Tri-Cities Fever

Fever stymied in fourth, fall to Titans 39-34

Special to the Herald

The Tri-Cities Fever held a lead in their Indoor Football League game for most of Friday night.

Except for when it counted the most: the end.

The visiting Cedar Rapids Titans hung in for most of the game, then scored the only points of the fourth quarter to beat Tri-Cities 39-34 at Toyota Center.

The loss drops Tri-Cities to 1-3, with its next game not until April 1, another home game, this one against the Colorado Crush.

It’ll be a long wait for the Fever until then.

Kicker Steven Wakefield had a strong game for the Fever, going 4-for-5 on field goals.

But in indoor football, when a team settles for field goals rather than touchdowns, that means the offense is struggling.

That’s what happened in the first half, as only quarterback Pat McCain could find the end zone on a 2- yard run.

The rest of the team’s points came from Dee Maggitt’s 52-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown; a safety; and three Wakefield field goals of 40, 22 and 29 yards.

But the Tri-Cities defense kept the Fever in the game, forcing two Dylan Favre interceptions.

And at halftime, the Fever led 24-17.

In the third quarter, though, Favre — the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre — connected with Jared Elmore for a 3-yard TD pass to tie the game at 27-27.

The Fever battled back, as McCain hit DaSean Martin for a 10-yard TD pass and a 34-27 Tri-Cities lead at the end of the third quarter.

It would be the last time the Fever would score.

Nick Belcher connected on a 26-yard field goal with 12:23 to play for the Titans, cutting the Fever lead to 34-30.

A missed Wakefield field goal gave Cedar Rapids the ball back, and the Titans moved the ball 45 yards on seven plays.

Last year’s IFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Waymon James (who played for Nebraska in 2015), rushed the final 11 yards for the TD to give the Titans a 37-34 lead with 5:15 to play.

The final two points came on a safety when a Fever offensive lineman was called for holding in the team’s own end zone.

Tri-Cities’ offensive unit never got closer to the end zone than the 25-yard line in the final 12 minutes.

McCain and starter Hunter Wanket were a combined 13-for-34 for 115 yards, one TD and one interception.

James finished with 86 yards rushing for the Titans, now 2-2.