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Record-setting receiver shines for Sugar Skulls

Sugar Skull Helmet
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 09:36:53-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Tucson Sugar Skulls are struggling to finish games but they're not struggling through the air.

Rookie Demry Croft is among the Indoor Football League's top quarterbacks and veteran receiver Ryan Balentine continues to re-write the IFL record book.

"I love the game," said Balentine. "I love football. Whenever I step on the field it's the only place I step where I don't think about anything outside the football field."

Balentine's love of the game has led to him becoming the Indoor Football League's most prolific receiver.

Two weeks ago he broke the IFL record for career receiving yards.

"Whenever you reach one it's on to the next," Balentine said.

The veteran wide out is in his first season with the Sugar Skulls, after helping the Iowa Barnstormers to a United Bowl championship in 2018.

He was the MVP of that title game.

He continues to shine for Tucson. Balentine now holds two IFL records for receptions and receiving yards.

He is just 14 touchdown catches away from breaking that all-time mark.

Balentine needs 514 all-purpose yards to grab that record.

Those records are motivation for the 8 year vet.

"I appreciate all the time that I've been given in this league," explained Balentine. "It's the only reason I'm still playing is because I felt like I was so close. I didn't want to feel like I did all this for nothing."

Balentine has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season so far for the young franchise.

But with eight games left in the season, Balentine knows he can help turn things around.

Just don't expect him to be in the face of the younger players.

"Everybody knows me to be a leader as far as when he go out on the field I know he going to give 100 percent. So, I need to give 100 percent."

Sugar Skulls host Rattlers Saturday July 3, 2021

Balentine will be a key weapon Saturday night against in-state rival the Arizona Rattlers.

It is a 6 o'clock kickoff at Tucson arena. We will broadcast the game on our sister station The CW Tucson.