Good thing the Tri-Cities Fever doesn’t have to play the Billings Wolves anymore.
The Fever dug itself a 26-6 first-half deficit, rallied to get close, but couldn’t overcome the expansion Wolves in a 61-50 Indoor Football League loss at Metra Park Arena in Billings, Mont.
Rookie quarterback Dominique Blackmon got his first start for the Fever. While he struggled in the first half, he got better in the final two quarters, tossing four touchdown passes.
“I felt great,” said Blackmon. “Just a lot of ups and downs. I definitely felt I got better as the game progressed.”
Blackmon finished the game with 161 yards passing, and he rushed for another 60 yards.
Running back Andrew Pierce rushed for 63 yards for the Fever.
The Fever drops to 7-5, but the team had already clinched an Intense Conference playoff berth last week in a 48-45 loss to Billings in the Toyota Center.
This was the second straight loss for the Fever against Billings, and the teams finish their season series splitting four contests.
Tri-Cities cut the deficit to 29-27 late in the third quarter when Pierce scored a touchdown from 3 yards out.
But the Fever surrendered a TD on the kickoff return, as Bilings’ return man Regginal Lewis Jr., raced 49 yards for the score. Tri-Cities would never get as close again.
Fever coach Adam Shackleford said his team needs to get healthy.
“Our defense is streaky,” he said. “It’s banged up. We’re in desperate need to find some guys this week.”
The Fever heads to Sioux Falls on June 6 for its next game.
“We’re not ready for them yet,” said Shackleford. “We got a week to find some healthy bodies.”