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Raptors Ready For Tupelo; Add Three Players To Roster
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April 14, 2005 - Huntsville, AL - A season-opening road swing wasn’t very kind to the Tennessee Valley Raptors.

The Raptors fell 53-51 at Evansville back on March 19 and then dropped a 41-34 decision at Sioux City on April 1. Defensive breakdowns and turnovers hurt Tennessee Valley in both United Indoor Football games.
Now the Raptors will try their luck in the “Boneyard”.

Tennessee Valley plays its first home game Saturday against the Tupelo Fireants (1-3) at the Von Braun Center. Kickoff is set for 7:30 and every fan in attendance will receive a Ninth Man T-shirt.

Raptors coach Dick Adams said that his club was just happy to be home. “It’s been a long stretch,’’ Adams said. “We want to play the best we can possibly play and we’re going to need some help. Tupelo is a solid team and that’s easy to see by the way they beat Evansville 62-51 last weekend. “Our defense will have its hands full and Tupelo will be playing their fifth game – so they’re way ahead of us in experience. Offensively, we’re going to have to control the ball and keep it out of their hands.”

Quarterback Mike Scipione came up short in his debut at Sioux City but looked impressive in completing 20 of 27 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. The Raptors’ offense is paced by wide receiver Durocher Miller’s 11 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, while defensive back Wesley Bynam paces the defense with 15.5 tackles.

The Raptors have also signed three new players heading into the weekend. Former Alabama A&M star wide receiver Nicholas Wells has joined the team along with former Alabama A&M and UNA quarterback Chris Gunn, and Slippery Rock offensive lineman Bill Ricks. “Ricks is a big, thick kid and he gives us a little more size on our offensive line,’’ Adams said. “Gunn is a left-hander, looks pretty good and he’s picking up the system. “Wells has all the tools, but right now he’s just trying to get used to running indoor routes. He’s not real big, but he’s got the ability to turn short passes into long ones. He can make somebody miss and take it for the distance.”

Wells (5-foot-11, 167 pounds) was four-year member of the Bulldogs’ program and saw action at running back, receiver and on special teams. He was among SWAC and national leaders with over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 20004. He also caught 29 passes for 356 yards and a touchdown as a senior last season.
The former Johnson High standout finished with a school-record 112 receptions for 1,601 yards, while his 10 touchdown receptions placed him second on the all-time list.

Gunn (5-11, 200) completed 29 of 50 passes for 295 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions at UNA in 2004 after transferring from Alabama A&M. With the Bulldogs in 2000 and 2001, he completed 148 of 292 passes for 1,798 yards with 12 touchdowns.

Ricks (6-2, 315) was a three-time All-TSAC selection at Slippery Rock and blocked for four backs that posted 1,000-yard seasons. He competed in the 2003 Cactus Bowl and was a Daktronics All-American pick.

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