Titans in hunt for playoff spot

The Cedar Rapids Titans' Everett Roberts (middle) catches a Hail Mary pass in a game in March. In May, the Titans need a Hail Mary to make the playoffs. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette)
The Cedar Rapids Titans' Everett Roberts (middle) catches a Hail Mary pass in a game in March. In May, the Titans need a Hail Mary to make the playoffs. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette)

HIAWATHA — It’s still a long shot, but at 3-7 the Cedar Rapids Titans are in the race for a playoff spot.

Cedar Rapids broke a six-game losing streak last Saturday, holding on for a 38-27 win over the Reading Express. And when all the results were in from last week, the Titans found themselves just one game behind three teams — Chicago, Lehigh Valley and Omaha — for the fourth and final playoff slot in the Indoor Football League’s United Conference.

That said, the odds are against the Titans, who will try and continue their push for the playoffs Friday night when they host the Bloomington Edge (7-3) at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m.

Sioux Falls (9-0) and Green Bay (8-2) already have locked up playoff spots. Bloomington needs just one more win to lock up its spot. It gets interesting after that with four teams in a race for one spot. The Titans have split with Chicago and Lehigh Valley and have lost to Omaha. They have a second game against the Beef on June 1 in Omaha.

Omaha and Lehigh Valley meet this weekend, meaning one team will come away with a 5-6 record. Chicago may have the best schedule with a pair of games left against 2-8 Reading and a home showdown with Lehigh Valley to close its season.

The Titans still have to go on the road to Bloomington after playing at Omaha. They close the regular season June 16 at home against Nebraska (4-6), a contender for a playoff spot in the Intense Conference.

“I still believe this team has a chance for the playoffs,” said Cedar Rapids Coach Kyle Moore-Brown. “I’ve said it before, but this is a long season and a lot of things can happen. All we can do is go out and play each week and control what we can control.”

Bloomington is coming to town on a two-game losing streak, falling to Green Bay in back-to-back games, but were off last week. Moore-Brown knows it will take an effort better than the one in last week’s win to upset the Edge, who were riding a seven-game winning streak before the Green Bay sweep.

“They are a very good football team,” he said. “They have the ability to score a lot of points, but we just have to go out and do our best in all areas.”

One area that came alive against Reading was the defense, which recorded a safety on the game’s opening play and forced four turnovers, capped off by a 23-yard fumble return for a score by defensive lineman Tony Tucker in the final 30 seconds.

“Tony has only been with the team a couple of weeks, so it was great to see him make a big play like that,” said Titans’ quarterback Kenneth Black Jr. “That win was all about the defense. The offense needs to pick it up and I am confident we can do that.”

The injury-riddled Titans should get a boost this week with the return of lineman William Stokes, who was activated Monday from the short-term injury list. He has been out for several weeks with a leg injury

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