Top NIFL QBs to battle Friday

  • By Bob Mortenson / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, July 13, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – Everett gets another look at a very talented quarterback in Friday’s National Indoor Football League Pacific Conference semifinal game against Tri-Cities (10-5) at the Everett Events Center.

Doug Coleman led the Fever to a 49-46 road playoff victory at Wyoming last Sunday by completing 20 of 30 passes for 214 yards and 7 TDs.

“He’s the general of their team who leads by example. They all have confidence in him, no question,” Everett head coach Dan Maciejczak said. “I think if he and Albert (Higgs) looked in the mirror they’d see each other.”

While Hassan Brockman was busy running wild over the Billings Mavericks in last Friday’s 97-60 playoff victory, Higgs was quietly putting up, ho-hum, nine touchdown passes.

Higgs threw scoring strikes to Jason Quinn (4), AJ Street (3) and Brockman (2) to set a National Indoor Football League single-game season-high in the Hawks’ 97-60 victory.

“I have great respect and admiration for Albert,” Billings quarterback Chris Dixon said afterwards. “I consider him a mentor.”

Dixon was no slouch himself, matching the NIFL’s previous single-game mark with eight TD tosses – two each to Chris Stallworth, Fontez Jefferson, BJ Charlton and Anthony Chandler.

Their numbers were strikingly similar. Higgs completed 24 of 37 passes for 259 yards. Dixon countered with a 24-for-36, 299-yard performance. Amazingly, neither QB threw an interception.

“With Albert the pressure’s off now. We have that receiving corps running great routes and a great offensive line,” Maciejczak said. “He’s not having to throw a money ball every single play and he knows he’s not going to get hit in two seconds.”

Maciejczak was impressed by the fleet-footed Dixon who ran the ball nine times for 65 yards.

“He’s a good quarterback and he’s going do nothing but get better in time,” Maciejczak said. “He’s very athletic and capable of spinning out of trouble.”

Brockman’s TD returns set season mark: Hassan Brockman’s three kickoff returns for touchdowns against Billings were a NIFL single-game season-high. Six players had two TD returns in a single game during the regular season, including Wyoming’s JR Ruffin who did it twice (June 25 vs. Lincoln and July 4 vs. Cincinnati).

Yakking Mav’s don’t phase Hawks: During pre-game warmups Friday against Billings, the Mavericks, especially former Hawk Anthony Bonner, were taunting Everett players. Everett didn’t get too caught up in the verbal sniping, although Jamley Austin seemed to give as good as he got. “We’ll talk with our helmets,” Higgs told his teammates shortly before kickoff.

“Bear” shares in Hawks post-game pizza: Former Hawks lineman Robert Gaines Jr., who signed with Billings early in the season, rolled his ankle early in Friday’s game and was forced to watch the second half in street clothes. When a fight broke out on the field with 25 seconds remaining, Gaines turned his attention to fans sitting several rows above the Mavericks bench.

“He said somebody threw something at him,” said Maciejczak who intervened to calm Gaines. “He’s like a big old grizzly bear, you’ve got to tranquilize him to slow him down. Fans have the right to rant and rave to an extent – that’s half the fun – but, not to throw stuff.”

Maybe the scuffles in the heat of battle should not be taken too seriously. “After the big fight, guys were eating pizza together and telling stories,” Maciejczak said with a laugh.

Unbeaten Odessa keeps pace with Everett: The Roughnecks improved to 15-0 with their 74-23 first round playoff blowout of the Beaumont Drillers. “This is the first time, all season, that all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – have come together,” Roughnecks coach Chris Williams told the Odessa American newspaper.

Saturday Odessa hosts the Corpus Christi Hammerheads (9-6), who pulled out a 31-29 road victory over the Southwest Louisiana Swashbucklers in the opening round.

River City upset in overtime: The River City Rage, No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Conference, were eliminated in the opening round when they suffered a 67-64 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Marshals. Cincinnati (9-6) goes on the road again Saturday to play the Fayetteville Guard (8-7), which outlasted Dayton 78-63 in the first round. In Saturday’s other Atlantic semifinal the Montgomery Maulers (9-6) host the Rome Renegades (8-7). Montgomery and Rome romped past Miami, 63-35, and Lakeland, 53-7, respectively.

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