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Firecats News

2007-04-12

A Look Across the Field at the Tennessee Valley Vipers

76-37 and 74-33, the two worst losses in Tennessee Valley Vipers history, both came at the hands of their bitter rival the Florida Firecats. In the first meeting in May of the 2006 season, QB Chris Wallace went 16-27 with 171 yards and 6TD’s, while Magic Benton lent a helping hand in the 39 point beat down, hauling in 7 receptions for 106 yards and 6 scores. The loss at the hands of the Firecats was the worst loss in Tennessee Valley history since the 30 point loss to Quad City in the 2001 season.

Unbelievably the second meeting, just 28 days later, it got even worse for Tennessee Valley. A 41 point thrashing was put on the Vipers courtesy of the play by QB Chris Wallace, who put up great numbers going 18-28 for 267 yards tossing 7 Touchdowns by air and running for one more on the ground. Lineman Comone Fisher stole the show as he pulled off a rare trifecta with a sack, an interception and a touchdown reception.

The Tennessee Valley Vipers have been in and out of the af2 for the last couple of years. They were formed in 2000 and played in the “deuce” thru the 2004 season. During that period, they were one of the premier franchises in the league finishing every season with a winning record averaging nearly 13 wins per year. In 2000, the Vipers played for the inaugural ArenaCup coming up short in the championship game against the Quad City Steamwheelers. The Vipers also reached the semifinals on three other occasions.

In 2005 the team migrated to a lesser Indoor Football League and changed their name. Following a season of slumping ticket sales in Alabama the team eventually moved to Rockford, Illinois.

In 2006, the af2 returned to Huntsville as did the Tennessee Valley Vipers under the new ownership of HSV Sports, LLC.

After losing just 17 games during their first five seasons and being one of the top teams in the league; the 2006 Vipers went 3-13 in their return to the af2, their worst record in team history and didn’t make the playoffs for the first time. Coach Chris Williams was fired with six games left in the ’06 regular season and Milt Theodosatos, a former Vipers assistant finished up the year at 1-5.

T-Valley owner Keith Jeffries had faith in the former coach and gave Theodosatos the full-time job for 2007. It paid instant dividends in week 1 as the Vipers picked up not only a win, but a win against their in state and divisional rivals the Alabama Steeldogs 44-27. the win improved their record to 12-2 all-time against the Steeldogs.

Their series with the Firecats have been a little more evenly matched with the ‘Cats leading the all-time series 4-3. Florida has however won the last 3 in a row.

Tennessee began this season with only 5 players back from last years’ squad including QB Tony Colston, WR/DB Travis Blanchard, WR/DB Henry Freeman and K Steven Lee.
T-Valley added a big weapon on the defensive line this week as Farouk Adelekan, a second-team All-arenafootball2 selection last season, re-signed with the Vipers on Monday night. The defensive end finished with 15 tackles, eight tackles for loss and seven sacks last season in just 10 games.
It will be an early season test for the Vipers in week 3 against the top ranked Florida Firecats. Does this 2007 team have enough venom to avenge the two worst losses in franchise history or will the Firecats and their high powered offense once again charm the snakes into submission and come back home sporting some brand new boots?