Defense, Coleman lead Fever to Indoor Bowl V win
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Veteran quarterback Doug Coleman took a lot of pressure and a lot of hits Saturday night, but the 37-year-old connected on two 4-th quarter touchdowns as the Tri-Cities Fever held off Rome, 47-31, to win the National Indoor Football League's Indoor Bowl V.
Coleman, the former Eastern New Mexico standout, directed two drives in the last 10:25 to give the first-year Fever (13-5) the championship after winning three previous road playoff games. The Fever stopped a previously undefeated Odessa team the week before for the Pacific Conference title.
It another Cinderella' run, the Rome Renegades (10-8) had won two road games to collect the Atlantic Conference championship and gain a Bowl matchup in Three Rivers Coliseum.
FEVER BUILDS 33-17 LEAD
Tri-Cities had built a 33-17 halftime lead, but Rome tightened up its defense, made some key plays and found itself with 33-31 with 13:52 left in the fourth quarter.
That's when the 6-foot-2 Coleman went to work. He connected with former Brigham Young player Mike Rigell twice and Jarvis Dunn for 13 yards before finding Josh Jelmberg for five yards. Drew Dunning's kick was good and the Fever increased its lead, 40-31, with 10:25 left in the game.
On the Renegades ensuing possession ran nearly six minutes off the clock and on a 4th down Brian Tracy's 43-yard attempt was wide right at 4:31. It was the Fever's defensive line, headed by Garret Smith that made the difference.
Tri-Cities took over on its own 5-yard line and after two Coleman was sacked and a pass over the middle was incomplete, Coleman found Sonte Wong at the 17 and he ran the rest of the distance. The play covered 48 yards and with 2:26 remaining in the game, all but sealed the game for the Fever.
COLEMAN'S BIG PLAYS IN END
The touchdown, along with Dunning's extra point, gave Tri-Cities a 47-31 margin. "That was a big play," said Coleman. "I think everybody was relaxed and we delivered at the right time."
Rome just ran out of options in the last few minutes. Into the two-minute warning, the Renegades just couldn't execute and on a 1st down play inside their own 10-yard line and a fumble ended the game with six seconds left.
Starting Rome quarterback Bo Bartik, who was only seven of 19 in the first half for 53 yards and a touchdown, was hurt on the first play of the 3rd quarter and John Revere, out of Georgia Southern, came.
There wasn't much offense in the third period as the Rome defense stepped up to hold Tri-Cities scoreless. Revere directed a seven-play drive with fullback Perry Tisdale scoring from two yards out. Tisdales' two-point conversion cut the Fever lead to 33-25 with 9:52 left in the third.
Lew Thomas' interception stalled TC's ensuing drive with 4:36 left and Revere took over the controls to guide the Gades to the Fever 10 before the end of the third quarter.
ROME MAKES COMEBACK
Bartik ended the game connecting on eight of 20 but Revere came in to hit eight of 12. The Renegades primary receiver was Clenton Rafe with seven catches for 64 yards and one score.
Coleman, who despite the knockdowns and bruises, said he felt great and the "most important thing was to finish the game." Coleman totaled 22 of 37 (.595) attempts passing for 282 yards and four touchdowns.
Rigell had a game-high nine receptions for 106 yards.
Near the end of the third quarter, Tri-Cities had converted only one of six possessions and that was on Dunning's 28-yard field goal to end the half with the Fever leading, 33-17.
For a championship game, the two teams kept shooting themselves in the foot in the first half. Rome just gave up the ball at the most inopportune times. Rome turned the ball over on downs twice in the first quarter, was intercepted once, gave up a safety and missed a field goal to open the second period.
Tri-Cities, on the other hand, lost two fumbles to the Gades was intercepted twice.
The Fever got the ball to start the game, scored on a Coleman 27-yard pass to Rigell. A stop on 4th down gave TC the ball again at 9:02 of the first quarter and Coleman directed a five-play drive he ended with a one-yard run.
Dunning's two kicks gave the Fever a 14-0 lead at 6:52.
Jelmberg caught a Coleman pass for 13 yards after Bartik connected with Rafe for nine yards to give Rome its first score of the game.
Tri-Cities held a 30-10 lead with on a Dunn one-yard run with 2 minutes left in the second quarter, but Rome scored on a Booker 3-yard run.
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National Indoor Football League Stories from July 31, 2005
- Post-game interviews wrap up title night - Tri-Cities Fever
- Defense, Coleman lead Fever to Indoor Bowl V win - Tri-Cities Fever
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