by Dakota Zientek

Tonight, in the third and final matchup of the “Iowa Bowl”, the (1-9) River Kings fell short against the (8-1) Iowa Barnstormers with a final score of 43-18. 

In the opening kick-off, the River Kings were able to strip the ball and recovered. That set a high tone for the River Kings, however, that energy seemed to fall flat shortly after. 

The first quarter for the River Kings was not one to remember, as they did not play their best football. Wilkerson threw his first interception of the night, which turned into a touchdown short after for the Barnstormers by Peterson. 

In the second quarter, Wilkerson found more of a rhythm, however, it was on his legs rather than with his arm. He had a few crucial runs after the pocket would collapse, which got the River Kings out of some difficult situations. 

Phillip Nwosu found success in the first half, as he was kicking 100% (2/2) on two long field goals to give the River Kings their only points of the half. 

The second half was a big step up for the River Kings offensively. Wilkerson found some more success through the air, and with that, the rest of the offense picked up their performance as well.

The first of two touchdowns for the River Kings was a great throw by Wilkerson to Jordan Smith. Unfortunately, after that touchdown, Nwosu’s perfect streak found an end as he failed to convert the PAT. 

After that, the defense was able to force a fumble, which gave the River Kings possession. The River Kings were able to then rush the ball up the middle with Wilkerson for the second touchdown of the night. Their two-point conversion, however, was unsuccessful. 

For the majority of the game, the Barnstormers seemed to have their way with the River Kings defense. Daquan Neal was the man with the plan as he was able to be involved in every touchdown the Barnstormers got. 

Although this might not have been the best game for the River Kings, Ben Wilkerson showed that he is learning a lot about what it takes to be a quarterback in the IFL. In his second start, he showed a leap in success, and he looked like he was becoming more confident throughout the game; these games are crucial for a new quarterback. 

The next game for the River Kings is Friday, May 17th, as the team has an upcoming bye week. Cedar Rapids is next in action Friday May 17th at the Quad City’s Steamwheelers.