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 Quad City Steamwheelers

Kyle Kaplan Is the Hero in Quad City, Nailing a Game-Winning Field Goal against Iowa

May 21, 2024 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Quad City Steamwheelers News Release

It was a thriller of a matchup for the Steamwheelers against the Iowa Barnstormers. The Battle of I-80 didn't disappoint. It was a back-and-forth, high-energy contest that came down to the last few seconds of the game.

The Wheelers started the game with a dime of a pass from Mike Irwin to Edward Vander. Vander shook two defenders to get into the endzone, scoring a touchdown on the Steamwheelers' first offensive snap. Kyle Kaplan cleaned it up with a good extra point, giving the Steamwheelers the early 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Jefferson Fritz ran the ball back for a kick return touchdown for Iowa to tie the game at 7-7.

The Steamwheelers would drive down the field and attempt a field goal that went wide right. After Darreon Jackson forced a turnover on downs on Iowa's ensuing drive, Kaplan's field goal attempt was good to give the Wheelers the lead 10-7 going into the second. This quarter saw the Wheelers and the Barnstormers trade the lead five times. The action started with the Barnstormers scoring and taking the lead 14-10 after a good PAT. The Steamwheelers struck back with a touchdown as Irwin powered it in to put the Wheelers on top, 17-14.

Iowa scored another touchdown, making it a 21-17 game. The Steamwheelers had an answer for them, with Irwin threading the needle on a pass to Ka'Ron Ashley for a touchdown to take the lead back at 24-21. It was a team effort on defense for the Steamwheelers, as everybody had at least one tackle, with Darreon Jackson leading the way with eight total tackles. Jaylin Swan and Keshaun Moore looked like the most dominant tag team since the Hardy Boyz, as they both bagged two sacks each and a combined 35 sack yards on the night.

The Barnstormers' field goal attempt was good to tie the game at 24-24 before Quad City worked their way down the field to push Irwin in for a touchdown, taking the lead 31-24. The Barnstormers stuck around, scoring another touchdown to bring the game within a point, as the scoreboard read 31-30 going into the second half. The battle of the kickers started the third quarter, as Gabriel Rui gave Iowa the 33-31 lead 33-31 with a good field goal. Kaplan struck back with a field goal of his own to take the lead right back.

The Barnstormers shot back with a bomb down the field that paid off with another touchdown, and a successful PAT put them on top again. Jarrod Harrington ran the following kickoff back 51 yards for a touchdown to snatch the lead back after Kaplan added an extra point at the end. Later, Melik Owens came through with a strip sack, causing a fumble recovered by Jaylin Swan for a touchdown. Kaplan strikes again, extending the lead 48-40.

Iowa fought back to score again near the end of the period, making it a one-point game going into the fourth.

Kaplan started the last quarter with a 21-yard field goal, giving them a five-point lead early in the period.

The next drive for the Barnstormers saw them deal with the definition of a mudslide. The momentum shifted in the Wheelers' favor after multiple penalties for Iowa, as Keshaun Moore charged in for a sack and caused Iowa to pick up an intentional grounding penalty. The defense overall was the definition of a stonewall, not letting anything get past them under any circumstance. Later, Kaplan lined up and hit a 53-yard field goal to bring the Quad City's lead to 54-47, as Kaplan ended the game 5/6 on field goal attempts to earn himself the QC Strongman of the Game award.

The Captain of the Defense, Malik Duncan, nabbed a huge interception in the fourth, adding to the momentum in the arena. The following play, however, was a mishandled pitch on an option play from the Steamwheelers, giving Iowa the ball back.

After three red-zone stops, a costly unsportsmanlike penalty on the Steamwheelers gave Iowa a chance with little time left. The Barnstormers would hit a receiver on a slant to score with nine seconds left, adding insult to injury with a two-point conversion to take the lead 55-54 in the 4th.

With nine seconds left, on their five-yard line after the kickoff by Rui, the Steamwheelers would look again to make just enough plays to win. Irwin would find Keyvan Rudd along the wall for a few yards as five seconds remained. Head Coach Cory Ross would call for the leg, opting to kick a field goal. Kyle Kaplan strutted onto the field, and after a good Ivory Scott snap and good placement by Judd Erickson, a 49-yard boot from Kaplan would give the Steamwheelers a 57-55 win in the Battle of I-80.

The Steamwheelers bring their record to 4-4 on the year, knocking the Barnstormers down to 2-6 this season.

Tune in for the next Steamwheeler game against the Green Bay Blizzard on May 31. The game will be on the Blizzards' turf. Catch the game live on Caffeine TV or the IFL YouTube Channel.

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