The Iowa Barnstormers took down rivals Green Bay 38-32 on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. The win earned Iowa a 3rd place finish in conference standings.
Barnstormers Win , Team Looks at Roads Ahead
A back and forth game found the Barnstormers leading with 38 seconds to go, when safety Austin Benson sealed the deal with an interception while flipping over the boards.
“First and for most, I wanted to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Matt Goldsmith, I call him my little bro, he told me they are gonna test me and this is my play to make,” Benson said. “I took off to the other side of the field, hoping they would throw that ball, so I kind of baited the quarterback, and as soon as I saw the ball in the air I said I have got to end the game.”
Even though Iowa missed the playoffs, the team and fans seem confident that the Barnstormers are back, and are better than ever.
“It is what we expected, I mean we thought we had to win the fans back over, and we sure did, the players did,” Barnstormers Vice President and COO John Pettit said. “I speak on behalf of the ownership group, we are having fun again. It’s a great group of players, a great group of coaches, and the economic motto fits. The crowds picked up as it went, it got exciting, and people bought in.”
The crowd was electric in the win, and although there was not an official number released yet, it rivaled some of the Barnstormer AFL crowds.
“It’s a great time, we have got great fans out here, hopefully next year we will be playing for a championship,” wide receiver Johnny Thomas said. “This is a rebuilding thing, Coach Brannen is a great coach, and I think we will be real successful come next year.”
Coming into the season, Iowa reached within it’s former players and staff to put together a coaching staff for 2015.
“It was awesome great to see the tradition behind the Barnstormers,” Former WR and current coach Tim Dodge said. “We learned a lot being in a whole new league, the guys finished strong, they played great, and their was never a lack of effort.”
“It was a lot of fun to come back here where my playing career started and to work for the same ownership group that was here when I played, we had some guys that laid a foundation for what is coming in the future,” Former QB and current Head Coach Joe Brannen said. “I want to bring all of [my players] back, we’ll try to get as many of them back at every position. We’ll bring 40 into training camp and we hope to return at least 18.”
Barnstormer coaches will conduct exit meetings with players on Monday to discuss their future with the Barnstormers.
“[Captaining the team] felt good, I just knew that I had to do my best, lead a couple people on, and make things happen, but it wasn’t just me it took all eight of us on the field and 21 of us on the team,” said linebacker Javicz Jones. “If another IFL team calls, I won’t go there because this is a good place to be.”