Florida Firecats af2 football team
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Firecats News


A look across the field at the Tennessee Valley Vipers

On Saturday, June 9, the Florida Firecats look to take a two-to-one regular season series victory against division rival Tennessee Valley. Florida lost the last meeting 39-38 at Germain Arena in Estero as Santiago Gramatica missed a would-be game winning field goal as time expired. Previous meetings between these two teams have not been such nail biters, however.

The first match up this season in week 3 ended with a bench clearing brawl that saw a player from each team get ejected. The game started out innocent enough with the Firecats leading at the end of the first quarter 7-0. The two teams turned it up a bit and both scored 20 in the second quarter with Florida scoring as time ran out at halftime to take a 27-20 lead in to the break. The second half was not quite as close as the first, with the Firecats outscoring the Vipers 34 to 14. The final score saw the ‘Cats once again showing the Vipers how it’s done, winning 61-34. Florida holds the two worst losses in the Vipers history over their heads by scores of 76-37 and 74-33, both in 2006.

Firecats QB Chris Wallace has been near the top of the rankings among all af2 quarterbacks all season long. The first meeting between the teams saw Chris post some great numbers, completing 18 of 28 passes for 267 yards and 7 Touchdowns by air and running for one more on the ground. Wallace Has thrown 12 TD’s and just 2 INT’s against the Vipers in 2 games this season. Wide receiver Ethenic Sands has caught 6 of his 15 TD’s against the Vipers this year. The passing game is not the only weapon the Firecats have on offense. In just 2 starts, Wallace House has run for 4 touchdowns and 53 yards. The Vipers rank 27th in the af2 surrendering 28 yards on the ground per game and 12 touchdowns. To make matters worse the Vipers, already without starting nose guard Kevin Lockhart and end Anthony Andriano, will be without end Farouk Adelekan for the next two weeks and possibly longer with an MCL sprain. Adelekan leads the team in sacks and tackles for a loss. The Vipers also placed lineman Matt Jirges, who was expected to start on the d-line this week, on team suspension Thursday.
The Firecats will look to keep their #2 ranked defense fired up against the #6 ranked scoring offense of the Tennessee Valley Vipers which has had its’ share of problems lately. T-Valley has started 3 different quarterbacks this season who have combined to throw 14 picks. Last weeks’ starter, Ryan Porter struggled in Friday's 45-22 loss to Quad City. Porter completed just 16-of-44 passes for 205 yards, three touchdowns and as many interceptions. The Vipers committed five turnovers, two on fumbled snaps. T-Valley Coach Milt Theodosatos said there were as many as 30 muffed snaps between his QB and Center Calvin Ousby. Porter tripped back pedaling out from behind the center at the snap at least four times and threw a handful of his incomplete passes lying flat on his back. The duo has spent much of this week trying iron out the kinks. Porter will have to be on top of his game this week. Firecats Defensive Back Levy Brown has snagged 3 of his league-leading 7 interceptions against Vipers QB’s this season. The Vipers did make a move to sure up the Offensive Line this week, acquiring former Louisiana Tech standout Marcus Lindsey, who checks in at 6’ 7” 395lbs.
Receiver Travis Blanchard will more than likely be the focal point of the Vipers offense this week. In their win against the Firecats Blanchard led all receivers with 11 receptions for 126 yards and 2 scores. On the year Blanchard has caught 69 balls for 814 yards and 9 TD’s. Blanchard also averages 22 yards per kick return and has returned 3 for touchdowns this season, including one against Florida.
Tennessee Valley has lost 3 straight heading into the 3rd game of this season’s series. With seven games left, Tennessee Valley (4-5) is two games behind Florida and three games behind South Division leader South Georgia.
Both the Vipers and Firecats will be looking for a way to win the game and take a tie-breaker advantage over their bitter rivals. The visiting team has won each game this season. It won’t get any easier for the Vipers after this week either, after hosting Florida Saturday, the Vipers host South Georgia on June 16.