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A Look Across the Field at the Tennessee Valley Vipers
Written by Steven Dwyer   
Friday, 11 April 2008

            This week’s match-up brings together the struggling Tennessee Valley Vipers (0-2) and the Florida Firecats; fresh off their season opening 56 - 14 win on the road over the Texas Copperheads.  While the teams may seemingly be heading in two different directions, meetings between these two heated division rivals are more than capable of producing entertaining results.  Last year, the Firecats won the season series with the Vipers 2-1, but the one loss came at home at Germain Arena. 

 

            Last April, Florida won the first meeting handily 61 - 34 in Hunstville, Alabama.  Player of the Game Chris Wallace threw for 220 yards and seven touchdowns, two of which were collected by Firecats wide receiver Chris McKinney.  McKinney scored two other unconventional touchdowns as he returned the opening kick of the second half as well as a 4th quarter fumble for six points.  The game ended with a brawl between the two teams that resulted in the ejection of a player from each team.   

 

            Later that month the Vipers came to Germain Arena with something to prove and handed the ‘Cats their second consecutive loss at home for the first time since 2002.  The bitter 38 - 39 loss came as a result of the Firecats squandering an 11-point lead with just under four minutes remaining in the game.  Former Tennessee Valley Viper, and current Florida Firecat, Carlos Campbell intercepted a Chris Wallace pass and returned it the length of the field for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to five.  Then, with six seconds on the clock, Viper quarterback Tony Colston found his favorite target Travis Blanchard in the back of the end zone for the eventual game winning score.

 

            Several weeks later the Firecats exacted their revenge in a convincing 53 – 37 win over the Vipers.   Riding the legs of 290 pound fullback Wallace House, the ‘Cats never looked backed after jumping out to a quick 21 – 0 lead in the first quarter.  House, who carried 11 times for a Firecat single game record 91 yards, scored four times and wore down the Viper defense throughout the night.  House came within one yard of breaking the single game rushing touchdown record as he lunged to try and score for the fifth time as the clock expired.  House came up a bit short, but the ‘Cats did not as they rode the momentum from this win through their next three games. 

 

            The most obvious and most appealing subplot to the match up this time around is definitely the home debut of former Tennessee Valley Vipers in their new Firecats uniforms.  There will surely be some added incentive to this already heated rivalry when these new ‘Cats square off against their old team.  While the aforementioned Carlos Campbell will surely play a big role in the secondary this Saturday against his former team, he is not the only former Viper wearing the Purple and Red this season.  Defensive linemen Jon Williams and Frisner Nelson, Linebacker John Cousins, Fullback James Gibson, Offensive Lineman Marcus Lindsey, and even new Firecats Coach Dominic Bramante were all Tennessee Valley Vipers last year.  Keep an eye on all of them as they take on their former team.

 

 
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