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TUCSON SUGAR SKULLS OFFICIAL GAME NOTES OFFICIAL MEDIA PROGRAMS

Sugar Skulls running back Mike Jones and linebacker Zach Allen were named to the All Indoor Football League first team today as the league began announcing its 2019 season honorees. Defensive back Dee Maggitt Jr. was named to the second team.

For Allen, it is the second straight year he was named the league’s top linebacker. He earned the honor in 2018 as a member of the Iowa Barnstormers. Allen led the Sugar Skulls with 88 total tackles including 10 tackles for loss. He also intercepted a pass. This was Allen’s third year in the league.

Jones, playing in his rookie season, led all IFL running backs with 711 yards rushing despite missing two of the Sugar Skulls 14 games. His average of 59.3 yards per game led the league. He had 21 rushing touchdowns and another 293 yards receiving and four TD catches.

Maggitt Jr. led the Sugar Skulls with four interceptions and he was third on the team with 41 tackles. He also had the team’s only kickoff return for a touchdown. He was named IFL Player of the Week twice, once on defense and once for special teams. Maggitt Jr. was a second-team All-IFL selection in 2016.

“Zach, Mike and Dee worked hard all year and the honors are well-deserved,” said Head Coach Marcus Coleman. “We had a young team this year and these three players were a huge part of the success we had and getting to the playoffs in our first year.”

The Sugar Skulls ended the season with a 7-8 record, including a playoff loss to the Sioux Falls Storm, in the team’s first season as a franchise. Tucson finished in a tie for fifth place in the regular season.

The complete All IFL Team is below.

2019 All-IFL Teams

1st Team All-IFL Offense

2nd Team All-IFL Offense

Quarterback:

Daquan Neal, Iowa Barnstormers

E.J. Hilliard, Quad City Steamwheelers

 

Running Back:

Mike Jones, Tucson Sugar Skulls

Davonte Sapp-Lynch, Nebraska Danger

 

Wide Receiver:

Ryan Balentine, Iowa Barnstormers

Brandon Sheperd, Sioux Falls Storm

 

Wide Receiver:

Quinton Pedroza, Quad City Steamwheelers

Jarrod Harrington, Arizona Rattlers

 

Wide Receiver:

Keyvan Rudd, Quad City Steamwheelers

Marques Rodgers, San Diego Strike Force

 

Offensive Line:

Lamar Mady, Arizona Rattlers

Demarious Loving, Iowa Barnstormers

 

Center:

Steven Gurrola, Arizona Rattlers

Oliver Lumpkin, Iowa Barnstormers

 

Offensive Line:

Forrestal Hickman, Sioux Falls Storm

Vincent Calhoun, Green Bay Blizzard

 

1st Team All-IFL Defense

2nd Team All-IFL Defense

Defensive Line:

Chris Martin, Nebraska Danger

Claude Davis, Sioux Falls Storm

 

Defensive Line:

Nikolaus D'Avanzo, Arizona Rattlers

Lance McDowdell, Arizona Rattlers

 

Defensive Line:

Silverberry Mouhon, Green Bay Blizzard

D'Vonn Brown, Nebraska Danger

 

Linebacker:

Zach Allen, Tucson Sugar Skulls

Treyvon Williams, Iowa Barnstormers

 

Defensive Back:

Davontae Merriweather, Arizona Rattlers

Brandon Roe, Nebraska Danger

 

Defensive Back:

Tyrell Pearson, Iowa Barnstormers

Dillion Winfrey, Arizona Rattlers

 

Defensive Back:

Allen Chapman, Arizona Rattlers

Dee Maggitt Jr., Tucson Sugar Skulls

 

Defensive Back:

Bakari Triggs, Green Bay Blizzard

Danzel McDaniel, Quad City Steamwheelers

 

1st Team All-IFL Special Teams

2nd Team All-IFL Special Teams

Kicker:

Jimmy Camacho, Arizona Rattlers

Ernesto Lacayo, San Diego Strike Force

 

Kick Returner

Marques Rodgers, San Diego Strike Force

William Gibbs, Bismarck Bucks

 

Mike Feder, the Tucson Sugar Skulls’ executive director since the formation of the franchise last year, is stepping down from his position to focus on his family and the sports ventures he founded prior to joining the organization.

Feder, 67, has spent nearly 40 years in executive positions with a number of sports franchises, including 15 years as the general manager of Tucson’s Triple-A baseball teams, other indoor football teams, and as executive director of the local Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

He co-founded and operates the annual Mexican Baseball Fiesta played each fall in several Arizona cities, including Tucson, and with journalist and radio personality Steve Rivera owns and operates the Lute Olson Fantasy Basketball Camp which takes place each August.

“I want to thank Kevin and Cathy Guy for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization,” Feder said. “I’m glad I had a chance to play a role in the inaugural season. It’s just time for me to slow down a little and get ready to be a grandpa for the first time, help organize the Lute Olson Fantasy Basketball Camp, and continue being the president of the Mexican Baseball Fiesta for the ninth year.

“I know this franchise has a great future. I plan on being one of the biggest Sugar Skulls fans in Tucson.”

Feder was announced as the Sugar Skulls’ first executive director when the formation of the team was announced last August. He leaves the position on June 30.

“We genuinely appreciate Mike’s commitment to helping the Sugar Skulls get off the ground and set the stage for future success,” said Sugar Skulls Owner Cathy Guy. “It was important for us to establish ourselves as Tucson’s team with management firmly rooted in the community. Mike’s knowledge of Tucson and the business community helped us have a successful season from a business standpoint. We wish him all the best as he leaves our organization.

“Our goals remain the same which are to run a successful franchise from a competitive and business perspective, and to be an integral part of the community. We had an exciting and successful first season and we expect to continue that into our second year.”

The Tucson Sugar Skulls inaugural season came to an end on the road Sunday when it fell, 50-47, to the Sioux Falls Storm in a first-round Indoor Football League playoff game.

It was a game that had seven lead changes, but the Storm, the No. 3 seed in the IFL, pulled out the victory on the strength of back-to-back scores in the decisive third quarter when they took a lead they never relinquished.

Trailing by nine points late in the fourth quarter, the Sugar Skulls got within striking distance, down three points, when relief quarterback Matt Behrendt ran the ball in from the 2-yard line.

There was 1:16 left on the clock. An onside kick failed, and the Storm was able to run out the clock.  The Sugar Skulls end their season despite putting up their second-highest offensive output of the year with 311 total yards. Quarterback Jake Medlock got the start and was an efficient 22 of 25 passing for 271 yards, also a season high. He threw six touchdown passes.

“I thought we played well,” said Head Coach Marcus Coleman. “When you’re playing a team like Sioux Falls and playing in their building, it’s always going to be a tough, tight game.
“We just didn’t make enough plays when it counted,” Coleman said. “Give them credit. They made plays when it counted.”

Tucson finishes its first season with a 7-8 overall record after finishing at .500 in the regular season, good for a tie for fifth place in the IFL with the Nebraska Danger. The Sugar Skulls were
the No. 6 seed in the playoffs because of a regular-season loss to the Danger.

“For the most part, we had a successful season being it was the first year, building it from the ground up, and making it to the playoffs,” Coleman said. “We’ve really got a lot to build on. The foundation has been set.

“I know we finished 7-7 but we made the playoffs,” Coleman added. “We’re the first team to do that as an expansion team. That’s the foundation. Now the guys that come back and the new guys that come in know what the expectation is. The expectation is to make the playoffs again and trying to make a deeper run.”

2019 Sugar Skulls Game Notes Game 15 Sioux Falls Page 01

After a regular season of ups and downs, streaks and anticipation, the Tucson Sugar Skulls are in the Indoor Football League playoffs in their first year as a franchise.

The question now becomes: How long do they get to stay?

Tucson, the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, travels to face the Sioux Falls Storm, the No. 3 seed, Sunday in a 1 p.m. game at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The game will be live streamed on the IFL YouTube channel.

The playoff berth came down to the final seconds of the regular season finale when the Sugar Skulls held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Quad City Steamwheelers in a 55-50 playoff-clinching victory.

Now safely in the playoffs, Head Coach Marcus Coleman said all records are erased and it’s “win or go home” for all six teams in the postseason. He said his approach during the week of practice was for his team to know that this is a special game, different from the rest of the regular season.

“It’s not just another game and you have to approach it like that,” Coleman said earlier in the week. “You have to let guys know that the sense of urgency needs to be more than what it usually is. I don’t sugar coat it for them.”

The Sugar Skulls enter the game having won four of their last six games with both losses coming to the unbeaten Arizona Rattlers. The streak comes after the Sugar Skulls endured a four-game losing streak but stayed in the playoff hunt, and now they face one of the top teams in the league.

“Sioux Falls is a hard place to play. It always has been,” Coleman said. “I’m expecting a physical ball game. This is one of those games where it truly comes down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes. This is that kind of game.”

Notes & Numbers

  • Running back Mike Jones finished the regular season as the top rusher among running backs in the IFL. His 59.3 average yards per game led the league. He finished with 711 total yards, just nine yards behind Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong who won the rushing title.
  • Jones and quarterback Matt Behrendt produced two of the IFL’s top offensive performances of the season. Jones rushed for 116 yards against Quad City which was the second-highest single-game rushing total this season. He was named Offensive Player of the Week for the effort. Behrendt’s eight touchdown passes on March 10 against Bismarck was a season high.
  • Coleman was the defensive coordinator for the Iowa Barnstormers last season when when they defeated the Sioux Falls Storm in the United Bowl.
  • A win by the Sugar Skulls would mean a fifth meeting with the Arizona Rattlers on June 29. The Sugar Skulls took the Rattlers to overtime in Phoenix on June 15.

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