Empire have sights set on playoffs against Barnstormers - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Empire have sights set on playoffs against Barnstormers

Empire look to keep playoff hopes alive against Barnstormers Empire look to keep playoff hopes alive against Barnstormers

The Spokane Empire (8-6, 7-4) will travel to Des Moines on Friday to take on the Iowa Barnstormers (12-2, 8-2), with their sights set on the playoffs. This will be the Empire's second-to-last game before they finish up the regular season against the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles on June 16th.

The Empire are currently tied for second place with the Nebraska Danger for the final playoff spot in the Intense Conference. However, the Danger hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a win over the Empire on April 1st.

*Standings received from: goifl.com

QB Aaron Wilmer

Standing in the Empire's way of a potential playoff berth is the Barnstormers, who have won ten consecutive games. Empire head coach Adam Shackleford announced this week that the starting quarterback position will be a game-time decision, after Aaron Wilmer struggled in a 33-16 loss to the Rattlers.  Wilmer was 11-28 on passing attempts against Arizona, while only throwing one touchdown and an interception. In his first start for the Empire, Wilmer threw for three touchdown passes and also scored two rushing touchdowns in a 48-43 win over the Colorado Crush, snapping Spokane's three-game losing streak.

Iowa Barnstormers

The Empire are currently seventh in the IFL in scoring, averaging 41.7 PPG, but will have a tough time getting past the Barnstormers' defense. Iowa is only giving up an average of 36.2 PPG, which is second in the IFL only behind the Sioux Falls Storm. If Spokane wants to come out victorious in Des Moines, it will have to stop Iowa quarterback Travis Partridge. Partridge has accounted for 62 touchdowns this season, including 40 through the air. On the receiving end of Partridge's touchdowns is Brandy Roland, who is tied for third in the IFL in touchdown receptions with 18.

Last Matchup

It's been over a year (April 16th, 2016) since the Empire and Barnstormers last played. Quarterback Charles Dowdell had a five-touchdown performance that propelled the Empire to a 54-34 victory over the Barnstormers in 2016. This victory was a part of a six-game winning streak for the Empire, that ultimately helped them advance to the 2016 United Bowl.

*Photo Courtesy: EverSport

Friday's game between the Empire and the Barnstormers is set for Friday at 5:00 p.m. and you can watch the game live on SWX.

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