Local Sports

March 2, 2013

League change downsizes Rampage's schedule

One of the Georgia Rampage’s scheduled opponents has been booted from the Ultimate Indoor Football League, trimming the Dalton franchise’s number of games for the regular season to nine.

The Miami Sting will not be competing during the 2013 UIFL season, the league reported this week on its website.

“(Due) to unforeseen circumstances, the ownership group of the Miami Sting is currently not meeting all the obligations of the UIFL territory agreements,” the release said. “As a result of these circumstances, the UIFL has elected to terminate the ownership group’s affiliation with the league.”

The release did not specify what obligations were unmet. The Rampage were set to play the Sting on March 10 in Miami. It would have been the Rampage’s second game of the regular season. The first is Monday when the team hosts the Lakeland (Fla.) Raiders for a 7:15 p.m. kickoff at the trade center.

Rampage co-owner Kacee Smith took an optimistic view of the trimmed schedule

“We would’ve been going there after this week,” he said. “Now we don’t have a game, so it gives us more practice time.”

It also removes all travel costs associated with a 1,500-mile trip. The Sting were not originally scheduled to play the Rampage in Dalton.

“We’re actually the only team that it doesn’t affect (at home),” Smith said.

The Sting, which joined the UIFL for the 2012 season as the Western Pennsylvania Sting, relocated to Miami for the 2013 schedule. The league stated in the release it tried to avoid this move.

“The UIFL has worked diligently to find a new ownership group to allow the Sting to play this year,” the release said. “The UIFL was unable to secure new ownership in time to be competitively prepared for the 2013 season.”

Smith believes financial troubles played a major role in the Sting’s eviction from the league. Six teams — the Canton (Ohio) Cougars, Eastern Kentucky Drillers, Huntington (W. Va.) Hammer, Johnstown (Pa.) Generals, Northern Kentucky River Monsters and Saginaw (Mich.) Sting — were founding franchises for the UIFL in 2011, but none of them will be in the league for the 2013 season.

Four of the teams — the Cougars, Hammer, River Monsters and Sting — either folded or left the league after one season. The Drillers and Generals left after last season.

The Rampage joined for the 2012 season as a travel team, practicing in Calhoun but not playing any home games. The Sting, Florida Tarpons, Raiders and Mississippi Hound Dogs also debuted last season. Like the Sting, the Hound Dogs also are no longer in the league.

In addition to Monday’s season opener, the Rampage are scheduled to play March 17 at the Corpus Christi (Texas) Fury; March 25 versus the Missouri Monsters; April 1 versus the Sarasota (Fla.) Thunder; April 8 versus the Fury; April 14 at Missouri; April 27 at the Florida Tarpons; May 18 at the Thunder; and June 3 versus the Fury. All home games are at the trade center and kick off at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available at georgiarampage.com.

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