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Turfcats lose season opener in dirty battle with Mudbugs

April 19, 2009 - Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) - Austin Turfcats News Release

Austin, TX - The Austin Turfcats opened their inaugural season in a down and dirty battle with the Acadiana Mudbugs. More than 1,400 fans watched as the Turfcats lost to the Mudbugs by a score of 37-29 at the Travis County Expo Center Saturday.

"I thought the guys gave everything on the field," said Turfcats Head Coach Chris Duliban. "We have to learn how to put them in a choke hold." Duliban explained the rowdy crowd full of friends, family and fans added to the nerves of the new team, but they will find their groove.

The nerviness led to three quick scores by the Mudbugs.

"[Nerves] are no excuse, you have got to have tunnel vision on the field," the coach said.

By halftime, the Turfcats slashed the Mudbugs lead to within 16. The Turfcat's quarterback Deron Ellis lead the team at halftime with a smash-mouth, powerhouse football style that with 28 yards rushing and 49 yards passing. The defense aided in the score by returning a fumble by Acadiana for a touchdown. Joshua Shooter, defensive line, lead the half with two tackles, and Kevin T. Earvine, defensive line lead the team with one sack. The score at the half was Mudbugs 26, Turfcats 10. Total offensive yards were 98 for the Turfcats and Mudbugs 154 by the end of the second quarter.

The second half opened in favor of the Turfcats as wide receiver Darrick Wallace returned the opening kick off for six points. The successful point-after-attempt brought the score to within nine for the Turfcats. A field goal by the Mudbugs was quickly answered with a quick scat into the end zone from the 5-yard line by Turfcats' running back Keith Clay bringing the score to 30- 23 in the Mudbugs favor. A missed field goal by the Mudbugs resulted in a 59-yard return by Wallace to bring the Turfcats to within a point. However, the Mudbugs answered with a 14-yard-pass from quarterback Bo Bartik to receiver Dustin Martin with 1:37 left on the clock. The seconds ticked down as the Turfcats were unable to score again leaving the final at 37-29.

The Turfcats' offense was lead by Wallace's 71 yards in kick returns, Ellis's 76 rushing yards and wide receiver Reggie Smith's 24 yards receiving. Total offensive yards for the Turfcats were 179. Defensively, Earvine lead the night with 5.5 tackles and held the Mudbugs to 209 yards total offense.

"I live or die for special teams," Wallace said.

Wallace added that the fans were a big part of the team and will help motivate the team to grow. "It was our first game," he said. "We will get back in on Monday and iron out the creases."

The Turfcats will face the Houma Conquerors next Saturday on the road and return home versus the Louisiana Swashbucklers on May 9th at field at Travis County Expo Center.

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