IFL Recap: Iowa Barnstormers Fall to Jacksonville; Sharks Sign Vet QB

DES MOINES, IA (Special to Florida Sports Wire) – Despite a high-scoring first half and numerous highlight-reel plays, the Iowa Barnstormers came up short in their first battle against the Jacksonville Sharks since 2014.

The Barnstormers (4-10) returned home to Wells Fargo Arena after a cross-country road trip to face the Sharks (4-10), but ultimately fell 69-43.

Feeding off of his two touchdown performance last week, wide receiver DJ Stubbs helped Jacksonville attack first with a 30-yard score.

A deuce left the Barnstormers in a hole early. After the offense stalled, Sharks quarterback Kaleb Barker connected on a long ball, which then saw running back Tyler King get into the end zone on the next play to extend the lead.

Iowa got on the board midway through the first quarter when wide receiver Keshaun Taylor broke free. However, Barker carved up the defense on Jacksonville’s next third down, finding wide receiver Jaedon Stoshak for a score.

Down 23-7, the Barnstormers needed an answer. Their most reliable wide receiver Quian Williams delivered with a touchdown on a crucial fourth down play, cutting the lead back to single digits in the waning first quarter seconds.

Jacksonville’s top-8 Indoor Football League offense continued to show its strength as Stubbs got into the end zone for a second time. Taylor then provided a much-needed spark and ‘mossed’ a defender for his second touchdown, but the Sharks got right back to work with running back Joshua Mack scoring to bring the lead back to 16 points.

Fourth down and one with less than two minutes to go in the half, Taylor hauled in a highlight reel one-handed grab to carry on the back-and-forth affair. Despite this, Stoshak weaved through traffic two plays later to end the half with Jacksonville leading 44-28.

On the Barnstormers’ second half opening possession, Taylor led a promising start to the drive with a catch along the side wall. However, defensive lineman Xavier Peters sacked Alt, forcing a field goal attempt.

Stoshak, who had racked up 54 yards and two scores already, added to his total and made the Iowa defense pay as he found himself wide open in the end zone. For the second straight offensive drive, a promising start for the Barnstormers became quickly derailed when Alt threw his first interception of the game to defensive back Trenton McGhee.

The Sharks were unable to do anything off of the turnover and running back Paul Garrett capitalized with the short field to score his first IFL touchdown from 13 yards out.

Down 53-37 at the start of the fourth quarter, Iowa would need to make a considerable comeback to stay alive in the playoff race. King immediately made the comeback effort become more insurmountable as he scored his second rushing touchdown of the game two plays in.

The Barnstormers continued to fight despite facing the large deficit. Wide receiver Sinquae Grant put the game back within two possessions when he caught his first IFL touchdown along the back wall.

However, after no team scored the rest of the game, the Sharks walked out with the 69-43 victory.

Alt ended the night completing 19 passes for 234 yards and 5 scores. Taylor led all Iowa receivers with his third 100-yard performance of the season along with a season-high three touchdown catches.

The Sharks signed QB Kaleb Barker, who won an IFL championship with the Northern Arizona Rattlers in 2022.
Barker had a noteworthy college football career, attending Troy University in Alabama where he showcased his dual-threat capabilities as both a rusher and a passer.

In his rushing career, Barker played 41 games, accumulating 173 attempts for 680 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. His most productive year on the ground was 2018, where he averaged 43.5 yards per game and had a long run of 75 yards.

As a passer, Barker completed 402 of 603 attempts for 4,793 yards and 41 touchdowns, maintaining a 67% completion rate. His standout season was 2019, where he threw for 3,628 yards and 30 touchdowns across 12 games, averaging 302.3 passing yards per game.

Barker’s overall career demonstrated significant contributions and consistent improvement, highlighted by his ability to make impactful plays both on the ground and through the air.

Kaleb Barker’s high school football career was also outstanding, with his total offensive yardage ranking third-highest in Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) history and his touchdown total ranking sixth.

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