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Tucson Sugar Skulls cruise by Northern Arizona Wranglers, but will miss IFL playoffs

Tucson Sugar Skulls cruise by Northern Arizona Wranglers, but will miss IFL playoffs

Tucson Sugar Skulls-Bismarck Bucks IFL football game Saturday, July 24, 2021. SugarSkulls won 34-27. (Darryl Webb/Tucson Sugar Skulls)

When Dixie Wooten assembled the Tucson Sugar Skulls' roster for a "championship or bust" season, a win to end the season was expected to be hoisting the United Bowl trophy. 

Instead, Tucson's IFL team ended the regular season with a victory, when the Sugar Skulls held off the Northern Arizona Wranglers 56-38 in Prescott Valley on Saturday, but a 6-8 record wasn't enough to qualify for the IFL postseason. 

A Bismarck Bucks loss to the Duke City Gladiators knocked the Sugar Skulls out of playoff contention. 

For the first time in the franchise's infant history, the Sugar Skulls will not appear in the postseason and are still in search of their first playoff victory. Tucson had a first-round exit in the IFL playoffs in 2019, when it fell to the Sioux Falls Storm. 

Tucson finished the 2021 season in ninth place in the IFL standings, and will now look forward to Wooten's second official season as head coach and general manager. 

IFL playoff picture:

Sunday, Aug. 29: No. 8 Sioux Falls Storm vs. No. 1 Arizona Rattlers

Saturday, Aug. 28: No. 7 Bismarck Bucks vs. No. 2 Massachusetts Pirates

Saturday, Aug. 28: No. 6 Spokane Shock vs. No. 3 Frisco Fighters

Saturday, Aug. 28: No. 5 Duke City Gladiators vs. No. 4 Iowa Barnstormers

Contact sports producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or On Twitter: @JustinESports

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Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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