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Osceola Rides in to Face Marshals

June 6, 2006 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Osceola Ghostriders News Release

Osceola Football's next chance to break their run of bad luck and heartbreak is on Saturday. The team will load up the bus and head north on I-75 to face the Cincinnati Marshals, winners of two games in a row. Osceola led the Montgomery Maulers 50-35 and held the ball early in the fourth quarter before the host's defense stepped up and account for eight points while the offense scored twice in the final six minutes. The Maulers handed Osceola its third razor-thin loss in a row by the score of 57-56. Osceola's five losses have come by a total of 10 points. Despite the loss, Osceola played well and showed off some new weapons. Receiver Darnelius Jones caught a pair of touchdown passes, defensive lineman Joey Lopes had 5.5 tackles and returned a fumble for a score, and new kicker Anthony Bugeja kicked three extra points and hit a 45-yard field goal. The backfield was its usual solid self. Quarterback Ramon Robinson had one of his most efficient games in a little over three quarters of game time, completing 12-of-17 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Running back Odest Shannon gained 45 yards and scored his 19th touchdown of the season.

The game got off to a great start for Osceola, as defensive back Torry Nelson forced a fumble and recovered it on Montgomery's first play of the game. It led to a Ty Law 7-yard TD catch from Robinson and a quick 6-0 lead. Osceola was up 19-7 on a 42-yard TD catch by Jones, and took a 34-28 lead into halftime thanks to a 47-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by James Panui, who has been one of the league's leaders in returns and receiving, despite getting his first TD return of the year on Saturday. It was 41-28 when Jones caught his second TD pass on the first drive of the third quarter, and then 47-28 on Lopes' fumble return. Osceola Football is now 6-5 and needs two wins in its final three games to assure a playoff spot.

It won't come easy this week against Cincinnati (5-4). QB Deontey Kenner (946 passing yards, 16 TD, 6 INT) is a threat to pass or run. His favorite targets are George Murray (31 catches, 366 yards, 4 TD) and Mike Larkin (38-465-10), who is also the threat as a kickoff returner.

"If we can stop the heartbreak and the bad luck, I like our team," said General Manager Dave Czech, who has made every road trip with the team and will be mounting up the bus to Cincinnati last Thursday night. 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: Osceola Football finally plays a home game < its first in a month on June 17 against the local rival Lakeland Thunderbolts. The team is again offering its package special - get four tickets and four drinks for $56. Inside the stats: Osceola's Ramon Robinson has moved up to second in passing yards per game at 142.2.

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