Osceola Ready to Take Care of Business
Osceola Football gets back to business on Saturday after a bye week when its travels to Alabama to meet up with the Montgomery Maulers at 8 p.m. Eastern time in National Indoor Football League action.
Montgomery is on the better side of their season, having won their three of their last four games after rising from the ashes. A month ago, owner Jamie LaMunyon "fired" the entire team after an enclave of players spoke out about being behind in game play just three days before coming to Kissimmee to play our home team. The story was splashed all over the national media including MSNBC and USA Today.
A semi-pro team was hastily assembled, and Osceola soundly defeated it 72-12. Within a week a new ownership group had control of the Maulers, they brought back any players that wanted return, and now with a new resolve, Montgomery has thrust itself into playoff contention after the embarrassing start that made national headlines.
"They definitely have our attention. We're going to need play a complete game, offense, defense and special teams to come out with a win," said Osceola Head Coach Marquette Smith.
The Maulers are led on offense by quarterback J.R. Richardson, and he has a pair of capable go-to receivers in Shaun Holmes and Machion Sanders. Expect another shootout of capable offenses.
The Maulers won't be the only team on the 50-yard plastic sheet of green with a renewed sense of purpose. Osceola comes off two heartbreaking losses by a total of four points. But the bye week gave players that were hobbled and banged up a full week to heal and vitalize, including defensive linemen Harvey Joiner and Terrell Showers and running back Odest Shannon, who scored five touchdowns in the last two games despite a sprained ankle that has been a pest for over a month now.
Osceola (6-4) and the Cincinnati Marshals, next week's opponent, are currently battling for the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the Atlantic Conference, from which six teams will advance to the playoffs.
On the Hot Seat: As desperate as Osceola is for a win, there will be 22 players and a handful of coaches with abnormally warm places to sit come Saturday in Montgomery.
Looking Ahead: After a trip to Ohio to face the Cincinnati Marshals, Osceola returns to the Silver Spurs Arena for its final home game on June 17 against the rival Lakeland Thunderbolts. The team is again offering its package special - get four tickets and four drinks for $56.
Osceola in the stats: Osceola Football is tops in the NIFL with an 81.8 percent success rate on fourth down (9-for-11) ... Odest Shannon is second in rushing TDs (18), fourth in yards per game (59.6) and fifth in total points (120) ... Quarterback Ramon Robinson is fourth in passing yards per game (142.4) ... Receiver James Panui is fourth in catches (5.25) and yards (77.2) per game ... Connie Brown is fourth among defensive backs in tackles per game (4.2).
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National Indoor Football League Stories from June 1, 2006
- Fever to Face NIFL Legend Higgs - Tri-Cities Fever
- Marshals Re-write Record Book in Victory Over Riversharks - The Marshals
- Osceola Ready to Take Care of Business - Osceola Ghostriders
- Déjà vu for Mink: "Real Maulers" Set to Host Osceola - Montgomery Bears
- Commentary: NIFL daily buzz - OSC Original by Jerry Hewitt