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When Tucson quarterback Jake Medlock fumbled after taking a brutal hit with just more than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Sugar Skulls were slowly starting to lose momentum on the road against the Bismarck Bucks. 

Bismarck (2-8) responded with a field goal and took a 37-35 lead before Matt Behrendt stepped in at quarterback and led the Sugar Skulls (6-5) to two fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 52-40 win against the Bucks.

“We knew it was going to be tough to come in here and play. Bismarck has been playing teams tough all year. It was just a matter of us finishing a game which I thought we did," said Sugar Skulls head coach Marcus Coleman. "We showed a lot of mental toughness and made the plays we needed to make to seal the game. From a character standpoint, it was one of those team-building moments where we came together and finished the ball game.”

Medlock completed 9 of 14 passes for 114 yards and four touchdowns. Behrendt went 3 of 4 passing for 48 yards, including a last-minute touchdown to Jeremiah Harris to put the bow on a Tucson win. 

“We knew what they were expecting so we dialed up that play and it was a great throw and catch," said Coleman. "Sometimes you’ve got to make those calls and seal the game. That was the moment that showed us the team got mentally tougher tonight." 

Tucson defensive back and former LSU Tiger Micah Eugene Jr. grabbed his first interception of the season at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Eugene led the team with seven tackles, four pass breakups and two tackles for loss.

Sugar Skulls running back Mike Jones rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries, and recovered Josh Gable's squib kick with just under a minute left to play when Tucson led 45-40. 

The victory over Bismarck puts the Sugar Skulls one game up on Nebraska for fifth place in the Indoor Football League standings. Up next, the Sugar Skulls host the undefeated Arizona Rattlers on May 25 at 6 p.m. at Tucson Arena.

Contact sports content producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or On Twitter @justinesports

Sports producer

Justin Spears is an award-winning sports journalist and Tucson native. He can be reached at On Twitter @justinesports.