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Kreatures set to battle Corpus Christi

April 9, 2005 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Kissimmee Kreatures News Release

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The laughter grew louder as the voice on the other end of the cell phone was muffled. “I’m the Kreature right now,” said the person as hysterical laughs broke out again in the background. “What?”

“Kritter, man; I’m in the costume on this street corner,” said Marquette Smith, a bit reluctant to say where he was in the central Florida town. “I’m on a promotion and I’m in the blue suit!”

Smith, who doubles as both the head coach and general manager of the Kissimmee Kreatures of the National Indoor Football League, was out and about this week selling football. Not only does he sell the game, he sells the franchise that has been so popular in the community.

“We have to get out in this thing and when you serve the team and the front office, you have to do everything,” said the first-year coach who is from Kissimmee. “I enjoy this very much. If you don’t do what you have to do to make this (franchise) work, you might as well not be in the business.”

Coach Marquette knows what it takes to promote. He’s shooting for a good crowd on Saturday when the Kreatures (1-2) play host to the Corpus Christi Hammerheads (2-1) at Silver Spurs Arena. Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.

The Kreatures are one of the top scoring teams in the NIFL averaging 55 points a game. They had a high of 64 in their only win against New Jersey.

The Hammerheads on the other hand, are averaging 46.5 points a game but holding their opponent to 32 a contest.

What makes Corpus Christi so dangerous is the running game of Fred Wallace. The big 6-foot-2, 290-pound runner out of Texas A&M-Kingsville has carried the ball 48 times for an average of 4.4 yards a carry. He also has 10 touchdowns, six of which came in the team’s one-point loss at Tri-Cities, Washington.

Others to watch on the Hammerheads’ side of the ball are quarterback Chris Harrington out of New Mexico State. The 6-foot-2 Harrington has completed .662 percent of his passes for 411 yards in three games.

Coach Smith will counter with his a balanced attack of his own. Running back LaFan Williams remains a force with eight rushing touchdowns and quarterback Rob Harding has passed for 10 scores.

Harding, who has been hurting with cracked ribs on his throwing side, has still completed .583 percent of his passes. If Harding isn’t able to go, backup Brock Jones will get the call.

James Panui, the quick receiver-special teams player out of Central Florida, is the guy who has made the Kreatures exciting. He has a team-leading 20 receptions for 250 yards and three TDs.

Pauni also has 250 kick off returns yards, including a 52-yarder on the opening play against Daytona Beach on April 2. He’s averaging 20.8 yards a return. The 5-9 speedster has 521 all-purpose yards in three games.

Defensively is where the big improvement is for Kissimmee. Hnric Murray has a pair of interceptions for 21 yards and two pass break ups. Ezekiel Gamble has a pair of quarterback sacks for eight yards and Derrick Coakley one.

“We’ve really come along on defense,” said Smtih. “We are strong in the middle and make it tough for the opponent to throw in that area.”

The funniest thing at the end of the conversation with Kritter? He couldn’t hit the red button on the cell phone to disconnect.

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