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The Tucson Sugar Skulls have signed their first five players for the 2020 season including the league’s top running back, Mike Jones.

Also back for 2020 under new head coach Dixie Wooten are linebacker Robert Metz, a Canyon Del Oro High School graduate who was one of the first players signed by the Sugar Skulls in their inaugural season, and speedy wide receiver Jeremiah Harris who electrified fans when he arrived midseason.

The Sugar Skulls have also signed Jajuan Harley, a safety with indoor football experience, and dual-threat quarterback Johnny McCrary.

The three returning players are:

Mike Jones, 5’10”, 215 pounds, running back. Jones led the league’s running backs with 711 yards rushing. His 59.3 yards-per-game average led the league. He topped the Sugar Skulls with 25 touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 293 yards. Jones was a first-team All-IFL selection.

“Mike is one of the best running backs I’ve seen in the IFL,” Wooten said. “He’s big, quick, fast, and is very strong with great hands. Getting him back gives us one of the best players in the league.”

Robert Metz, 6’4”, 245 pounds, linebacker. Metz played in six games and had 13 solo tackles and 21 tackles overall. Before joining the Sugar Skulls, he spent two years with the Green Bay Blizzard and was a second-team all-IFL linebacker in 2018. He currently is a volunteer assistant coach at Canyon Del Oro where he coaches inside linebackers.

“Metz is the type of player I want at linebacker,” Wooten said. “He’s smart, physical, and a leader on the field and in the community. In the indoor game, your defense starts with the middle and Metz will do a good job controlling it.”

Jeremiah Harris, 5’7”, 150 pounds, wide receiver. Harris joined the Sugar Skulls for the ninth game of the season and immediately electrified home crowds with three kick returns for 105 yards against San Diego. Over the six regular-season games he played, he caught 27 passes for 289 yards and six touchdowns, including a 40-yard catch for a TD. He capped all of his touchdowns with a signature backflip in the end zone.

The new players signed are:

Jajuan Harley, 6’2”, 215 pounds, safety. Harley has IFL experience having played in six games with the Iowa Barnstormers in 2019. He was a team captain and recorded 13 tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. Harley began his college career at Florida State where he appeared in19 games over two seasons. He transferred to Middle Tennessee St. for the 2012 season, finishing the year with 74 total tackles and one forced fumble. He has had a number of NFL tryouts, most recently with the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills.

Johnny McCrary, 6’4”, 218 pounds, quarterback.  A dual-threat quarterback from Decatur, Georgia, McCrary played two seasons at Vanderbilt in 2014 and 2015. He earned SEC freshman of the week honors in 2014 and finished his two-year career at Vanderbilt with 1,773 rushing yards and 985 yards passing with nine touchdowns. He finished his college career at Clark Atlanta University in 2016 and threw for 1,903 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Sugar Skulls will play seven regular-season home games at the Tucson Arena beginning in March with the regular season running through June. The IFL playoffs will begin in early July. The 2020 IFL schedule is expected to be released in early October.

Season tickets for the 2020 season are currently on sale to the general public with reduced prices from the 2019 season in several sections of the arena. Season ticket information is on the Sugar Skulls website at www.tucsonsugarskulls.com . Information also is available by calling the team office at (520) 573-3000. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

TUCSON, ARIZONA – The Tucson Sugar Skulls are pleased to announce that Dixie Wooten, a two-time Indoor Football League Coach of the Year and winner of the 2018 IFL championship, has been hired as head coach and general manager of the team for the 2020 season.

“Dixie is a proven championship coach and we are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to bring him to Tucson,” said Sugar Skulls Owner Cathy Guy.

Wooten had a 36-8 regular-season record in three seasons as head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers. His teams reached the playoffs all three years, winning the 2018 United Bowl championship. It was the first league championship in Barnstormers franchise history. Wooten was named IFL Coach of the Year in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Barnstormers finished the 2019 regular season in second place in the IFL with a 12-2 record but were defeated by the eventual league champion Sioux Falls Storm in the semifinals of the IFL playoffs. Iowa defeated the Sugar Skulls, 61-58, on a last-minute touchdown in the teams’ only meeting last season at the Tucson Arena. The Barnstormers had the league’s MVP, quarterback Daquan Neal, and put three players on the IFL first team and three on the second team.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be the new head coach and general manager of the Tucson Sugar Skulls,” Wooten said. “After only one year, this is one of the premier organizations in the IFL with what we have in place in ownership, the front office and the football operation. We will compete for a championship this year.”

The Sugar Skulls finished the 2019 regular season with a 7-7 record and were the first expansion franchise to make the playoffs in IFL history. Tucson clinched the playoff berth with a thrilling 55-50 victory over the Quad City Steamwheelers in the last game of the regular season at Tucson Arena. The Sugar Skulls lost to Sioux Falls, 50-47, in the first round of the playoffs.

“While we were all ecstatic to make the playoffs in our first year, our goal every year is to win a championship,” Guy said. “Dixie’s experience as a head coach and his history as a winner give us a chance to compete for a championship right now. We’re excited to get started on the 2020 season.”

The process of developing the 2020 roster will begin immediately. An open tryout will be scheduled in late October or early November.

“The players that will be part of this team will understand it’s all about our community and working together as a team to achieve one goal – winning a championship,” Wooten said. “The work begins today.”

Wooten replaces Marcus Coleman who was the head coach for the Sugar Skulls’ inaugural season.

The 2020 IFL schedule is expected to be released in early October. The Sugar Skulls will play seven regular-season home games at the Tucson Arena beginning in March with the regular season running through June. The IFL playoffs will begin in early July.

Season tickets for the 2020 season are currently on sale to the general public with reduced prices from the 2019 season in several sections of the arena. Season ticket information is on the Sugar Skulls website at www.tucsonsugarskulls.com. Information also is available by calling the team office at (520) 573-3000. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Dixie Wooten Bio

  • Hometown: Houston, Texas
  • Education: Sterling High School, Houston, Texas Cisco Junior College, Cisco, Texas University of Phoenix, Bachelor of Arts, Business Communication
  • Playing Career: Professional Indoor Football, 2004-2011
  • Coaching Career: 2005-present • High School, 6 years: Quality Control Coach, Quarterbacks Coach, Offensive Coordinator • Indoor Football, 8 years, including three years as head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers • IFL Coach of the Year, 2017 and 2018
  • Family: Wife, Lakisha Wooten, daughters, Tiara Collier, 24, Tania Collier, 18, son, Dixie Wooten III, 21.

Co-owned by former NFL star Marshawn Lynch, Panthers will commence IFL play in 2020.

OAKLAND, CA -- The Oakland Panthers, a new Indoor Football League Franchise, will join the Indoor Football League (IFL) and play seven home games at the Oakland Arena in the Spring of 2020. The team is founded by Professional Football legend and Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch, along with Roy Choi, an entertainment and gaming entrepreneur.

Team co-owner Marshawn Lynch said, “I believe the power of football has the ability to transform a community and the families who live there. I’ve seen it and lived it. I’m excited that Da’ Town will get another team to call its own. I attended some Indoor Football games last year and had a good ass time. The games have lots of fluidity and tickets are priced so that the entire family can check it out.”

Lynch added, “I was blessed with my time and journey making it to the league but there are more ways of getting there than the route I took, so its hella important to me, to keep finding opportunities for players to pursue their dreams of getting to that next level and I know the Panthers and this league can help with that.”

Naming the team as the Oakland Panthers is no accident. The Oakland community has a long history with the name. It references the Bay Area indigenous cougar and the recent blockbuster superhero film (directed by Oakland native Ryan Coogler). It also pays tribute to Oakland’s history of activism with the groundbreaking social action of the Black Panther movement of the ‘60s.

Co-founder Roy Choi, already the owner of two IFL franchises, adds, “Oakland and the Bay Area embody activism, work ethic, passion, and loyalty. Those qualities are represented by the Panther name and by my co-founder Marshawn Lynch. While I am obviously impressed by his on-field performance, it is his community work that is the most inspiring. There is no one better than Marshawn to lead such a community-oriented sports franchise like the Oakland Panthers. Additionally, we’re also exploring ways the community can also have ownership in our team.”

The Oakland Panthers franchise will support its athletes in a unique manner. Given the challenges of Bay Area housing prices, the Panthers will not only provide salaries for players, but the team will also provide lodging and meals during the season. Lodging and practice facilities will be located in the East Bay.

The Panthers have also named longtime sports executive Scott McKibben as its President. McKibben has helmed numerous sports projects and facilities, including the Rose Bowl, the Coliseum Authority, and the assembly of the A-11 Football league.

McKibben added, “Indoor football in the Spring will give local families a great entertainment option. We are dedicated to creating a world-class experience with music, lighting, fan/player interactions, and being financially accessible to every possible fan and family. We’re also thrilled by the early excitement and enthusiasm of Bay Area businesses who want to support us.”

The Panthers will play 7 home games at the Oakland Arena each year along with one or two rounds of playoff action should the team qualify.

The Panthers have announced a 10-man coaching staff led by Bay Area football icon Kurt Bryan as the Head Football Coach. Bryan enters his 28th year of coaching football, after having served as a high school and collegiate football coach in the San Francisco bay area and northern California for nearly three decades. He has been recognized as an innovator by his peers at every level of the game as Co-creator of the A-11 Offense in 2007. Bryan has helped to advance the game into its future with improving player-safety by design and significantly expanding the game’s options using fully interchangeable offensive players.

Bryan added, “My goal is to develop Oakland’s new indoor professional football team into an exciting, premier destination franchise for football fans to eagerly support and one that talented players will aspire to join. I believe every player in the league will look to the Panthers as a model franchise where they can grow their talent and perform at their highest level for passionate fans.”

Founded in 2008, the IFL is the longest continuously operating professional indoor football league in the country, now with 12 teams in the league. More information on ticket sales, sponsorships, player transactions, fan experiences, tryouts, and community engagement opportunities will be available in the months ahead at www.Oakland-Panthers.com.

More information on the Indoor Football League can be found at www.GoIFL.com.

ABOUT THE IFL:

The Indoor Football League (IFL) will begin its twelfth season of play in the spring of 2020. The IFL was created in 2008 from a merger between the Intense Football League and the United Indoor Football Association. Its teams are located from San Diego, CA to Green Bay, WI. For more information about all things IFL, please log on to www.goifl.com or call the league office at (804) 643-7277.

Gladiators will commence IFL play in 2020

The Indoor Football League (IFL) is proud to announce the addition and partnership of the league’s newest team, the Duke City Gladiators.
“We are thrilled to announce the addition of the Duke City Gladiators to the IFL,” stated IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse. “The Gladiators bring a strong winning tradition to the IFL while solidifying our geographic footprint. We look forward to the intense southwestern rivalries the Gladiators will bring to the IFL and to a long and productive partnership with the team and city.”

The 2018 and 2019 CIF champions will compete as new members in the IFL’s 2020 season. The team will compete in the Tingley Coliseum.
Additional news and expansion team announcements will be revealed in the coming weeks.
ABOUT DUKE CITY The Duke City Gladiators are an indoor football team based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Beginning play in 2015, the Gladiators were the back-to-back champions of the Champions Indoor Football league (2018-2019), before joining the IFL. The Gladiators enter their sixth season of play in 2020. The team plays its home games at the Tingley Coliseum.

ABOUT THE IFL: The Indoor Football League (IFL) will begin its twelfth season of play in the spring of 2020. The IFL was created in 2008 from a merger between the Intense Football League and the United Indoor Football Association. Its teams are located from San Diego CA to Green Bay, Wisconsin. For more information about all things IFL, please log on to www.goifl.com or call the league office at (804) 643-7277

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