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The Raiders passed through a Storm and their aerial assault grounded the Sault's home opener.

The Raiders passed through a Storm and their aerial assault grounded the Sault's home opener.

The Sault Storm made its 2002 Northern Football Conference debut in front of the home fans and fell victim to a speedy defense and high-octane passing attack in a 26-13 loss to the Markham Raiders at Rocky DiPietro Field on Saturday night.

The loss drops the Storm to 0-2 in the young season. The Storm can make amends this Saturday night again in the second half of a local double-header against Belleville beginning at 7 p.m. at Rocky DiPietro Field.

After a slow start to the game, Markham opened the scoring on an Adrian Thorne seven yard touchdown reception from quarterback Dean McLaren. McLaren, who would finish with 251 yards passing against the Storm defense.

Veteran Markham receiver Danny Bobb would score his first of two touchdowns on a 31 yard play to close the first half with the Raiders leading 12-0.

The Storm offense picked up the pace in the second-half lead by flashy quarterback Tim Higgins, who bootlegged across the goal line from 11 yards out to open the half. Kyle Lansdell would make the convert to pull the Storm to within five.

A few plays later, Don Taylor, who finished with four catches for 136 yards, scored on an 85 yard pass and run play to put Markham out of reach.

The Storm made the game's closing minutes exciting when Gary Sutton made a fine run after the catch on a 48 yard major from Higgins to round out the scoring.

Higgins did much of the damage for the Storm offense, gaining 65 of the team's 89 rushing yards while completing nine of 17 passes for 156 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions while being sacked three times.

Sutton was Higgins favourite target, catching two balls for 69 yards. James O'Hara hauled in a pair of passes for 46 yards while sure-handed tight end Seth Cond caught three balls for 31 yards.

Team leader Brandon Lewis led the Storm defense with 6.5 tackles. James Albidone recorded 4.5 tackles from the safety position while linebacker Russ Moyle made four stops.

Brothers Jason and Derrick Giosa made three tackles each. The younger Giosa, Jason, left the game early with a knee injury.

The Storm defense were also able to contain perennial league all-star and speedster Gifford Rose. Rose managed just two receptions for 14 yards and a 21-yard punt return.