Adam Shackleford watched the game film of last Saturdays 47-40 loss to the visiting Sioux Falls Storm, and he still likes what he sees.
I thought our effort was good enough to win, said the Tri-Cities Fever head coach, whose team drops to 1-1 in Indoor Football League play. I thought both teams made enough mistakes. But if you look at the statistics, its pretty darn close.
The difference was Storm linebacker Tyler Knight, who intercepted Fever quarterback Dante Warren on the games final drive and returned it 36 yards for the game-winning score with 7.4 seconds remaining.
I thought the best player on the field was their linebacker, Shackleford said.
Indeed. Knight finished with 11.5 tackles, a half-sack, two blocked kicks and the game-winning pick-6.
Its testimony as to why hes one of the best players in the league.
But it also says a lot that the three-time defending IFL champs had to have a big play to win.
Warren had a strong game, other than throwing the pick-6.
He accounted for 231 yards of total offense, tossed three touchdown passes, and rushed for another.
And Shackleford liked the protection he got from offensive linemen Joel McCleod, Andrew Faaumu and Sean McDonald.
We did a great job of protecting our quarterback, Shackleford said. I liked our ability to compete in a big game like that. We competed with the best team in the league.
The sore points might have been not taking enough advantage of Sioux Falls mistakes.
We got two turnovers on special teams and got zero points out of it, he said. And we missed some points in our kicking game.
But the Fever doesnt have much time to reflect on the loss, as the team prepares to leave today for a Friday road game against Intense Conference rival Nebraska Danger (2-1).
Shackleford has made a few moves this week, releasing offensive lineman Will Lawrence and signing wide receiver David Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder out of Southern Illinois.
The Fever also picked up offensive lineman Mike Trice, a two-time second-team All-IFL player with the rival Colorado Ice. Trice had been with the Arena Football Leagues Spokane Shock before being released.
In addition, the Fever got back defensive lineman E.J. Nduka, who was just released by the AFLs San Antonio Talons. Nduka, who had a tryout with the NFLs Houston Texans last month, left the Fever camp when the Talons picked him up.
Nduka was outstanding in the Fevers team scrimmage last month.
Hes really good, said Shackleford. Hell definitely play for us Friday (against the Danger).
NOTES: Other Tri-Cities standouts last Saturday included defensive back Lionell Singleton, who had 10.5 tackles. Linebacker Boris Lee had five more tackles, but he also added another blocked kick. It was his third in the first two games. Fever receiver Dejuan Miller had a breakout game, catching seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Tri-Cities game Friday starts at 5:05 p.m. It can be heard on KONA 610 AM.