Thursday, June 10, 2004
By Matthew Gionta
The CardSharks and the Fort Wayne Freedom will meet Saturday night in Historic Boardwalk Hall at 7:30 PM. Both teams are very much alive for a playoff spot in the tight Atlantic Conference. The teams are separated by just a ½ game coming into the match up, with Fort Wayne coming out on top 63-54 in the first meeting. The ‘Sharks, coming off a season sweep of the Evansville Blue Cats, played stellar defense en route to a 31-27 victory last week at Boardwalk Hall. The Freedom lost to the defending champion Ohio Valley Greyhounds last week, 52-23.
The first meeting between the two teams was an offensive shootout, including 51 points scored in the final quarter. The Freedom quickly jumped on the ‘Sharks, but Quarterback Tony Racioppi led the comeback in the second half with 279 passing yards and 6 touchdowns on the night. Freedom Quarterback Antoine Taylor also had a good game, with 5 touchdown passes and Running Back Rocky Harvey added the remaining 3.
“It is difficult to keep a Back like Rocky Harvey in check,” stated General Manager and Head Coach Mike Siani. “We will have to focus on slowing him down a bit, and keeping an eye on Taylor.”
The ‘Sharks defense will look to Defensive End Eddie Bynes to help control Rocky Harvey. Bynes, who has dominated the line of scrimmage since his return to the NIFL, will get help from fellow Ends Jamal Naji and John Fiore. Linebacker/End Earl Biddy was extremely effective off the bench last week, as he was involved in 6 tackles.
Offensively, Wide Receiver Eric “Easy” Magrini ranks among the league leaders in several offense categories, including: receptions (55), touchdowns (14), and yards (543). Special teams threat Rocco DeMaise collected the Atlantic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week Award for the 4th time this season, with 158 kick return yards and 2 touchdowns against the Blue Cats.
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