KENNEWICK -- The Tri-Cities Fever plays host to the Wyoming Cavalry in a 7:05 p.m. Indoor Football League game today in the Toyota Center.
But don't tell Fever Coach Adam Shackleford that this could be a trap game. That's what he called last week's contest at Everett, which turned out to be a 54-48 Tri-Cities victory.
"I don't believe in trap games at home," Shackleford said. "Not with our crowd. I think Wyoming is better than their record (1-3). I think this is a game where if they beat us, they're underrated, and if we don't win, maybe we're overrated. Either way, we're going to find out where we are at heading into the halfway point of the season."
At 4-0, the Fever is on top of the Intense Conference standings.
Wyoming coach Dan Maciejczak, returning to the Toyota Center for the first time since 2006 -- when he was the head coach at Rapid City -- likes what he sees in the Fever.
"Their record speaks for what they are," he said just before the Cavalry began a workout in the coliseum on Thursday. "Coach Shack is a great coach. They have a strong running game and passing game."
But the Cavalry is no pushover. It picked up its first victory of the season last weekend at Nebraska, a 44-43 final, and wide receiver Jasonus Tillery was named the IFL offensive player of the week after catching eight passes for 126 yards and four touchdowns.
"If we had lost last week, that would have put us pretty much down and out," Maciejczak said. "Still, I don't think people expect much from us."
Shackleford said his team knows better, especially with players like Tillery and Cavalry quarterback Matt Strand.
There will be plenty of good matchups to see.
First, said Shackleford, is watch the quarterback matchups.
The Fever's Houston Lillard and Strand are among the top signal-callers in the league.
"Strand throws a great short ball," said Shackleford. "He doesn't go long. He'll take the checkdown every time you give it to him."
Fever defensive back Lionell Singleton, who leads the league in interceptiosn with six, agrees.
"They've got a good, experienced quarterback," Singleton said. "They want to slow the game down and take care of the short passes."
Meanwhile, Maciejczak knows that Lillard can bust loose any time.
"We can't give up the big plays," he said.
Also watch the running game.
The Fever has Dennis Kennedy, who can line up out as a receiver as well as gain the tough yards out of the backfield.
"(Wyoming) tries to establish the run game early," said Shackleford. "They dig themselves a hole if they can't can't get it going."
The third-down conversions will also be key.
"We're one of the best at it in the league," Shackleford said. "But last game we were just 3 of 7."
Finally, Maciejczak is concerned about two other things: turnovers and line play.
"We're going to have to control the line of scrimmage," he said. "So we're going to have to fight hard."
By the Numbers: The Fever is No. 2 in the IFL in scoring with 56.5 points a game. The Cavalry is in the middle at No. 7 with 45.8. ... Defensively, Tri-Cities is ranked seventh, giving up 41.3 points, while Wyoming is 15th at 59.3 points. ... Fever RB Kennedy is No. 3 in total yards at 493, while teammate Steven Whitehead is fourth at 485. ... Strand is third in passing yardage at 847, while Lillard is fifth at 709. Strand is tops in the league with 21 TD passes (he has five interceptions), while Lillard is second with 18 TD passes (with just one pick). ... Lillard ranks third in rushing with 176 yards. ... Whitehead is the top receiver with 33 catches, but Wyoming's Dante Dudley is second at 31.
Notes: The Fever picked up DB DeLeon Gause, a 5-9, 180-pounder from Boston College who attended the Miami Dolphins workout camp last year. ... Maciejczak said his team travelled here via a 15-hour bus ride. The Cavalry travel to all road games by bus. ... Former Fever players with Wyoming include WR/DB Emery Beckles, DL Michael Hodges Jr., and DB George Kelly.