TUCSON, ARIZONA – The Tucson Sugar Skulls will venture on their longest road trip of the season chasing their fourth win in five games when they visit the Nebraska Danger on Saturday.
In early stages of their inaugural season, the Sugar Skulls have stayed relatively close to home, splitting their two road games – a win at San Diego and a loss at the Arizona Rattlers in Phoenix. The Skulls are 2-0 at home and coming off a second victory over the Strike Force.
Sugar Skulls Head Coach Marcus Coleman said the team had plenty of issues to clean up despite a 51-31 victory in its last outing. He said the team responded well during the week of practice and he was hoping to see it pay off on the road.
"The guys were dialed in," Coleman said Thursday. "I think us talking to them and them realizing what we have at stake and where we need to go and the things we have to do to get to our goals, they realized they need to pick up the level of play and the level of practice. It carried over to the practice field, but it has to carry over to the game on Saturday."
The Sugar Skulls arrive in Grand Island, Nebraska, with the second-ranked offense in the league in points and total yards averaging 51.5 points and 285.3 yards per game.
Jake Medlock, the IFL's leading passer last season, got his first start and went the distance last week against the Strike Force. He threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more TDs. Running back Mike Jones leads the team with eight touchdowns, six of those rushing, and is the team's leading rusher with 195 yards in three games.
Defensively, the Sugar Skulls are in the top half of the league in both total defense and points allowed, led by linebacker Zach Allen, who is in the top five in both tackles per game (9.5) and total sacks (3).
The Danger have bookend wins over the Bismarck Bucks to surround their three losses this season, but with a win over Tucson on Saturday, could scratch their way back to .500 and have a stretch of games that could see the Danger improve to 6-3 before visiting Arizona in May.
There's a lot of football between then and now, but for the Danger, they continue to ride the hot play of quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. Through five games, he's thrown for 11 TD's with just two interceptions. Most of his damage has come on the ground, however, as Armstrong has a team-leading 303 rushing yards this season on 46 carries, including another 11 touchdowns which has him on pace to break the Danger's rushing TD season record set by Jameel Sewell back in 2013.