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The Tucson Sugar Skulls inaugural season came to an end on the road Sunday when it fell, 50-47, to the Sioux Falls Storm in a first-round Indoor Football League playoff game.

It was a game that had seven lead changes, but the Storm, the No. 3 seed in the IFL, pulled out the victory on the strength of back-to-back scores in the decisive third quarter when they took a lead they never relinquished.

Trailing by nine points late in the fourth quarter, the Sugar Skulls got within striking distance, down three points, when relief quarterback Matt Behrendt ran the ball in from the 2-yard line.

There was 1:16 left on the clock. An onside kick failed, and the Storm was able to run out the clock.  The Sugar Skulls end their season despite putting up their second-highest offensive output of the year with 311 total yards. Quarterback Jake Medlock got the start and was an efficient 22 of 25 passing for 271 yards, also a season high. He threw six touchdown passes.

“I thought we played well,” said Head Coach Marcus Coleman. “When you’re playing a team like Sioux Falls and playing in their building, it’s always going to be a tough, tight game.
“We just didn’t make enough plays when it counted,” Coleman said. “Give them credit. They made plays when it counted.”

Tucson finishes its first season with a 7-8 overall record after finishing at .500 in the regular season, good for a tie for fifth place in the IFL with the Nebraska Danger. The Sugar Skulls were
the No. 6 seed in the playoffs because of a regular-season loss to the Danger.

“For the most part, we had a successful season being it was the first year, building it from the ground up, and making it to the playoffs,” Coleman said. “We’ve really got a lot to build on. The foundation has been set.

“I know we finished 7-7 but we made the playoffs,” Coleman added. “We’re the first team to do that as an expansion team. That’s the foundation. Now the guys that come back and the new guys that come in know what the expectation is. The expectation is to make the playoffs again and trying to make a deeper run.”

2019 Sugar Skulls Game Notes Game 15 Sioux Falls Page 01

After a regular season of ups and downs, streaks and anticipation, the Tucson Sugar Skulls are in the Indoor Football League playoffs in their first year as a franchise.

The question now becomes: How long do they get to stay?

Tucson, the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, travels to face the Sioux Falls Storm, the No. 3 seed, Sunday in a 1 p.m. game at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The game will be live streamed on the IFL YouTube channel.

The playoff berth came down to the final seconds of the regular season finale when the Sugar Skulls held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Quad City Steamwheelers in a 55-50 playoff-clinching victory.

Now safely in the playoffs, Head Coach Marcus Coleman said all records are erased and it’s “win or go home” for all six teams in the postseason. He said his approach during the week of practice was for his team to know that this is a special game, different from the rest of the regular season.

“It’s not just another game and you have to approach it like that,” Coleman said earlier in the week. “You have to let guys know that the sense of urgency needs to be more than what it usually is. I don’t sugar coat it for them.”

The Sugar Skulls enter the game having won four of their last six games with both losses coming to the unbeaten Arizona Rattlers. The streak comes after the Sugar Skulls endured a four-game losing streak but stayed in the playoff hunt, and now they face one of the top teams in the league.

“Sioux Falls is a hard place to play. It always has been,” Coleman said. “I’m expecting a physical ball game. This is one of those games where it truly comes down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes. This is that kind of game.”

Notes & Numbers

  • Running back Mike Jones finished the regular season as the top rusher among running backs in the IFL. His 59.3 average yards per game led the league. He finished with 711 total yards, just nine yards behind Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong who won the rushing title.
  • Jones and quarterback Matt Behrendt produced two of the IFL’s top offensive performances of the season. Jones rushed for 116 yards against Quad City which was the second-highest single-game rushing total this season. He was named Offensive Player of the Week for the effort. Behrendt’s eight touchdown passes on March 10 against Bismarck was a season high.
  • Coleman was the defensive coordinator for the Iowa Barnstormers last season when when they defeated the Sioux Falls Storm in the United Bowl.
  • A win by the Sugar Skulls would mean a fifth meeting with the Arizona Rattlers on June 29. The Sugar Skulls took the Rattlers to overtime in Phoenix on June 15.

While it has been a successful inaugural season on the field, the Tucson Sugar Skulls have set ticket prices for the 2020 season with substantial reductions in several sections to provide fans and families with more affordable options to be part of the action at The Boneyard.

The new ticket prices for 2020 keep the prices that were reduced for the last two regular season home games. Corner seats were reduced to $10, with upper end zone seats down to $15 and lower end zone seats at $25. In other changes for 2020, sideline corner seats – those in the end sections on the sidelines, 101, 125, 201 and 225 – are also dropping to $15 for upper seats and $25 for lower seats.

“As we prepare for our second season, our goal is to fill the Tucson Arena at every home game. We could see this season that the team really feeds off the energy and interaction with the fans,” said Sugar Skulls Owner Cathy Guy. “We’re lowering some of our pricing options to encourage everyone, especially families and anyone who has never been to an indoor football game, to have the opportunity to experience a game.

“It’s been a fun and exciting year, and by making the playoffs, we have shown we are putting a great product on the field. It’s a family-friendly event. We’re a hometown team with our headquarters here, and we want to give everyone a chance to be a part of this by adjusting prices to continue to add value.”

While prices for the other sideline seats will remain the same, there are discounts for early-bird purchases of season tickets by July 31.

Season ticket holders for the 2019 season can keep their current seats for 2020 by renewing their seats by July 31. After that date, tickets will go back into inventory. Season tickets can also be purchased on a payment plan with a 25% payment upon ordering, and then 25% payments by the end of September, November and January.

The following chart shows 2020 ticket prices and a comparison to 2019 prices.

Seating Section

2019 Season Ticket Prices*

2020 Season Ticket Prices**



Facility Fee Per Ticket

Early Bird

By 7/31/19

Corners 208-211, 215-218






Upper End Zone 212-214






Lower End Zone

107, 112-114, 119






Upper Sideline Corner

201 & 225






Lower Sideline Corner

101 & 125






Upper Sidelines

202-207, 219-224






Lower Sidelines

102-106, 120-124






All Sidelines 1st & 2nd Row






*   2019 Season Ticket Holders must renew by July 31, 2019, to keep current seats. After July 31, tickets will go back to inventory.

** Season Ticket Prices do not include per ticket TCC Facility Fee.

The Tucson Sugar Skulls have finalized their roster for the 2019 IFL playoffs. By league rules, rosters are frozen for the playoffs after today.

In transactions made today, defensive lineman Keith Jones Jr. was placed on injured reserve for the duration of the playoffs because of an injury suffered in the third quarter of the Sugar Skulls’ playoff-clinching victory over the Quad City Steamwheelers on Saturday.
Linebacker Zach Allen, who also left the game with an injury, is on the roster and his playing status is day-to-day.

To fill Jones Jr.’s spot on the roster, Tucson activated defensive lineman Michael Kluge from injured reserve. Kluge went on injured reserve after the Sugar Skulls March 31 game against the San Diego Strike Force.

The Sugar Skulls also added defensive lineman TraVaughn Paschal to fill the 26th spot on the roster that teams are allowed in the postseason. Paschal was on the roster for two games earlier this season.

Tucson opens the playoffs at 1 p.m. Sunday in Sioux Falls. The game will be live streamed on the IFL YouTube channel.

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