Florida Firecats af2 football team
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Firecats News

2007-04-14

The Firecats improved to 3-0.

Tennessee Valley had hoped to send a message that it belonged among the better teams in arenafootball2 Friday night. Instead, the Vipers proved they still have a long way to go to recapture their glory days.


Top-ranked Florida scored 21 unanswered points to turn a close game into a blowout and the Firecats went on to the whip the No. 14 Vipers 61-34 before an announced crowd of 4,185 at the Von Braun Center. It was Florida's fourth straight win in the series and the fifth straight time the Firecats have hung 60 or more points on the Vipers.

"We broke down on offense," said Vipers coach Milt Theodosatos after watching his team scored on just two of its seven possessions in the second half. "Our offense put our defense in some bad situations. We had the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half and we should have had more points.

"Penalties also killed us. I want to apologize to our fans. We didn't give them the show that they deserved."

The loss dropped the Vipers to 1-1 on the season. The Firecats improved to 3-0.

With the game tied 20-20 with just 33 seconds left in the first half, Florida quarterback Chris Wallace hit Brent Burnside with a 9-yard touchdown pass as time expired, Chris McKinney returned the second half kickoff 57 yards for a touchdown and Wallace found McKinney with a 23-yard touchdown strike as the Firecats took a commanding 41-20 advantage midway through the third quarter and never looked back.

"We didn't stay focused," Vipers wide receiver Henry Freeman said. "We had breakdowns throughout the second half. Every time we overcame something, we made another mistake. We basically threw the game away."

Florida outscored Tennessee Valley 34-14 in the second half.



We didn't execute in the second half," Vipers quarterback Tony Colston said. "They executed and we didn't. Their quarterback made some plays and I didn't.

"I demand so much from myself and I feel like I didn't do enough to help us win tonight."

Colston was 21-of-39 for 174 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for two touchdowns. Travis Blanchard had six catches for 82 yards and had a 56-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.





Wallace was 19-of-33 for 220 yards and seven touchdowns for Florida. Ethenic Sands had six catches for 79 yards and three touchdowns, while Magic Benton had six catches for 58 yards.

McKinney caught two touchdown passes in addition to his kickoff return, while Burnside and Comone Fisher had one touchdown apiece.

With 54 seconds left, a melee erupted and Tennessee Valley's John Bradley and Florida's Terrance Chapman were ejected.

"We had too many mistakes in the first half," Florida coach Kevin Bouis. "We had the fumble on the missed field goal attempt and we had the tipped ball on the interception. We needed the momentum going into the half because we knew we got the ball to start the second half and all we had to do was score and keep that momentum going.

"We're loaded at receiver, but Chris had a heck of a game."

Colston accounted for all three of Tennessee Valley's touchdowns in the first half.

His 4-yard run on the first play of the second quarter pulled the Vipers within 7-6. After the Firecats scored to go up 13-6, Colston scored on a 1-yard run and Lee's extra point tied the game at 13 apiece with just over two minutes left in the first half.

The touchdown was set up by Howes' fumble recovery that gave Tennessee Valley a first down at the Florida 8.

Wallace threw his third touchdown of the half, this time a 29-yard strike to Chris McKinney. But Colston, who was 11-of-21 for 84 yards in the first half, answered with an 8-yard strike to Freeman that made it 20-all. Florida, aided by a pair of big illegal defense penalties against the Vipers, scored as time expired to take a 27-20 lead at intermission.