Despite owning a two-possession lead on three occasions, Frisco was unable to put away the visiting Quad City Steamwheelers, bowing 48-41 and coming up just short of an IFL Eastern Conference crown.
This marks the second year in a row in which the Fighters fell a victory short of competing for a league championship.
It was an arguable fumble that doomed Frisco (15-3), as TJ Edwards climbed out of the pocket and tried to shovel the football forward with 0:21 remaining in the game. The score was knotted up, 41-41, at that juncture.
Early on, the Fighters took advantage of a pair of Quad City’s special teams shortcomings. The Steamwheelers (11-7) pushed one field goal wide right and had another blocked, both of which led to touchdowns for the Fighters.
The guests pulled even with 4:53 to go in the second frame, but even then, a few touchdowns by wideout Tyron Laughinghouse — one receiving and one rushing — staked Frisco to another 14-point edge.
The Fighters were up 34-26 at the half, and they stretched their lead to 15 when, with 10:03 left in the third period, Edwards hit Jerminic Smith for a second time on the night. They’d be held scoreless for the last 25 minutes of the contest, however.
With under a minute to play, on a third down, Quad City’s E.J. Hilliard found a way to wheel into the endzone and tie up the game. With a pump fake a few snaps after Edwards’ critical turnover, Hilliard froze Frisco’s secondary long enough to connect with Keyvan Rudd for the game-winner.
The Steamwheelers will meet either the Arizona Rattlers or Northern Arizona Wranglers in the Dollar Loan Center IFL National Championship on August 13.
Courtesy: Frisco Fighters