The Tri-Cities Fever was eliminated from the Indoor Football League playoff races last weekend during the team’s bye week.
Now the team is playing for pride, and with a 6-6 record and two games remaining on the team’s schedule, the team would like to finish the season with a winning record.
“Nothing has changed,” said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. “We are all professionals here.”
The Fever enters tonight’s contest at Wyoming having won five of its last six games and coming off of that bye week.
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Running back Keithon Flemming rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns in Tri-Cities’ 94-30 win over Wyoming on May 24.
For his efforts, Flemming was named the IFL’s offensive player of the week.
But even after winning so big against the Cavalry two weeks ago, Shackleford said he and his team are taking nothing for granted.
“Our expectations are we’re going to be in a close game,” said Shackleford. “Nobody there is going to be our friends. Not the announcer. Not the fans. No one. We have to beat everyone there.”
Tri-Cities has been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last two months.
But the bottom line for the Fever this season is it has a 1-6 record against the four teams set to make the IFL playoffs: the Cedar Rapids Titans (0-2 against), Colorado Ice (1-1), Nebraska Danger (0-2) and Sioux Falls Storm (0-1).
Meanwhile, Wyoming head coach Ryan Lingenfelder — who was the Fever’s defensive coordinator two seasons ago — has been frustrated with a number of things involving his team and the league: his team’s 1-12 record; the lack of veterans who want to play in Wyoming; the lack of chances for his team to practice inside the arena this season; and the lack of professionalism some teams have shown in the IFL.
The latest issue was last week’s visit by the Colorado Ice, which beat the Cavalry to clinch a playoff berth and eliminate the Fever.
The Ice players were calling Cavalry players and fans derogatory names, said Lingenfelder, which could easily be heard by everyone with the small attendance number in the arena.
“At least I know a classy group of players, coaches and owners are coming to town,” Lingenfelder said regarding the Fever’s visit to Casper tonight.
Note: The IFL is creating a hall of fame and is scheduled to announce its first class during the United Bowl festivities.
Among the candidates for the first induction class is Fever owner Teri Carr, who seemed a bit embarrassed when her fellow owners included her.
“I don’t think I deserve that,” Carr said. “I don’t understand.”
But Carr has run a model franchise since the team joined the IFL a few years back. She was named executive of the year in 2011, the Fever was named franchise of the year by the IFL in 2012, and players love to play in the Tri-Cities.
Also among the list of possible inductees is former linebacker Ameer Ismail, who played for the Fever in 2010.
Notes: Fever receiver Ed Berry has been activated from injured reserve. The Fever is ranked second in the league in scoring offense at 54.2 points per game, Wyoming is last at 31.2 The Fever ranks second in TDs scored with 89 Tri-Cities ranks second in pass efficiency at 105.8 The Fever ranks first in passing TDs with 50 Fever receiver Jackie Chambers ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 15 TDs in just nine games Flemming ranks third in the league in rushing with 411 yards and third at 5.0 yards per attempt Fever quarterback Houston Lillard ranks fourth in the league in passing TDs with 33 in just eight games Fever DB Lionell Singleton ranks fifth in the IFL in tackles with 69.5.