Swamp Foxes Shoot for Seven this Saturday
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - The Charleston Swamp Foxes have won seven games in a single season twice in their four-year existence. In both cases, however, nine defeats and an early end to the season have accompanied the seven triumphs.
This Saturday night, July 5, the Swamp Foxes will strive for win number seven in 2003 as they play host to the Greensboro Prowlers. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Foxes and Prowlers have met seven times previously on the gridiron, with Charleston finding much success over the North Carolina Piedmont team. Five times have the Foxes tasted victory, the most over a single opponent in team history. Of those five victories, three have come in the Lowcountry where the Swamp Foxes hold a perfect 3-0 mark over Greensboro.
However, just as in Charleston, the 2003 season brought about many changes for the Prowlers -- both of which included the naming of a new head coach. Steven Jerry, who led the former Roanoke Steam af2 organization for two seasons and two wins over the Swamp Foxes in 2001, took over the reigns and darted his new stallion out to a red-hot 3-1 start.
However, the honeymoon period seemed to end as Greensboro was stuck on three victories for four-consecutive weeks, slipping to 3-5 overall and the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
The reeling Prowlers team seemed to hit rock bottom in Pennsylvania in a match-up with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers. One Prowler player went into the stands after a fan and another was involved in an altercation backstage resulting in league suspensions for both athletes -- one for life.
Greensboro rallied, however, one-week later to best the Swamp Foxes for only the second-time in team history, 60-53 on May 30. It was Greensboro's first win in a month, and Charleston's second loss in a row after rallying back to .500 from the disappointing 0-3 start.
Since that match-up in North Carolina, the Foxes have regrouped, winning three of their past four, while Greensboro has dropped two of its last three. Both squads will enter Saturday night battling for their collective playoff hopes -- Charleston is one-game back but holds tie-breakers over three teams currently in front of them, while Greensboro must win and get a lot of help to make its first organization's first postseason appearance.
Story lines are easy to find for this indoor war match-up; Playoff hopes riding high, Division title in sight, Perfect home record versus Greensboro on the line, and former player faces former team for first time.
Antoine Calloway, who ranks second on the Swamp Foxes all-time receiving list, played with Charleston in 2001. Last season, Calloway parted with his Lowcountry squad to return to North Carolina, finding a home with the Greensboro Prowlers. In one season in the Triad, C-way wrote his way into the Prowlers record books, becoming the first Prowler receiver to catch over 100 passes for over 1,000 yards in a single-season.
Calloway started the 2003 season with Jerry and staff in Greensboro, but was sidelined in late May by the coaching staff. Simply wanting to play ball, Calloway again packed his bags and returned to where it all started in Charleston. Since his return to South Carolina, Calloway has caught 11 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, while tallying two solo tackles as the jill linebacker.
Greensboro lost a lot when Calloway left town. But the Prowlers have found something special in a 6-2, 215-lbs. rookie from Western Kentucky. Bobby Sippio is the leading receiver for the Prowlers right now, but he does more than simply catch touchdown passes. Sippio averages just under 66 yards receiving a game but has an average of 18 yards per catch. He also ranks second in the af2 in kickoff return yards having amassed 650 yards on 25 returns.
Sippio earned the league's Ironman award for his performance in the 59-52 win over Norfolk last week. He hauled in six passes for 138 yards and five touchdowns, intercepted a pass while breaking up two more, tallied six tackles, and racked up 124 yards in kickoff return yards.
Offensively, the Prowlers have a dangerous quarterback in which the Swamp Foxes are very familiar.
Caleb Slover spent last season with the former Carolina Rhinos organization in Greenville, SC. Only seeing limited action in the solo game versus the Foxes in 2002, Slover completed 9-of-17 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, adding a rushing score as well.
In the first meeting this season, Slover had a field day with the Swamp Foxes' secondary, completing 21-of-35 passes and six passing scores. He also rushed for a touchdown in the Prowlers' seven-point triumph.
Charleston is coming off one of its best games in team history. The Foxes dominated Atlantic Division-leading Cape Fear last week, holding the then fifth ranked Wildcats' scoring offense to a mere six points in the second half. The offense responded by putting 50+ points on the scoreboard for sixth time this season.
The Swamp Foxes will need all of that and more as they host the Greensboro Prowlers this Saturday, July 5, at 7:30 pm at the North Charleston Coliseum.
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