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Rampage Improve to 4-1 with Win over Carolina

Randy Snow
Sunday March 2, 2003

It’s a cold Friday night in downtown Grand Rapids. What do you do for excitement? Well, a sellout crowd of 10,594 spend the evening at the Van Andel Arena cheering on the Rampage and they did not go home disappointed. In their only Friday night home game of the season, the Rampage’s Steve Smith ran the opening kickoff back 55 yards for a touchdown and Grand Rapids never looked back in a 68-34 victory over the winless Carolina Cobras.

After an 0-4 start, the Cobras made a change this week at quarterback, benching starter Robert Hall in favor of rookie backup quarterback Glen Gauntt. Gauntt had a rough night in his first AFL start, going 21 of 45 for 182 yards passing. He threw 4 touchdown passes, 3 interceptions and ran for a touchdown. Gauntt played the last two seasons with the Augusta, Georgia Stallions of the af2.

Cobra quarterback Robert Hall did see some playing time in the fourth quarter, however. He was pressed into service as a wide receiver because of an injury to OS Ben Bronson. Hall caught 2 passes for 31 yards.

Grand Rapids led the Cobras by as much as 42 points (68-26) late in the fourth quarter, but the Cobras scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion with 20 seconds left to close out the scoring. The Rampage never trailed in the game.

For the Rampage, Terrill Shaw caught four touchdown passes and was named the game’s MVP. Steve Smith was named Ironman of the Game. DeAuntae Brown, playing in his first game since being called up from the practice squad, had an interception in the first quarter.

The 68 points scored by Grand Rapids was the most so far this season, while the 34 points they allowed were the fewest this season. The last time these two teams played, the Cobras beat the Rampage 72-64 here in Grand Rapids in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

On the road again

The Rampage (4-1) now begin a 3 game road trip that will literally take them from coast to coast. Starting next week, they travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Force (March 9), then, it’s on to Dallas (March 16) to face their new divisional rival, the Desperados. The “Rampage Road Show” ends in Los Angeles (March 23) with a game against the Avengers. This week’s game against Georgia kicks off Sunday at noon and being televised regionally on NBC.

Post Game Sleepover

Its not every day that you get to bring a sleeping bag to an Arena game, but that’s just what some area scouts did Friday night. Over 2,000 local scouts were in attendance for the game against Carolina and about 1,300 of them got to camp out overnight on the field after the game as the team hosted their first ever Rampage Scout Sleepover. The scouts got to watch a movie on the stadium video screen and were served breakfast the next morning. Now that’s what I call roughing it!

Randy Snow covered the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League for ArenaFan from 2003-2008. He also covered the Fort Wayne Fusion of arenafootball2 in 2007. From 2004-2008 and in 2010, he was a member of the Arena Football League Writer’s Association and, since 2011, has been a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association. Randy lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan but will travel just about anywhere for a football game or a great football story. He runs the web site and hosts a podcast with his son, Adam, called “This Week in The World of Football.”
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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