LandSharks play host to Firedogs

06/08/02 Lake Charles American Press
A closer to full strength Lake Charles LandSharks take the field today with aims at the Atlantic South Division title.

Despite hosting non-division opponent Biloxi, the LandSharks (9-1, 4-0) still have an opportunity to clinch the division title with a win. Austin (5-4 overall, 2-2 Atlantic) is currently second in the South, but has already lost both games to Lake Charles. Another win for the Sharks would clinch a better overall record, LandSharks coach Kip Texada said, giving any possible tiebreaker to Lake Charles.

Lake Charles will have two new quarterbacks and two to three injured players return when it takes the field this week against the Firedogs.

The Sharks added quarterbacks Brock Bailey and Donald Douglass to replace injured starter Ted Robison, who Texada does not expect to get back this season.

The Sharks also expect the return of injured linemen Brent Anderson and Jimmy Hardelick. Defensive back Anthony Porter is day-to-day after missing last week, and the Sharks expect to have defensive back Warren St. Junious back next week. Running back Bryon Allen is expected to miss at least three more weeks, Texada said.

Bailey, the projected starter this week at quarterback, is a former Tennessee Martin signal caller who has played with Omaha and Billings in the NIFL.

"He has a quick release," Texada said. "He's been practicing all week and he looks pretty good.

Douglass is a former Florida letterman who played three seasons in the World Football League. He is currently a high school football coach in Port Arthur.

Lake Charles lost its first game of the season last week 55-40 to Tennessee. Wide receiver Eric Young lined up at quarterback and compiled nearly 200 yards of offense for the Sharks, but all of the injuries were too much to overcome.

"Eric did a great job at quarterback, but we really missed our defensive backs and all those other guys on offense," Texada said. "Losing just two or three guys in this league can be devastating.

"Our goal was to go undefeated, and while that didn't happen, we were able to take a lot of positives from the game," he said. "We tasted a loss, but at least it happened now when we can redeem ourselves and not in the playoffs."

The Biloxi Firedogs (2-7) are the defending National Indoor Football League champions, but have not been the same this season. The Firedogs lost the May 11 meeting with the LandSharks 26-15 at home. Biloxi is 0-4 on the road this season.

Last season Biloxi lost just one game (to Lake Charles) en route to the league championship. The Sharks beat Biloxi in Biloxi but lost when the Firedogs came to Lake Charles.

"We're getting a pretty good rivalry going," Texada said. "Hopefully we can put more points on the board than we did last time and even hold them to less points defensively. This will be a telling week for us to see how we react."

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