Injuries -- Not Weather -- Doom Ghostriders
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Osceola Ghostriders coach Marquette Smith could deal with being involved in an indoor football game delayed by inclement weather. Dealing with his leading rushing AND receiver leaving the game with injuries was another story.
With Terrance Bunting and LaMont Finnie sideline, the injury-plagued Ghostriders suffered a 53-34 loss to the Augusta Spartans Sunday at IOA Field in Silver Spurs Arena.
Osceola (4-5) suffered its second straight loss as it prepares for a four-game road trip. Augusta (5-4) took second place in the World Indoor Football League, which would give the Spartans a first-round home playoff game in the league's revised playoff format. The Spartans conclude their season with a four-game homestand.
The teams traded scores for most of the first half, but without Bunting and Finnie, Osceola faded in the second half as Augusta pulled away from a 28-26 game.
"We have a virus going around this team called injury," Smith said. "We're getting banged up and beat up. It's tough going into each game with new personnel."
Bunting's injury was scary. The Ghostrider running back was knocked unconscious and was not moving for two minutes before regaining consciousness. He woke up thinking he was playing a baseball game in Chicago, but was otherwise okay as he was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Bunting gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was carried off the field on a stretcher. He is expected to return to the line-up in approximately two weeks.
"Thank God he's all right,'' Smith. "I was in tears when I saw him and he wasn't moving. We were all scared.
While Osceola was dealing with the loss of Bunting and Finnie, Augusta rolled behind league-leading receiver Marvin Stone and quarterback Mike Rathe.
Stone caught four of Mike Rathe's six touchdown and finished with 10 catches for 139 yards while Rathe posted his third six-touchdown total in four games. Rathe completed 22 of 37 for 273 yards with one intercepted.
Michael Flint (eight catchers for 95 yards), Anthony Young (3-24) and running back Willie Butler (seven rushes for 21 yards) each added a touchdown for the Spartans, while kicker Shon Rowser converted all seven PAT attempts with two UNOs. David Wright registered a safety.
Rob Harding finished 15 of 26 for 197 yards and two touchdowns to Gerald Gales (8-119) for the Ghostriders. Bunting had two touchdowns before his injury.
The play of Gales and former Orlando Predator Robert Gordon gave Smith cause for optimism for next week's game against Daytona Beach.
"We'll be okay offensively,'' Smith said. "I'm going in there with a broom to sweep them up."
Play was delayed 45 minutes in the first quarter due to a power outage caused by heavy storms moving through the Kissimmee area. With the arena running on generator power, players and fans made the most of the delay. Smith and a few players even got into the act, joining the Ghostrider dance team for the Cha Cha slide.
"That's the first weather delay I've ever been of part of,'' Smith said. "At least I made some history tonight."
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World Indoor Football League 2 Stories from May 7, 2007
- Injuries -- Not Weather -- Doom Ghostriders - Osceola Ghostriders
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