFortune Stadium
League World Football League
Division Central
Colors Silver & Blue
Head coach Rashid Lowe
World Bowl wins 2008, 2009, 2010
Website oklahomathunder.net

The Oklahoma Thunder are a minor league American football team based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[1] Starting with the 2011 season, the team competes in the Gridiron Developmental Football League, playing in the Midwest-North Division in the GDFL's Impact Conference.[2] Players include Bacone College alumni, former major college standouts, and former NFL players including Willie Ponder.[3][4] The team was founded by James "Sonny" Ashford in 2007 and the team's name pre-dates the relocation of the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City to become the Oklahoma City Thunder.[5][6][7] The team's official colors are silver and blue. The team's cheerleaders are known as the Thunder Cats.

From its founding in 2008 through the 2010 season, the Thunder competed in the Central Division of the new World Football League. Team founder Sonny Ashford was also an owner of the new WFL and served as its president. Through these three seasons, the team was undefeated with a 40–0 record and three consecutive league championships.[8]

History

World Football League (2008–2010)

2008 season

In their 2008 inaugural season, the Oklahoma Thunder finished with a perfect 16–0 regular season record under head coach Bruce Madden.[4] After beating the previously undefeated Texas Bulldogs 84-6 in the semi-final game,[4] the Thunder rolled to 29–6 victory over the Austin Gamebreakers in World Bowl II on October 18, 2008, at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.[6][9][10] (The new minor-league WFL retained the numbering from the original 1970s WFL.)[11] After the game, Thunder head coach Bruce Madden was presented the WFL Coach of the Year Award and linebacker Joey Crawford was named WFL Player of the Year.[9]

2009 season

In 2009, the team posted another unbeaten record and went on to defeat the Dallas Diesel 41–12 in World Bowl III on August 29, 2009, at LaFortune Stadium in Tulsa.[12][13]

The Team ended the season with several award winners and many players making all-star game appearances. During the Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas, Thunder players received the following awards: QB Rico Watkins took home Quarterback of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and Overall Player of the Year. Coach Bruce Madden took home Coach of the Year. Corey Curtis won Offensive Lineman of the Year. Jeremy Gray won Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year. T.J. Covington took home the Defensive Back of the Year award. There awards were not just for the Thunder team or the WFL, but the entire minor league football community.[citation needed]

2010 season

Fifteen Thunder players were named to the All-WFL Team in late-July 2010, more than any other team in the league.[14] Quarterback Rico Watkins, wide receivers Marcus Pugh and Michael Swalley, tight end Clayton Froese, offensive lineman Jeremy Gray, defensive end C.B. Boyd, defensive tackle Aaron Littell, linebackers Joey Crawford and Jeremy Nethon, defensive back Quito Lightbourne, and special teams player Eli Kennard were all named to the first team. The second team included Thunder offensive linemen Josh Toops and Corey Curtis, defensive tackle Calvin Wychoff, defensive back Kurtis Dawson, and kicker Brandon Hawley.[14][15]

After a 10–0 regular season in 2010 and a playoff win over the Fort Worth, Texas-based Eagle Mountain Marauders, the Thunder competed in their third straight World Bowl on July 31, 2010, where they faced the Des Moines Blaze at the East Tulsa Sports Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[14][16] The Thunder defeated the Blaze, 52–10, to claim their third consecutive league championship and extend their unbeaten streak to 40 games.[8] Joey Crawford was named World Bowl MVP, his second such honor.[8]

Gridiron Developmental Football League (2011–present)

2011 season

For the 2011 season, the Thunder moved from the WFL to the larger Gridiron Developmental Football League. As of May 2011, the team's general manager and president is Steven Roper.[17] Other key personnel for 2011 include Tracey Flemons as Director of Player Personnel, Ven Movva, M.D., as Director of Sports Medicine, Renita Baker as Director of Community Events, Jason Admire as Equipment Manager, Pastor Jeff Voth as Team Chaplin, and Steven Braun as Team Announcer. Coaches for 2011 include Rashid Lowe as Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Daniel Cornelison and Lamar Baker as Co-Defensive Coordinators, Khalid Lowe as WR and special Teams coach, Ty Forbes as RB and DL coach and Shannon Mayfield as Co-Offensive Coordinator.[17]

The team played its 10-game regular season in the Midwest-North Division in the GDFL's Impact Conference.[2] The Thunder's home field was LaFortune Stadium in Tulsa.[17] On August 7, the Thunder broke two league records in their game against the Kansas Diamondbacks. They broke the league record for points scored (96) and largest win margin (90).[18] After the blowout win, the Thunder became the #1 ranked team in the GDFL.[18] After defeating the St. Louis Bulldogs on August 13, the Thunder finished the 2011 regular season with a perfect record, winning the Midwest North Division and clinching the top seed in the playoffs, and were ranked as the #1 team in the GDFL.

Date Visitor Home Kickoff Venue Score
Regular Season
June 4, 2011 Kansas Kaos Oklahoma Thunder 7:00 PM CDT Lafortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 71
Kaos 0
June 11, 2011 Oklahoma Thunder Kansas Knights 7:00 PM CDT Topeka, Kansas CANCELLED
June 18, 2011 OKC Wolverines Oklahoma Thunder 7:00 PM CDT Lafortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 63
Wolverines 14
June 25, 2011 Oklahoma Thunder Kansas Diamondbacks 5:00 PM CDT Maize South High School
Wichita, Kansas
Thunder 80
Diamondbacks 0
July 9, 2011 St. Louis Bulldogs Oklahoma Thunder 7:00 PM CDT LaFortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder
Win by Forfeit
July 16, 2011 Oklahoma Thunder Kansas Kaos 7:00 PM CDT Shawnee Mission South High School
Athletic Complex (Shawnee Mission, KS)
Thunder 52
Kaos 7
July 23, 2011 Arkansas Sabers Oklahoma Thunder 7:00 PM CDT LaFortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 27
Sabers 12
July 30, 2011 Oklahoma Thunder Dallas Diesel 7:00 PM CDT Dallas, Texas Thunder 31
Diesel 23
August 6, 2011 Kansas Diamondbacks Oklahoma Thunder 8:00 PM CDT LaFortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 96
Diamondbacks 6
August 13, 2011 Oklahoma Thunder St. Louis Bulldogs 8:00 PM CDT St. Louis, Missouri Thunder 51
Bulldogs 23
Post-Season
Divisional Playoff
August 27, 2011
North Texas Marauders Oklahoma Thunder 7:00 PM CDT G.W. Carver Middle School
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 70
Marauders 0[19]
Regional Playoff
September 3, 2011
Dallas Diesel Oklahoma Thunder 8:00 PM CDT Lafortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 24
Diesel 22[20]
Impact Conference South
September 10, 2011
Indianapolis Tornados Oklahoma Thunder 8:00 PM CDT Lafortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 48
Tornados 13
Conference Championship
September 17, 2011[21]
Kentucky Wolverines Oklahoma Thunder 8:00 PM CDT Lafortune Stadium
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thunder 42
Wolverines 6
GDFL Championship
October 1, 2011
Xtreme Champion (TBD) Oklahoma Thunder 8:00 PM CDT Westlake High School
Atlanta, Georgia
Thunder
Xtreme

Home stadium

In 2008, the team played its home games at Booker T. Washington Stadium and S.E. Williams Stadium in Tulsa.[1] For the 2009 season, home games were moved to Exchange Bank Stadium in nearby Skiatook, Oklahoma.[6] The Thunder played most of their 2010 home games at LaFortune Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before relocating to the East Tulsa Sports Complex. The Thunder's home field for 2011 is Lafortune Stadium in Tulsa.[17]

Media affiliations

Home games are televised on KWHB-TV and Cox cable channel 7 in Tulsa on a one-hour delay.[6]

References

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  18. 18.0 18.1 "A New GDFL No.1 For The First Time In 2011". GDFL.org. August 9, 2011. http://gdfl.net/?=p2061.
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  21. "2011 Playoff Bracket" (PDF). Gridiron Developmental Football League. http://gdfl.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Playoff-Bracket.pdf. Retrieved September 11, 2011.

External links

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