Following a one-point loss on the road in Bismarck, the Frisco Fighters (6-2) are seeking redemption back at home against the Northern Arizona Wranglers (1-8) on Saturday night. The teams face off at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night at Comerica Center in Frisco.
“We just need to fix our mistakes, that’s the biggest thing,” said head coach Clint Dolezel. “We’re a pretty well-coached team, but any time you’re having four turnovers and we don’t get any ourselves, you’re gonna have a tough time winning those football games. And only losing by one in that situation? That says a lot about the heart of our team.”
The final outcomes of each of the eight Fighters games this season have been within one score, and both of Frisco’s losses have been by one point. This week against the Wranglers, Coach Dolezel is looking to execute on offense, play four quarters of solid football, and have his defense continue to play physical.
Though Northern Arizona is 1-8 on the season, the Wranglers are a well-coached team with a solid pass rush on defense. Northern Arizona is giving up 156.9 yards per game through the air and allowing just 70 yards per game on the ground, good for fourth in the league.
The NAZ offense is led by quarterback Verlon Reed, Jr., who has five rushing touchdowns, 13 passing touchdowns, and a total of 974 offensive yards on the season. Running back Robert Brown, Jr. is different than the IFL’s typical running back. At 175 pounds and standing at 5’8”, he’s more of a scatback, according to Coach Dolezel, and Frisco will have to make defensive changes to adjust to Brown’s style.
Frisco veteran quarterback Jonathan Bane has put up 1,054 passing yards this season with 21 touchdowns and two additional touchdowns on the ground. Bane is accompanied by an arsenal of offensive weapons, including wide receiver Mark Munson, who is a steady target in the end zone with eight touchdowns and 275 receiving yards this season. Last week against the Bucks, Munson logged two touchdowns and 115 yards, earning Frisco’s Player of the Game honors.
The Frisco defense has been strong all season and continues to be one of the IFL’s best. The Fighters lead the league in rushing defense. Frisco is third in pass defense and fourth in scoring defense.
Now with just five regular season games remaining, the Fighters are playing with a bigger goal in mind – the playoffs.
“We know that the end goal is getting close for us. Playoffs are right around the corner, and our goal is to get to ten wins. We feel like if we can get to ten wins and we can beat the right people in those ten wins, then we’re gonna be the number one seed,” said Dolezel.
At 6-2, the Fighters are currently tied for second place in the league with the Spokane Shock, just one-half game behind the top-seeded Arizona Rattlers.