It wasn’t pretty, but the Tri-Cities Fever held off the Colorado Crush 37-34 on Friday night for the team’s second Indoor Football League win this season.
The Fever raised their record to 2-3, while the Crush fell to 0-5.
The Tri-Cities offense, which went 6-for-11 in drives when it came to scoring, came up with the right play in the final minute to get the victory.
The Crush had just taken the lead, 34-30, with 3:01 to play, as Damien Fleming found Doug Williams in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.
But the Fever didn’t panic.
Even after Fever quarterback Hunter Wanket hit Akeem Foster for what looked like a go-ahead score from 21 yards out — only to be called back when officials ruled Brandon Rankin reported illegally as an offensive lineman.
Rankin was wearing his No. 40, but officials ruled he had to have a number in the 50s, 60s or 70s. So the TD was negated.
Two plays later, Wanket found Foster for a 17-yard gain down to the Colorado 9.
Three plays later, from the 6 and with under 30 seconds to play, Wanket found Foster on the left sideline in a one-on-one situation. Foster beat his man and held on to the hard pass for the winning score.
That gave the Fever a 37-34 lead with 24.8 seconds remaining — an eternity in the IFL.
But Tri-Cities’ defense, which played well almost the entire game, was stout in the Crush’s final drive.
And when Theodore Beuchert’s 52-yard desperation field-goal attempt was short as time expired, the Fever celebrated their first victory in almost a month.
Foster was the offensive star for Tri-Cities, catching five passes for 71 yards.
Newly signed running back Rob Brown had a strong debut for the Fever, rushing for 31 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Demarius Washington, the league’s top receiver, showed why he’s the best, with eight catches for 101 yards for Colorado. But the Fever defense kept him out of the end zone.
The Fever’s next home game isn’t for three weeks. They’ll play Spokane at Toyota Center on April 23. The team hits the road the next two weeks: at Wichita Falls on April 9, then at Colorado on April 15. … Colorado DB Darnell Evans was injured in the fourth quarter, and play was stopped. Evans left the field on crutches.