Sports Columns

May 11, 2014

Devin Golden: Rampage still have title hopes despite struggles

Crazy enough, the Georgia Rampage still can win the inaugural X-League championship despite having not won a game played on the field.

To stay alive, the Rampage must win today.

The Rampage will play in the trade center for the last time in 2014. After a forfeit win two weeks ago, the team welcomes the Savannah Steam, formerly the Pennsylvania Steam, for a 7 p.m. start. It’s the last home game of the 2014 season, which still includes two road games for the Rampage against the Florida Marine Raiders (May 17) and Alabama Outlawz (May 23).

The “X Bowl,” the league’s championship between the teams finishing the eight-game regular season with the best records, will be the week of June 12-16 in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Attack are undefeated through six games and clinched a first-place finish and spot in the X Bowl. However, the second-place spot is still in play for the Rampage (1-4), Raiders (4-3) and Outlawz (3-3).

“The crazy thing about it is, the way things have played out, we’re very much alive for the X Bowl,” Rampage owner Kacee Smith said. “If we win our next three games, we could be in the championship game.”

That’s quite the turn of events considering the results haven’t been kind to the team.

The Rampage lost their first four games, three at home, but received a forfeit win from the scheduled April 25 game in Pennsylvania against the Steam (0-4). Originally based in Pennsylvania, the franchise was sold to an ownership group in Savannah and is playing all road games this season. Smith said the Rampage were awarded a victory for the game not played and can finish 4-4 and in second place by winning the last three.

“I’m excited to see how we finish out, but next year we’ll be a lot more solid,” Smith said. “We need a good game at home with two more on the road. The players need that.”

They sure do, and they also need a packed trade center tonight.

Smith added he’d like to see more fans at the first three home games. The first was on Valentine’s Day, the second during spring break for local high schools and the third the night before Easter. He also said Mondays are never a good draw, but he hopes for a strong showing in the final home contest of the season.

“Ideally, we’d like more,” he said. “We’re working with the trade center now and we’ll get better dates.”

• All the 18-and-older basketball players who think they’re anything close to championship material are lucky I won’t be delivering them a reality check Saturday at Northwest Whitfield High School.

The school’s girls basketball team will host a 3-on-3 tournament starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the gym. There will be male and female divisions for third- through fifth-graders, sixth- through eighth-graders, ninth- through 12th-graders and 18 and older. The cost is $45 per team. To learn more, contact Greg Brown at (706) 260-7673 or greg_brown@whitfield.k12.ga.us.

I had visions of forming a three-man wrecking ball — Miley Cyrus pun intended — and dominating the 18-and-older male division. However, with the Dalton and Southeast Whitfield boys soccer teams in play for a Class 4A state title match Saturday afternoon at Kennesaw University, I’ll most likely miss out and we’ll just put an asterisk next to whoever wins that division.

(I’m joking about the above. I can barely jump high enough to touch a 10-foot basket’s net.)

n Also happening Saturday is the Coahulla Creek High School boys basketball team’s pancake breakfast and silent auction at Kelly’s Restaurant at 1700 South Dixie Highway in Dalton. from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast tickets can be purchased for $7 from any Coahulla Creek boys basketball player before event or at Kelly’s the morning of the event. Admission for the silent auction is free. To learn more, contact Matthew Queener at matthew_queener@whitfield.k12.ga.us.

• I can’t deny the Atlanta Falcons got a lot better from this year’s NFL Draft. In fact, I’d say they’re a borderline playoff team in the NFC.

But that doesn’t change one thing.

No matter how improved the pass protection will be, or how strong the defensive line depth is, they’ll still be gazing up in wonder and awe at the New Orleans Saints, your next NFC South champion.

Now imagine me dramatically dropping the microphone and walking off stage.

Devin Golden is a sports writer at The Daily Citizen. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev or email him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

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