Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford spent much of his holiday weekend making phone calls and watching game film of kickers.
“I spent two days evaluating kickers, and it about killed me,” Shackleford said.
But he found one.
Brady Beeson, out of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, made it to the Tri-Cities this week and worked out with the Fever (10-2) on Wednesday in preparation for its game Saturday at Colorado (8-4).
“Today, he was 20-of-20 on extra-point kicks in practice. So that’s fine with me,” Shackleford said.
The Fever coach was frustrated after Saturday night’s 73-72 overtime loss to the Sioux Falls Storm, in which Tri-Cities kicker Michael Taylor was 2-for-8 on PATs and missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt to win the game in regulation as time expired.
“I released Mike right after the game, and I emailed all my contacts,” Shackleford said. “I like Mike a lot, but I don’t think long when I cut guys. I thanked him for helping us out, but he just couldn’t kick out of his slump. This hasn’t just been a one-game thing.
“When you’re 2-of-8, there’s got to be a point somewhere where you’ve got to move on. Even had we won that game, I would have made that move and moved on.”
And Shackleford has moved on from the loss to Sioux Falls.
“I’m still proud of the way we played,” he said. “I hate losing. But we played well.”
Among those doing well was Fever receiver Tre Young, who caught eight passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
“I thought he played with a chip on his shoulder in this game,” Shackleford said. “He gave a little more than I’ve seen. That’s no reflection of his past. But I think he became a better football player Saturday night.”
In fact, the entire Fever offensive unit played well.
“We exposed that defense,” Shackleford said. “We figured out a formation I assume people will run the rest of the year against them. You get No. 6 (Storm DB Stewart Franks) on an island, and he had trouble. He couldn’t cover Tre.”
Sioux Falls quarterback Chris Dixon was named IFL Offensive Player of the Week for what he did against the Fever.
Dixon completed 27 of 40 passes for 293 yards and eight touchdowns. He also rushed for 64 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner in overtime.
It looks as if the great T.O. experiment in Allen is over.
The Wranglers released former NFL receiver Terrell Owens this week when he made it clear he wouldn’t travel with the team to key road games against Nebraska and Everett.
Owens was signed at the beginning of the season and was made a part-owner of the team. But the big thing for him was to play with the hope of returning to the NFL.
But he always had stated he didn’t want to travel to play, and did so just a few times.
“It is difficult to look other players on this team in the eyes and tell them that being a team player is important ... that giving it your all on the field every night is our expectation, when another member of this team is not operating by these standards,” said Tommy Benizio, the team’s president and co-owner, in a news release. “The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for Mr. Owens was his no-show to a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches. It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers’ organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance.”
The T.O. experiment actually died a while ago. Recent game film from Allen shows just a few thousand fans at the games.
On a side note, Benizio started the season as the IFL’s commissioner -- approving the Owens signing -- only to resign and join the Wranglers.
T.O. also loses his interest in the team as an owner.
The Wranglers made some other news this week when they signed quarterback David Knighton.Knighton was released a few weeks ago when he lost his starting spot with the Colorado Ice. Colorado coach Heron O’Neal made Jeremy Sanders the new starting quarterback. In his first game against Wyoming, he led the Ice to a league-record 260 yards rushing in a 59-46 victory.