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Empire rally in fourth, but Billings holds on for IFL victory

BILLINGS – Despite a furious fourth-quarter rally, the Spokane Empire fell to the Billings Wolves 30-22 in an Indoor Football League game at Metra Park Arena.

Billings built a 30-7 lead on Darakata Britt’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Willie Downs with 27 seconds left in the third quarter.

Spokane (2-1) scored twice in the fourth quarter, trimming the deficit to eight points with 1:28 left.

The Empire defense forced a stop on fourth down early in the fourth quarter. On the next play Charles Dowdell hit Carl Sims for a 31-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 30-15.

Later in the quarter, Billings kicker Spencer Groner missed a 56-yard field-goal attempt, which Robert Brown returned for 28 yards to the Billings 22. The Empire went the distance on four plays, culminating in a 4-yard scoring toss from Dowdell to Jefferson Hayes.

Spokane recovered the onside kick on its 13 and drove to the Billings 18 in five plays. But Dowdell was sacked and coughed it up. The fumble was recovered by the Wolves’ Mikell Mair and Billings ran out the clock.

Spokane got on the board first with Trevor Kennedy’s 2-yard first-quarter touchdown run.

But the Wolves ran off the next 30 points. Britt had a pair of short touchdown runs before halftime, Austin Coleman had a 7-yard TD run and Groner hit a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Dowdell was 15 of 28 for 150 yards, two TDs and two interceptions, and added 29 yards rushing. Kennedy finished with 37 yards rushing on seven carries.

Britt was 14 of 27 for 136 yards and a touchdown but threw three interceptions. The Empire held Billings to 41 yards rushing, led by Britt with 24 yards.

Both teams had penalty problems. The Empire were flagged eight times for 54 yards, while Billings had 12 penalties for 99 yards.

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