|Team history||Oklahoma Thunder
|Based in||Bixby, Oklahoma|
|Arena||Bixby High School|
|Colors||Blue and Silver|
|Head coach||Rashid Lowe|
|Championships||2008, 2009, 2010, 2013|
The Oklahoma Thunder are an American football team based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 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. Players have included Bacone College alumni, former major college standouts, and former NFL players including Willie Ponder. 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. 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. In the GDFL, the team went 9-0 in the 2011 regular season and won 4 consecutive playoff games to win the Impact Conference Championship before losing to the Chambersburg Cardinals in the 2011 GDFL Championship game in Atlanta.
World Football League (2008–2010)
In their 2008 inaugural season, the Oklahoma Thunder finished with a perfect 16–0 regular season record under head coach Bruce Madden. After beating the previously undefeated Texas Bulldogs 84-6 in the semi-final game, 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. (The new minor-league WFL retained the numbering from the original 1970s WFL.) 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.
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.
Fifteen Thunder players were named to the All-WFL Team in late-July 2010, more than any other team in the league. 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.
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. The Thunder defeated the Blaze, 52–10, to claim their third consecutive league championship and extend their unbeaten streak to 40 games. Joey Crawford was named World Bowl MVP, his second such honor.
Gridiron Developmental Football League (2011–present)
For the 2011 season, the Thunder moved from the WFL to the larger Gridiron Developmental Football League. As of May 2011[update], the team's general manager and president is Steven Roper. 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 Chaplain, 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.
The team played its 10-game regular season in the Midwest-North Division in the GDFL's Impact Conference. The Thunder's home field was LaFortune Stadium in Tulsa. 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). After the blowout win, the Thunder became the #1 ranked team in the GDFL. After defeating the St. Louis Bulldogs on August 13, the Thunder finished the 2011 regular season with a perfect 9-0 record, winning the Midwest North Division and clinching the top seed in the playoffs, and were ranked as the #1 team in the GDFL.
With home field advantage through all the preliminary playoff rounds, the Thunder defeated the North Texas Marauders (70-0) in the divisional playoff, the Dallas Diesel (24-22) in the regional playoff, the Indianapolis Tornados (48-13) in the Impact Conference South game, and the Kentucky Wolverines (42-6) in the Impact Conference Championship game. The Oklahoma Thunder travelled to Tara Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, as the visitor to play the Xtreme Conference champion Chambersburg Cardinals in the GDFL Championship game. Suffering their first loss in franchise history, the Thunder fell 19-14 to the Cardinals.
|June 4, 2011||Kansas Kaos||Oklahoma Thunder||7:00 PM CDT||Lafortune Stadium
|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
|June 25, 2011||Oklahoma Thunder||Kansas Diamondbacks||5:00 PM CDT||Maize South High School
|July 9, 2011||St. Louis Bulldogs||Oklahoma Thunder||7:00 PM CDT||LaFortune Stadium
Win by Forfeit
|July 16, 2011||Oklahoma Thunder||Kansas Kaos||7:00 PM CDT||Shawnee Mission South High School
Athletic Complex (Shawnee Mission, KS)
|July 23, 2011||Arkansas Sabers||Oklahoma Thunder||7:00 PM CDT||LaFortune Stadium
|July 30, 2011||Oklahoma Thunder||Dallas Diesel||7:00 PM CDT||Dallas, Texas||Thunder 31
|August 6, 2011||Kansas Diamondbacks||Oklahoma Thunder||8:00 PM CDT||LaFortune Stadium
|August 13, 2011||Oklahoma Thunder||St. Louis Bulldogs||8:00 PM CDT||St. Louis, Missouri||Thunder 51
August 27, 2011
|North Texas Marauders||Oklahoma Thunder||7:00 PM CDT||G.W. Carver Middle School
September 3, 2011
|Dallas Diesel||Oklahoma Thunder||8:00 PM CDT||Lafortune Stadium
|Impact Conference South
September 10, 2011
|Indianapolis Tornados||Oklahoma Thunder||8:00 PM CDT||Lafortune Stadium
September 17, 2011
|Kentucky Wolverines||Oklahoma Thunder||8:00 PM CDT||Lafortune Stadium
October 1, 2011
|Oklahoma Thunder||Chambersburg Cardinals||5:30 PM EDT||Tara Stadium
For the 2012 season, the Thunder was able to clinch the Mid-West Division Championship by defeating the OKC Diamondbacks in the second round of the playoffs. The Thunder had a challenging season with the loss of the majority of their starters to the Indoor Football League. The Thunder were defeated by the Indianapolis Tornadoes in the third round of the playoffs. They finished the season 10-3 and a franchise standing of 63-4.
|May 4, 2013||Memphis Dolphins||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 63
|May 11, 2013||Oklahoma Thunder||Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters||Thunder 21
|May 18, 2013||Oklahoma Thunder||Oklahoma City Rattlers||Thunder 48
|June 1, 2013||Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 47
|June 15, 2013||Oklahoma Thunder||DC Reign||Thunder 88
|June 22, 2013||Oklahoma City Rattlers||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 21
|June 29, 2013||Oklahoma Thunder||Memphis Dolphins||Thunder 42
|July 13, 2013||DC Reign||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 21
|July 20, 2013||Oklahoma Thunder||Arkansas Capitals||Thunder 55
|July 27, 2013||Memphis Dolphins||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 55
August 10, 2013
|Tennessee Hurricanes||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 66
August 17, 2013
|Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 35
Bounty Hunters 28
|Impact Conference South
September 10, 2013
|Indianapolis Tornados||Oklahoma Thunder||Thunder 20
September 7, 2013
|Oklahoma Thunder||Lehigh Valley Storm||Thunder 56
In 2008, the team played its home games at Booker T. Washington Stadium and S.E. Williams Stadium in Tulsa. For the 2009 season, home games were moved to Exchange Bank Stadium in nearby Skiatook, Oklahoma. 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 was Lafortune Stadium in Tulsa.Thunders new home field Stadium for 2013 and 2014 Season is Bixby High School.
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