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Mississippi beats Portland for title

by IPFL Press Release
August 28, 2000 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)


Prowlers Press Release

Fire Dogs Upset Regular-Season Champs 53-48

August 26, 2000 - In the highest scoring championship game in league history, quarterback John Fourcade's record-setting performance helped Mississippi (11-7) capture the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) 2000 Championship with a 53-48 win at regular season champion Portland (11-6) Saturday night.

Fourcade established new post-season marks for completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, as he was a red hot 30-37-1 passing for 244 yards and five touchdowns. "We played 62 minutes of football," Fourcade said after sparking the Fire Dogs to the highest team point production in IPFL Championship history. "Both teams came out throwing and throwing, but our guys fought hard in the second half. Especially our defense, which was just great in the second half."

The marquee battle between the IPFL's two most prolific passers, Fourcade and Portland's Erik Wilhelm, was all that it was billed to be. Both former NFL signal callers had their offenses in gear early, as both teams combined for 70 first half points. Fourcade, however, was simply unconscious, leaving the stunned Memorial Coliseum crowd of 4,498 wondering who let the dogs out. Through the first two quarters he completed 20 of 22 passes for 157 yards and four touchdowns. Furthermore, Mississippi found the end zone on all of its first half possessions, with Fourcade having a hand in five of the Fire Dogs' first six scores.

The IPFL's Offensive Player of the Year and all-time leading passer marched the Fire Dogs on an eight-play scoring drive with the opening possession of the game. After running back Buster Browne's one-yard touchdown run put Mississippi in front 6-0, Portland answered with a six-play scoring drive that was capped by running back Glenn Vereen's three-yard touchdown run.

Mississippi needed just 1:57 to hit pay dirt on its second possession. A play-action fake enabled wide receiver Kenny Causey to get behind the defense for a 17-yard touchdown strike from Fourcade. After Portland responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wilhelm to Vereen, Mississippi jumped back in front 19-14 as Causey and Fourcade hooked up on a six-yard scoring pass.

Early in the second, Wilhelm put the Prowlers on top again with a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Mahanke. Mississippi quickly countered, regaining the lead for good on wide receiver Nicky Seymour's four-yard touchdown reception. After a Portland field goal, Mississippi struck again. This time Fourcade escaped from a heavy rush before finding the outstretched hands of wide receiver Martino Theus, who made a spectacular diving catch in the end zone on a 22-yard scoring pass.

Portland closed to within 32-31 as Vereen broke through a would-be tackle from one yard out to post his third touchdown of the game. Although the Prowlers' score came with only :28 remaining before the half, Fourcade and the Fire Dogs needed just :19 to re-seize the momentum heading into the break. Following a 15-yard completion, Fourcade scrambled in from 10 yards out to forge a 39-31 advantage.

After both teams exchanged one-yard touchdown runs in the third, Mississippi assumed a 53-37 lead following Fourcade's three-yard touchdown pass to Browne. A pair of safety's and an 11-yard touchdown pass from Wilhelm to Mahanke brought Portland to within a score; however, the Prowlers' final chance to pull out the victory ended with a fumble at the Mississippi 15-yard line.

For the game, Fourcade's leading targets were Causey and fellow Fire Dogs' wide receiver Lamont Woodberry. Causey had 159 all purpose yards, including six receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while Woodberry finished with a Championship record 14 receptions for 95 yards. "John played extremely well tonight, but it was a great team effort from everybody," said Causey.

Although they came up short on the scoreboard, the Prowlers won the statistical battle by outpacing Mississippi in first downs (20-17), total offensive yards (282-268) and time of possession (31:19-28:41). Leading the way was league MVP Wilhelm, who rushed for a score and was 26-42-1 passing for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Other key contributors were Vereen, Mahanke and Chad Carlson. Vereen had 100 all purpose yards (58 receiving and 42 rushing) and three scores, Carlson had eight receptions for 83 yards and Mahanke had seven catches for 70 yards and two scores.

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