Unbeaten LandSharks put defense to test against Rangers

05/03/02 Lake Charles American Press

Through the first five games of the season, the Lake Charles LandSharks have made winning appear easy.

To remain unbeaten, the LandSharks will have to shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Lake Charles is one of three unbeaten teams in the National Indoor Football League.

Alexandria (3-1), which hosts the LandSharks at 7 p.m. today, has won three straight games since losing the opener 45-39 to Tennessee. The Rangers have won each game quarterback Chris Harrington has started and are averaging 51 points per game in their wins.

Harrington has completed 61 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns in the air and four running. He has one interception.

"He is probably the best quarterback we'll face all year," LandSharks head coach Kip Texada said. "We'll try to put as much pressure on him as we can and force him into some bad reads."

Texada said the Rangers often use the run to set up the pass.

"They like to run a lot and they do it efficiently," Texada said. "We're going to have to come out and play a smart, sound game. Our cornerbacks can't be caught playing too close to the line and let their man get behind them, or it'll be a touchdown."

The LandSharks, coming off a 37-16 win over Houma, are averaging more than 40 points per game. Texada said he thinks they can do better on offense.

"It was kind of the same thing last year when the defense had to carry us until the offense came around," he said. "But it was about this week, in game five, when it really started to click on offense.

"Last week we didn't have a good first half offensively, but we made the halftime adjustments and scored 34 points in the second half," Texada said. "We just need to put a solid four quarters together. We've been watching film and we need to be more patient on offense and take what the defense gives us. We've been trying to take things that weren't there too much."

The LandSharks have improved roster stability compared to a year ago, with no changes made in the past three games.

"We've been blessed to not have to make many changes this season," Texada said. "If you have to change things around too much it's going to hurt your chemistry. But hopefully keeping the same guys together will help us to click on all aspects of the game, offense, defense and special teams."

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