It was the rematch of the year. The undefeated Sioux Falls Storm were to take on the Tri-Cities Fever, whose only loss has been to Sioux Falls two weeks earlier. The outcome of the rematch would become the IFL’s best game of the 2012 season.
The Sioux Falls Storm had shown no sign of weakness or any sign of slowing down in their quest to become the first undefeated team in IFL history. In the prior two weeks the Storm had routed two of the best teams in the IFL in the Tri-Cities Fever and the Green Bay Blizzard by a combined score of 121-55. The Storm were clearly the best team in the IFL.
A three game road stretch, however, had begun to show cracks in Tri-Cities’ armor after a 9-0 start to the season. The Fever had been routed by Sioux Falls 55-16 just two weeks before and most recently had been in a 30-26 dogfight with the 3-7 Wyoming Cavalry.
None of this mattered to Tri-Cities, however, as they returned in front of their home crowd in an attempt to end the Storm’s quest for an undefeated season.
The first quarter, like the rest of the game, was extremely competitive. The Storm and the Fever would stay neck in neck ending the first quarter tied at 13.
The second quarter was one of the highest scoring quarters in IFL history as both teams combined for 60 points. Sioux Falls and Tri-Cities exchanged TDs at the top of the second quarter.The Storm scored what would be the difference in the first half as they and later added a field goal and rouge. The Storm and Fever then matched each other point for point all the way until halftime. Towards the end of the half the two teams saw an explosion of points scored. Four touchdowns were scored with less than a minute and ten seconds on the clock. The half ended with the Storm holding a slight 45-41 edge.
At the start of the third the Fever retook the lead as QB Lillard found WR Oliver Young for a 27-yard TD, his third TD catch of the night. The Storm responded right back with their own long TD pass as Dixon hit WR Carl Sims for a 30-yard TD to give the Storm the lead again. At the end of the third quarter it was still anyone’s game as the Storm held a slim 59-54 lead.
The Storm added back-to-back touchdowns at the end of the third quarter and midway through the fourth. However, the Fever would not back down and matched them with their own back-to-back touchdown later in the fourth by RB Dennis Kennedy. Kennedy’s last touchdown would give the Fever the lead barring the extra point.
Among the many players that had a great night Fever Kicker Michael Taylor was not among them. He had already missed five PAT attempts throughout the game. Taylor lined up for the extra point to give the Fever the lead and he missed it.
With two minutes remaining in the game the Storm’s next drive stalled and the team had to settle for a long field goal attempt from K Parker Douglass. The usually reliable Douglass missed the kick wide left. With 25 seconds remaining the Fever had a shot to upset the undefeated Storm. Starting at their own five yard line the Fever drove to their own 24 before attempting a long kick. Michael Taylor lined up for a 41-yard attempt and, like Douglass, missed the kick wide left and the game went into overtime.
Starting with the ball in overtime Fever QB Houston Lillard quickly found RB Dennis Kennedy in the endzone to put the Fever up. However K Michael Taylor still had to make the PAT. Taylor ,who had missed his three of his last four PAT attempts, lined up for the most important kick of the night and he missed it again.
On Sioux Falls’ overtime possession QB Chris Dixon burst up the middle of the field for a 14 yard TD. Kicker Parker Douglass came on the field to attempt the potentially game-winning PAT. Douglass nailed it and sealed the Storm’s victory and the number one game of the 2012 season.
Can’t Miss Play:Fever Kicker Michael Taylor's missed PAT in overtime.
Why This Game Is No. 1: The two best teams in the IFL, who would also eventually square off again in the United Bowl, engaged in a high-scoring, tightly contested overtime game. The Storm’s victory helped clear a path for the team to finish the season as the first undefeated team in IFL history.