Fever hope to get healthy at Green Bay

April 18, 2014 

Adam Shackleford says he’s never experienced anything like he has in the past week.

The head coach of the Tri-Cities Fever takes his team into Green Bay, Wis., tonight to take on the Blizzard in an Indoor Football League game.

But the Fever will be far from full strength.

“I’ve never seen it this bad with injuries,” said Shackleford. “But no one around here is using injuries as an excuse.”

In the team’s 55-28 road loss to the Colorado Ice last Sunday, plenty of Fever players went down with injuries.

Here’s what happened:

w DB Dustin Bell broke his elbow during the game. He’s on season-ending injured reserve.

w RB Keithon Flemming went down with a sprained ankle;

w WR Ed Berry, already hampered with a strained MCL, was brought back into the game to take the place of Flemming;

w With Bell out, Shackleford moved WR Tre Young into the safety position ... until Young went down with a knee injury;

w So Shackleford moved WR Harry Peoples into the safety spot;

w That forced the team to play backup QB Dante Warren at wide receiver — and later some at running back — during the contest.

“Out of all of that mess, I thought the guys did a great job,” said Shackleford.

But a 38-6 halftime deficit spelled doom for Tri-Cities, which fell to 1-5 after the loss.

“The kicking game had two blocked kicks,” Shackleford said. “Even with that, we had three touchdowns called back because of penalties — they were all legit calls. We had a dropped TD pass. We left 43 points out there. We’re waiting for players to step up.”

That’s going to have to happen today against the Blizzard (0-6), which fired its head coach, Chad Baldwin, last week and replaced him with offensive coordinator Tommie Williams.

“(Williams) was at Omaha in 2012, so we have some film of what he did there,” said Shackleford.

Ironically, Green Bay fired head coach Robert Fuller a year ago and replaced him with Baldwin right before the Blizzard played the Fever — a game in which Green Bay won.

The Fever expects standout wide receiver Jackie Chambers to play tonight. Chambers has been hampered with cracked ribs this season.

DL Pablo Garcia has also been activated and should play for the Fever tonight.

The bottom line, though, is one of the teams will need a win tonight to jump start their season.

“This is a pivotal game for everybody in this organization,” said Shackleford.

By the numbers

The Fever ranks third in the IFL in total offense at 241.7 yards. The Blizzard is seventh at 200.8 yards. ... Both teams have 15 rushing touchdowns — tied for third. ... Green Bay leads the league with the most passing attempts at 188. The Fever is second at 176. ... The Fever is the second-least penalized team in the IFL, averaging 48.7 yards in penalties a game. The Blizzard is third at 54.7 yards. ... Green Bay’s Donte Sawyer is third in all-purpose yards at 92.5 per game. He is third in kick return average at 18.1 yards per return. ... Fever running back Keithon Flemming is third in the IFL in scoring touchdowns with eight, averaging 10 points a game. The Blizzard’s Lucien Walker is tied with Flemming. ... Flemming is the league leader in yards per carry at 5.6. ... GHreen Bay’s Sawyer and Andre London rank 2-3 respectively in receptions per game. Sawyer has 29 catches in six games; London has 24 receptions in five games. ... Fever DB Donyae Coleman is second in interceptions with four. ... Tri-Cities DB Lionell Singleton leads the Fever in tackles with 42. Terry Carter is Green Bay’s leader with 29. ... The Blizzard’s DL Derek Earls is averaging 1.5 tackles for loss a game, ranking him third. ... Green Bay’s Nate Keller ranks first with two fumbles recovered.

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