By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The West Michigan Ironmen have struggled in close games in their first season in the Champions Indoor Football league.

That trend continued on Saturday, when the Ironmen suffered a disappointing 44-41 loss to the Omaha Beef at L. C. Walker Arena in their final home game of the regular season.

The Ironmen have now lost five games by a combined total of 16 points. They lost one game by seven points, two games by three points, one by two points and another by a single point.

“It’s the inconsistency,” said Ironmen Coach Ty Lynk about another tough loss. “We have the talent to play at a very high level, but to do that we have to be consistent.

“We have to play these last two games (on the road) as a family, and you don’t put down your family when something goes wrong. We are going to try to get to a point where we are playing consistent.”

Terrance Taylor gets free along the line for the Ironmen. Photo/Leo Valdez

The Ironmen dropped to 3-7 on the season, good for fifth place in the CIF’s Northern Division. They will need to close the season with two wins on the road to have a chance to make the postseason playoffs.

The Bismarck Bucks currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the division with a 4-4 record. The Bucks were losing on Saturday night as of this writing.

Saturday’s game opened with each team scoring on kickoff returns for touchdowns. Omaha struck first, then West Michigan’s Dontae Ingraham ran 50 yards on the kick return, and a missed PAT left the Ironmen trailing 7-6.

Ironmen quarterback Alex Carder added a score on a one-yard scamper, and West Michigan led 13-10 after one quarter.

The Ironmen maintained their lead into the second quarter, until the Beef’s Brandon Green recovered a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown with 9:20 left, giving Omaha a 23-20 advantage.

The teams exchanged touchdowns late in the second quarter, and the Beef entered halftime with a 30-27 advantage.

West Michigan scored the lone touchdown in the third quarter on a five-yard run by Korey Ringer, and the Ironmen led 34-30 heading into the final stanza.

Omaha pulled ahead 37-34 with a seven-yard scoring pass from quarterback Anthony Lannotti to Johnathan Ray with 10:17 left in the game.

The Ironmen bounced back with a bullet nine-yard touchdown pass from Carder to Corey Johnson to grab a 41-37 edge with 6:53 left.

The Beef recorded the final score of the game with 6:17 remaining on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lannotti to Andrew King.

The Ironmen drove the ball to the Omaha 12-yard line, but stalled with a turnover on downs with three minutes remaining.

Omaha managed to keep possession until the final buzzer.

Carder threw for 102 yards on 11-for-19 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Ringer rushed for 46 yards on 16 carries and scored twice.

Rony Nelson and Malcolm Howard led the Ironmen defense with nine tackles apiece.



OM 14:47- Johnathan Ray 44-yard kick return (Tucker Milliken kick) OM-7  WM-0
WM 14:28- Dontae Ingraham 50-yard kick return (kick failed)  OM-7  WM-6
OM 10:01- Tucker Milliken 35-yard field goal  OM-10  WM-6
WM 4:29- Alex Carder 1-yard run (Jose Diaz kick)  WM-13  OM-10


WM 12:53- Korey Ringer 13-yard run (Jose Diaz kick)  WM-20  OM-10
OM 9:55- Andrew King 18-yard catch from Anthony Lannotti (Tucker Milliken kick)  WM-20  OM-17
OM 9:20-Brandon Green 32-yard fumble recovery (kick failed)  OM-23  WM-20
WM 5:09- Korey Ringer 7-yard run (Jose Diaz kick)  WM-27  OM-23
OM :03.7- Travis Ribbing 1-yard run (Tucker Milliken kick)  OM-30  WM-27


WM 2:23- Korey Ringer 5-yard catch from Alex Carder (Jose Diaz kick)  WM-34  OM-30


OM 10:19 Johnathan Ray 7-yard catch from Anthony Lannotti (Tucker Milliken kick)  OM-37  WM-34
WM 6:53- Corey Johnson 9-yard catch from Alex Carder (Jose Diaz kick)  WM-41  OM-37
OM 6:17- Andrew King 22-yard catch from Anthony Lannotti (Tucker Milliken kick)  OM-44  WM-41