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Montgomery Rally Not Enough

July 10, 2006 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Montgomery Bears News Release

(LAKELAND, FL) The Montgomery Maulers had their 2006 campaign come to an end Saturday night when they were defeated 70-62, by the Lakeland Thunderbolts, in the Opening Round of the National Indoor Football League (NIFL) Play-Offs, in Lakeland, FL.

The Maulers trailed 27-0, at the end of the first quarter Saturday night, and went in at the half, down 43-18. The Maulers were able to close the gap and pose a threat in the second half as they outscored the Thunderbolts, 44-27, thanks in part to a 30-point fourth quarter.

"We had a bad first quarter," said Maulers Head Coach Michael Mink. "If we could erase that one quarter, it could have possibly been a different ballgame."

In addition to outscoring the 'Bolts 62-43, in the final three quarters of play, the Maulers led the game in many categories: Montgomery had more first downs, more passing yards and more total offensive yards than the 'Bolts.

The Maulers relied highly on their passing game Saturday night, after Maulers standout running back, Charlie Rollins (Miles College/Alabama State University) left the game in the opening quarter with a fractured foot, while Lakeland looked to their running game. Lakeland ran the ball on 34 of 45 plays and out rushed the Maulers 225-15 (yards). Lakeland was led by running backs Mario Robbins and Cortland Florence, who each scored two touchdowns in the win. Robbins averaged an impressive 10.9 yards per carry, and had 7-yard touchdown reception for the first score of the game. Rollins had one three-yard carry on Saturday night; prior to Saturday's game, he was consistently leading the Maulers rushing game.

The Maulers on the other hand turned to their passing game after losing Rollins. The Maulers out passed the 'Bolts 326-42 (yards). Mauler's quarterbacks J.R. Richardson ( Alabama State University) and Jeff Aaron ( University of Alabama at Birmingham) combined to throw seven touchdown passes; Both QB's also scored a touchdown of their own in the loss. Aaron relieved Richardson in the fourth quarter, and completed 8-11 passes for 127 yards, including a 7-yard pass to receiver Machion Sanders ( Alabama State University) with :20 remaining in the game, to bring the Maulers with eight points of the 'Bolts.

Sanders had two touchdowns and 127 yards receiving in loss, while teammates Silas Daniels ( Auburn University), Shaun Holmes ( Alabama State University) and Octavius Day ( Gulf Coast) combined for five touchdowns and 191-yards receiving.

Maulers General Manager John Morris said he was very pleased with the effort and character shown by his team and wishes the Thunderbolts the best in the rest of Play-offs. "Our guys showed tremendous character [Saturday night]...they could have easily folded, but they fought back and made it an exciting ballgame. I'm pleased with the effort and even though, they loss, it was very respectable...I wish Lakeland all the luck; they are a class-act organization and team. I hope they do well," said Morris.

The Maulers finished their topsy-turvy season at 7-8, after starting the season at 1-5, experiencing three coaching changes and undergoing new ownership. Mink and Morris purchased the Mauler franchise on May 3. The co-owners praised the team and fans for all their patience and support this season. "We really can't thank the guys on this team and all the fans for trusting us and sticking it out with us," said Mink. "We have a lot of talent on this team and there is a lot of support in the Montgomery community. We are tremendously optimistic about the future of this franchise," said Mink.

The Thunderbolts (12-2) will travel to the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC this weekend to take on the Fayetteville Guard (13-1) in the Atlantic Conference Semi-Finals

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