04/28/2016 3:12 PM
The Tri-Cities Fever and Spokane Empire get ready for their third match-up of the 2016 season, less than a week after their last meeting.
The Fever at 3-5 on the season visit the Empire at Spokane Arena on Friday night. Tri-Cities is 0-2 against the Spokane this season, the most recent loss a 52-39 loss last Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
“This team keeps fighting,” said quarterback Pat McCain after the loss. “We just need to keep getting better and clean up some of our mistakes.”
There was no doubt about the Fever’s resolve and effort. It’s just been some costly mistakes that have hurt the Fever in the first half of the season.
Seven of the Fever’s first eight games of the season came down to the waning minutes of the fourth quarter before the result was determined. That one exception was last Saturday. The Fever fell behind 20-0 to the Empire and could not rally. Tri-Cities would get as close as 10 points in the second half, but the Empire had just enough plays left to put the game away.
“We can’t get off to a slow start like that and expect to beat a good team,” said receiver Akeem Foster.
The Fever actually outscored the Empire 39-32 the final 3½ quarters. Tri-Cities also had more first downs and more total yards.
McCain came in off the bench to take over for Hunter Wanket after an ineffective start. McCain, who is expected to start this week, jumpstarted the Fever offense and led the team on scoring drives in 6 of his 9 possessions.
Despite being just 3-5, by no means is the Fever out of the playoff picture. As the standings sit, Tri-Cities is just one game out of the playoffs with eight games remaining. Spokane holds the top spot in the Intense Conference with a 6-1 mark, while Nebraska is second at 5-4. Billings is 4-4. The top three teams from the conference make the playoffs.
Notes: The Fever ranks eighth in the IFL in scoring at 41 points per game; Spokane is third at 57.9 points per game … The Fever offense ranks last in passing yards per attempt and last in rushing yards per game … On the other side of the ball, the Fever defense rank first in fumbles recovered (5) and interceptions with 16 … Fever defensive back Dee Maggitt Jr. leads the league with five interceptions … Boubacar Cissoko is tied for third with three interceptions.