Osceola Picks Off Marshals
The playoffs are now within reach, but Osceola Football wasn't thinking about that. They were just thinking about stopping a three-game losing streak (total margin of loss: six points) with a win. And everyone responded.
On offense, quarterback Ramon Robinson threw touchdown passes to four receivers. On defense, Osceola picked off six Cincinnati Marshal passes and allowed only one score on five Marshal trips inside the 5-yard line. The result was a 58-26 win that moved Osceola up to 7-5 and into fourth place in the NIFL Atlantic Conference. The top six teams make the playoffs.
What's next is a game that will definitely have a playoff feel. On Saturday, the division and local rivals Lakeland Thunderbolts come to the Silver Spurs Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown. A group of four can get tickets and a beverage for $56.
The game started great for Osceola, as the defense forced three interceptions and a fumble on Cincinnati's first four drives, including a snuffed-out fake field goal attempt. It amounted to an early 24-7 Osceola lead at halftime, thanks to two Odest Shannon touchdown runs and a Antony Begeja 41-yard field goal at the end of the half.
It was quickly 33-13, as James Panui caught a touchdown pass on Osceola's first second-half drive, and Connie Brown returned an interception on Cincinnati's two-point conversion attempt.
There would be no improbable comeback for the opponent as in the last three weeks, as Osceola kept their feet firmly on the accelerator. Touchdown passes to Ty Law and Gerald Clark stretched the lead to 51-13 with nine minutes left in the game and it was out of reach.
Osceola Football Player of the Game: QB Ramon Robinson. He only completed nine passes, but they went for 133 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored on a 1-yard QB sneak late in the game to make it 58-19.
On Tap: Here comes Lakeland, sitting at 10-1 and leading the Southern Division. The Thunderbolts are coming off two off weeks thanks to a bye week and a forfeit victory against the Dayton Bulldogs, which lost its home arena this season. The 'Bolts top threat is tailback Perry Tisdale, who has scored 14 touchdowns in 8 games. Their defense is stout, having snagged 18 interceptions and piling up 27 sacks, including eight by Branden Given and 7.5 by Robert Branch.
On the Hot Seat: Linemen David Aubrey, Willie McNeal and Corey Haynes must have their best blocking game of the season to give Robinson time to work magic on the offense.
Remember, come to Saturday's game at 7 p.m. at the Silver Spurs and get four tickets and four drinks for $56.
NIFL Playoff Watch: Aside from division leaders Lakeland, Fayetteville and Tri-Cities ( St. Louis), four teams are pushing for the other three Atlantic Conference playoff spots: Osceola, Cincinnati, Charleston and Montgomery. Osceola plays the Thunderbolts again next week in Lakeland, and one victory clinches a playoff spot. Two wins assures Osceola of a home game in the playoffs.
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