Tri-Cities Fever

Outlaws drop Fever to end regular season

Too much Chris Dixon and not enough offense spoiled the Tri-Cities Fever's chances to finish its first season in the Indoor Football League with a win Saturday night.

Instead, the defending IFL champion Billings Outlaws routed the Fever 68-40 at the Metra Park Complex in Billings, Mont., as the regular season came to an end.

Billings finishes the season with a 12-2 record, giving the Outlaws the top seed in the Intense Conference for the playoffs, which begin next weekend.

And it looks like the Outlaws will play the 7-7 Fever, tentatively set for 1 p.m. next Sunday in Billings again.

Dixon, the Outlaws' quarterback who has been named the league's MVP the previous two seasons and has a good chance to be named again this year, could not be stopped by the Fever defense Saturday night.

Dixon was 22-for-25 for 259 yards and six touchdown passes.

Meanwhile, the Billings defense contained Fever quarterback Houston Lillard, who was 20-for-33 for 182 yards and four touchdowns. However, Lillard also threw three interceptions.

One interception was returned for a touchdown, 37 yards by Billings' Travonti Johnson.

Lillard also fumbled a ball that the Outlaws' Mike Bazemore returned 16 yards for a score.

"We didn't play very well on defense at times," said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. "Offensively, we struggled in the first quarter. (The turnovers) killed us. We take pride in how we take care of the football."

The Fever dug itself a quick 20-0 hole in the first quarter and never recovered.

Dixon hit James Walton for a 5-yard scoring strike on the Outlaws' opening drive.

The Fever failed to answer, as three incomplete passes at its own 6 forced the Fever to send out kicker Brett Jaekle for a long field-goal attempt that sailed wide right.

Dixon then moved the Outlaws from their own 5, connecting with DeAngelo Woody for a 9-yard TD pass.

On the ensuing Fever drive, Lillard lost the ball and Bazemore scored on the fumble recovery.

Lillard led the Fever in rushing with 59 yards and a touchdown, while Johnny Walker caught six passes for 75 yards and a TD.

Ameer Ismail led the Fever defensively with 11 tackles, while Cyrus Mulitalo added 10.

Timothy Brown paced billings with 34 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Carl Sims caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Shackleford wants his team, which has lost all three of its games to billings this season, to concentrate on next weekend's playoff game.

"This game no longer matters," Shackleford said. "Hopefully, this motivates us."