Record-setting Balentine sparked Sugar Skulls


TUCSON (KVOA) — The 2021 season did not go as planned for the Tucson Sugar Skulls.

The team finished 6-8 in their first full campaign under Dixie Wooten and missed the playoffs by one game. The Sugar Skulls buried themselves in a deep hole by starting 1-6.

Tucson in their inaugural 2019 season became the only expansion team in IFL history to qualify for the postseason.

One of the stars of this year’s squad was wide receiver Ryan Balentine. He finished 2021 fourth in the league in receiving yards (685) with 13 touchdowns.

The 8th-year veteran out of Southern Mississippi became the IFL’s all-time leading receiver this season.

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2021 was the Tucson Sugar Skulls third season in the Indoor Football League

He ends this campaign with 509 career receptions for 6,095 yards and 117 touchdowns in 110 games. His 7,918 all-purpose yards are also on the cusp of breaking the league record.

One of Wooten’s first orders of business this off season will be building up the competition in his quarterback room. One that took a hit in 2021 when anticipated starter EJ Hilliard opted not play.

Demry Croft started the majority of the season for Tucson. He finished sixth in the league in passing yards and touchdowns. Cory Murphy was added late in the campaign and threw for 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions.

The Sugar Skulls were 9th in the IFL in scoring offense and 8th in scoring defense.

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