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Cat fight on tap

Eric Tabor
Saturday June 14, 2008


It was a remarkable night for an af2 franchise just getting settled in a new city. On August 4, 2007, the South Georgia Wildcats marched into Germain Arena for the first playoff game in South Georgia team history and stunned the Florida Firecats, 59-50. 

Trouble is, the Wildcats haven't come close to beating the perennial af2 power since. 

Not only are they 0-2 against Florida in that stretch, but they have been outscored by an average of 12.5 points a game (99-74). 

“It has been a long time since we gave them [a good game],” Wildcats coach Derik Stingley acknowledged.

The Cats hope that all changes Saturday, as they take their modest one-game winning streak into the Albany James H. Gray Civic Center for a 7:30 p.m. showdown with the division-leading FireCats (8-2). 

“We have every belief in the world that we can beat them,” Stingley said. 

If they do, it will be bigger than that first win that occurred around the same time last year, given the fact that South Georgia  is not only 6-4, it has been outscored by exactly 10 and 15 points in each of its last two games against Florida. 

Notably, the Firecats defeated the Wildcats 51-41 two months ago at Cooper Tire Field, a performance that earned the Wildcats a chorus of boos from the hometown crowd. However, Stingley says that loss was not as bad as it looked.

“I watched the film from [that game] and the things that made a difference were the things that we did, receivers not being on the same page, a few dropped passes, a blown coverage. It wasn't anything that they did, necessarily.”
 
What Florida does do well is put pressure on the passer. The Firecats are fifth in the league with 22 sacks, third in pass defense with 11 interceptions and plus ten in the takeaway column. The Wildcats have allowed 16 sacks, fifteenth in the league.

“Teams seem to self-destruct against them,” Stingley said. “And it gets magnified because they don't make very many mistakes. When you make one, that's the difference in the game. We have to be sharp and not beat ourselves, and if we do that, yeah, we will match right up with them.”

Wildcats defensive back Matt Jackson said the defense feels like it has “turned the corner” and is ready for the challenge it will face against one of the top quarterbacks in the league, Chris Wallace.

“Everybody is getting on the same page,” he said. “We aren't going through the motions like we were the first few games of the season.”

Bottom line, be ready for a cat fight in Albany, Georgia Saturday June 14.


 
Eric Tabor is a technology consultant, a free-lance writer, mobile DJ, and a native of Albany, Georgia. He has been an af2 fan since the Wildcats moved from Cape Fear. As well as being a football enthusiast, former player, and coach, he is married with three daughters and a son.
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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