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Maulers Are Osceola's Next Marked Target

April 26, 2006 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Osceola Ghostriders News Release

So it looks like we know who a couple of the best teams in the National Indoor Football League's Eastern Conference are by now, right? And we know who to call on if you want an exciting NIFL game, too. Saturday's Fayetteville Guard-Osceola Football at the Crown Center featured all of the drama and the intrigue that their matchup three weeks prior at the Silver Spurs Arena had.

Unfortunately for Osceola it had the same outcome, as the Guard took a three-point margin of victory. The 54-51 kept Fayetteville unbeaten (5-0) and atop the Massey NIFL Power Rankings. Osceola was ranked No. 2 in the Massey poll going into the game, and have a chance to prove themselves worthy of that

ranking this Saturday when the Montgomery Maulers come to the Silver Spurs for a 7 p.m. contest. In celebration of Osceola Football's first Friday night game at the barn, we're offering a special. For $56, you get four tickets, and your first drink is on us! In Fayetteville, the Guard's win was highlighted by two big plays, the first after Osceola rallied to take the lead, the other while driving toward the winning score late in the game.

The first came after Osceola erased a 30-17 deficit. Quarterback Ramon Robinson hit Andre Raines with a 28-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, Odest Shannon scored the only points of the third quarter with a short touchdown run, and Robinson scored on a QB sneak early in the fourth quarter to put Osceola ahead, but cue up Guard Big Play No. 1: Walter Ford, who had returned a kickoff to the Osceola 2-yard line earlier in the game, took this kickoff all the way to the house, igniting the crowd and giving the Guard the lead back when Fayetteville converted

the following two-point conversion. BIg Play No. 2 came with Osceola trailing 46-44 with less than a minute left and driving toward the go-ahead score. That was before safety Jesse Parker intercepted Robinson at the 4-yard line, then weaved 46 yards to the end zone to make it a two-score lead for the Guard. (Then Parker did an ugly end-zone dance which we won't discuss.) "We kept our composure so we were able to stay in it," said Head Coach Marquette Smith.

"It was two great offenses, neither defense had an answer. I'm sure we'd see them again in the playoffs if we both continue winning." Osceola Football Player of the Game: James Panui. Caught nine balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. This week: The Montgomery Maulers are 1-4 this year and have already gone through a coaching change. New coach Kelvin Stokes debuted last week in the team's 66-33 loss to the Florida Frenzy.

"They've been through quite a few changes and philosophies," said Coach Smith. "But they have good athletes, a solid QB and lots of size. They are a team waiting to break out and in this game, a fumble here or an interception there and you can be down three touchdowns and you're in trouble." On The Osceola Hot Seat: QB Ramon Robinson must keep the offense chugging and scoring and pressure Montgomery's offense to stay in the game. Florida Focus: The Lakeland Thunderbolts are the NIFL Atlantic Conference's other 5-0 team after thrashing the Tennessee Riversharks, 40-16, last week. The T-Bolts host Fayetteville on Saturday.

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