Fever looks to turn page against Storm

Tri-City Herald news servicesApril 11, 2013 

Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford knows that teams go through some rough patches throughout the course of a season. He’s just not use to them last this long.

Shackleford, now in his fourth season in leading the Fever, is in an unfamiliar position searching for answers after a tough first five weeks of the season.

The Fever (1-4) has lost three games in a row, hoping to end that streak Friday night when it takes on the defending Indoor Football League champion Sioux Falls Storm (2-2). Kickoff is 7:05 p.m. at the Toyota Center.

“We have to correct a lot of things,” Shackleford said. “It’s not just one thing right now.”

That being said, there is nine more games left in the regular season, so the panic button has not been pushed – yet. “It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Shackleford said. “Hopefully we can turn the page this weekend.”

In hopes of jumpstarting an offense that has struggled to put points on the board with any kind of consistency, the Shackleford released starting quarterback Kasey Peters this week. Peters started the first five games of the season, but was benched last week in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss at Wyoming.

Dante Warren played the final 15 minutes and nearly led the Fever to a win over the Cavalry. He will get his first start Friday night.

“He did a good job; came in and executed some big plays,” Shackleford said.

The Fever added quarterback Theo Scott to the roster this week. Scott was signed during the 2011 season, but was signed by the Canadian Football League and never played a down for Tri-Cities.

Shackleford chose not to pinpoint one issue that has plagued the Fever this season, but several.

“We have had poor execution on offense.”

That is reflected in the struggles to move the football as the Fever ranks eighth out of nine teams, averaging just 197.4 yards of offense per game. The Fever has scored just 12 offensive touchdowns, ranking tied for last in the league.

“Our defense is allowing big plays.”

This was evident on the first play from scrimmage last Friday night when Maurice Patterson caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Barney O’Donnell.

“We need our veterans to step up and lead this team.”

If that happens, Shackleford believes it will fix a lot of the team’s problems.

“We just need to improve of every phase of the game,” he said. “There is time to get this thing going, we just have to get sooner than later.”

NOTE The Fever activated receiver Dejuan Miller this week. He injured his foot during training camp and has yet to play this season.

For tickets to Friday’s game, call 222-2215 or visit the Toyota Center box office.

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