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FireAnts Ready for Horsemen
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March 19, 2005 - Tupleo, MS - The Tupelo FireAnts are gearing up for the start of the 2005 United Indoor Football season starting with tomorrow’s home opener at the BancorpSouth Center in Tupelo at 7:30pm.

Saturday’s game marks the UIF debut for both the Tupelo FireAnts and the Lexington Horsemen. These two teams have met twice in history, once in Tupelo and once in Lexington, with the road team winning both. The FireAnts and Horsemen last met during the 2004 season as Tupelo came from behind to defeat Lexington 67-56 at Rupp Arena. The winner of tomorrow’s game will be tied with the winner of the Evansville Bluecats—Tennessee Valley Raptors game also scheduled on Saturday, for first place in the UIF South Division.

The FireAnts come into this season with several changes to the 2004 squad. Indoor football coaching veteran, and former Ole Miss quarterback, John Fourcade takes over the helm of the ‘Ants after successful seasons with the Columbus (GA) Wardogs and Florida Firecats of AF2, and the Mississippi FireDogs of the IPFL. Tupelo’s new quarterback is former Arkansas State Indian Tommy Miller, who spent last season with the Lubbock Lone Stars of the Intense Football League (IFL), leading the team to the league championship game. Miller’s main targets will be deep threat Darryl Carter, who hauled in 35 receptions for 642 yards and a team-high 24 touchdowns last season, as well as newcomer and former Ole Miss great Jamie Armstrong along with fellow wideout Anthony Rozier, from Graceland University. Tupelo’s vaunted running attack will once again be lead by Rico McDonald and Joe Gunn, who combined for 1,077 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. On defense, newcomers Mancell Elam and Patrick Craig will join veteran Reggie Smith to lead Tupelo’s defensive rush. Patrolling midfield will be linebacker Ricky Franklin who had 60 tackles and 8 interceptions last year. Defensive backs Johnny Mickell, who had 31 tackles and an interception, and Bobby Hill, who had 41 tackles and 5 picks, will be joined by newcomer and former Mississippi State Bulldog Michael Gholar. Bobby Hill and Joe Gunn will handle kick return duties, after returning a total of 65 kicks and missed field goals for 1,333 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The Horsemen come into tomorrow’s game riding high after winning Indoor Bowl IV last season. Lexington’s quarterback will be veteran signal-caller Dusty Bonner, who last season completed 276 of 423 passes for 2,659 yards, with 79 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The running attack will be led by Derek Homer, who carried the ball 49 times for 241 yards and 11 touchdowns. Dusty Bonner’s main targets at receiver will be Chad Spencer, who had 69 receptions for 722 yards and 27 touchdowns, Harry Lewis who hauled in 52 passes for 602 yards and 14 scores, and Eric Magrini, who joins the Horsemen from the Atlantic City CardSharks, where last season he nabbed 68 receptions for 649 yards and 15 touchdowns. The defensive line features Sylvester Peoples, who had a team-high 10 sacks and 42 tackles last year, and Nate Van Sickel, who had 7 sacks and 31 tackles. Defensive back William Mulder will once again be patrolling the backfield, after tallying 10 interceptions and 74 tackles last season. Place-kicker Justin Hutton will handle kicking duties for the Horsemen this season.

Don’t miss all of the excitement of FireAnts Football! The Tupelo FireAnts take on the Lexington Horsemen tomorrow, Saturday, March 19th at the BancorpSouth Center in Tupelo, MS starting at 7:30pm. Individual game tickets are on sale through the BancorpSouth Center Box Office by calling 841-6528 or online at www.bancorpsouthcenter.com. For more information, call the FireAnts at 620-BITE.

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