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Osceola Prepared For Next Game

May 11, 2006 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Osceola Ghostriders News Release

Last Friday's Osceola Football game was decided after just 11 plays. Facing the Montgomery Maulers, Osceola took a 6-0 lead on the first play, a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ramon Robinson to Larry Henderson. Connie Brown intercepted the Maulers' first pass, and it was 12-0 one play later when Robinson hit James Panui from 37 yards out. Montgomery then held the ball for five plays until Brown snared another interception, which turned into Osceola points three players later when Gerald Clark rumbled in from the 4-yard line. 18-0 Osceola, and just seven minutes of game clock had expired. Final score: Osceola 72, Montgomery 12.

Granted, this happened against a replacement team, as it has been widely documented that the Montgomery Maulers' owner fired her entire team over a paycheck issue. A semi-pro team out of Tampa was found in time to play on Friday, but the game started behind schedule. As a token of good faith, Osceola Football officials comped everyone in attendance their first drink. It became an expensive night for Osceola, which is trying to prove to be one of the class-act franchises in the National Indoor Football League.

"We weren't close to not having a game, we were assured by the league and Montgomery of that," said Osceola General Manager Dave Czech. "And our coaches worked to try not to embarrass anyone on the field."

Czech said that even an unfortunate case like the Maulers' situation can't deter Osceola from its business model: to win, entertain and have fun while doing it.

"Our goals from the start have been to win over the community, to put on a good show and put together a good team," he said. "I think we've been delivering that, especially in light of what happened in this building last year."

As for the game, Osceola quickly got eight more points in the first quarter. Sam Smalls blocked a field goal attempt through the end zone for a safety. Clark then returned the ensuing kickoff to the Montgomery 6-yard line. Harvey Joiner's 2-run run made it 28-0 with time still left in the first quarter. The Osceola defense would go on to pull in six interceptions and record two sacks. Osceola Football hit the halfway mark of the season with a 5-2 record. Osceola Football PLayer of the Week: Safety Connie Brown's two interceptions set the tone for the big win over Montgomery.

This week: Osceola Football boards the bus on Wednesday in advance of their game on Friday night at the Nutter Center against the Dayton Bulldogs who are 2-3 after a win over the Tennessee RiverSharks.

On The Hot Seat: The defensive secondary of Brown, Damien Demps, James Cody, Rodney Alston and Howard Jacobs -- if they get six interceptions again this week, Dayton doesn't have a chance.

Osceola Football will be back at home in the Silver Spurs Arena on May 13 against the West Palm Beach Phantoms. NIFL Florida Watch: The Lakeland Thunderbolts, a Southern Division rival, and the Fayetteville Guard played last week in a meeting of unbeatens. Lakeland won, 60-41, to move to 6-0 on the year.

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