Rage chute flies open this weekend in Houston
It's the NIFL 2006, and for the RiverCity Rage, it's time to forget the talk and start walking the walk. The Atlantic North favourites in the 24 team National Indoor Football League will get the first chance to erase the sting of last season's playoff loss to Cincinnati when the Rage travel to Houston, Texas to take on the newly expanded Katy Copperheads at the Leonard E. Merrell Center. Saturday's Kick-Off is scheduled for 7:05pm St. Louis time and can be heard on KJFF Radio 1400 and on line at www.kjff.com.
For Rage head football coach Mike Wyatt, it's not just a new beginning, but the chance to pack away the memory of last year's upset loss. "We can only do something about last season by coming out hard, fast and focused from game one this year. Other than that, last season is just that. It's last year, and now we have the opportunity to start on another title run, but if what I've seen in pre-season is any indication as to how we'll fare, I like our chances."
The Copperheads are 1-0 on the young season, having defeated the Beaumont Drillers last weekend by the score of 47-40. Former NFL veteran Bam Morris is the new backfield mainstay for Copperhead's coach Bryan Blake, who says he thought long and hard before offering Morris a chance to redeem his football career. "I spent six weeks mulling it over. I knew of his prison time and some of the past problems he had, and although most of those problems were brought on by himself, I thought this league was about second chances. He hasn't let me down, on or off the field. If anything, his successes in the NFL and his pitfalls have been a learning tool both on our team and in the community." Morris ran for 73 yards on 18 carries last week in the victory over Beaumont, but Rage coach Wyatt says his team will treat Morris as any other back in the NIFL. "There's no doubt Morris is a good player and I respect his NFL background, but Bam Morris won't beat us. He was a factor in the game last week, but Beaumont helped Katy win the game." Blake agreed, saying, "my players were in better condition and towards the end we just wore the Drillers down. The only real adjustment we had to make came at halftime when I could tell the speed of the indoor game sort of threw off our timing. The majority of my guys had never played indoor football prior to this year, and they were surprised at the quickness involved."
For The Rage and Wyatt, Saturday will be a test of will and the chance to answer some questions that have lingered since last July. The recent retirement of All-Star Scott Pingel, the most prolific receiver in the NIFL, will hurt, but Wyatt feels the necessary adjustments have been made over the course of the off-season. "We signed Mario Patton, who was second to Scott in receptions in the NIFL in 2004, and made some other additions at wide receiver, including Mike Lawrence. Our offense is sharp, our defense ready to step-up with the big play, the big hit. Then again, we get our first look at how well we've improved our stock, how good we really are, this Saturday night. It'll be the first test of many this year."
A final thought from Copperhead's coach Bryan Blake. "I told my team about a month ago when the schedule came out that game number two for us would be the toughest one of the season."
The Rage is part of the 24 team NIFL, set to begin it's 6th season of play. Tickets for all RiverCity Rage home games can be purchased at the Savvis Center box office, or on line at Ticketmaster.com. For all RiverCity Rage information in 2006, visit the team website at www.ragefootball.com.
QUOTES FROM RAGE HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE WYATT
On facing Katy at the Merrell Center in Houston : "If the Copperheads have any advantage, that would be it. Their place holds about 6,000 and it's not beyond reason to think it to be sold out on Saturday. Texans love their football, and the noise created by a crowd like that might be a factor. Then again, I feel we can play anywhere and be effective."
On Katy's second game of the year vs. the first for The Rage "It could, perhaps, be a factor as they've had a game to establish their offensive schemes and defensive alignments against an opponent, while we've only done it in practice. That said, I think we need to come out firing away on offense and as in all games, minimize our mistakes, hang on to the football, avoid turnovers. I know it's cliché, but a necessary evil to insure coming home 1-0."
Don't Miss "In the Red Zone", Rage Football's weekly call-in radio show on WGNU 920 AM WEDNESDAY NIGHTS from 7-8 PM sponsored by Maggie Obrien's. To call with "on air "questions, dial 314-454-0400.
• Discuss this story on the National Indoor Football League message board...
National Indoor Football League Stories from March 15, 2006
- Flying Aces Announce Radio Broadcast Partnership - Rapid City Flying Aces
- ThunderBolts Off to a Great Start - Lakeland ThunderBolts
- Rage chute flies open this weekend in Houston - RiverCity Rage
- Drillers drop opener to Katy - Beaumont Drillers
- Marshals Kickoff Party Scores a Touchdown - The Marshals
- NIFL Pacific North Season Preview - NIFL
- Tennessee Season Swimming in the Right Direction - Tennessee River Sharks
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.