IFL: Fever, Cavalry playing for pride

June 7, 2013 

Adam Shackleford and his Tri-Cities Fever team can’t make the Indoor Football League playoffs this season.

So they look for other goals to drive them.

“We want to finish .500 on the season,” Shackleford said.

Fever quarterback Dante Warren agrees.

“Every guy comes into this league with the hopes of moving up,” Warren said. “Guys are still playing for their careers.”

And that game film still is one of the most important tools for a player looking to move up the football ladder.

So when the Fever (5-7) plays host to the Wyoming Cavalry (1-11) at 7:05 p.m. today at Toyota Center — the final home game of the season for Tri-Cities — pride will be on the line.

This will be the fourth time the teams have met this season, with the Fever leading the series 2-1. At this point, neither team can really have any secrets against each other.

“We approach it for our own personal needs,” said Cavalry coach Ryan Lingenfelder, the Fever’s former defensive coordinator. “I’m not really worried about who we are playing. We’ve got our own goals, our own wants and needs. We didn’t practice that much versus Tri-Cities this week.”

Lingenfelder feels his team is better than its record.

“The thing I’m trying to get across to my players, I’m trying to convey to them their record doesn’t reflect who they are,” Lingenfelder said. “You can go watch on film where we lost football games, and it’s always three or four plays.”

It’s been the same with the Fever, which has lost four games by four points or less.

“There are about eight or nine plays where we could have made something happen, and things could be different,” Shackleford said. “In the end, it’s my responsibility. We started out 1-6 this season.”

Warren has watched a lot of game film from the 2012 Fever season, in which Tri-Cities made it all the way to the title game for the second consecutive season.

“I wasn’t on that team, but last year, (the Fever was) winning games by a close margin,” Warren said.

Warren says the Fever offense needs to make plays when it counts, and stay consistent.

“We have to take our shots when we can,” he said. “And we have to take what they give us.”

Shackleford wants his defense to shut down Wyoming early.

“They always seem to start fast against us,” Shackleford said. “We have to force some turnovers.”

Which isn’t what Lingenfelder wants.

“We have to be able to overcome any mistakes, and we have to be able to execute on offense,” Lingenfelder said.

Notes: Lingenfelder said his team bus got stopped on Highway 395 about a half-mile from the auto accident and fire that held traffic up. The Cavalry waited for two hours. ... Shackleford said everyone on his team is available to play tonight, except WR Steven Whitehead (knee), who is likely done for the season. ... Warren said he’s ready to play tonight. He had to leave the team’s last game, against Colorado, when an Ice defender got his hand under Warren’s facemask and injured the quarterback’s eye. It wasn’t a concussion, Warren said. ... The Cavalry will be without LB Paul Vassalo for the rest of the season. “He’s been my leader, my quarterback on defense,” said Lingenfelder. “He got a concussion last week against Nebraska. Now his mother is sick.” ... The Cavs have scored 162 points in the last three games. ... Two former Fever players earned IFL Player of the Week honors this past week. Colorado RB Dennis Kennedy rushed for 117 yards and four touchdowns for the Ice last week in a 63-26 win over Texas. LB Ameer Ismail had 10 tackles in Chicago’s 52-51 win over Green Bay.

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