Minor League Sports

Cedar Rapids River Kings let IFL season-opener slip away against Sioux Falls

Storm spoil debut of River Kings with field goal on the final play, 47-44

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids River Kings Coach Mark Stoute has followed this script before.

Bring an outdoor quarterback indoors, and oversee a productive transition.

In 2016, Stoute coached indoor rookie Dylan Favre to 2,483 passing yards, 448 rushing and 68 total touchdowns as Cedar Rapids won 13 games, including the only playoff win in the eight-year history of the indoor football franchise.

Now, it is UNLV graduate Kurt Palandech that gets the call.

“He played well,” Stoute said after the River Kings lost to Sioux Falls on a last-second field goal, 47-44, in the Indoor Football League season-opening game for both teams before 1,117 fans Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Center. “He did what I expected him to do. He had some really high moments and then he had a couple of things that we have to work and get cleaned up.”

Palandech led a productive first half for the Cedar Rapids offense with touchdowns on five of the first six possessions.

In the second half, Cedar Rapids scored just 10 points.

“We just didn’t execute on offense in the fourth quarter,” Stoute said. “We came down to the last play, we had a mix-up in the play call. I’m trying to call time out, none of the officials are looking. Just one of those things down the stretch.”

Palandech finished the game with 180 passing yards, 35 rushing and four total touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Cedar Rapids defense appeared to have the game won with 3:44 left and the River Kings holding a 44-37 lead. On 4th and 4 at the Cedar Rapids 14, Sioux Falls quarterback Lorenzo Brown ran a keeper and appeared to be stopped with his knee on the ground and the ball short of the first-down marker before lunging ahead.

The officials ruled it as a first down, which cannot be challenged this year by league rules.

“We got a horrible spot,” Stoute said. “But it’s football. We’ve got to play better, we’ve got to learn from our mistakes and we’ve got to get better.”

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Cedar Rapids receiver Marquel Wade — who tallied a team-high 64 receptions for 791 yards and 16 TDs last season when the franchise was known as the Cedar Rapids Titans — posted seven catches for 95 yards, including first-half TD receptions of 21 and 27 yards.

Cedar Rapids tailback Nate Chavious recorded two touchdown runs, while defensive back Travonti Johnson recorded seven tackles and helped the River Kings limit Sioux Falls to less than 100 passing yards overall and just 13 second-half points.

“We played well,” Stoute said of his defense. “We made a couple of mistakes on some minor stuff there, got a couple of infractions early but overall we played good enough to win. Offensively, we’ve just got to score. We can’t go down the stretch and not score.”

Former UNI tailback Darrian Miller ran for 58 yards and two TDs for Sioux Falls (1-0).

Cedar Rapids (1-0) will visit Arizona on March 3, then return to the U.S. Cellular Center on March 9 against the first-year San Diego Strike Force.

“We’ve just got to cut the mistakes down,” Stoute said. “Then we’ve got to get ready for another big, tough game. Outside of Iowa, the Barnstormers, we’re playing the two best teams back to back. We’ve got a tough road ahead of us, but we’ve just got to play.”

Indoor football

AT U.S. CELLULAR CENTER

Sioux Falls 47, Cedar Rapids 44

Sioux Falls 17 17 0 13—47

Cedar Rapids 14 20 3 7—44

SF — Darrian Miller 4 run (Miles Bergner kick)

CR — Nate Chavious 1 run (Henry Nell kick)

SF — Miles Bergner FG 31

CR — Marquel Wade 21 pass from Kurt Palandech (Henry Nell kick)

SF — Tra’Von Chapman 48 kickoff return (Miles Bergner kick)

CR — Jordan Smith 29 pass from Kurt Palandech (Henry Nell kick)

SF — Darrian Miller 33 run (Miles Bergner kick)

CR — Kurt Palandech 10 run (Henry Nell kick)

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SF — Brandon Sheperd 24 pass from Lorenzo Brown (Miles Bergner kick)

CR — Marquel Wade 27 pass from Kurt Palandech (kick failed)

SF — Miles Bergner FG 14

CR — Henry Nell FG 35

SF — Miles Bergner FG 17

CR — Nate Chavious 3 run (Henry Nell kick)

SF — Brandon Sheperd 10 run (Miles Bergner kick)

SF — Miles Bergner FG 33

RUSHING — Sioux Falls: Darrian Miller 12-58, Lorenzo Brown 9-41; Cedar Rapids: Kurt Palandech 6-35, Nate Chavious 8-19.

PASSING — Sioux Falls: Lorenzo Brown 9-19-0-106; Cedar Rapids: Kurt Palandech 16-21-0-180.

RECEIVING — Sioux Falls: Brandon Sheperd 7-86, Darrian Miller 1-14, Damian Ford 1-6; Cedar Rapids: Marquel Wade 7-95, Jordan Smith 3-46, Nate Chavious 2-16, Khari Kimbrough 2-15, Kalif Phillips 2-8.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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