Tri-Cities Fever

Fever healthy for Outlaws

Adam Shackleford's Tri-Cities Fever came out of last weekend's 64-26 victory over a travelling team from Alaska unscathed.

That's good, because Shackleford's team will need to be healthy when it takes on the Billings Outlaws on the road tonight in Montana.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

"The only thing I care about last week's game is that we won and we came out of it healthy," Shackleford said. "I didn't even watch the game film (of that win). We've been focusing on game film of Billings."

That's also good. Because Billings won't be taking it easy tonight.

The Outlaws, defending IFL champions and sporting an 11-2 record this season, are vying for the Intense Conference's top seed in the playoffs.

The Amarillo Venom also has an 11-2 record heading into this weekend.

If the two teams tie, according to the Billings Gazette, the tiebreaker is point differential average -- Billings has a 15.8 average, while Amarillo is at 15.7.

The Fever got hot since it lost 70-49 on April 29 to Billings, winning six of its last seven games.

"We have a lot of respect for Billings," said Shackleford. "We have to play consistent football. We can't make mistakes on offense. We've got to contain their quarterback."

That would be Chris Dixon, who has a good chance of winning the league's MVP award for the third straight season.

He's thrown 57 touchdown passes this season to just seven interceptions.

"He's a great football player," Shackleford said. "He's got a lot of experience and he's been doing this a long time."

The Fever should have everyone -- including defensive back Lionell Singleton (concussion) and defensive lineman Curtis Terry (flu) -- back for tonight's game.

Only running back Antoine Rutherford (knee) is expected not to play.

This could also be a preview for the first round of the playoffs.

The Indoor Football League won't tell teams what their first-round playoff matchups are until Sunday.

The league has based first-round matchups on geography, rather than seeding, to help save money on travel costs.

It is likely the Fever could travel back to billings next Sunday for a playoff game.