The Tucson Sugar Skulls look to carry the momentum on the road against the Spokane Shock on Saturday after narrowly defeating the Duke City Gladiators 41-40 in the Tucson Convention Center last week.
The close victory marked the second win of the season for the Sugar Skulls — both of which came against Duke City — and snapped a five-game losing streak for Tucson.
The Sugar Skulls (2-6) play today at 6:10 p.m. Tucson time against the Spokane Shock (5-2) in Spokane. The game will be nationally televised on Stadium.
Mike Jones led the attack on offense last week with a season-high four touchdowns on the ground and one through the air, so expect to see him heavily involved in today’s matchup with Spokane, which currently has the third-ranked scoring defense in the IFL, allowing 35.1 points a game.
Ryan Balentine, who did not play last Saturday because of a knee injury, is back in the lineup today. Balentine is ranked fourth in the IFL in both receiving yards and receptions this season and will be welcomed back with open arms by quarterback Demry Croft and the Sugar Skulls receiving corps as they take on the Shock’s IFL leading pass defense.
In the middle of a season where many have given up on the Sugar Skulls, head coach Dixie Wooten hopes the team will use last Saturday’s win as motivation to prove the doubters wrong.
“I told them, ‘It feels good to finish. We gotta dedicate ourselves to the grind, and make sure we stay on top,” Wooten said. “At the end of the day, ain’t nobody believe in us but us. If you asked the whole world what we’re gonna do, they’d say we’re gonna lose the rest.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.