Firecats Clinch Home Field Advantage With 62-56 Win Over Louisville
Estero, FL- The Louisville Fire came into Germain Arena a year ago and ended the Florida Firecats season in the American Conference Championship Game. This trip to Estero, FL proved to have a different outcome. The Firecats pleased a crowd of 5,761 and gave a little payback by defeating the Fire 62-55. The win gave the Firecats their third South Division Championship in as many seasons. Louisville fullback Scott Power and quarterback Brett Dietz put the Fire on the board early with a pair of one yard touchdown runs on their first two possessions. On the second score, Louisville successfully executed a two point conversion with a catch by wide receiver Rob Mager, making it 15-0. Florida answered back with a 4 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Wallace to wide receiver Brittney Tellis making the score 15-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Fire started the second quarter the same as the first, with another scoring drive ending in a one yard plunge, this time by wide receiver Nate Green, putting Louisville ahead 22-6. Florida wide receiver Ethenic Sands caught an 11 yard touchdown pass on the Firecats next series, Tellis then caught the two point conversion pass and brought the Firecats to within eight with five minutes to play in the half, 22-14. The Fire's offense looked as if it could not be extinguished in the first half, scoring again on a 7 yard touchdown reception by Mager, making it 29-14. With 46 seconds left before the half, the Firecats turned the game's momentum. Fullback Chris Morant scored on a 3 yard run to cut the Louisville lead to nine, 29-20. Thirty five seconds later Antonio Dingle forced a Dietz fumble that was picked up by Sands and taken into the end zone, Sands then caught the two point conversion pass and made the score, 28-29 at halftime. The Firecats carried that momentum into the second half, mounting a two minute drive that was capped by an 11 yard Sands touchdown catch. The score gave Florida their first lead 35-29.F Florida forced a fumble on the next Louisville possession and then converted on their first offensive play, a 27 yard scoring strike from Wallace to wide receiver Magic Benton making the score 42-29 With 3:17 remaining in the third quarter, wide receiver Lance Taylor finally got the Fire on the board in the second half, a 3 yard touchdown catch that made the score 42-36. The Firecats would regain their 13 point lead two minutes later when Wallace hooked up with Benton again, this time for 39 yards and making the score 49-36 going into the final quarter. A 13 yard touchdown catch by Mager pulled the Fire to within 6 with 6:30 left in the game, 49-43. An onside kick attempt by the Fire landed in the hands of Florida's Sands who brought the ball to the Louisville 6 yard line, that led to a Clenton Crossley rushing touchdown on the next Firecat play, making the score 55-43 with under four minutes left in the game. A 16 yard touchdown catch by Mager made the score 55-49 with 1:51 to play. Crossley rushed in from 5 yards out, making the score 62-49 with a minute to go. Crossley's touchdown was his 18th of the season, making him the Firecats single season rushing touchdown leader. Mager finished the scoring with his third touchdown catch, this one from13 yards out. Defensive Specialist Cory Bailey had 10 tackles, giving him 108 on the season, which is a Florida Firecat single season record. Wallace now has thrown for 3,621 yards on the season, another single season record for the quarterback. The victory gives Florida home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the second year in a row, as well as a first round bye. U.S. Army Player of the Game was Florida's Ethenic Sands Schutt Offensive Player of the Game was Florida's Chris Wallace Cutters catch of the Game was Florida's Magic Benton ADT Defensive Player of the Game was Florida's Antonio Dingle
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