April 8, 2013

Lots at stake in rematch

The Georgia Rampage hype the obvious when talking about today’s game against the Corpus Christi (Texas) Fury.

This is a rematch, and they want to right a wrong.

Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. inside the trade center as the Rampage and Fury meet in an Ultimate Indoor Football League showdown.

These two teams played earlier this season in Corpus Christi, where the Fury (2-0) won 58-47 and sent the Rampage to an 0-2 start. Since then, the Rampage (2-2) have won twice and are tied for third place in the league.

“I’m really looking forward to this game,” Rampage coach Mark Bramblett said. “A lot of people are talking about it as kind of a ‘revenge game.’ ... It is. I’m not going to lie. We felt like we wasted a lot of opportunities and should be 3-1 now instead of 2-2.”

Ahead 47-43 with three minutes left in the first meeting, the Rampage defense had a chance to clinch a win when the Fury offense fumbled.

However, they recovered their own miscue, and later scored a touchdown to capture the lead. On the following Rampage possession, quarterback Joel Statham threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

“I think we played well enough to win,” Statham said, “but it’s the same stuff that has been plaguing us all year — turnovers — and we had one right there at the end.”

The Fury sit in first place with the Lakeland (Fla.) Raiders right behind with a 3-1 record. However, the Fury haven’t played a game since the first meeting, which took place March 17. The Fury were scheduled to face the Sarasota (Fla.) Thunder on March 25, but it was postponed due to the Thunder’s financial hardships, Rampage officials said. The next week, the Fury had a bye.

That’s more than three weeks without a game. In that same timespan, the Rampage have won twice and garnered momentum and confidence.

“I think it’s going to be to our advantage,” Bramblett said. “They haven’t had that game contact and you can only do so much in a practice. ... We’ve been able to make some corrections and had games to see the corrections at work.”

Two weeks ago, the Rampage won 25-18 against the Missouri Monsters. Last week, the team won 58-19 against the Georgia Riverdogs, a game that counted toward UIFL standings even though the Riverdogs aren’t a part of the league.

Statham believes those two wins were a follow-up to the strong performance the Rampage had in Corpus Christi.

“I think that has started us on the path that we’ve been on the last couple weeks with us playing better,” he said. “Hopefully we can make that 20-hour trip worthwhile (by winning today).”

Wide receiver Dallas Walker will miss a second consecutive game due to being in Dallas, where he is performing for NFL scouts. Defensive back Andre Powell was in Florida for family reasons and has been activated and placed on the 19-man roster for today’s game. He had missed the previous two.

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