The Indoor Football Season started this past weekend and all three games were competitive, gave us glimpses of what we can come to expect from each team, as well as an idea of who we will likely be seeing at the end of the season in the United Bowl.
Here are the final scores from each game, as well as a little bit of insight as to what I saw from each game.
Nebraska Danger 44, Cedar Rapids Titans 31
Outside of one 30 second stretch at the end of the first half where the Danger gave up two touchdowns in a span of eight seconds, Nebraska made a case for the most impressive team in the opening week, racing out to a 23-6 lead before handing on for the 44-31 win.
Nebraska QB Damien Fleming shined as a dual-threat QB, racking up 162 yards of total offense and four TDs. The Danger racked up 117 rushing yards in the win with Angelo Pease getting 14 carries for 52 yards and two scores. But it was the defense’s play in key situations that carried the Danger, holding the Titans to 5 of 11 on third downs, and 0 for 3 on fourth downs. While not one thing stood out for Nebraska, they appear to be a well-rounded team that is going to be right there with Iowa, Arizona, and Sioux Falls.
For Cedar Rapids, Jake Medlock looked solid under center, hitting on 16 of 26 passes for 119 yards and a pair of scores, as well as two rushing scores. Tyler Thomas racked up 50 yards on 12 carries, but 21 of those came on one carry, so on the other 11 he was effectively bottled up. While the Danger thrived in key situations, Cedar Rapids faltered, letting Nebraska go a combined 6 of 9 (nice) on third and fourth downs in the game. If the Titans can clean up those third and fourth down woes, they will be a tough matchup for teams going forward.
Iowa Barnstormers 41, Green Bay Blizzard 20
In front of more than 5,100 fans, Green Bay played a strong first quarter, taking a 10-7 lead, but the Barnstormers dominated over the final three frames for an impressive opening-week win.
The Barnstormers flashed what was, in my opinion, the most dynamic offense of the opening weekend, mainly because of the quarterback-wide receiver duo of Drew Powell and Ryan Balentine. Powell flashed a laser of an arm that was almost always on target, finishing 20 of 26 for 208 yards and four TDs, all league highs on the weekend. Balentine was his top target with 10 grabs for 119 yards and two scores, also tops on the weekend. This could be a very dynamic duo going forward. Combine that with a defense that held Green Bay to just seven offensive first downs, and you have a team that should be in the title conversation.
Green Bay was a mess on both sides of the ball, giving up over 250 yards of offense, getting just 120 yards of offense, and struggling mightily on third downs on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Christian Lemay was lousy, completing just four passes for 28 yards with one touchdown and one interception. If there was a bright spot, the rushing attack saw five players combine for 99 yards led by Jasen Oden Jr.’s 51, but it took the team 27 carries to get there, just 3.7 yards per rush. This could be a long season in Green Bay if they don’t find a way to get anything going on offense.
Arizona Rattlers 39, Sioux Falls Storm 33
The game of the weekend and a rematch of last season’s United Bowl lived up to the hype and then some in a game that came down to the final minute before a late safety and touchdown lifted the defending champion Rattlers to a win. Oddly, this game was a penalty fest with 20 combined flags for 140 yards.
Arizona flashed a very impressive rushing game with 134 yards on the ground on a whopping 31 carries. Darrell Monroe was the bell cow with 87 yards on 18 carries. This ground game could have been even more effective if starting QB Verlon Reed didn’t leave the game after the opening series, during which he added 23 yards on just two carries. Backup QB Jeff Ziemba was spotty at best in the win, tossing two touchdowns and rushing for a score, but getting picked off twice while completing just 5 of 13 passes. Arizona looked well-rounded in all facets of the game, but will need better quarterback play going forward if they don’t want to sweat out wins like Sunday.
Sioux Falls showed balance on offense with 102 passing yards and 89 rushing yards, led by quarterback Lorenzo Brown, who showed big play ability through the air and on the ground, accumulating 165 yards of total offense and two scores. Really, the difference in the game was a fumble that rolled all the way back into the Storm end zone for a safety, the Storm’s inability to convert a third down, finishing just 1 of 7, and the kicking game leaving five points on the board with a missed FG and two XPs. It was a slightly uncharacteristic sloppy performance from the Storm, but they should be there at the end of the season.
- Arizona Rattlers (1-0)
- Iowa Barnstormers (1-0)
- Nebraska Danger (1-0)
- Sioux Falls Storm (0-1)
- Cedar Rapids Titans (0-1)
- Green Bay Blizzard (0-2)
March 2: Green Bay (0-1) at Cedar Rapids (0-1), 7 p.m. CST
March 10: Arizona (1-0) at Iowa (1-0), 7 p.m. CST
March 11: Green Bay (0-1) at Nebraska (1-0), 3 p.m CST