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INDOOR FOOTBALL: Fudge, Texas revolt in second half to hand Axemen third-straight loss

Axemen Warren Matthews Jr. make an nice catch with Texas defender David James II all over him in the second quarter of football action. 1 / 4
Axemen return specialist DeMario Pippen had several large returns giving the team good field position throughout the night against the Texas Revolution on Saturday.2 / 4
Bemidji Axemen wide receiver Josh Jarboe catches a bullet in the end zone for a first quarter touchdown Saturday night at the Sanford Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 4
Axemen defensive lineman Caesar Rodriguez gets his second sack in the first half wrapping up Texas quarterback Kewan Dewberry on Saturday night.4 / 4

BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Axemen couldn’t put a full four quarters together.

Despite leading by three possessions for most of the second quarter, the Axemen lost their lead in the second half and lost 43-27 to the Texas Revolution Saturday at the Sanford Center.

“It all comes down to execution,” Bemidji head coach Robert Fuller said. “We had a lot of plays that could have easily resulted in touchdowns, but we just did not make those plays.”

Texas (3-9) cut into an 18-point second-half deficit on Kewan Dewberry’s four-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Solomon Jr., but Bemidji still took a 21-10 lead to the locker room at the break.

However, the Revolution turned the tables quickly in the second half. Dewberry and Solomon Jr. connected for a second touchdown three minutes into the fourth quarter. Then an interception by Damion Clark led to another touchdown pass, this time from Dewberry to Darius Fudge two minutes later.

In a span of less than seven minutes, the Revolution had turned an 18-point deficit to a three-point lead at 24-21.

“This is the IFL, every team is talented,” Fuller said. “Every team has the ability to beat anyone on any given night. We knew coming in that we were facing a very talented team and unfortunately, they made the plays when it mattered most and we did not.”

The Axemen (5-7) added a pair of field goals from Zach Pulkinen, but could not find the end zone in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Revolution outscored the Axemen 19-3 in the fourth quarter thanks to touchdowns from Fudge, Clinton Solomon and Solomon Jr.

The Axemen offense got off to a good start, as Cody Kirby connected with Josh Jarboe for a three-yard touchdown to grab an early 7-0 lead.

Kirby followed it up with a one-yard touchdown run in the next drive to push the lead to 14-0.

Bemidji’s defense kept Texas out of the scoring column throughout the first quarter, but a 37-yard field goal from Zeke Arevalo put the Revolution on the board.

It took Kirby and the Axemen just one play to answer as he found running back Warren Matthews Jr. for a 45-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 21-3 early in the second quarter.

Kirby started hot but struggled throughout the second half and finished with 173 yards, while completing 15 of his 33 pass attempts and throwing two touchdowns with two interceptions.

“We just struggled with protection and making the right reads,” Fuller said. “There were things there, but we were not able to make things happen.”

He added 45 yards on five carries to lead the team’s rushing attack.

Dewberry, on the other hand, struggled in the first half but managed to complete 16 of his 24 passes for 136 yards and four touchdowns.

Ryan Balentine and were Kirby’s favorite targets as they each made six receptions, while Solomon made seven catches for 70 yards for the Revolution.

Jory Johnson led the Axemen defense with seven tackles, while Mike McMillan grabbed the team’s only interception of the night.

Bemidji will try to snap its three-game losing streak next Saturday when it will host the Cedar Rapids Titans in the final home game of the season.

“There is still an awful lot to play for,” Fuller said. “Especially if you have any pride in wearing an Axemen uniform. Not to mention, the game is against Cedar Rapids and they have beaten us a couple times on the season. This will be our last shot for payback.”

Texas 43, Bemidji 27

Texas 0 10 14 19 — 43

Bemidji 14 7 7 3 — 27

First quarter

B- Jarboe 2-pass from Kirby. PAT, Pulkinen kick, 11:17.

B- Kirby 1-run. PAT, Pulkinen kick, 4:42.

Second quarter

T- 37-field goal, Arevalo, 14:52.

B- Matthews Jr. 45-pass from Kirby. PAT, Pulkinen kick, 14:45.

T- Solomon Jr. 4-pass from Dewberry. PAT, Arevalo kick, :54.

Third quarter

T- Solomon Jr. 17-pass from Dewberry. PAT, Arevalo kick, 12:41.

T- Fudge 2-pass from Dewberry. PAT, Arevalo kick, 9:25.

B- Pulkinen 18-field goal, 4:30.

Fourth quarter

T-Fudge 2-run. PAT, Arevalo kick, 14:58.

B- Pulkinen 20-kick, 7:12.

T- Solomon 9-pass from Dewberry. PAT, Arevalo kick no good. 2:48.

T- Solomon Jr. 34-run. PAT, Arevalo kick, no good.