IFL: Barnstormers hold Green Bay to 3 points, start 2-0

Barnstormers hold Green Bay
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During week one of the Iowa Barnstormers 2019 season, it was the offense that rolled its way to a win, but on Saturday night in the team’s home opener, the defense was the focus.

The Barnstormers held the Green Bay Blizzard to its lowest amount of points scored in franchise history, winning 41-3 in their first home game since they won the 2018 United Bowl.

Iowa honored the championship before the night’s game with a video tribute, a speech from owner Jeff Lamberti, and the unveiling of the banner honoring the season.

The Barnstormers raised their championship banner yesterday as it was the first game at Wells Fargo Arena since the 2018 United Bowl. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

“It felt great to see the banner,” defensive back Rocky Hayes said. It felt great to see it drop. To make it even better we almost had a shutout tonight. I don’t know much about [the history] of arena-ball, but I’ve never seen three points scored. It’s incredible, ain’t it?”

It’s clear that the Barnstormers are still on cloud nine and rolling off of the momentum from the franchise’s first league championship, putting together a blowout win.

Although, it didn’t start off like that.

Iowa only held a 16-3 lead at both halftime and the end of the third quarter. Coach Dixie Wooten attributed the slow start to penalties.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” Wooten said. We would be driving and then get a penalty. If we didn’t have penalties, we could have had at least 30 points in the first half.”

That was the mindset of the entire team at halftime.

They felt that the scoreboard should have read 41-3 30 minutes earlier than it did.

“We started off a little slow,” wide receiver Connor Hollenbeck said. “The score that we ended up with should have been the halftime score. That was our mindset. When we went in at halftime we kind of realized where we should be and [we] got there.”

Wide receiver Connor Hollenbeck tosses a ball to a ref following a first down. Hollenbeck is already making an impact at the position just two weeks into his career in Iowa. Photo by Connor Ferguson

The Barnstormers will, however, build off of the 3-point performance.

That showed this defensive unit has a lot of resiliency to keep the pressure on and the points down, even in a blowout.

The mark by the defense comes a week after giving up 39 points to Quad City in the season opener on Sunday, including 26 in the second half.

“Oh yeah [we’re improving], but that comes along with the game,” Hayes said. “Each week you’ve got to get a little better. We’re going to try for a shutout against Nebraska.”

What makes it a bigger accomplishment for Iowa was being able to stop and contain Green Bay quarterback Lenorris Footman.

Footman was coming off of a player of the week performance in a win against Nebraska a week before.

“It’s incredible, especially with there quarterback,” Wooten said. “My defense faced the challenge and stood out.”

Iowa will return to the field following the second of three bye weeks they will take this season, with its next game being on Saturday, March 23 in Nebraska.