Fever preps for season finale

Jeff Morrow, Tri-City Herald sports editorJune 13, 2014 

There is no playoff berth up for grabs.

Only pride.

But that won’t stop the Tri-Cities Fever from wanting to beat the visiting Colorado Ice at 7:05 p.m. today in the Toyota Center in what will be the Fever’s final Indoor Football League contest of the 2014 season.

“We had a good week of practice,” said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. “It’s their last time together and I expect them to play well. We didn’t play well enough in the regular season to make the playoffs. There should be a little chip on our guys’ shoulders. We want to go out and prove we’re a good football team. (Colorado is) going to get us at our best. We’re not laying down.”

The Ice enters tonight’s game in first place in the Intense Conference with a 10-3 record. The Fever has a 7-6 mark. For some of the Fever players, this might be their playoff game.

“I think that’s how we look at it,” said Fever DB Lionell Singleton. “Every time we play Colorado it seems like it a rivalry game.”

And there could be scouts from bigger leagues watching.

“You never know who’s watching in the stands,” Singleton said.

And for some, it’s about finishing strong.

“It’s definitely weird,” said Fever quarterback Houston Lillard. “Not making the playoffs. It’s something I have never experienced, especially playing professionally. We’ll focus on playing for pride. We want to make (the Ice) go into the playoffs knowing that we’re the best team in the division.”

No one expects the Ice to give this game away either.

“They don’t want to go into playoffs losing,” said Singleton. “Especially if we go out and be dominant.”

To do that, the Fever will have to accomplish a few things.

“We have to stop the run on first and second down,” said Shackleford. “Try to force them into a third-and-long situation. We have to get a couple of stops early.”

On offense, Lillard said the team has to stay consistent.

“Just keep do what we’ve been doing,” Lillard said. “Take what they give us. The best thing we’ve been doing lately is using (running back) Keithon (Flemming) more. Keep them off balance, and stay in our comfort zone.”

Notes

Flemming was named the IFL offensive player of the week last week after rushing for 119 yards against Wyoming. It was the second straight game Flemming had won the award, and both times were against the Cavalry. ... Fever DL Pablo Garcia has been signed by the LA KISS of the AFL. ... Kicker Brady Beeson, who missed the last game against Wyoming with a bad plant foot, has recovered enough to be able to play tonight. ... Owner Teri Carr has been working with the Toyota Center on a lease extension for the 2015 season.

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