The Tri-Cities Fever finished the 2014 Indoor Football League season on a winning note Saturday night, beating the visiting Colorado Ice 47-33 at Toyota Center.
With the win, Tri-Cities ends the year with an 8-6 record.
Colorado finished with a 10-4 mark and has the top Intense Conference playoff berth when the IFL playoffs begin next week.The Ice will play host to the Nebraska Danger next weekend in the Intense Conference final.
The Fever finished the season on a strong note after beginning it 1-5. Tri-Cities won seven of its final eight contests — yet not enough to make the postseason.
Meanwhile, Colorado won nine of its final 11 games, with only two losses — both to the Fever at Toyota Center.
The Fever put the game away in the third quarter, going on a 14-0 run to turn a 23-19 lead into a 37-19 advantage.
It started with a 4-yard Jackie Chambers touchdown run.
On the ensuing Ice series, Colorado receiver Kyle Kaiser fumbled the football and it was recovered by Fever linebacker Boris Lee.One play later, Fever quarterback Houston Lillard hit Steven Whitehead on a 9-yard TD pass.
And on the ensuing kickoff, Fever kicker Brady Beeson squibbed one that the Ice receiver couldn’t return out of the end zone for a 1-point rouge.
The defensive unit had a strong performance in the first half, holding Colorado to just 12 points.
The Ice was only able to convert on two of four offensive possessions.
Fever defensive back Lionell Singleton stopped one drive by intercepting Ice quarterback Willie Copeland at the 25-yard line and returning it to the Colorado 2.
The Ice’s Phil Welch missed on a 40-yard field goal attempt on the other offensive series.
The Fever led 23-12 at the half, despite having two of its offensive weapons hurt.
Harry Peoples, a receiver who doubles as a kick returner, was injured on a kickoff return when he was tackled by a speeding Ice player, who buckled Peoples in half on the play.
Peoples never returned.
Running back Keithon Flemming, who earned IFL offensive player of the week the last two games he played for Tri-Cities, was badly injured on a rushing play near the goal line.
Flemming took the handoff from Lillard, faked right, then went left when he was tackled high.
He went down quickly, and although he could move his legs, he stayed in the same position until medical personnel could reach him, stabilize his neck and turn him over.
Twenty minutes later, he was hoisted onto a stretcher and left the building, headed for the hospital.
The Fever controlled the line of scrimmage, earning 23 first downs to Colorado’s 14.
Lillard threw for 149 yards and two TDs, and also rushed 35 yards and another score.
Defensively, Donyae Coleman had 12 tackles for the Fever, while Rudell Crim had seven and Sean McDonald six.
The Ice had just 180 yards of offense. Copeland ran for 20 yards and threw for 58 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off twice.