Adam Shackleford says his Tri-Cities Fever team can only control what it can do.
With his Indoor Football League team sitting with a 5-6 record — still three games behind the Colorado Ice for the final Intense Conference playoff berth — the Fever is running out of time to make the playoffs with just three contests left on the schedule.
“We can’t concern ourselves with what anybody else is doing,” said Shackleford. “We’ve got to be the best team we can be. Before the season began, I looked at a 9-5 record or an 8-6 record as something that could get us in (to the playoffs). It might still. If we do make the playoffs, we’ve earned it.”
Colorado beat Intense Conference leader Nebraska 41-28 on Thursday night.
The Ice (8-3) still has games at Wyoming (May 30), at home against Green Bay (June 7) and at Tri-Cities (June 14).
The Fever must keep winning: against Wyoming at home Saturday, at Wyoming on June 6, and at home against Colorado on June 14 in order to have a chance for the playoffs.
But Tri-Cities will still need some help. Both Wyoming and Green Bay must beat the Ice in order for the June 14 game in the Toyota Center to mean anything.
Shackleford has the Fever playing its best football of the season right now, following a 55-34 win at Texas last Saturday.
“We came out and scored four straight touchdowns,” said Shackleford. “We put the pressure on them defensively, and we got five straight defensive stops.”
He credited the victory to finally having enough healthy players.
“Brandon Wilson was back at his natural position (moving from linebacker to defensive end),” said Shackleford. “Lionell Singleton was healthy again at defensive back.”
He had plenty of praise for other Fever players.
“You can tell (defensive back) Rudell Crim is healthy again,” he said. “I thought (offensive lineman) Lloyd Morrison played well. So did (quarterback) Houston Lillard.”
And then there was receiver/returner Harry Peoples.
“He’s coming along. He’s so fast and smooth,” said Shackleford of the rookie. “He looks like he’s jogging out there. But he’s running by people.”