Tri-Cities Fever

Tri-Cities Fever's win not unexpected, but scoring explosion raised a few eyebrows

Sure, predicting a win for the Tri-Cities Fever on Saturday night was not that big of a longshot.

If someone had bet the Fever would have scored 76 points and won by a 41-point margin over the Central Valley Coyotes, now that would have been downright laughable.

So when it happened in the team's season finale at Toyota Center, it even caught the players off guard.

"Wow, what a way to finish," said Fever receiver Tremayne Kirkland.

Here's why predicting a win wasn't such a risky bet: The Fever was coming off a solid showing against Rio Grande Valley the previous week and played the Coyotes tough in their last meeting.

On the other side, Central Valley (3-13) was playing its seventh quarterback of the season and had lost nine straight games, dating back to its May 2 win over the Fever.

A little payback was definitely on the players' minds.

"We wanted to come out and finish strong," said defensive back Jamie Hattley, who had a team-high seven interceptions on the season.

But scoring with precision and ease, as the Fever did, came as a shock to all.

The Fever (3-13) had been putrid on offense all season, ranking last in almost every offensive category in the arenafootball2 league.

Tri-Cities' 21 first-quarter points matched its scoring output for four games this season.

By halftime, the Fever had reached 42 points, just two points shy of the season-high 44 points it scored in its 64-44 loss to Central Valley on May 2.

When it was all said and done, the Fever, which was averaging 31 points per game, had put 76 on the board - the second most in franchise history and more than the team scored in a three-game span during one stretch of the season.

"We were on a mission to win this game," said quarterback Colin Drafts.

The 41-point margin of victory was the largest in franchise history, breaking the previous mark of 23 that came in a 44-21 win over Stockton on May 24, 2008.

In total, the Fever won its four games last season by a combined 39 points.

"I am happy for the guys," said Fever coach Pat O'Hara. "They came out and played hard."

-- The af2 playoff brackets are set with one glaring omission. The Florida Firecats (7-9), who finished seventh in the American Conference, were left out of playoffs. Reports say the Firecats did not comply with league rules and were not up-to-date on paying their league dues. For more on the story go to www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/jul/27/af2-firecats-still-awaiting-word-league-about-play/. In the Firecats place is the Albany Firebirds, who will play at top-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

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