Category Archives: IFL

  • 0

IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse Resigns, Todd Tryon to be next up

The Indoor Football League formally announced on Thursday that league commissioner Michael Allshouse has put in his official resignation after 10 years of service with the group.

The IFL released a statement on the matter saying that their search for a new commissioner had started, but according to our sources that search has already conclude.

The league is expected to announce soon that former owner of the Sioux Falls Storm, Todd Tryon, will be named the league’s next commissioner.
IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse Resigns, Todd Tryon to be next up
It was first reported by “The IFL Network.”

The full statement sent out by the league can be viewed in full below:

The Indoor Football League (IFL) announced today that Commissioner Michael Allshouse has resigned to pursue other professional opportunities, effective immediately. The Board has begun a search for Allshouse’s successor.

“After ten years of service to the IFL it is the right time for me to step away from the organization,” said Allshouse. “I will look back fondly on my experience with the league, but it is time for me to explore other opportunities and challenges as I continue to grow professionally and personally.”

IFL Chairwoman Kathy Treankler stated, “The IFL Board of Directors is grateful for Mike’s years of service and leadership. Although we are sad to see him go, we fully support his decision and are thankful for his many accomplishments at the IFL. We wish him nothing but the best as he continues his professional career.”

Allshouse joined the IFL as an intern in 2009. He went on to serve in the roles of Director of Communications, Director of Football Operations, and Assistant Commissioner before being promoted to Commissioner in 2013.

“I have always prided myself on leaving a situation in a better position than when I arrived, and I believe we achieved that goal,” stated Allshouse.

The IFL is not yet finished announcing each of their expansion teams, so until that happens, the release of the 2020 schedule will be delayed. The schedule was announced last season in November.The post IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse Resigns, Todd Tryon to be next up appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Connor Hollenbeck becomes first signing for Barnstormers 2020 Roster

The Iowa Barnstormers have consistently had one of the best receiving corps’ in the Indoor Football League over the past few seasons.

With the imminent coaching change that became official on Thursday with the hiring of Ameer Ismail, it’s wondered on if the Barnstormers will elect to maintain the focus on pass catchers.

They already took a big step towards it when they signed their first player on Friday.
Connor Hollenbeck becomes first signing for Barnstormers 2020 Roster
Connor Hollenbeck, a standout from the team’s 2019 roster became the first player to sign for 2020 as well as the first to announce he was returning to Des Moines.

For him, the process was easy.

After he found out former head coach Dixie Wooten would be leaving the franchise, he wanted to see who Iowa hired next before he signed to play for the Barnstormers for a second season.

“[Barnstormers Vice President and Chief Operating Executive] John [Pettit] called me a told me who it was,” Hollenbeck said. “We talked and I signed an hour later.”

Hollenbeck said he’s heard and seen nothing but good things about Coach Ismail and that it made his decision easy.

The returning standout was looking for another high energy coach to lead the Barnstormers and he got exactly that in Ismail.

“I wanted to see [Iowa hire] a coach with the same energy as [Wooten],” Hollenbeck said. “As long as he can keep us motivated and keep that energy and practice like it’s a game, we’ll [be good].”

Hollenbeck finished in the top 10 category in a number of receiving stats for the IFL in 2019.

The Edinsboro graduate finished eighth in total yards with 627, tied for seventh in touchdowns with 14, and was fourth in the league with 58 receptions in 13 games played.

Wide receiver Connor Hollenbeck tosses a ball to a ref following a first down. Hollenbeck is already making an impact at the position just two weeks into his career in Iowa. Photo by Connor Ferguson

“Obviously I’d like to increase my catches and yards,” Hollenbeck said. “That’d be awesome. I mean, like last year, I had better stats than I did any other year and our record was good. You know, I think you kind of look at your role on the team and know what you’re going to get no matter the situation, so maybe [I’d want to look at] consistency I guess.”

Though Hollenbeck’s goals lie within the team he’s playing on.

After playing two seasons with the Cedar Rapids Titans and only seeing four combined wins in his time on the east side of the state, the move to the Des Moines squad that was trending upward was easy.

“I’m going to keep just playing my game,” Hollenbeck said. “I’m all about the team. As long as we have a record like we did last year, I could really care less about how many catches I get.”

One thing that Hollenbeck is trying to improve on this year is playing at an even lighter weight than he did a season ago.

That’s what scouts have given Hollenbeck for feedback as he works, like the rest of the league, to reach the next level.

“I want to get quicker and faster,” Hollenbeck said. “That means playing at a lower weight and get a little leaner. See if I can get a little faster and develop some break-away speed; stuff like that.”

Hollenbeck came into camp last season weighing 240 pounds, which was a little on the heavy side for him, but he planned to cut weight during the two-week period.

That meant he was playing last season around 230 pounds.

“I felt better with the way I was playing on the field like that, so maybe if I lost five or ten more, I might feel even better,” Hollenbeck said.

He wants to take his range from 220-240 pounds during the year and shift it to around 215-230 pounds.

“I want to maybe come into camp a little bit lighter this year,” Hollenbeck said. “And bulk up a bit before, still so I can lose it.”

The team is slated to begin the 2020 Indoor Football League season in February, but the official schedule won’t be released for at least a couple of weeks.

Look for more news and profiles on Last Word On Sports’ Indoor Football department and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more offseason news.The post Connor Hollenbeck becomes first signing for Barnstormers 2020 Roster appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Spokane to return with ‘Shock’ name, Billy Back to HC

The Indoor Football League is expanding once again, and this time will be adding a familiar face to it’s lineup for the 2020 season.

The league is expanding with to the city of Spokane, who spent both 2016 and 2017 in the IFL under as the Spokane Empire before folding after a two-year stint with the league.

Now, the city will once again have an IFL team and this time with the ‘Shock’ nickname that was used in years prior when they were in the Arena Football League (AFL).

The name comes with a plethora of success, as the city won the AF2’s (development league for the AFL at the time) ArenaCup in 2006 and 2009 as well as the AFL’s Arena Bowl in 2010.
Spokane to return with ‘Shock’ name, Billy Back to HC
Sources have told Last Word On Sports that former NAL Coach of the Year and 2018 NAL Championship winner Billy Back will be named the head coach of the Shock.

The Carolina Cobras, the team Back coached for the past two seasons, announced that the two had parted ways earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the franchise has resurrected its Facebook page and appears to be using the same logo and word marks as it had in the past. The page can be viewed here. 

Spokane will become the 12th team set to play in the Indoor Football League for the 2020 season. Do note that this includes the Nebraska Danger who may not be playing in Grand Island again next season.

The Shock are expected to make an announcement regarding the team’s 2020 plans on October 1. For more Indoor Football League off-season news, follow LWOS on twitter here.

2020 Indoor Football League teams
Arizona Rattlers
Bismarck Bucks
Cedar Rapids River Kings
Duke City Gladiators
Green Bay Blizzard
Iowa Barnstormers
Nebraska Danger*
Oakland Panthers
Quad City Steamwheelers
San Diego Strike Force
Sioux Falls Storm
Spokane Shock
Tucson Sugar SkullsThe post Spokane to return with ‘Shock’ name, Billy Back to HC appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach

The search for the Iowa Barnstormers newest head coach is over, the team announced on Thursday, as they have hired Ameer Ismail to take the reins in Des Moines.

Ismail becomes the eighth head coach in Iowa Barnstormers history and will follow the most successful coaching stint the team has seen in Dixie Wooten.
Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach
The former NFL and arena league player brings experience from all over the place, including stints with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars as well as the AFL’s Jacksonville Sharks (Pre-NAL) and a plethora of IFL teams.

“It is such an amazing honor to be named the new Head Coach of the Iowa Barnstormers, the most prestigious and historic team in all of indoor or arena football,” Ismail said in a press release from the team. “[Barnstormers Vice President and COO] John Pettit and I have known each other and maintained a great relationship over the years despite being on different teams or even in different leagues.”

Ismail started off his coaching career with assistant roles in the IFL in 2014. He spent time with the Cedar Rapids Titans, Tri-Cities Fever, and Spokane Empire.

In 2017, Ismail took his first head coaching job with the Champion Indoor Football league’s Bloomington Edge, where he would lead his team to a 7-6 record and a berth in the CIF Playoffs.

The next year, Ismail packed up shop and accepted the head coaching position for the newly formed Massachusetts Pirates in the east coast’s National Arena League.

There, Ismail led his team to an 11-6 record and another berth in the playoffs. He was also named NAL Coach of the Year during that time.

In 2019 Ismail took a break from head coaching in the arena league to take a spot coaching the outside linebackers at Albion College.

Now, he’ll return to the indoor ranks carrying an 18-12 record as a head coach and a resume that includes two playoff appearances in as many seasons.

“To be able to work with someone of his expertise and experience is another major reason why I wanted to be here,” Ismail said in the release. “We will continue the winning ways with tremendous positive culture for our community and fans. I am very grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to bring another championship to Des Moines.”

Expect the Barnstormers as well as other teams in the Indoor Football League to start announcing player signings soon as well as an announcement regarding Iowa’s assistant coaching staff.The post Ameer Ismail hired as newest Iowa Barnstormers Coach appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Carolina Cobras, Billy Back part ways

The National Arena League has been home to the Carolina Cobras and head coach Billy Back for each of the past two indoor football seasons – one of which that saw the expansion team go from rags to riches and win a title in their first year.

Today, the Cobras announced that Back has submitted his resignation from the head coaching position in Carolina, making him available as one of the top available coaches in an off-season that has been filled with moves.

Team owner Rob Storm released a statement that has been posted on the team’s website. The full release can be found here.

“On behalf of the entire Cobras organization, we thank Billy Back for everything he has done for us over our first two seasons, and know that wherever he lands, that team will be getting one heck of a good coach. He will definitely be missed by many,” Storm said in the release. “We wish Billy, Stacie and the entire Back family the best of luck! We know he will be successful wherever his path may lead. You will always be part of the Cobras family.”

Now, Back will take his championship experience to a new home so long as he continues coaching football, and the Indoor Football League could be a spot for a reunion.

Back got his big break coaching for the Wichita Falls Nighthawks when the team was in the IFL and was even originally signed to lead the Cedar Rapids Titans in 2018 before being bought out by Carolina.

I mentioned his name in my column a week ago on where the Iowa Barnstormers – a championship program that just lost their coach as well – will look to next.

Back could be a great fit for the franchise, and no matter where he goes, he’ll bring a barrage of talented players with him.The post Carolina Cobras, Billy Back part ways appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

FERGUSON: Where Iowa will go Following Dixie Wooten Era

The Iowa Barnstormers went 10-20 in their first two seasons in the Indoor Football League. After that stretch, Iowa had gone seven straight years without a winning season.

Dixie Wooten entered. He went 36-8 in his three seasons at the helm in Des Moines, winning IFL Coach of the Year twice and also the franchise’s first championship.

The Barnstormers announced last week that the pair had parted ways and on Wednesday, the Tucson Sugar Skulls announced that Wooten would be their next head coach.

The full press release from the IFL can be found here.

So. Where does Iowa go now?
FERGUSON: Where Iowa will go Following Dixie Wooten Era
Well, the right candidate will likely have a strength in recruiting. That’s how the Barnstormers were successful under Wooten.

Even with rosters that only included five to eight players returning each season, Wooten rounded up talented teams in each of his three seasons.

Iowa’s front office as well as its fans are going to be looking for the same quality in their next leader.

Now, with Wooten’s departure, it’s expected that some of the stars from Iowa’s roster will not be returning to the team in the upcoming season.

The most obvious is 2019 LWOS IFL MVP Ryan Balentine, who has played under Wooten since their days in Billings.

Rocky Hayes was another standout during this past season in the heartland. When asked if he was coming back after Iowa’s last game he said it would depend on what Wooten would do.

And what’s to make of standout quarterback Daquan Neal? Wooten brought him to Iowa and he shined. Will he follow to Tucson?

October 1 is the first day that returning players from 2019 can sign with teams for 2020, so we won’t know much of anything in concrete until then.

As for coaching candidates for the team, it’s not likely that a former player of recent years will be taking over the ship. It didn’t work for Joe Brannen and of the players that have gone on to coach, most headed to the college ranks in position coaching spots.

Although, there is one exception to that in Jason Simpson. 

Simpson was an stand out defensive back and has been involved with Iowa for a number of years. Last season, he was the team’s defensive back coach and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the 2020 staff in some capacity.

Another pair of names to look at are those that were assistant coaches when Wooten was in Iowa.

Hurtiss Chin and Marcus Coleman both have experience with Wooten, were on the Iowa staff during the United Bowl season, and coached in Tucson this past season.

Now, there’s still a chance the two stay in Tucson for 2020, but the Sugar Skulls did not announce any plans for their assistant coach when Wooten’s hire was announced.

The last time Iowa was staffed with hiring a new coach, Mark Stoute’s name was thrown around as the next potential coach instead of Wooten.

Stoute ended up taking the job in Jacksonville and most recently finished off the 2019 season with the Cedar Rapids River Kings. The team finished 1-13 last season.

If you’re looking for Iowa to get what some would consider a home run hire, I’d pick one out of left field in current Carolina Cobras (NAL) head coach Billy Back.

Back has plenty of experience and has proved his worth in Carolina, earning back-to-back trips to the east coast league’s championship game and winning the whole thing back in 2018.

Not to mention, Back has history with the IFL and was at one point signed to coach in Iowa with Cedar Rapids right before accepting the Carolina job.

No matter who Iowa hires as its franchise’s next head coach, fans in the stands are going to expect wins – rightfully so. That’s what they should expect after the Dixie Wooten era.

The thing that’s important to remember is that in a sport filled with uncertainty year after year, Iowa is still here in Des Moines at Wells Fargo Arena, and come February, we’ll all be sitting back, watching some good, old Barnstormers football.The post FERGUSON: Where Iowa will go Following Dixie Wooten Era appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

San Diego Strike Force reveal Re-design

The San Diego Strike Force are moving from the blue-and-white.

It was announced a short time ago that the team would be re-designing it’s look after the end of their 1-13 initial season in the Indoor Football League.
San Diego Strike Force reveal Re-design
The jerseys were revealed a short time later and, on Wednesday afternoon, the full look was released to the public.

The team revealed new primary and secondary logos as well, that work amazingly with the jerseys and are themed around fighter pilots.

The full slate of logos can be found below, with the primary logo being on the left side.

The team also put out some new helmets that resemble the World War ll air crafts.

These were originally planned for the team’s first year in the IFL, however were never used on the field during the 2019 season.

The new look features three different helmets with the home and alternate lids resembling the planes and the away ones containing the team’s secondary ‘SD’ logo.

The jerseys that the team will be using can be seen below, with Flight Suit home uniform, the interceptor white road uniform, and the stealth look for the alternates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strike Force general manager Ryan Eucker also revealed that San Diego would be hosting the IFL’s annual league meetings as well.

The meetings are usually held in Las Vegas, and while it doesn’t really have much barring on what goes on there, a change is still being made.

The 2020 IFL season will kick off in February, but the schedule will likely not be out until November.

You can keep up with all of our indoor football coverage by following LWOS Indoor Football on social media. All of the links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be reached by clicking on the respective sites here.The post San Diego Strike Force reveal Re-design appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Brown Jr., Rodgers, Hilliard named 2019 LWOS IFL Honorable Mentions

As part of the 2019 LWOS Indoor Football League Awards, we gave out an overall MVP as well as our players of the year on each side of the ball on top of special teams.

We wanted to recognize a trio of players that had outstanding seasons, but didn’t earn name awards.

So, this season, we’re announcing Sioux Falls’ Lorenzo Brown Jr., San Diego’s Marques Rodgers, and Quad City’s E.J. Hilliard as honorable mentions to the Player of the Year Awards
Brown Jr., Rodgers, Hilliard named 2019 LWOS IFL Honorable Mentions
 

LWOS IFL Honorable Mention: Lorenzo Brown Jr., QB – Sioux Falls Storm

Lorenzo Brown Jr. was a no-brainer for this award after his play in big games this season.

Despite losing twice to Arizona, Brown Jr. led his Sioux Falls team to not one, but two come from behind wins over the Iowa Barnstormers. 

The most recent came in the United Conference championship game, where Brown Jr.’s play and leadership helped the Storm advance to its 10th straight United Bowl championship game.

 

LWOS IFL Honorable Mention: Marques Rodgers, WR – San Diego Strike Force 

The wideout known as “hoodie” made our honorable mention list as well, putting up some of the most extraordinary numbers of the group.

Rodgers not only had a strong season receiving, but also tallied the most return yards overall by anyone in the league.

His 2,229 all-purpose yards is a mark that nobody could touch this season.

 

LWOS IFL Honorable Mention: E.J. Hilliard, QB – Quad City Steamwheelers

Our final honorable mention goes to Quad City quarterback E.J. Hilliard.

Hilliard led the IFL in passing yards per game, almost averaging 200 per contest, and was a pair of touchdowns away from tying for the league lead.

 

He was essential to Quad City’s first year in the IFL and almost helped them to a berth in the IFL Playoffs.

Click below for a full list of all of the IFL Awards:

Coach of the Year: Corey Roberson
Most Valuable Player: Ryan Balentine
Players of the Year: Daquan Neal, Allen Chapman, & Eric Thomas
LWOS IFL Honorable Mentions: Lorenzo Brown Jr., Marques Rodgers, & E.J. Hilliard
LWOS First and Second All-IFL TeamsThe post Brown Jr., Rodgers, Hilliard named 2019 LWOS IFL Honorable Mentions appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Neal, Chapman, Thomas named 2019 LWOS IFL Players of the Year

As part of the 2019 LWOS Indoor Football League Awards, we gave out an overall MVP as well as our players of the year on each side of the ball on top of special teams.

This season, Iowa’s Daquan Neal, Arizona’s Allen Chapman, and Nebraska’s Eric Thomas were each honored.
Neal, Chapman, Thomas named 2019 LWOS IFL Players of the Year
 

LWOS IFL Offensive Player of the Year: Daquan Neal, QB – Iowa Barnstormers

Daquan Neal secured our Offensive Player of the Year spot with his superb play in his rookie season with the Iowa Barnstormers.

 

 

Neal led Iowa to a 12-3 record while leading the IFL in passing touchdowns (59) and finishing second in the league in rushing scores (24).

If it hadn’t been for an injury that he suffered with just under 11 minutes to play in the United Conference championship game, Neal might have led the Barnstormers to a second straight United Bowl.

 

LWOS IFL Defensive Player of the Year: Allen Chapman, DB – Arizona Rattlers

Allen Chapman earned his spot as our Defensive Player of the Year as the top, lock-down defensive back in lead.

With six interceptions, Chapman tied two others at the top of the charts for the most in the IFL this season. On top of it, he added 41 solo tackles and a plethora of pass break-ups.

Chapman also helped lead the Rattlers to their first undefeated season in franchise history, as well as their second United Bowl in three seasons – coming up on July 13.

 

LWOS IFL Special Teams Player of the Year: Eric Thomas, KR – Nebraska Danger

Earning the Special Teams Player of the Year award was Eric Thomas, despite not being the only kick returner that the Danger have used in a majority of games this season.

Despite not getting a ton of returns, Thomas led the IFL in yards per return, running 21.4 yards during each chance.

Thomas was the only player in the league to earn three returns for touchdowns and helped Nebraska to get back to the IFL semi-finals as well as a winning record.

Click below for a full list of all of the LWOS IFL Awards:

Coach of the Year: Corey Roberson
Most Valuable Player: Ryan Balentine
Players of the Year: Daquan Neal, Allen Chapman, & Eric Thomas
Honorable Mentions: Lorenzo Brown Jr., Marques Rodgers, & E.J. Hilliard
LWOS First and Second All-IFL TeamsThe post Neal, Chapman, Thomas named 2019 LWOS IFL Players of the Year appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Green Bay’s Corey Roberson named LWOS IFL Coach of the Year

With the Indoor Football League’s (IFL) semifinal playoff games wrapped up and in the books, it’s time again for Last Word On Sports annual awards announcement.
Our department is proud to be celebrating our third annual selection announcement for the IFL.
We kept it simple for this week and put out our All-IFL teams on Tuesday before releasing our Individual Awards such as MVP, Coach of the Year, etc. this morning.
As always, thanks for following along to our coverage this season.

Green Bay’s Corey Roberson named LWOS IFL Coach of the Year
This season in the IFL, a certain head coach led his team to a 15-0, undefeated season and never failed to score more than 50 points in each game his squad played in.

Another led his squad to its 10th straight championship game in the league.

We could even throw in a third that helped his team to the league semifinals for a third season in a row – a first in the franchise’s history.

However, accross the board, nothing was more impressive than the turnaround job that Corey Roberson has done for the Green Bay Blizzard.

Before Roberson was permanently named head coach of the team last August, the Blizzard had not been to the Indoor Football League playoffs since the 2012 season. It was the longest drought among any active team coming into the 2019 season.

The Blizzard started off the year losing two of their first three games, including a 41-3 wallop against Iowa.

That’s when Roberson and co. kicked it into high gear.

Green Bay finished the season with an 8-3 record in their final 11 games, winning their final three to streak into the playoffs and nearly take down Nebraska.

In fact, if it hadn’t been for a fluke fumble, it would have been the Blizzard traveling to Arizona in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

That’s a spot that has been largely filled by Nebraska over the past few seasons.

No matter if Green Bay can keep this going – and they certainly can – in the future, 2019 was the year of Corey Roberson and the Blizzard, and it was spectacular to finally see it.

Click below for a full list of all of the LWOS IFL Awards:

Coach of the Year: Corey Roberson
Most Valuable Player: Ryan Balentine
Players of the Year: Daquan Neal, Allen Chapman, & Eric Thomas
Honorable Mentions: Lorenzo Brown Jr., Marques Rodgers, & E.J. Hilliard
LWOS First and Second All-IFL TeamsThe post Green Bay’s Corey Roberson named LWOS IFL Coach of the Year appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88