The 2017 Iowa Barnstormers host a stable of one of the best receiving units in the Indoor Football League (IFL).
Brady Roland sits second in the league with 18 receiving touchdowns and Ryan Balentine is an end-zone catch away from being in the top ten.
However, Lucas Hefty is the unsung hero.
Lucas Hefty a constant Connection for Iowa Barnstormers
The former Upper Iowa Peacock won’t wow the crowd with the flashiest celebration on the field. He won’t be the one standing on the Dasher boards after a big play.
But, he will be consistent.
“Lucas is a selfless guy,” Linebacker and team captain Javicz Jones said. “He is going to come in here and work hard. He isn’t [a player] that has to get the ball, but if he does get it he is going to make it happen.”
Coach Dixie Wooten and the Barnstormers are big fans of using Hefty on third down to make those things happen.
“He has some for-sure hands,” Wooten said. “We go third and short or third and long, Hefty is always open. He is a big body and he knows how to get open.”
Partly to Hefty’s success, the Barnstormers have are third in the IFL in third down conversion percentage, boasting a strong 45% mark this season.
However, Hefty says it’s not all him.
“To me, we have the three best receivers in the league,” Hefty said. “We keep the receptions spread out: we’re all within 15 of each other. [Quarterback Travis Partridge] does a great job of [spreading the ball around] and throwing to who’s open. [The defense] cant solo up on one guy, they have to watch all of us.”
Hefty is third on the team in receptions behind Roland who leads the team with 60 and Balentine who has caught 51.
“It’s hard on defenses when you keep it like that, where there’s not one go-to-guy,” Hefty said. “We all work together on that.”
|Indoor Football League Standings|
|4||Green Bay – e||2-12||9.5|
|5||Cedar Rapids – e||1-13||10.5|
|4||Salt Lake – e||4-9||5|
|5||Colorado – e||3-10||6|
e – Eliminated from the playoffs.
x – Clinched playoff spot.
y – Clinched conference.
z – Clinched home field advantage through playoffs.
Week 16 Schedule
Friday, June 2
Iowa Barnstormers at Salt Lake Screaming Eagles | 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 3
Sioux Falls Storm at Colorado Crush | 6:00 p.m.
Nebraska Danger at Cedar Rapids Titans | 7:05 p.m.
Wichita Falls Nighthawks at Green Bay Blizzard | 7:05 p.m.
Arizona Rattlers at Spokane Empire | 9:00 p.m.
Main Photo Credit: Connor Ferguson, Last Word on Sports