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TUCSON, ARIZONA – As the Tucson Sugar Skulls head into the meat of their schedule, there will be an open tryout during a March 23 bye week to consider players who might be needed for depth on the roster.

The Sugar Skulls won their season opener, 6544, at the San Diego Strike Force last Sunday. The Sugar Skulls will take on the Bismarck Bucks in the first home game for the franchise this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Tucson Arena. Rosters are limited to 25 players, 21 of whom are active for each game.

The tryout will be on Saturday, March 23, at the North Grandstand Soccer Field at the Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way. The field is located northwest of the soccer stadium on the north side of Ajo Way. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. The tryout will begin immediately after registration. All players intending to try out must register and sign a waiver to take part. The cost to participate is $80. Cash and money orders will be the only forms of payment accepted. No debit cards, credit cards or personal checks will be accepted.

Participants must provide their own cleats, shorts and accessories. The tryout is non-contact, therefore pads and helmets are not necessary. Participants must be prepared upon their arrival – no locker room facilities will be available, although restrooms will be accessible. The coaching staff will evaluate participants in the 40-yard dash, short shuttles and position drills. Links to film and player resumes can be sent anytime to:

The Tucson Sugar Skulls are in their first year of operation as an expansion franchise of the Indoor Football League. The team will play its home games at the Tucson Arena.

PHOENIX, Arizona – Coming off two wins in their first two games, the Tucson Sugar Skulls found they needed to step to another level to compete against the Arizona Rattlers.

After a glimmer of hope when they took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Sugar Skulls found what the next level looks like as the Rattlers rolled to a 63-28 victory in front of 16,110 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“This was a great chance for us to play against a championship franchise,” said quarterback Jake Medlock who entered the game in the second half. “This is how it’s done on offense, special teams, defense. You can’t miss a beat.”

Tucson took its only lead on its second possession of the game on Mike Jones’ 2-yard run. The Sugar Skulls then created their own problems with turnovers and on special teams.

The Rattlers had tied the game at 7 when a Diego Marquez field goal attempt was blocked and recovered in the end zone. On the first play after the kickoff, quarterback Matt Behrendt fumbled at the 7-yard-line, and the Rattlers recovered. Two plays later the score was 21-7 when quarterback Verlon Reed Jr. ran the ball in from the 3. By the end of the half, the Sugar Skulls were down 35-14.

“That was the moment when we couldn’t get it back and it just started snowballing after that,” Head Coach Marcus Coleman said of the quick back-to-back touchdowns by the Rattlers. “Even though we had some positive plays on both sides of the ball after that, we just couldn’t get it back.”

As in the season opener, Coleman made a switch at quarterback at the start of the second half, bringing Medlock. Neither quarterback had the success they had in the first two games. They were a combined 12 of 26 passing for 93 yards and one touchdown.

Jones did provide an offensive spark rushing for 63 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns. He now has five TDs on the season having played only in the season opener and against the Rattlers.

Linebacker Zach Allen continued to lead the defense with 11 solo tackles. He entered the game leading the IFL in total tackles.

The Sugar Skulls now have a week to regroup with a bye this week before taking on the San Diego Strike Force March 31 in Tucson. Kickoff is 3 p.m.

Notes & Numbers

  • The receiving corps continues to see the work spread out. Four different wide receivers and running back Jones caught passes with Donovan Raspberry recording a team-high five catches. Rico Brown had the only receiving touchdown.
  • Behrendt made his third start of the season, while Medlock made his second appearance after sitting out last week’s contest. Behrendt scored the other Sugar Skulls touchdown on a 16-yard run in the second quarter.
  • The Sugar Skulls converted both fourth downs it attempted against the Rattlers and are now 5-for-5 on the season.
  • The two lost fumbles in the game give the Sugar Skulls only three turnovers on the season. Neither quarterback has thrown an interception.

TUCSON, ARIZONA – Two games and two player-of-the-week honors for the Tucson Sugar Skulls.

Quarterback Matt Berhendt was named the Indoor Football League Offensive Player of the Week after throwing eight touchdown passes in a 62-42 victory over the Bismarck Bucks Sunday in the second game for the expansion franchise. The eight TDs in a game are a league high this season.

Berhendt, who spent two years with the IFL’s Green Bay Blizzard, was signed by the Sugar Skulls after preseason camp began. He was a Division III All-American at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater before turning pro.

He helped the Sugar Skulls build a 35-7 halftime lead against the Bucks with five touchdown passes in the first half. He had three more in the second half, using five different receivers to score the eight TDs before a crowd of 5,198 in the Skulls’ first-ever home game.

He currently is third in the league in passing yards and third in TD passes despite playing only half of the season opener. He also is the team’s leading rusher with 101 yards on 14 carries.

He has one rushing touchdown.

The award comes one week after defensive back Dee Maggitt Jr. won Defensive Player of the Week in the Sugar Skulls’ franchise opener March 3 against the San Diego Strike Force.
The Sugar Skulls are 2-0 heading into a matchup with the Arizona Rattlers, also 2-0, Saturday in Phoenix. The Sugar Skulls’ next home game is March 31 against the San Diego Strike Force.

The Sugar Skulls made it two wins in two tries for the new franchise with a 62-42 victory over the Bismarck Bucks in the home opener at Tucson Arena.

The Sugar Skulls made it two wins in two tries for the new franchise with a 62-42 victory over the Bismarck Bucks in the home opener at Tucson Arena. Quarterback Matt Behrendt started for the second time, and led the Sugar Skulls with an impressive aerial assault, lighting up the Bucks defense for 216 yards of total offense.“Being a quarterback for most of my life – my whole life – that definitely helped me learn to be calm and confident cause you need to be that guy that keeps everyone settled down and control the offense” said Behrendt following the win.

The Bucks actually took the first of the game by scoring one point on a rouge, which is scored when the receiving team does not return the kickoff out of the end zone. The Sugar Skulls the put up two consecutive touchdowns and then three more in the second quarter on the way 35-7 halftime lead. Behrendt was an efficient 10 for 12 in the first half. Wide receiver Brandon Sampson was a favorite target with five catches in the first half for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns before intermission.

Linebacker Zach Allen led the stingy defense which held the Bucks to 210 total yards. He led the Sugar Skulls in tackles for the second game in a row with 12 total.

The Sugar Skulls held its Week 1 opponent, the San Diego Strike Force, to 191 yards. Defensive back Micah Eugene Jr., playing in his first game of the season, had seven total tackles including four solo. Running back Shad Thornton, who did not dress for last week’s game, had 113 yards of total offense, rushing for 82 yards and one touchdown. He also caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown.

The Sugar Skulls went on to score 27 more points in the second half, coming three points short of last week’s 65-point total.

This victory sets up a matchup of unbeaten teams next week in the budding in state rivalry against the Arizona Rattlers. Both teams will enter the game 2-0.

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