The Tucson Sugar Skulls defeated Northern Arizona 56-38 on the road Saturday night but fell just short of making a postseason appearance.
Tucson needed to beat Northern Arizona, and both Sioux Falls and Bismarck had to win their games on Saturday for the Sugar Skulls to qualify for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Two out of those three things happened, but Duke City outlasted Bismarck as Tucson was pulling away from Northern Arizona early in the fourth quarter.
Tucson quarterback Cory Murphy had arguably his best performance in a Sugar Skulls uniform, finishing with 149 passing yards, 38 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns- four through the air and one on the ground.
Malik Stanley was Murphy’s top receiving target, finishing with a team-high 45 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt Elam led the team with 6.5 total tackles.
Sugar Skulls’ kicker Jimmy Camacho was signed by the B.C Lions of the CFL earlier this week, leaving Tucson without a kicker on Saturday night. Ryan Balentine filled in for Camacho, and the Sugar Skulls held Northern Arizona to 13.8 yards-per-return.
The Sugar Skulls finished the season winning five out of its seven last games after a slow start to the season.
In a press release after the game, the Sugar Skulls media department thanked the fans for their support during the season.
“The Tucson Sugar Skulls would like to thank their fans for another incredible season. Although it did not end the way we hoped, the four-game home winning streak to end the season was powered by the amazing Sugar Skulls fans who packed the Boneyard. Thank you!”
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.