In week 1 of the 15th season of the IFL, the league included three of the pre-season top five teams in the IFL. The Arizona Rattlers, Frisco Fighters, and Quad City Steamwheelers displayed nearly unstoppable offensive units. IFL defenses will have to work hard to even get a single stop this year in the IFL.
Critical plays by the Arizona defense decided the outcome in game one between the Rattlers and Steamwheelers. That stop did not come until the 4th quarter allowing Arizona to pick up a shootout victory on the road. The Steamwheelers lost several potential points due to six missed extra points.
In the weekend’s second game, the Frisco Fighters scored on every possession before they took a knee on their last possession. The Green Bay Blizzard also shows that they have a lot of work to do before they can compete against the best teams in the IFL. The Blizzard came into the game unsure who their starting quarterback would be, and it still needs to be confident about who its quarterback will be going forward.
Game #1 Review
Arizona Rattlers 60 Quad City Steamwheelers 53
The Rattlers quarterback Drew Powell started the season as the top quarterback in the IFL in the Pre-Season Quarterback Power Rankings and lived up to the hype. Powell had eight runs for 89 yards and three touchdowns, and he had 13 completions on 23 pass attempts for 139 yards and four touchdowns. He had no turnovers and had a quarterback rating of 164.7 for the week.
Wide receiver Haley Braxton had four catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Scott and Jamal Miles also caught touchdowns for the Rattlers. Defensively, the Rattler got a defensive stop in the 4th quarter and produced a safety. Those defensive plays, and extra points, allowed Arizona to start the season with a victory.
The Steamwheelers quarterback EJ Hilliard was the second-ranked quarterback in the IFL in the pre-season, and like Powell; he backed up his ranking. Hilliard had 14 carries for 115 yards, two rushing touchdowns, and 12 completions on 22 pass attempts for 134 yards and four touchdown passes. He also did not turn the ball over and had a quarterback rating of 165.7.
Wide receiver CJ Windham led all receivers this week with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Newcomer to the Steamwheelers, Jarrod Harrington, had two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown against his former team. The difference maker in the game was the Steamwheeler’s inability to get a defensive stop and missed extra points.
Game #2 Review
Frisco Fighters 76 Green Bay Blizzard 30
The Frisco Fighters traveled to Green Bay with high expectations after receiving a #3 ranking in the pre-season and lived up to those expectations by setting a franchise record with 76 points scored in a game. In previous seasons, the Blizzard has played well on defense and traditionally played better at home than on the road. The difference in the game was Frisco’s offensive efficiency and Green Bay’s lack of direction on offense.
Fighters quarterback TJ Edwards took control of the offense and led them successfully on every game drive. Edwards had 14 carries for 78 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns, and he also had 14 completions on 20 pass attempts for 139 yards and a passing touchdown. He had no turnovers and a quarterback rating of 144.9.
Wide receivers Jerminic Smith and Spencer Tears were consistent playmakers. Smith had five catches for 54 yards, and Tears had five catches for 52 yards. BJ Bunn also had three catches for 30 yards and a touchdown reception. The Fighter’s defense also shut down the Blizzard offense in the 2nd and 4th quarters. It produced four interceptions, including Kordell Jackson, who returned an interception for a defensive touchdown in the second half.
The Green Bay Blizzard came into the game attempting to rebuild their offense that has struggled for several years. Quarterbacks Ja’Rome Johnson led the offense in the first half and Max Meylor in the second half. Johnson had five rushing attempts for 33 yards, three completions on 12 pass attempts for 69 yards, a touchdown, and throwing two interceptions. Meylor had three rushing attempts for 19 yards, had eight completions on 19 pass attempts, and threw for one touchdown, along with two interceptions.
A bright spot for the Blizzard offense was running back Terrence Smith, who had four carries for 13 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, wide Receiver Steve Newbold had three catches for 41 yards. In the past, Green Bay’s strength was their defense, but they could not produce any stops or turnovers.
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