Fever set to face Sioux Falls

March 7, 2014 

Kurtiss Riggs takes a look at the Tri-Cities Fever’s game film from last week and sees a strong defense.

“They have a lot of veteran players, especially in the defensive backfield,” said Riggs, whose defending Indoor Football League champion Sioux Falls Storm visits the Fever at 7:05 p.m. today in the Toyota Center. “Defensively, from their linebacker to the secondary, they’ve played a lot. It’s hard to get the secondary guys to bite on anything.”

But the biggest key to tonight’s game, for Riggs anyway, is making sure his team takes the homefield advantage away from the Fever. How do you do that?

“We have to get up early, and we have to stay ahead,” Riggs said. “It’s a loud place to play in.”

Which is why Fever head coach Adam Shackleford needs the game at least close.

“We need to keep our crowd in it,” said Shackleford, “so we’ve got to come out fast.”

The Fever must hang on to the football too.

“We’re going to have to win the field position battle. We can’t turn the ball over, and we have to run the football effectively,” Shackleford said, mentioning both running back Keithon Flemming and quarterback Dante Warren.

Defensively, the Fever must create at least two turnovers.

That’s going to be a big challenge, considering Chris Dixon is back as the Storm’s quarterback.

A three-time IFL MVP (in 2009, 2011 and 2012), Dixon spent 2013 in the Arena Football League with Orlando and then New Orleans.

“It is great having him back,” said Riggs. “Any time you can get a player the caliber that he is back, it’s great. Now we’re stable at quarterback.”

In two games, Dixon has thrown for seven touchdowns and rushed for another.

Riggs has led the Storm to three consecutive IFL titles, and this year his team is off to a 2-0 start.

“I think he have a great group of guys,” said Riggs. “I think we have a great coaching staff. And I think we do a great job of playing together.”

“They are a good team,” said defensive back Rudell Crim. “It's a good opportunity for us.”

Lee earns award: Fever LB Boris Lee had a strong game in last Friday’s 69-26 win over visiting Wyoming. Lee had nine tackles and a quarterback sack. But it was his two blocked field goals that earned him the IFL’s special teams player of the week.

One of his blocks was turned into a touchdown from 5 yards out by Lee himself.

Notes: The Fever added DL Kayon Swanson earlier this week. The 6-foot-1, 304-pounder from Southern Illinois was with the AFL Portland Thunder last week. To make room for Swanson, the Fever released LB Tyler Holmes. ... The Fever has won five straight home games. Tri-Cities last lost at the Toyota Center was April 12, 2013, a 56-43 loss to the Storm … The Fever is 12-3 at home over the last two seasons and two of those losses are to the Storm … Sioux Falls has a 50-8 regular season record since 2010, and four of those losses came last season. .. Tonight is Meyers Auto Tech Faith and Family Night. The first 350 people through the gates gets a sports pull string backpack. The Fever is also giving away 4,000 free hot dogs. ... Basin City Elementary’s Country Cuties will be performing the national anthem. ... Heartlinks Hospice and Palliative Care will have a stuff the trailer event tonight. Fans interested in doing some spring cleaning can donate clothes or shoes to the trailer in front of the Toyota Center. People who donate will be given $1 off a ticket for a Fever game.

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