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 Northern Arizona Wranglers

Northern Arizona Wranglers Win 2022 IFL National Championship, Defeat Quad City Steamwheelers 47-45

August 14, 2022 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Northern Arizona Wranglers News Release

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Northern Arizona Wranglers are bringing the Indoor Football League National Championship Trophy back to Prescott Valley, Ariz., as they defeated the Quad City Steamwheelers, by a score of 47-45, on Saturday night.

The Wranglers ran out onto the neutral site field, inside The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nev., and Wranglers Nation made it sound like a home game for Northern Arizona. The lights were bright, and the stakes were high for both teams, as they battled until the very end when the rightful National Champion was crowned.

The game started quickly for the Steamwheelers, turning a short field into a 7-0 lead over the Wranglers. The first three offensive plays for the Wranglers were bleak, losing a total of six yards from two plays that went for negative yardage, and then a false start penalty. The Wranglers were faced with a 3rd and 16, from their own one-yard line. Wranglers quarterback Kaleb Barker threw a strike over the middle to wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, picking up 19 yards and the first down. After this play, the offense continued to click, and they capped off their opening offensive possession with a touchdown. Barker located wide receiever Glen Gibbons Jr. inside the five yard-line, and Gibbons Jr. fought his way in for the score. The first quarter of the 2022 IFL National Championship ended in a 7-7 tie.

The Wranglers ended the first quarter by forcing the Steamwheelers to turn the ball over on downs. With the ball back in possession of the Wranglers, Barker scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown run, as he rolled into the end zone untouched. The Wranglers took their first lead of the game, putting themselves in front of the Steamwheelers, by a score of 14-7. Quad City responded with a field goal, bringing the Northern Arizona lead down to four points. On the ensuing possession, Wranglers wide receiver Ulice Gillard took a handoff, and faked out the defense as he trotted into the end zone with ease. The Wranglers extended their lead from four to 11 points, outpacing the Steamwheelers, by a score of 21-10 to this point.

The Steamwheelers were able to answer quickly, matching the Wranglers touchdown with one of their own, in just two plays. Just like that, the lead for Northern Arizona was back down to four points. Wranglers kicker Craig Peterson nailed a 25-yard field goal as the clock expired in the first half of the IFL National Championship. The Wranglers went into halftime leading the Steamwheelers, by a score of 24-17.

The Wranglers opened the second half of the IFL title game with possession of the football. Northern Arizona made the most of this possession, scoring a rushing touchdown, courtesy of Chiaokhiao-Bowman. The point after attempt was no good, and the Wranglers were in front of the Steamwheelers by a score of 30-17. Quad City made it clear that they would not quit in this IFL National Championship game, scoring a 42-yard touchdown on their first offensive play, during the game's next drive. The Wranglers weren't going to quit either, as their offense responded with yet another touchdown. Barker threw a short pass to running back Israel Tucker, and he took it 20 yards for the score. The Steamwheelers missed a field goal, and it felt as if the Wranglers held control of the game's momentum. This feeling didn't last long for the Wranglers, after turning the ball over towards the end of the third quarter. The third quarter ended with Quad City in possession of the football, as the Wranglers were in front, by a score of 37-24.

The fourth quarter of this IFL National Championship game was intense, as Quad City opened the final 15 minutes with a touchdown that brought them within six points of the Wranglers. After that, Northern Arizona kicked a successful 23-yard field goal from Peterson, which kept the Wranglers in front by two possessions. Each team continued to trade punches, as you would expect in a national title game. The Steamwheelers scored another touchdown, and missed the point after attempt. The Wranglers were still in control, leading by a score of 40-37.

The Wranglers delivered what seemed to be a dagger to the Steamwheelers at the time. Barker and Tucker connected for another touchdown, that put the Wranglers in front by 10 points, with just one minute to play in the game. On the following drive, Quad City scored a touchdown in just two offensive plays. The Steamwheelers followed this touchdown up with a successful two-point conversion, making the difference in the championship contest just two points inside of the final minute. The Wranglers were able to force the Steamwheelers into burning their remaining timeouts and ran the clock out to finish the game as the 2022 IFL National Champions!

Wranglers defensive end JaQuan Artis received the IFL National Championship Most Valuable Player Award. Artis tallied five total tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss. Barker accounted for four total touchdowns, throwing three and rushing for one. Tucker caught two touchdown passes, and racked up 71 total yards.

The best example of a "from worst to first" team is the Northern Arizona Wranglers. From winning one game just a season ago, to finishing the 2022 season at the top as IFL National Champions. An incredible season must be credited to both our entire coaching staff, and the amazing players that made this possible. The ultimate team accolade for an organization that has built a tight-knit brotherhood from the top down in 2022.

Join us in Prescott Valley, Ariz., at the Findlay Toyota Center at 7:30 PM to celebrate your 2022 IFL National Champions! The team will be present, and there will be an opportunity to take photos with the IFL National Championship Trophy! Members of WTSM-TV will interview our players live!

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