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Look Across the Field at the South Georgia Wildcats

Look Across the Field
South Georgia Wildcats: Playoff Edition, Round 1

By: Patrick Kuras

Playoffs: n. Sports, a series of games played to determine a championship (as defined by dictionary.com). It is that time again for the arenafootball2 championship playoffs to begin and each of the 16 teams in the post season has an equal shot at hoisting the arenacup trophy at the end of the year. Two of those teams seeking such glory for themselves are the Florida Firecats who host the South Georgia Wildcats Saturday August 4th. The Wildcats come into this game having lost two games in a row, their longest such streak all season.

The South Divisional adversaries match up again for the third time this season. The South Georgia Wildcats return to Fort Myers for the 2nd time in a month to take on the Florida Firecats. However, this time, even more than the division title is on the line; only one team can extend their playoff life and their chances to win an arena championship. Wildcats general Manager Darren McPhail was quoted in a recent interview for the Albany Herald as saying “I think the winner of our game in Florida will be in the championship” (Courtesy: Colin Chmielewski).

This of course would be nothing new for the Firecats, who are a perennial playoff team in the deuce, making their 6th straight post-season appearance. The Wildcats however are in the first playoffs for the first time since the franchise relocated from Fayetteville N.C after the 2004 season. Will the lack of playoff experience phase the younger Wildcats team, or will the battle tested Firecats prove to be to much for South Georgia to handle when it’s win or go home time?

The previous meetings between both of these teams have ended with the Wildcats victorious, by scores of 49-38 and 47-40. Both of the games came down to the final minutes. Just four weeks ago at Germain Arena the Firecats scored what appeared to be the go ahead touchdown with 3:40 left to in the game but a holding call negated the play and South Georgia’s defense turned the Firecats away over the next 4 plays as the Wildcats held on for the victory. Florida would go on to win the division despite the loss.

South Georgia’s quarterback, D Bryant once again had a stellar game last week, leading the league throwing for 406 yards and 8 touchdowns. Bryant had a tremendous regular season leading the deuce with 4,680 passing yards and 102 touchdowns. With Bryant under center his team swept the Firecats as he threw for 486 yards and 10 touchdowns in the pair of games.

Receiver Chavis McCollister has been the favorite target of D Bryant this season, snagging 139 passes for 1738 yards and 36 touchdowns on the year. Against Florida this season however, he has gotten his yards but the defense has limited his trips into the endzone. After lighting up Firecats defenders for 178 yards and a touchdown in their first meeting this season, McCollister was held to just 88 yards receiving and 1 touchdown in the 2nd game.

McCollister isn’t the only weapon the Wildcats have. Like the Firecats, South Georgia has a trio of receivers who each have 1000+ yards on the year. James Robinson has 77 catches for 1,168 yards and 27 TD’s while Scott Cloman finished 2nd on the team with 93 receptions for 1007 yards and 19 touchdowns.

South Georgia enters the playoffs with the af2’s top ranked passing attack averaging 297 yards per game thru the air and scores 54.7 points per game, 5th highest in the league.

The Firecats enter the post season with the league’s second stingiest defense allowing a meager 37 points per game and just 224 total yards of offense to its opponents.

This should once again prove to be an exciting game between two rivals as they pit strength against strength. Bossier-Shreveport, Louisiana is the site of the championship game but only one of these teams can come out on top and take their first step towards playing in arenacup8.