The rollercoaster that was the Texas Revolution’s 2017 season ended in storybook fashion Friday.
Clinton Solomon caught three touchdown passes, the defense forced two turnovers and Chris Dixon’s uncanny knack for winning championships continued as Texas defeated the Omaha Beef, 59-49, in the CIF Champions Bowl III at the Allen Event Center.
It was the indoor football team’s first championship since moving to Allen from Arkansas, when it was known as the Twisters. Since the move, the franchise has been known as the Wranglers and gone through several ownership and coaching changes.
But this year’s squad featured an all-star lineup of talent – including Dixon, arguably the greatest quarterback in indoor football history with his now-seventh championship – and stability on the sideline in second-year head coach Victor Mann and in the owner’s box with NFL Hall of Famer Tim Brown.
“I’m just so happy for these guys,” Mann said. “We had a crazy season, but we played our game and came out on top. These guys deserve it.”
Despite Solomon’s heroics and Dixon’s spectacular overall game, it was the Revs’ defense that once again came through – as it had all season, Mann said following the game.
After taking a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, cornerback Anthony Webb intercepted Beef quarterback Anthony Iannotti in the end zone on Omaha’s first offensive possession. It turned out to be a two-touchdown swing play, as the Revs scored immediately following the turnover for a 13-0 lead. And in the second half, the Revs defense forced and recovered a fumble to halt another Beef drive.
“Anthony Webb’s interception at the beginning changed the entire game,” Mann said. “We just started playing with confidence and never looked back. But our defense has been making plays for us like that all year. In this league, you need stops or turnovers to win games, and we were able to do that all season.”
Once the defense made its plays, the Texas offense took over.
Dixon threw for six touchdown passes and rushed for two more, and CIF Rookie of the Year Michael Dyer ran for a touchdown and caught another score. Brett Reece Jr. and Darius Fudge also caught touchdown passes.
The Beef were led by running back Travis Ribbing, who flourished all season in Omaha’s option rushing attack. He scored three touchdowns in the championship game.
But Solomon was once again a game-changer, catching the game’s opening touchdown on fourth down when Dixon found him streaking past his defender down the sideline. The three touchdown catches gave him 29 on the season to go along with his CIF Offensive Player of the Year award.
With so much offensive firepower and difference-makers on defense, the path to a championship, seemingly, should have been easier than it was this season for Texas.
Last year’s league MVP, quarterback Robert Kent, left the team before the start of the season due to differences within the organization. With the unretired Dixon now taking the reins, the Revs started strong, but hit a nosedive in the middle of the season that culminated with a loss to Kent’s new team, the Dallas Marshals.
Then, with a chance to get in the playoffs as a lower seed, the Revs were gifted an opportunity for home-field advantage after first-place Dodge City was stripped of two wins for violating league policies. Now in second place, the Revs won two playoff games – including against Amarillo, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year – and advanced to the championship game, at home, against Omaha.
Besides the up-and-down nature of the season, the Revs were involved in one-score games seemingly every week, including in its two playoff games prior to the Champions Bowl.
“If our season was a reality television show, we’d have a million-dollar contract right now,” Mann said. “But you have to credit our guys for fighting through all of that and just playing. It’s a great group of guys and they earned this trophy.”
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