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Wizards End Tough First Season

July 28, 2002 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Mobile Wizards News Release

(Columbus, GA)—The Mobile Wizards ended their inaugural arenafootball2 season on Saturday night the same way it began, on the road against a second-year af2 team and with a loss, this time a season-ending 54-33 setback against the Columbus (GA) Wardogs before a record crowd of 6,408 at the Columbus Civic Center. The loss puts the Wizards in a dubious tie with Columbus for most losses in a season (16), set by the Wardogs in the 2001 season.

Quarterbacks Billy Luckie, a former Wizard, and Jeff Welsh combined to complete 24 of 40, for 269 yards, 6 TD’s and 2 interceptions. Luckie played all of the first half, completing 14 of 24 for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns in the half, including a 30-yarder to wide receiver Phil Taylor with 00:08 left in the second quarter, giving the Wardogs a 28 – 14 halftime lead.

The Wizards seemed to have stolen momentum on the preceeding play when defensive back Matt Butler picked off Luckie’s only interception of the first half and returned it 45 yards to pull the Wizards within 21-14. Butler snagged 6 Kelvin Robinson passes for 80 yards in the half.

Following a first half performance of 8 of 14 for 101 yards and an interception, Robinson would finish the contest 15 of 33, with three interceptions and 3 TD’s. He also scored the Wizards’ first TD on a 15 yard run at the 8:12 mark of the second quarter. The Wardogs’ Derwin Brewer picked up a Robinson fumble as time expired in the first quarter and returned it 35 yards for a score to put Columbus up by 14.

Mobile struck quickly in the second half, following Kendrick Lee’s 48-yard kickoff return. Robinson found David Hill for a 7-yard TD and at the 14:35 mark of the third quarter and Mobile was down 28-21. Butler recovered a fumble on the Wardogs’ next possession but Mobile would turn it right back on a Robinson interception. A stout Mobile defense limited Columbus to Chad Holleman’s 22-yard field goal, and a 31-21 lead, after Columbus had put it in play 1st and goal at Mobile’s 7 following the interception.

Backup quarterback Jeff Welsh tossed TD passes to former Auburn receiver Clifton Robinson, and former Crimson Tider Shamari Buchannon in the fourth period, Robinson hauling in a 41 yarder at the 10:05 mark and Buchannon’s catch coming at 2:42 in the last quarter.

Mobile would put up two TD’s in the final two minutes with David Hill scoring on a 4-yard pass from Robinson following an unsuccessful Wardogs’ on-side kick at the 1:56 mark and a 45-yard Robinson strike to Matt Butler with 00:05 left.

Columbus rubbed serious salt into the wounded Wizards when, following an onsides kick, Welsh tossed a 9-yard TD to Phil Taylor with 00:01 left in the game. Coach Alan Risher was not immediately available for comment after the game but will host his final press conference of the year at Wintzell’s Oyster House Monday, July 29 at 1:30PM.

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