SAGINAW, MI — For the last month and a half, the Saginaw Sting have struggled playing complete games. But they've had enough in the tank to pull them out down the stretch.
The tank finally ran dry Saturday, May 30 at The Dow Event Center in the first round of the American Indoor Football League playoffs.
Saginaw, which earned the No. 2 seed with a six-game winning streak to end the season, welcomed to town a Chicago team it beat twice during the regular season, but the Sting were stung by the Blitz's passing attack suffering a 63-45 defeat.
The Sting capped off the 2015 season 6-3 overall.
"I thought some guys mailed it in; it was frustrating to see," Saginaw coach and co-owner Stuart Schweigert said. "After all the stuff we've been through this season, to finally get a home playoff game — a team we've beaten twice — it's not even the fact that we lost. It's the way we lost."
After making a living as a second-half team during the regular season, Saginaw saw the Blitz do a pretty good imitation.
The Sting fell behind 20-10 in the first half before coming back to take a 32-20 lead in the second quarter.
However, it was all Chicago from there as quarterback Jimmy Coy led the team back to a 35-32 leading heading into the half, and the Blitz picked it up in the second half outscoring Saginaw 28-13.
Coy was 19 of 40 passing for Chicago throwing for 271 yards and eight touchdowns. Brian Miles led the Blitz with five receptions and a game high 131 yards with four touchdown receptions.
"I give their quarterback a ton of respect," Schweigert said. "The guy came in here and tore us to pieces, and we didn't have an answer for that. Again, it wasn't the scheme. It was the individual matchups, and we lost 'em."
Chicago outgained Saginaw 281-187, including 269-172 through the air.
AJ McKenna was 18 of 28 passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and he rushed for another. DeShawn Hayes had 10 carries for 12 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and he caught five passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.
SAGINAW, MI — The Saginaw Sting's No. 1 goal this season was to win a championship, and they're less than two weeks away from playing for one.
That is if they can get by Chicago again.
Saginaw, which secured the No. 2 seed, hosts the Blitz at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30 in the American Indoor Football League semifinals with the winner moving on to play for the championship.
"The main thing is to focus on the job at hand and the job at hand is to win a playoff game regardless of who it is," Saginaw co-owner and head coach Stuart Schweigert said. "We have to win this game to win a championship."
The two teams met twice this season with the Sting sweeping both games 55-40 and 57-23, but that doesn't mean much to Schweigert and company.
"According to them, they had a lot of guys injured in both of our games," he said. "It sounds like they've had the ability to heal up themselves. They brought in two new quarterback and two new receivers.
"It's tough to continue to beat a team. To beat them back-to-back is hard. To beat them back-to-back-to-back is even tougher."
The Sting have run into several tough spots in the 2015 season including a two-game losing streak to start the season and various roster turnover, but they've come through it all with six straight wins to earn a playoff berth at 6-2 overall.
In the process they've outscored teams by an average of 68.8-to-27.2.
"I talk about our No. 1 goal is to establish a running game on offense, and our No. 1 goal on defense is to not allow them to have a running game," Schweigert said. "Make them one dimensional."
Saginaw was successful at both keys in its first two meetings with Chicago holding the Blitz to a total of minus-11 yards rushing, while rushing for 74 yards and five touchdowns.
The Sting have also won the turnover battle 4-to-1.
"Our offense is doing very, very well," Schweigert said. "Defensively, I'm going to be tough on the guys. If we can hold our opponent to 35 points or less (we have a good chance of winning).
"If they're going to score on us, they're going to earn it. We can't have any free-bees."
SAGINAW, MI — The Saginaw Sting started off slow in the opening weeks of the season, but they've surged down the stretch to secure a home playoff berth.
Saginaw went on the road and beat Buffalo 79-30 on Saturday, May 16 for its fifth straight win on the field, but the Sting are receiving a forfeit win for their regular season finale against Atlanta.
With the forfeit, the Sting improve to 6-2 overall on the season and earn the No. 2 seed for the American Indoor Football League playoffs. Saginaw is scheduled to host No. 3-seed Chicago the weekend of May 29-31. Date and time for the game haven't been determined.
"We're right where we want to be," Sting coach and co-owner Stuart Schweigert said. "We have a home playoff game."
No. 1-seeded York hosts No. 4-seed ASI Reading in the other half of the bracket.
Saginaw has done a complete turnaround after struggling to a pair of season-opening losses against Reading and York.
The Sting have scored 70 points on offensive in three of their five wins averaging 68.8 points a game during that time, while holding the opposition to 27.2 points a game.
"We're doing the things offensively that I wanted to do," Schweigert said. "We're establishing the run. I think DeShawn Hayes has 12 or 13 touchdowns in the last three games. We're putting points on the board.
"We're holding them defensively. We're creating chances and forcing turnovers."
Saginaw has played Chicago twice already this season. The Sting came from behind for a 55-40 win in the first game in Saginaw and defeated the Blitz on the road 57-23.
"We need the fans to come out," Schweigert said of the playoff game. "This is what you play football for. This is playoff football, this is fun. It's hard to beat teams back-to-back let alone back-to-back-to-back."
SAGINAW, MI — The Saginaw Sting have capped their comeback campaign with a fifth straight win after downing Buffalo 79-30 on the road over the weekend.
Saginaw improved to 5-2 overall.
The Sting opened the game taking a 14-7 lead into the second quarter before pushing it to 27-18 at the half. They rolled in the second half outscoring the Lightning 52-12.
DeShawn Hayes rushed for 87 yards and four touchdowns for Saginaw, while Mathis Quillan was a playmaker all over the field scoring three touchdowns on offense and adding two interceptions on defense, including one that he returned for a touchdown.
Austin Pichiotino rushed for a touchdown for Saginaw.
Edison Vushaj had three tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. He also deflected a pass, and Desmond Kenner recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
The final game on the regular season schedule for the Sting is a road game schedule for Saturday, May 23 against the Atlanta Sharks.