March 22, 2013

Rampage notebook: Team loses RB, adds three others

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— The Georgia Rampage have parted ways with one of their most high-profile players, but Dalton’s Ultimate Indoor Football League franchise will welcome back a familiar face.

Running back Brad Lester, who played at Auburn University, has been released. However, defensive back Darius Pettigrew, who signed last fall with the Rampage before moving on to the Philadelphia Soul, has been released by the Arena Football League franchise and will return to the Rampage.

Kacee Smith, general manager and a co-owner of the Rampage, announced the moves Thursday, four days before the team’s game against the Missouri Monsters at the trade center.

“We took a gamble trying to bring a scat back, outdoor-type running back,” Smith said of Les-ter’s release. “It was just tough to use him. We loved Brad. We hated it. It was terrible. We were just going to see if we could help him get some film and stuff, but it was harder than we thought with him being a scat back.”

Lester, a 2009 Auburn graduate, was one of the franchise’s few players with a Division I background. He signed with the Rampage last fall and played in each of the team’s first two games — a 74-25 loss to the Lakeland (Fla.) Raiders and a 58-47 loss to the Corpus Christi (Texas) Fury.

Pettigrew graduated from the University of West Georgia and has four years of professional indoor football experience. Last season, he played for the UIFL’s Huntingdon (W.Va.) Hammers.

Smith said Pettigrew made it to the last day of cuts with the Soul before being released.

“I got a text from him a couple days ago saying he was coming back,” Smith said.

The team also signed offensive linemen Tino Roland and Josh Pugh. Roland played with the Rampage in Sunday’s road loss to the Fury, although Pugh did not.

MORE CHANGES: Smith also said the team will showcase new uniforms at Monday’s game, which kicks off at 7:15 p.m.

The team’s uniforms for the first two games were red with black trim and sleeves. Smith called the new look a “white alternate” set but wanted to keep specific details secret. He said the team’s logo is embedded into the back of the jersey without stitching.

“Let’s just say, we think we have the most unique and interesting jersey all around in football right now,” Smith said. “We went with a new design. It’s pretty cool. No one has seen them yet (except for) a couple of players.”

HE’S SPECIAL: Ram-page kicker Jaye Tyroff won the UIFL Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

In Sunday’s loss, he recorded three touchbacks, two field goals and two UNOs. An UNO is a one-point score when the kickoff goes through the opposite end’s field goal posts.

GOT TICKETS: The Rampage are encouraging fans to buy tickets online in advance of Monday’s game to avoid lines at the trade center ticket window. Buying online with the promotional code rampage2 will give fans a $2 discount.

Fans who wear red or black for Monday’s “Fan Appreciation Night” will receive $4 off floor seats purchased at the game.