Category Archives: Tucson Sugar Skulls

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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.


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2019 LWOS All-IFL Teams Announced

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’re keeping it simple for this week and putting out our All-IFL teams today before releasing our Individual Awards such as MVP, Coach of the Year, etc. on Wednesday morning.
As always, thanks for following along to our coverage this season.

2019 LWOS All-IFL Teams Announced
The Arizona Rattlers finished the 2019 regular season with an unblemished, 14-0 record. Rightfully so, they lead all teams in the IFL with seven players on our all-league rosters.
The Iowa Barnstormers put seven players on all-league rosters as well, with a league-leading five making the first team.

All 10 IFL teams had at least one representative earn LWOS’ all-league honors. All but two teams had multiple players selected.
2019 LWOS All-IFL Teams
First Team
Offense
Quarterback | Daquan Neal, Iowa
Running Back | Mike Jones, Tucson
Wide Receiver | Ryan Balentine, Iowa
Wide Receiver | Quinton Pedroza, Quad City
Wide Receiver | Brandon Shepherd, Sioux Falls
Offensive Line | Steven Gurrola, Arizona
Offensive Line | Forrestal Hickman, Sioux Falls
Offensive Line | Oliver Lumpkin, Iowa

Defense
Defensive Line | Chris Martin, Nebraska
Defensive Line | Nikolaus D’Avanzo, Arizona
Defensive Line | Claude Davis, Sioux Falls
Linebacker | Treyvon Williams, Iowa
Defensive Back | Tyrell Pearson, Iowa
Defensive Back | Allen Chapman, Arizona
Defensive Back | Brandon Roe, Nebraska
Defensive Back | Bakari Triggs, Green Bay

Special Teams
Kick Returner | Eric Thomas, Nebraska
Kicker | Jimmy Camacho, Arizona

 
Second Team
Offense
Quarterback | E.J. Hilliard, Quad City
Running back | Davonte Sapp-Lynch, Nebraska
Wide Receiver | Marques Rodgers, San Diego
Wide Receiver | Keyvan Rudd, Quad City
Wide Receiver | Jazeric Peterson, Iowa
Offensive Line | Lamar Mady, Arizona
Offensive Line | Kyle Saxelid, Cedar Rapids
Offensive Line | D.J. Loving, Iowa

Defense
Defensive Line | Deldrick Canty, Green Bay
Defensive Line | Silverberry Mouhon, Green Bay
Defensive Line | LaTreze Mushatt, Bismarck
Linebacker | Zach Allen, Tucson
Defensive Back | Davontae Merriweather, Arizona
Defensive Back | Danzel McDaniel, Quad City
Defensive Back | Marquez Gollman, Green Bay
Defensive Back | Omar Cook, San Diego

Special Teams
Kick Returner | Jarrod Harrington, Arizona
Kicker | Jacob Stytz, Quad CityThe post 2019 LWOS All-IFL Teams Announced appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Green Bay Blizzard clinch home playoff game

The Green Bay Blizzard defeated the Cedar Rapids River Kings 56-15 on Saturday night to improve to 8-5 on the season and clinch a playoff game at the Resch Center for the first time since 2012.

Running back Anthony Philyaw led the way with four touchdowns in the first half and the Blizzard never looked back.
Green Bay Blizzard clinch home playoff game
Green Bay announced following the game that the first round date has already been scheduled for Friday, June 21.

The Blizzard have not yet announced a time for their playoff game, but we can now confirm that it will be them as the No. 4 seed taking on the No. 5 seed in the IFL playoffs.

Now, the No. 5 seed in the playoffs can be any of Tucson, Quad City, or Nebraska, whom are all 6-7 heading into the last week of action.

The good news for Green Bay is that the Blizzard are a 4-1 combined against the three teams.

The most likely scenario would be Nebraska losing to 12-1 Iowa (the Barnstormers have won 14 home games in a row and can still earn the first seed with a win and an Arizona loss). That would put the winner of Tucson-Quad City into the Resch Center in two weeks for the playoff game.

We’ll learn more next week after the IFL finishes out its regular season.

The Blizzard will finish out their year taking on Cedar Rapids once again next Saturday, though this time at home. The game will kick off at 7:05 p.m. CT on YouTube.

For more Indoor Football news and updates, consider following Last Word On Sports’ Indoor Football department on Twitter and Instagram at @LWOS_IndoorFB.

IFL Standings

Position
Team
Record
Games behind

1
Arizona
13-0

2
Iowa
12-1
1

3
Sioux Falls
10-3
3

4
Green Bay
8-5
5

5
Tucson
6-7
7

6
Quad City
6-7
7

Playoff Cutoff

7
Nebraska
6-7
7

8
Bismarck
2-11
11

9
San Diego
1-12
12

10
Cedar Rapids
1-12
12

Week 16 Results
Green Bay 56, Cedar Rapids 15
Iowa 55, Sioux Falls 43
OT: Arizona 50, Tucson 49
Week 17 Schedule
Saturday, June 15
7:00pm: San Diego (1-12) @ Arizona (13-0)
7:05pm: Cedar Rapids (1-12) @ Green Bay (8-5)
7:05pm: Bismarck (2-11) @ Sioux Falls (10-3)
7:05pm: Nebraska (6-7) @ Iowa (12-1)
8:00pm: Quad City (6-7) @ Tucson (6-7)The post Green Bay Blizzard clinch home playoff game appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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IFL: Blizzard One Game Away from securing Home Playoff date

They’re just one game away from a home playoff date.

After a 6-5 mark through their first 11 games of the season, the Green Bay Blizzard were tied in the standings with Tucson for the No. 4 seed in the Indoor Football League (IFL) Playoffs.

With the way that the IFL Playoffs are set up this season, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds each host a Quarterfinals game, where the winners will advance to play the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds (whom will come off of bye weeks) in the Semifinals.

Thanks to a Tucson loss last week and Green Bay’s 41-10 blowout of Bismarck, the Blizzard are one game away from clinching a spot to host a playoff game for the first time since 2012.
IFL: Blizzard One Game Away from securing Home Playoff date
With the win over Bismarck, Green Bay improves to 7-5 on the season with two games to play – that’s one game ahead the Sugar Skulls who still have to play the undefeated Arizona Rattlers once more.

Next week, with either a win against 1-11 Cedar Rapids or a loss from Tucson, the Blizzard will have clinched their home spot and the No. 4 seed.

It’s already been a historic season for the team. Their seventh victory marks the most since 2012 and also the first winning record they will finish with.

The surge has come from the help of quarterback Lenorris Footman. He’s fourth in the IFL in passing yards per game and also leads the league in rushing yards.

He’s not the first quarterback to do that in the IFL, but it has given the Blizzard a much needed spark that has seemed to push this team over the hump.

On the defensive side of the ball, Footman has been aided by the duo of Marquez Gollman and Bakari Triggs. The two have combined for seven of the Blizzard’s forced turnovers, with six of those being interceptions.

Gollman has been sidelined for a few weeks due to an injury, but the Blizzard expect to have him back for their regular season finale on June 15.

It can’t get much better for Green Bay the way things are going right now. Let’s see how far they can take this thing.

For more Indoor Football news and updates, consider following Last Word On Sports’ Indoor Football department on Twitter and Instagram at @LWOS_IndoorFB.

IFL Standings

Position
Team
Record
Games behind

1
Arizona
12-0

2
Iowa
11-1
1.0

3
Sioux Falls
10-2
2.0

4
Green Bay
7-5
5.0

5
Tucson
6-6
6.0

6
Quad City
5-7
7.0

7
Nebraska
5-7
7.0

8
Bismarck
2-10
10.0

9
San Diego
1-11
11.0

10
Cedar Rapids
1-11
11.0

Week 15 Scores
*LWOS will update scores and standings as games finish throughout the night.
FINAL: Green Bay 41, Bismarck 10
FINAL: Arizona 56, Cedar Rapids 0
FINAL: Sioux Falls 60, San Diego 7The post IFL: Blizzard One Game Away from securing Home Playoff date appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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IFL: Rattlers rout San Diego to end hectic Week 9 in IFL

The San Diego Strike Force took a 14-7 lead after a big, over-the-boards touchdown grab from Victor Dean early in the second quarter in Monday’s Week 9 finale in the Indoor Football League.

From then on, it was all Arizona Rattlers as the 2017 league champions propelled themselves to their seventh win of the season.
Rattlers rout San Diego to end hectic Week 9 in IFL
Arizona scored 45 unanswered points to prove that the Strike Force (1-7) were no match for themselves.

Roland Genesy Jr. went off for 75 yards and three touchdowns while filling in for the injured Jabre Lolley at running back.

On the defensive side, Dillion Winfrey took home two interceptions, including a pick-six to bring the win home for the Rattlers.

It put a bow on a wild Week 9 in the league that saw four teams losing games they were expected to win as the season makes the turn to the back end of the regular season stretch.
A week to be remembered
Aside from Monday’s blowout, it was anyone’s game in the other four bouts.

The Sioux Falls Storm took down the Iowa Barnstormers with a tipped-ball touchdown with one second remaining on the clock to avenge their 2018 United Bowl loss.

The result knocked the Barnstormers from the top of the standings.

In a rematch from just a week before, Nebraska managed to get past the Green Bay Blizzard, giving this year’s surprise team its first loss since March 9.

The win kept the Danger in the playoffs in what has become a tight race for the last two spots – all are separated by half a game.

Two of the teams in that race battled on Saturday as well, when Quad City picked up its first win since March 15, beating the Tucson Sugar Skulls in Moline.

For now, that result is the difference between a playoff spot.

The pair of teams will face off again in the season finale on June 15.

To top it all off, the Bismarck Bucks defeated the Cedar Rapids River Kings to earn their first win of the season – becoming the second team to accomplish the feat after San Diego did it a week ago, as well.

Luckily for Cedar Rapids, it can’t happen again as the result ensured no teams will finish the 2019 season without a win.

Below is a visual look at the league’s current standings.

2019 Indoor Football League Standings

Position
Team
Record
GB

1
Arizona
7-0

2
Sioux Falls
6-1
1

3
Iowa
6-1
1

4
Green Bay
5-3
2.5

5
Nebraska
4-4
3.5

6
Quad City
3-4
4

Playoff Cutoff

7
Tucson
3-4
4

8
Bismarck
1-6
6

9
San Diego
1-7
6.5

10
Cedar Rapids
1-7
6.5

 
More Intrigue Ahead
Who’s to say that the unpredictability stops there?

Week 10 promises to be action packed with a four-game slate headlined by Arizona and Sioux Falls facing off in the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Add on a hungry Bismarck team trying to keep things rolling as well as a Cedar Rapids team that’s in need of a big win, and the standings could be shook up even more this week.

Week 10 Schedule
Friday, April 26
7:05pm CT | Cedar Rapids @ Nebraska
Saturday, April 27
7:05pm CT | Arizona @ Sioux Falls
8:00pm CT | Iowa @ Tucson
Sunday, April 28
2:05pm CT | Quad City @ Bismarck

Stay informed and up to date on all of the latest indoor football happenings by following LWOS Indoor Football on Instagram and Twitter.The post IFL: Rattlers rout San Diego to end hectic Week 9 in IFL appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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