KENNEWICK -- There is a good news-bad news scenario with the Tri-Cities Fever and its final bye week of the 2011 Indoor Football League season that happened last week.
First, the bad news.
After beating the Omaha Beef 51-37 on the road March 25, the Fever hasn't had a game since. So the team hasn't had a chance to gain any momentum from that strong victory.
In fact, Tri-Cities has only had two games in the last month (March 12 and 25), and its two byes have come and gone.
"I think (the second bye) wasn't timely," Fever coach Adam Shackleford said. "We certainly needed the first one. I certainly wish they were spread apart more. But we're glad to be back."
That they are, as the Fever players prepare for a home game at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Kent Predators. It'll be the first of 10 straight games for the 3-1 Fever.
That's where the good news comes in for Tri-Cities: Everyone on the team seems to be healthy, including quarterback Houston Lillard, who has been playing through a turf toe injury for the last month.
In addition, "(Wide receiver) Tre Young could potentially be back this week. He's coming along," Shackleford said.
Young, one of the team's top receivers, suffered a high ankle sprain early in the Fever's game March 12 against Fairbanks, and he hasn't played since.
In the secondary, Dustin Bell and Dennis Rogan -- who had to sit out the Omaha game because of a one-game suspension for fighting in the Fairbanks game -- are back and ready to play.
Throw in the addition of recently signed Dwain Crawford, and the steady play of George Kelly, Lionell Singleton and Marcus Washington, and the Fever is extremely deep in the back end of the defense.
It makes for a tough problem for Shackleford and his staff.
"Our meetings on Thursday to whittle down our game-day roster to 21 is tough," said Shackleford. "Last year for our first three games we were picking anyone we could. Now it depends on matchups with the other team and our game plan. Guys have to understand this is a business."
There was a lot to like in the win over Omaha, Shackleford said.
"I liked the way we handled the trip," he said. "We handled the crowd. I like the way we came out defensively in the second half and put pressure on them right away. And I liked the way we played special teams."
Shackleford didn't like the way the team fumbled twice. Fever running back Dennis Kennedy did it both times. But he also had an outstanding game.
"He's our guy, but he had a bad game that way," Shackleford said. "The thing you don't see is that he's a great pass protector. You won't find a lot of running backs nowadays willing to take on big guys rushing the quarterback."
The Red Zone play could have been better, too.
"I didn't think we executed well at times," he said. "Our kickoff return team, we're not blocking as well."
Well enough to start the season 3-1.