San Diego Strike Force falls again to Arizona Rattlers by 84-63

In week 13 of the Indoor Football League, San Diego Strike Force lost 84-63 to the Arizona Rattlers. This marks the third consecutive Strike Force loss to Arizona this season.

San Diego entered Sunday’s matchup as the IFL’s third ranked passing offense accumulating 165 yards per game, while Arizona began the night as the league’s best pass defense allowing only 135 yards per game. The Strike Force now sits at 1-10 with three games left in their inaugural season. San Diego has lost to Arizona by a combined 92 points in their first three matchups.

On Sunday, the Strike Force scored the most points in franchise history with 63 total points. Quarterback Jihad Vercher threw six touchdowns and two interceptions for the Strike Force, continuing a string of strong offensive performances.

Last week the Strike Force lost 65-48 to the Tucson Sugar Skulls, but the Strike Force quarterback completed 11-17 throws for 160 yards and three touchdowns.

“I might’ve been sacked once maybe twice [tonight], but when you get sacked once or twice in a game you can’t expect not to put up points. I give all the credit to the offensive line, the receivers went and made plays today…to say I led the way I was a small part of it.”

Jihad Vercher

It was a tale of two halves, as the Strike Force played the Rattlers closely until the third quarter. The first half saw 77 points and six lead changes between the two teams. The Rattlers closed the first half up 42-35, they also were 100% on third down.

In the first half of tonight’s game San Diego’s defense was led by defensive back Omar Cook, who had four solo tackles at halftime. For the Rattlers, quarterback Drew Powell threw three touchdowns on just seven attempts.

As the game went on, the Rattlers became stronger on both sides of the ball, they finished the game 100% on third down and out-rushed the Strike Force by 78 yards.

Powell scored for four rushing touchdowns in the second half. He finished with five rushing touchdowns, 104 rushing yards, and four passing touchdowns.

A Strike Forcer player during a rush against the Rattlers. Photo: @sdstrikeforce

Strike Force running back Dominique Carson scored two touchdowns on only five catches and rushed for one touchdown on four attempts . He has set a goal for himself and the team.

“I would like to get to 25 touchdowns, I have only been playing here for two weeks, but at the same time I am just trying to win with the team so we can show San Diego what we’re about.”

Dominique Carson

Carson would have to score 21 touchdown in the final three weeks. In the team’s final three games the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Taylor Genuser want to see effort and commitment.

“We have to help our defense and put them in better situations and give them a chance to play defense with the lead instead of playing from behind. I want guys to compete. I want to see guys that want to move up to the next level, that want to play hard, that want to get in the endzone, and most importantly want to be good teammates.”

Taylor Genuser
Written by: Daniel Farr

The Seals Head to Playoffs After Loss to Buffalo

In the San Diego Seals‘ regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the Seals lost 18-7, resulting in the Seals entering the playoffs as the #2 seed.

In the team’s regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the San Diego Seals lost 18-7. A packed Pechanga Arena full of enthused lacrosse fans went home feeling down, but with the NLL playoffs beginning on Monday, May 6 there is room for optimism.

The Seals are set to play the Calgary Roughnecks in the western division semifinals game at 7:30 p.m on Monday at Pechanga. The Seals clinched the number two seed in the playoffs and home-field advantage on April 19.

Like the NBA, teams from the Eastern and Western conference make the postseason. Unlike the NBA, where eight teams from each conference make the playoffs, only four teams from each conference make the playoffs in box lacrosse.

On Saturday night, the Seals had an opportunity to clinch the number one seed out West. They had to beat the Bandits and the Colorado Mammoth had to beat the Saskatchewan Rush. Neither happened.

The season finale resulted in a dismal 11 point loss for the Seals. The team was held to a season low one goal in the first period and could not sustain any momentum.

San Diego cut the lead to 5-4 midway through the second quarter, but the Bandits quickly figured it out and expanded their lead 9-4 going into the break. The Seals were outshot 30 to 22 after two quarters.

Head Coach and general manager Patrick Merrill took note of his team’s lackluster play.

“In order to win games in this league you have to mentally prepare, you have to be motivated to play with a lot of heart and if you don’t these things happen.”

For the Bandits, Shawn Evans finished with six assists and two goals while his teammates Jordan Durston and Chase Fraser ended up each accomplishing the hat trick. Both finished with three goals.

San Diego found it difficult to get solid scoring opportunities in the game, turning the ball over and committing multiple shot clock violations. The Seals also committed five penalties and Buffalo took advantage of San Diego’s mistakes, going 3-3 on power plays.

Seals’ forward and captain Dan Dawson said this game will not linger on the team’s mind.

“We got to forget about this one. There was not one facet of the game where they didn’t control,” Dawson said. “When they control the game like that we can’t even compete with them.”

Dawson finished with 29 goals on the season he scored two and assisted on one against the Bandits on Saturday.

Even in a ruckus environment the Bandits found their offense early as Forwards Josh Byrne, Durston and Evans combined for five goals and four assists in the first half.

Merill has taken notice of the strong home crowd/fan base.

“It’s been a great ride so far [Playing in San Diego]” Merill said, “I wish we would’ve gave them a better game here tonight, but we plan to give them a better game next week [Against Calgary].”

The Seals are apart of the Nation Lacrosse League (NLL). The NLL has been around for 32 years and is the world’s only professional box lacrosse league. The Seals are an expansion team of the league, the NLL has 13 total teams.

The NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports, behind the NHL and NBA.

The NLL rosters are made up of 21 players, six players including the goalie can be on the field during play. The game is made up of four 15 minute quarters, a 30 second shot clock, and a sudden death overtime. Body checks are allowed, but penalties are called for: high sticking, boarding, face masking, fighting, spearing, elbowing, holding, illegal cross-checking, slashing, and tripping.

Written by: Daniel Farr

San Diego Strike Force Falls to Arizona in 52-14 Loss

The San Diego Strike Force watched an early lead dwindle away against the Arizona Rattlers, eventually losing Monday night 52-14.

The Arizona Rattlers’ running back Rolan Genesy Jr finished with three touchdowns and averaged over six yards per rushing attempt but only ended with 75 yards on 12 carries. San Diego Strike Force’s offensive coordinator Taylor Genuser spoke highly of the opposing offensive coaches.

“[Head] Coach Kevin Guy is one of the best in the business; he does a great job of game planning. That’s a play caller I aspire to be like, and his preparation was better than mine.”

Taylor Genuser

The Strike Force wasn’t able to find much offense against the Rattlers, finishing with 127 passing yards and -18 rushing yards.

“I need to do a better job of mixing up our looks and do a better job of getting the defense out of position and not feeling so comfortable. I am going to put it [the loss] on me, not our players or our effort.”

Taylor Genuser

The Rattlers held a one-point lead after the first quarter and a 10 point lead at the half. It wasn’t until the third quarter, which the game became lopsided. Right after the second half kick off, the Rattlers got on the board via a Gensey Jr. touchdown and a safety. For the Strike Force, the offense gained very little momentum in the second half. The Strike Force’s quarterback Jihad Vercher finished the game with one touchdown and three interceptions while completing 50% of his passes. All of his interceptions came in the second half.

“I need to minimize the mistakes. I let my guys down today as far as my decision making I need to go back to the drawing board and get it right for my guys. We have to play as one. We have to come together, fix our mistakes today, and come out a lot harder against Tucson.”

Jihad Vercher

The Indoor Football League (IFL) began to play in 2009, but 2019 marks the inaugural season for the San Diego Strike Force.

The team plays at the Pechanga Sports Arena. The league has noticeably different rules than the NFL. Some differences include the field only being 50 yards in length, teams are made up of only 21 players, only eight players take the field for each team at a time, and out of bounds is the walls. Any time a player makes contact with the walls or goes over the wall, the play is dead. For the complete list of rules visit here.  The team has six games left, three of them at home.

Coming up for the Strike Force team is an away game against the Tucson Sugar Skulls on May 4. The team will return home May 9 to face the Sugar Skulls once more.

Written by: Daniel Farr

Opinion: Should SDSU revive NCAA ice hockey?

San Diego State University has a variety of division 1 sports for men’s athletics; basketball, baseball, and football. However, one sport in particular is missing in this category: Ice hockey.

Ice hockey is a sport that seems to keep moving westward across the United States faster than we can imagine. With the addition of the Arizona State Sun Devils in 2015, the NCAA now has 60 D-1 level teams in the country. Arizona is the furthest team in the west that fields a team. Therefore, the question arises; Could California possibly have one soon?

There are a multitude of teams in California that are affiliated at the club level. In hockey terms, the club level is represented by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). San Diego State University is included in this list as they play ACHA D-2 apart of the PAC-8 intercollegiate hockey conference. Excluding the Northeast, California has one of the largest hockey populations in the entire country. The roots of this history flies back to the San Diego Gulls who played in the Western Hockey League starting in 1966. The Gulls returned to San Diego in 2015 and are currently playing in the American Hockey League (AHL), which serves as the NHL’s farm system.

Collegiate ice hockey within California is not a new idea.

USC used to have a men’s team that won a national title at the collegiate level. Additionally, UCLA and CAL also had teams back in the early 20th century. It wasn’t until the early 1940s that hockey at the NCAA level officially left California.

A new market could open up for ice hockey in California very soon. Some universities, including SDSU, seem like very good candidates to holding the rights to the first team. The only problem is the funding; San Diego State athletics belong to the Mountain West Conference and a majority of funding goes to basketball and football, which tend to draw the most revenue from fans.

The school board would be taking a risk by gambling on ice hockey as being a high revenue source compared to the two other sports. The talent is here in California, but the economic restrictions put a damper on the plan. As for now, the only hockey at SDSU remains at the club level where players and their families have to provide the funds to play.

Bringing a National Hockey League team to San Diego would put more pressure on the school board to create a team. If San Diego State wants to bring a men’s ice hockey team to the school, it should happen within the next 10 years. The NCAA could probably use Viejas Arena, the home of SDSU basketball, as the rink for the sport to be played in. Talks have estimated that converting Viejas into a sheet of ice would cost a little over $1 million dollars. We know that Southern California colleges make a lot of money, but are they willing to take a risk of that kind?

As interest in college ice hockey keeps grows in California, the hope that SDSU can bring the sport back to the Golden State.

Written by: Jacob McCulloh