Omaha, NE – This past weekend, United Indoor Football (UIF) held its second All-Star game and other events in Sioux City, Iowa.
Players arrived in the city on Thursday and were presented with their all-star gear (hat, t-shirt, shorts, polo shirt and pullover jacket). The players and coaches spent the rest of the day enjoying Sioux City.
On Friday afternoon, both teams held practice in the Tyson Events Center in preparation for Saturday’s game. The All-Star banquet was held Friday evening at the Sioux City Convention Center. A prime rib meal, entertainment by local American Idol participant Katie Admire and a speech by Morningside College head football coach Steve Ryan were the highlights of the evening.
Saturday was game day. After a pre-game meal at the arena, the players got ready and made their final game preparations. Paul Aaron, UIF Executive Director, and Jack Baker, UIF Director of Officials, as well as representatives from UIF teams were in attendance for the game.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Omaha’s Ricky Lebeda kicked off to Bloomington’s Andre Raymond and the game was underway.
Raymond capped the opening drive of the game with a one-yard touchdown to put the Eastern Conference up 6-0. On the third play of the Western Conference’s opening drive, they matched the East’s touchdown with one of their own when Billings’ Chris Dixon connected with Omaha’s Ken Horton on a 44-yard touchdown pass. Sioux City’s Johnny Bentley gave the East the lead back eight plays later when he rushed in from a yard out to put the East up 12-7 with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter. The score remained at 12-7 as the teams began the second quarter. On the first play of the quarter, Dixon found Horton again, this time on a four-yard touchdown to give the West their first lead of the game at 13-12. After an East missed field goal, the West took possession. Omaha quarterback James McNear engineered a nine-play, 45-yard drive that finished when he hooked up with teammate Horton on a 10-yard touchdown pass as the West added to their lead at 19-12. The East came right back as Sioux City’s Chad Kapanui connected with his teammate O.J. Simpson on a 19-yard touchdown to cut the West lead to one at 19-18. The West added to their lead with 10 points on their next two possessions that came on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Omaha running back R.J. Rollins to teammate Dustin Creager and a 24-yard field goal by Lebeda. The halftime score was West 29, East 18.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Bloomington’s Peter Christofilakos capped an eight-play, 22-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal to bring the East with eight at 29-21. Dixon and Omaha’s Javon Bell connected two plays later to put the West back up by 15 at 36-21. On the first play after the kickoff, Kapanui found Wichita’s Donald Payne with a 26-yard touchdown pass. Christofilakos added a drop-kick extra point to bring the East back within a touchdown at 36-29. Dixon then took the West on a seven-play, 37-yard drive that took almost five minutes off the clock and climaxed with Sioux Falls’ Sean Treasure catching a 12-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown put the West up 43-29 with 2:05 remaining in the quarter. Christofilakos then missed a 48-yard field goal, which was returned 23 yards by Creager who then threw the ball to Billings’ Travonti Johnson who returned the ball the final 35 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown put the West up by three touchdowns at 50-29. The final points of the game came on a one-yard run by Rollins, an East safety and a two-yard run by Raymond. The final scoreboard read West 57, East 39.
Offensively, Raymond lead the way for the Eastern Conference as he tallied 204 all-purpose yards (17 rushing, 57 receiving and 130 kickoff returns) and scored two rushing touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player. Defensively, RiverCity’s Joe Bevis made a team-high five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Bloomington’s Quince Holman tallied three tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, a pass break up and a blocked kick. On special teams, Christofilakos contributed seven points on his field goal and two drop-kick extra points.
Over in the Western Conference, Dixon tallied 199 yards of total offense (20 rushing and 179 passing), completed 13 of 13 passes and threw for four touchdowns. Horton led the receivers with six catches, 89 yards and three touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named Western Conference Most Valuable Player. Defensively, the team’s leading tackler was Sioux Falls’ Mark Blackburn who made eight and ½ a tackle for loss. The defense also tallied six tackles for loss, three sacks, intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and also broke up five passes. On special teams, Lebeda provided nine points with his field goal and by going 6-8 on extra points.
For the game’s official statistics, log on to http://www.qkstats.net/UIF/2008/uifindex.htm and under Game Results will be the All-Star game.
The UIF would like to thank the Sioux City Bandits for hosting the event and would also like to thank the fans for supporting the All-Star game. The UIF would like to invite their fans to the National Indoor Football Bowl Championship game to be played Saturday, August 2nd, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, between the UIF champion Sioux Falls Storm and the Intense Football League champion. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Central time and tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
United Indoor Football is the premier indoor football league of North America and is committed to serving its teams and fans. Please contact the UIF league office with any comments, concerns or suggestions.