Fever face must-win game vs. Blizzard

April 19, 2013 

Adam Shackleford saw some good things last Friday in his team’s 56-43 loss to the Sioux Falls Storm.

“We did some better things, but we failed to take advantage of some situations on fourth down,” he said. “I thought Dante Warren did a pretty good job for his first start at quarterback, and we got two turnovers on defense.”

But a loss is a loss, and at 1-5, the Fever is running out of time to make the Indoor Football Leagyue playoffs with just eight games left.

“At this point, when you don’t win it’s not good,” he said. “We need help now. We’re out of time.”

So, in essence, the playoffs begin today for the Fever, with a 5 p.m. road game at the Green Bay Blizzard.

The Blizzard has its own problems, with an identical 1-5 record that got head coach Robert Fuller — the IFL coach of the year the last two seasons and a good friend of Shackleford’s — fired last week.

“Green Bay is a lot like us,” Shackleford said. “Theyt’ve been struggling too. Whoever is calling the plays is different. But defensively, I don’t see them making a change since the new coach was the defensive coordinator.”

That would be Chad Baldwin.

“It’s fascinating to me, because I know what Tri-Cities’ program is like,” Baldwin said. “Both of our teams were in it until the end of the year. I will say (our current records) are a testament to the parity in the league this year.”

Baldwin said he’s watched every one of the Fever’s games this season on the computer.

“They were in every one of those games,” he said.

Baldwin especially likes the way Warren played against Sioux Falls.

“They have a heck of a quarterback in him,” Baldwin said. “You never know when he’s going to run or pass.”

Shackleford expects to start Warren tonight. But he also has new signee Theo Scott — picked up last week after Shackleford released starter Kasey Peters.

“Dante is still ahead of Theo because he knows the offense,” Shackleford said. “The attitude of this team was completely different the day we had two new quarterbacks.”

It just hasn’t translated yet into victories.

Notes: Shackleford hopes the DB Rudell Crim (chest contusion) will be back on the field today after missing the last two games. ... New signee DL Malcolm Riley, who came to the Fever last week from Jacksonville of the Arena Football League, was impressive against the Storm. “(Sioux Falls All-IFL OL) Miniya Smith told me after the game last Friday that Riley was the best he’s faced this year,” said Shackleford. ... Neither the Fever nor the Blizzard are out of the playoff picture, and they could help themselves. Both teams play division opponents in six of their last seven contests. ... The Fever offense ranks seventh in the league in scoring at 39.8 points per game, and seventh on defense, allowing 43.2 points. … Warren, who rushed for 123 yards against the Storm last week, ranks 10th in the IFL in rushing yards with 162 … Fever DB Lionell Singleton ranks second in the league in interceptions with four. He also is sixth in the league in tackles with 47.

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