Arena Football: Iowa Barnstormers End Season with Emotional Win Against Talons
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Ignore the 7-12 record for the Iowa Barnstormers.
To them, they're 1-0 and are already thinking about the 2013 season.
After defeating the San Antonio Talons, the No. 1 overall team in Arena Football, 66-63, all the Barnstormers can do is keep positive.
“It’s certainly exciting for us to win in the fashion we did tonight,” said Barnstormers quarterback J.J. Raterink. “It’s also sad that this certain group of guys won’t be together again, but we can say we went out with a win.”
The Barnstormers won in dramatic fashion thanks to a walk-off 28-yard field goal by kicker Chris Camay, who came into that kick only 3-of-10 on the season.
“That was the season for me,” said Camay. “I’ve gone through so many highs and lows this season, but I couldn’t have gone out in better fashion tonight.”
Another Barnstormer who gets to go out in high fashion is fullback Rodney Filer.
Filer has spent 13 seasons in Arena Football and he ended it in perfect fashion in his mind.
“You always want to end a season in winning fashion,” said Filer. “After Camay made it at the end, I felt great.”
Filer first came onto the Barnstormers in 1998 after spending his four college years at Iowa. Filer has worn five different uniforms in his Arena career: the New York Dragons from 2001-04, the Las Vegas Gladiators from 2005-06, and two one-season stints with the Tampa Bay Storm in 2007 and Utah Blaze four years ago.
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Filer did spend two seasons with the San Diego Chargers before returning to sign with the Barnstormers.
Filer got five carries in his career finale for 14 yards and a touchdown.
“I had a good time and kept playing,” said Filer.
One reason Filer remained to play so long in Arena Football was that he wanted his family to enjoy the experience as well.
“I wanted to let my kids see me play, and they’re old enough to remember it,” said Filer.
Barnstormers general manager John Pettit is sad to see Filer stop playing but blessed to have him inside the franchise.
“He’ll always be a part of the franchise; he’s not going far away,” said Pettit. “When you start with Rodney Filer in the locker room how he conducts himself on and off the field, that’s what you want in a leader.”
Raterink knew these guys had to get a win for their leader.
“This win means a little more for Rodney, and it was an honor to play with him,” said Raterink.
Saturday night was also a special night for Raterink. His eight touchdown passes put him as the franchise’s single-season leader for passing touchdowns.
The guy who had it before Raterink was not Kurt Warner, but Raterink’s counterpart on Saturday, Aaron Garcia.
“Any time you’re in the company of someone who may go down as the best quarterback in Arena Football, that’s certainly special,” said Raterink. “I’m humbly honored to be in that category with any of those guys when their names come up. It was nice on a personal level, but to cap it off with a win was certainly more special.”
So the offseason begins Sunday for the Barnstormers.
“There certainly are some things we need to look at,” said Head Coach Mike Hohensee. “I just want to make sure we want to keep the guys that we want to keep, and I want to take care of our guys first, then we’ll look into free agency.”
Before heading off into the offseason, Hohensee knows how much this win propels them into the next one.
“This win was huge for the fans,” said Hohensee. “It’ll get them fired up for next season, and we had fans that came to their first game tonight and they saw a great football game.”
As all coaches do, Hohensee is disappointed to see this season end.
“I am proud of every single one of our guys,” said Hohensee. “They played with so much heart, a lot like I did when I played. These guys never gave up, and tonight, they along with fans saw that.”
Zachary James is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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