CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa As far as the Cedar Rapids Titans are concerned, the playoffs start now. The push began against the two-time defending IFL champions.
After spotting Sioux Falls a 5-0 first-quarter lead with two turnovers and three penalties, the Titans scored 36 unanswered points and crushed the first-place Storm, 52-18, before another standing-room-only crowd at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on Saturday night.
"I think our offensive line is starting to jell. Those guys are getting a lot more reps together, and I think it's shown as the season's gone along," Titans running back LaRon Council said."As an offensive unit we're starting to roll and we're just trying to keep that roll into the playoffs."
The Titans' defense had fourth-down stops on three of Sioux Falls' first four possessions, including two at the goal line. Their stinginess allowed Titans' quarterback Charles McCullum to heat up, throwing for two second-quarter touchdowns while Council ran for another as the Titans built a 22-5 halftime lead.
"He's one of the better quarterbacks I've played with running that zone-read option," Council said."He runs it well, he can throw the ball. He's a dual-threat quarterback and that's dangerous in this league."
McCullum finished with six total touchdowns, including two from inside his 5-yard line, a 49-yard pass to Desmond Tardy and a 46-yard quarterback keeper down the right sideline.Council, the league leader in rushing yards and touchdowns, added to his totals with 73 yards rushing and his 19th touchdown this season.
The Titans' defense kept the high-powered Sioux Falls offense out of the end zone until the fourth quarter, despite the absence of defensive back Ricky Johnson.Johnson experienced travel delays following a trip to Atlanta for conversations with the NFL Falcons that did not result in a signing. Titans head coach Mark Stoute believes the NFL may come calling for Council as well in the next week or two.
"I think right now I'm just trying to focus on performing on the field and let that do the talking for me right now," Council said."From what my agent said there's probably a couple of teams that are interested, just have to keep playing ball and see what comes up."
Former Iowa receiver Clinton Solomon caught a touchdown pass to end the scoring for the Storm.
The Titans pulled even with Sioux Falls at 6-4.The Titans are on the road for the next three games, beginning Saturday at Green Bay.