April 9, 2013

One that got away

Late turnovers hurt Rampage in loss to Fury

Devin Golden

— The blown coverage and botched snap couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Georgia Rampage.

And as the clocked expired, all hope for payback evaporated.

The Rampage lost 44-36 to the Corpus Christi (Texas) Fury on Monday in Ultimate Indoor Football League play at the trade center in Dalton. The loss pushed the Rampage’s record below .500 once again and snapped a two-game winning streak.

The teams went back and forth throughout the third quarter and into the fourth. Ahead 28-24, the Rampage (2-3) forced fourth-and-10 for the Fury (3-0) and had the opportunity to seize control. But John De Los Santos’ pass floated to a wide-open Justin Hardman for a 25-yard touchdown, and the Fury reclaimed the lead with 7:53 left in the game.

“We missed a guy,” Rampage coach Mark Bramblett said. “I don’t know what it was. Part of it is I’m pretty aggressive and we (played man-to-man defense) a lot.”

On the first play of the Rampage’s following possession, Tino Roland’s snap to quarterback Joel Statham was mishandled and the Fury’s LaRod Roberson recovered at the Rampage 4. De Los Santos scored on a quarterback sneak three plays later and Corpus Christi led 38-28.

“In football, you’ve got to limit your turnovers,” Rampage wide receiver/defensive back Andre Powell said. “We didn’t limit our turnovers in the end.”

After a Statham interception and another Fury touchdown, the Rampage trailed 44-28 with a minute to play. Statham led a two-play drive and found Jeff Phillips for a 12-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left. After a 2-point conversion, the Rampage’s Aldrickious Shumake recovered the onside kick at his 12 to preserve hope for his team.

But with no timeouts, Statham scrambled for 6 yards, spiked the ball with eight seconds left and was sacked on the final play to end the game.

“If we hadn’t had to burn some timeouts, then I think we have them,” Bramblett said.

The loss completes the Fury’s season sweep of the Rampage. The teams played three weeks ago in Texas and the Fury won 58-47 after scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes.

“They’re an undefeated team,” said Powell, who caught three touchdowns and tallied 119 receiving yards. “It’s a tough way to lose for our fans, with us being up in the fourth quarter.”

Powell’s first score was the first of the game, a 47-yard strike from Statham with 3:49 left in the opening quarter. He scored on the Rampage’s next possession, hauling in a 34-yard pass from Statham to give the Rampage a 12-0 lead. The Rampage botched an extra point snap on the first score and were unable to convert a 2-point attempt on the second touchdown.

However, the Fury scored two touchdowns — failing on both 2-point conversions — in the final minute of the first half. They took an 18-12 lead to open the third quarter, but Powell caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Statham with 7:08 left. The 2-point conversion was good and the Rampage led 20-18.

Following another Fury touchdown and failed 2-point conversion, Statham scrambled in from 7 yards out and a successful 2-point conversion gave the Rampage a 28-24 lead.

Statham went 12-for-30 passing for 226 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Rampage defense forced turnovers on the Fury’s first two possessions, both on fourth downs as Darius Pettigrew and Shumake each picked off a pass.

The Fury totaled 239 yards of offense, while the Rampage finished with 234.

The Rampage’s next game is April 19 on the road against the Florida Tarpons. The game will be held in Estero, Fla.