Category Archives: Mike Tatum

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The IFL’s two hottest teams do battle in Green Bay

For the first game of the 2019 Indoor Football League Playoffs, the bracket goes to the north to see arguably the two hottest teams in the league face off in Green Bay.

The Blizzard are rolling into the playoffs with a three-game win streak that earned them their best overall record – at 9-5 – since the 2012 season.

They’ll welcome in the Nebraska Danger, who finished up their season by upsetting the No. 2 seeded Iowa Barnstormers at Wells Fargo Arena.

No matter who’s able to pull away on Friday night, there is going to be fireworks.
The IFL’s two hottest teams do battle in Green Bay
The most intriguing part of this matchup might be the offense that the Nebraska Danger have been able to put together as the season has come to a close.

Former Nebraska Cornhusker Tommy Armstrong Jr. seems to have a great grasp on the offense thanks to the aid of running back Davonte Sapp-Lynch and a group of the IFL’s best veteran receivers.

Armstrong Jr. is currently the league leader in rushing touchdowns and sits in the top five in rushing yards, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.

To go with it, Sapp-Lynch is third in the IFL in rushing touchdowns, giving the Danger offense a one-two punch.

The offense was impressive before the team added wideout Mike Tatum, but his pair of touchdowns last week against Iowa helped the Danger cement their biggest win of the season.

With Greg Dent and Eric Thomas in the same unit, there is no reason not to think that the Danger can put up big numbers on the scoreboard throughout the postseason.

Nebraska Danger players celebrate as they clinch a playoff spot after knocking off the Iowa Barnstormers at Wells Fargo Arena. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

That’s when Green Bay’s defense will come into play.

Marquez Gollman returned to the field late in the season after an injury and finished with 42 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Him and Bakari Triggs, the IFL’s interception leader, will be leading the secondary.

It’s clear to see, that when Green Bay is on defense in this game, a lot of big names will be on the field.

On the flip side, the Green Bay offense is led by quarterback Lenorris Footman, who has come in as a rookie and taken the roster spot with some swagger.

Footman is third in the league in rushing yards per game – right behind Armstrong Jr. – with 50.6 yards per game.

Him and the Nebraska gun slinger play very comparable games, but Footman might toss the football a little bit more, racking up 140.6 yards per game through the air.

The rookie is joined by veteran wide receiver and IFL Hall of Famer B.J. Hill who returned from injury late in the season, like Gollman.

On a team with a plethora of players that weren’t with the Blizzard during the streak of playoff misses from 2013 to 2018, it’s valuable to have a veteran, especially one of Hill’s caliber.

Hill is the IFL’s single best kick returner in the history of the league. He came into the season with the most return yards and most return touchdowns anyone has seen in the league, and only built on his leads in both categories.

He can still ball, too.

Hill gathered 772 yards on returns during the season and has caught seven receiving touchdowns on the year.

When a team has someone as smart as him on roster where he is still putting up numbers, it’s a good mix. We’ll see if it pays off in a playoff game.

Green Bay and Nebraska will face off in the first round of the playoffs on Friday at the Resch Center with a 7:00 p.m. CT kickoff. The game will – per usual – be livestreamed on YouTube.

The winner of the game will go on to face the No. 1 seeded Arizona Rattlers in the second round if the Sioux Falls Storm hold off Tucson on Sunday. If Tucson pulls off the upset, though, then the winner will be headed to Des Moines to face No. 2 Iowa.

It all goes down this weekend and @LWOS_IndoorFB will have full coverage on both Twitter and Instagram.The post The IFL’s two hottest teams do battle in Green Bay appeared first on Last Word on Sports.

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IFL: Danger upset Barnstormers, Clinch Playoff Spot

The Nebraska Danger had their backs against the wall.

They needed to win on Saturday night on the road, against a team that was one play away from being undefeated heading into the final week of the year, to clinch their spot in the 2019 Indoor Football League (IFL) playoffs. Otherwise, they would have to rely on Quad City beating Tucson – which also didn’t happen – to make the postseason.

Thanks to a late interception by Brandon Roe and a touchdown from Davonte Sapp-Lynch with just seconds to play, Nebraska upset the Iowa Barnstormers 46-40.
IFL: Danger upset Barnstormers, Clinch Playoff Spot
With 3:31 to play in the game, though, it looked bleak for Nebraska. The Danger had just drove the length of the field only to falter near the red zone, as they had done a couple times in the game.

Nebraska’s kicker, Diego Marquez, faced a 25-yard field goal – something that is relatively trivial for him.

But, he missed. It gave the ball back to Iowa, who still held a two-point lead at the time.

That’s when Roe made his interception.

“The resiliency of my team is unbelievable,” Sapp-Lynch said. “We’re always getting the short end of the stick when it comes to calls and the momentum of the game, but the way we fought [for that chance at the end] we had no choice but to go score.”

Former Nebraska Cornhusker Tommy Armstrong Jr. led his offense out onto to the field to lead the way on the game-winning drive.

“Roe made a great play and we had another chance to go out and score. I think our offensive line did a great job of establishing the run game early in that series.

The Danger have been the victim of late losses a few times this season.

In fact, one of those came to the same Iowa team that was on the field on Saturday.

“[Sapp-Lynch] had that long catch on third down then getting the ball in the end zone with [four] seconds left,” Armstrong Jr. said. We had to play four quarters and we did.”

Sapp-Lynch finished with 38 yards on the ground, 37 yards through the air, and two touchdowns.

That includes the game-winning run.

“He’s a heck of a competitor,” Armstrong Jr. said. “He’s a playmaker. I think we have probably one of the best offenses in the IFL and I think we showed it in four quarters today.”

Finishing was something that Nebraska has vastly emphasized as the season has gone on.

With how many games they had fall away in the closing seconds, it was almost the only thing they really needed to work on.

“We’ve been preaching finish, and we finally put together four quarters and finished,” Eric Thomas said. “[The win] just shows how hard we’ve been working.”

The aspect of finishing comes full circle for IFL veteran Mike Tatum.

He started the year off playing with the Bismarck Bucks who finished the season with a 2-10 record.

Three weeks ago, Tatum joined Nebraska, and so far the move has paid off.

Tatum finished the game as the leading receiver, corralling 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns himself.

Winning on Saturday was the icing on the cake.

“It’s surreal,” Tatum said. “I joined this team for a reason and I feel like we have everything we need to go ahead and make this playoff run.”

2019 IFL Playoff Schedule

First Round
Friday, June 21 – 7:00 p.m. CT
No. 4 Green Bay vs. No. 5 Nebraska

Sunday, June 23 – 3:00 p.m. CT
No. 3 Sioux Falls vs. No. 6 Tucson

Saturday June 29
4-5 winner @ No. 1 Arizona (8:00 p.m. CT)
3-6 winner @ No. 2 Iowa (7:05 p.m. CT)The post IFL: Danger upset Barnstormers, Clinch Playoff Spot appeared first on Last Word on Sports.