Pro indoor football returns to the Triangle

Football’s never-ending quest to become a year-round sport now includes the return of pro indoor football to the Triangle.

The Triangle Torch was introduced by co-owners George Sutphen and Josh Resignalo Wednesday at the MVP Sports Factory as a new team in American Indoor Football League. The Torch will play their home games at Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds. They open their season March 20 at home against the Winston-Salem Wildcats.

“It’s a fast-paced game with a little bit of running and a lot of throwing,” said Resignalo, who serves as the team’s head coach. “There’s nothing like a game with scoring in the 60s and 70s. We’re fan friendly and like to say if a play goes into the stands, keep the ball but throw the player back.”

The last area pro indoor team was the Raleigh Rebels, which included Resignalo playing quarterback in their two seasons of 2005 and 2006. He moved into coaching following his playing days, including the Alabama Hammer in the Professional Indoor Football League. In 2014, Sutphen’s son, Garrett Sutphen, set a PIFL record with 3,302 yards passing and 71 touchdowns.

“I was driving 8-and-a-half hours to see his games,” said Sutphen, a Raleigh businessman. “We realized there are a lot of players in the area, and we should have a team here so they don’t have to go out of state to play.”

The Torch’s roster includes players from East Carolina and Virginia Tech as well as three local colleges, North Carolina Central, St. Augustine College and Shaw College. Garrett Sutphen played at Bunn and UNC Pembroke.

East Carolina alum Dakota Marshall, an insurance and investment salesman in Raleigh, has been playing indoor football since his college days.

“I want to keep playing and you’re always hoping to get to the next level,” Marshall said.

Indoor football is an 8-on-8 game. The offense has a quarterback, running back, three wide receivers and three offensive linemen. The defense has three defensive linemen, two linebackers and three defensive backs.

The teams play each one once home and away in an eight-game season. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children.

The Torch’s final tryouts are Jan. 16 at Proehlific Park in Greensboro.