VIRGINIA BEACH ——Midway through the second quarter, a chant started up in Section 100 of the Sportsplex:
"Mar-ty Ball! Mar-ty Ball!"
The chant didn't catch on. But if this is any indication of how the Virginia Destroyers will perform, there's a pretty good chance the football team will.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer's Destroyers made a dazzling first impression on Hampton Roads on Saturday night as they steamrolled the two-time defending United Football League champion Las Vegas Locomotives 34-17 before an announced crowd of 12,167.
The final score flatters the Locos, who never stopped battling and came up with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first 45 minutes were all Destroyers, who scored on three of their first four possessions, took a 24-0 lead into halftime and were up 31-3 when the fourth quarter began.
"That's probably as disappointing a loss as I've had in three years (in the UFL)," Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel said. "But I don't want to take anything away from Marty and his guys. They beat us. They whipped us."
The victory was the second in as many games for the Destroyers, who will have a bye week before taking the field again on Oct. 7 against Sacramento at the Sportsplex.
The Destroyers struggled with red-zone execution in their season-opening 23-13 victory at Omaha, and they had to settle for a 31-yard field goal on their opening possession. But the next time they got the ball, Chris Greisen led the team on a 12-play, 73-yard drive that culminated with Adrian Petersen's 1-yard scoring run.
Dominic Rhodes followed with another 1-yard TD run early in the second quarter to boost the Destroyers lead to 17-0. And Greisen closed out the first-half scoring by hooking up with Aundrae Allison on a 36-yard scoring play.
For the game, Greisen completed 18 of 23 passes for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"I said this before, but I cannot for the life of me understand why he's not in the National Football League, because he's clearly a National Football League player," Schottenheimer said.
Meanwhile, Greisen spread the credit around, thanking offensive coordinator Terry Shea for his play-calling, Rhodes and Peterson for strong running and an offensive line that kept him upright most of the night.
"I only hit the ground twice," Greisen said.
Clint Stitser finally got Las Vegas on the scoreboard with a 45-yard field goal early in the third quarter. But the Destroyers answered quickly as Greisen tossed a 31-yard TD strike to Huey Whittaker to vault Virginia ahead 31-3.
Hakim Hill caught touchdown passes of 5 and 9 yards from Brian Brohm in the fourth quarter for Las Vegas. Alvarado connected on a 35-yard field goal to close the scoring for the Destroyers.