West Michigan Ironmen win MPIF Championship

Tribune Staff • Apr 23, 2018 at 1:52 AM

The West Michigan Ironmen capped off a 5-0 season with a thrilling 68-44 win over the Midway Marauders in the Midwest Professional Indoor Football League Championship Game on Saturday at L.C. Walker Arena.

The Ironmen clung to a narrow 47-44 lead with 8:54 left in the game before exploding for 21 unanswered points to close out the game and claim the championship.


The visiting Marauders struck first, scoring at the 12:53 mark of the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andre Locke to Denzel Whitaker. The extra point was blocked by the Ironmen, holding the deficit to just 6-0.

The Ironmen would add a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Carder to Carrington Thompson at 10:45 to help the hosts take a 7-6 lead.

Grand Haven native Dakota Smith would add a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Ironmen a 14-6 lead, followed by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Carder to Daryl Gooden to extend the Ironmen lead to 20-6.

The Marauders would add another touchdown pass from Locke to Whitaker to cut the lead to 20-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Thompson would take a 26-yard pass from Carder in for a score early in the second quarter to push the lead to 27-13, but Locke would answer for the visitors, tossing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Andrei Ward and a 26-yard touchdown pass to Ian Gaines to tie the game at 27-27 with 8:12 left in the second quarter.

Not to be outdone, Carder would add touchdown passes of 47 and 24, both to Carrington, to give the Ironmen a 40-27 advantage at halftime.

The Marauders kicked a 25-yard field goal to open the scoring in the second half, but the Ironmen answered with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Carder to Chris McCall to extend the lead to 47-30 with 5:58 left in the third quarter.

Then, the visitors really made things interesting for the packed house at L.C. Walker Arena, as the Marauders scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Locke to Jonathan Henderson with 2:45 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 47-37.

Locke would find Gaines for a 12-yard score with 8:54 left in the fourth quarter to chip away at the lead even more and have the Ironmen clinging to a 47-44 in the championship game.

That’s when the Ironmen showcased their championship mettle, reeling off a 21-0 run to close out the game.

Carrington would return the ensuing kickoff 44 yards for a score, and added a 17-yard touchdown reception from Carder with 3:40 left in the game to push the lead to 61-44 in what all but closed the door on a comeback attempt.

Former Oakridge and Grand Valley State standout Jamie Potts would add icing to the cake with a 27-yard interception return for a score with 1:19 left to bring the game to its final score.

Carder, a former standout at Western Michigan University, finished with seven touchdown pass to fuel the Ironmen offense.

Carrington, also a former Bronco, hauled in five touchdown receptions to lead the talented receiving corps of the Ironmen.

For the season, the Ironmen outscored their opponents 276-90.

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