SARASOTA MILLIONAIRES FALL TO FLORIDA VETERANS 15-14 AT BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL; COURTESY OF THE EXAMINER
BY DOUG MILES
The Sarasota Millionaires had a 14-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter and were in great shape for the South Division title and a first round bye in the UFF playoffs, but it all evaporated in a hurry as the Florida Veterans (6-2) scored 15 unanswered points to defeat the “Moneymen” 15-14 at Booker High School Saturday afternoon.
The loss now compels the Millionaires (5-3) to win next week on the road against the Bay Area Pirates, a team that has already beaten Sarasota on its home turf, to qualify for the playoffs most likely as a wild card.
The Millionaires have lost three of four games on its home field this season with the lone victory coming against the Tampa Bay Stallions on March 23rd.
Sarasota appeared to have the early momentum against the Veterans, a team the Millionaires defeated 38-12 in Port Charlotte back on February 23rd, when Mario Davis connected with a streaking Gus Blanc over the middle for a 44 yard touchdown pass less than four minutes into the first quarter. Patrick “Choo Choo” Brown added the two pointer to give the Millionaires an 8-0 lead.
The rest of the first half was a contest of field position and mistakes as each team turned over the ball three times. In all, the Millionaires and Veterans combined for eight turnovers in the game.
Former Sarasota Sailor high school standout running back Mike Ford appeared to put the game away for the Millionaires late in the third quarter when he took the handoff and burst outside, broke several tackles and rumbled 55 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that put Sarasota ahead 14-0 after a missed two-point conversion.
The Florida Veterans responded with an 8 play, 60 yard scoring drive on their next possession when quarterback Justin Midgett found Dishon Platt in the corner of the end zone from two yards out to pull them to within 14-7 after a missed 2 point conversion.
The Veterans held the Millionaires offense to a three and out and got the ball back with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter. Justin Midgett engineered a 51 yard scoring drive in 7 plays capped off by a 13 yard touchdown pass to Dishon Platt. Midgett then converted a two-pointer by zipping the ball again to Platt to lift the Veterans to a 15-14 margin with 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
This is where the wheels fell of the wagon for the Millionaires. After picking up a first down and getting the ball to the Veterans 48 yard line, the clock wound down to the two minute warning. The Millionaires lined up to run the next play, but then called a timeout. Again the team lined up and had trouble getting the play organized and inexplicably called a second timeout without running a play, which is a 5 yard penalty.
On fourth and 10, Mario Davis dropped back to pass, was rushed heavily by the Veterans defense and had to throw the ball away. The Millionaires turned over the ball on downs and saw a game they had in control, slip away.
Justin Midgett completed 13 of 29 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Veterans. Mario Davis went 6 for 15 for 82 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions for the Millionaires.
The Millionaires travel to New Port Richey on Saturday April 13 to face the Bay Area Pirates in a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. The Pirates defeated the Millionaires 32-28 on February 16th at Booker High School.
Follow me at twitter.com@sarasotaradio.
Ugh. This keeps dragging on. I mean this season. Ya know? Like Cowboys keep winning. Panthers keep….well, losing. Ballers keep finding a way to win. Pirates keep finding a way to stay inconsistent. It’s just all too much for me! Well, this week looks like a ‘light’ week throughout the UFF due to a couple teams shutting down operations a bit early. You know how I usually write a paragraph or more about each week? Well I’m going to keep it short just like the game schedule tomorrow. Let’s see who I got winning and who I got losing…
Orlando Phantoms 37, I-4 Ironbacks 21 – This rivalry heats up in Deltona… But Phantoms will still dominate.
Central Florida Scorpions 20, Central Florida Rampage 17 – Scorpions are still trying to fight for a postseason spot.
Brooksville Ballers 21, West Coast Soldiers 14 – This one will be a barn burner. And no I’m not kidding.
Suncoast Cobras 16, Pasco County Hitmen 12 – Cobras do just enough to pull a win out against the Hitmen.
Sarasota Millionaires 31, Florida Veterans 20 – $$$ go 2-0 against the Veterans during the regular season.
Broward County Cowboys 50, South Florida Chargers 6 – Humph.
BY MARK K. TRUEBLOOD
AFD staff writer
(Wachula) – Just a few weeks left in the current United Football Federation regular season, but the post-season picture is beginning to take shape.
At present, all but one team in the Gulf Coast Conference and all teams in the South Florida Conference are mathematically still in the hunt for the top six playoff spots in each respective conference.
Here’s how the seeds are shaping up in both conferences of the UFF:
Gulf Coast Conference
No. 1 seed – Brooksville Ballers (6-1)
No. 2 seed – Orlando Phantoms (6-1)
No. 3 seed – Gainesville Gators (6-1)
No. 4 seed – Suncoast Cobras (5-2)
No. 5 seed – I-4 Ironbacks (4-3)
No. 6 seed – Central Florida Rampage (3-3-1)
The top four listed above are locks to be in the post-season if their performance history so far this season holds up. The seed numbers among them may change when the dust has cleared at season’s end, but they’re in. The Rampage however should be looking over their shoulder and know that the Hitmen have been playing some decent football lately and could steal the 6th and final playoff spot right out from underneath them. The Ironbacks aren’t out of the woods yet either.
On the outside looking in?
Pasco County Hitmen (2-4-1)
The Hitmen are just a single game behind the Rampage for the 6th and final playoff spot. A lot can happen between bow and the end of the regular season.
Do you believe in miracles?
Duval Panthers (1-6) and Central Florida Scorpions (1-6)
Both teams are 2.5 games back of the 6th and final playoff spot, and in all reality it’s as close as they’re going to get. However, mathematically, they still have a shot. Realistically? Not so much.
West Cost Soldiers (0-7).
The Soldiers are 3.5 games back with 3 games to play, thus have been mathematically eliminated at this point. But, there’s a bright spot in this situation. By the time the regular season concludes, Tarpon should be biting in the Gulf, and unlike the rest of those competing in the post-season, they’ll be enjoying the good life. I’m jealous already.
WHICH ONE OF THESE LOCATIONS WILL NON-CONTENDERS
ENJOY DURING THE UFF PLAYOFFS?
South Florida Conference
No. 1 seed – Broward County Cowboys (8-0)
No. 2 seed – Sarasota Millionaires (5-2)
No. 3 seed – Florida Veterans (5-2)
No. 4 seed – Florida Stingrays (5-2)
No. 5 seed – Bay Area Pirates (4-3)
No. 6 seed – Tampa Bay Stallions (3-4)
The ‘Island of Broward’
The Cowboys, the only undefeated team left in the UFF, and arguably the best team in the league and on an island unto themselves. They’re poised to sweep through the upcoming post-season and claim their second consecutive United Cup on June 1st. I know that spoils the suspense of the post-season, so I’ll stop here about ‘The Boys’.
Stone cold lock?
Barring a sudden attack by North Korean government troops on our shores, the Millionaires, Vets and ‘Rays appear to be set to compete in the UFF post-season. As to what their exact seed number will be is anyone’s guess with 3 games remaining in the regular season for each respective team. Numbers 2 thru 6 could change like an airline flight schedule board on the day before Thanksgiving.
The Pirates and Stallions however need to be careful as they could move down as easily as they could go up. One, or both, could fall out of their #5 and #6 slots respectively and have them taken by either the South Florida Chargers or South Florida Xtreme, or both. This weekend’s round of games could clear up a little bit of that haze.
Standing in line?
Based on their overall record, the Chargers (3-4) are tied for the 6th and final playoff spot, but any tiebreaker based on record would defer to the ‘head-to-head’ factor. Tampa Bay blanked the Chargers, 33-0, back on February 16th, and thus they hold the advantage over the Chargers at this point.
The Xtreme (1-6) have a remote chance with being only 2 games back with 3 games yet to play. But, smart money would say that the local golf courses in Broward and Miami-Dade are not as crowded lately with the snowbirds having departed by season’s end. So, making morning tee time reservations now to beat the rush is most likely a better bet. Nothing like having to duck or hit the ground face first in a sand trap on a bright sunny day in southeast F-L-A upon hearing a fellow hacker yell out down the fairway, “fore!” Ahhh, yes . . . paradise lost.
Andy Villamarzo contributed to the writing of this article.
BY ANDY VILLAMARZO
AFD contributing writer
(Oldsmar) – The Bay Area Pirates converted an interception into a touchdown late in the game Saturday night to seal a victory over their the Tampa Bay Stallions, 33-20, at Canal Park.
In their first meeting back on February 23rd, turnovers were the key factor in the Stallions’ 35-33 victory over the Pirates. The miscues and mistakes that favored the Stallions then, worked against them this time around.
“I was pretty nervous throughout the second half,” Pirates coach Scott Fisk said. “But our defense really stepped it up and we received just enough offense to win.”
Just enough offense and turnovers appeared to be the menu for both squads in this second matchup between the two division rivals. Bay Area (4-3) started off the contest with a 62-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by former Largo High graduate Kim Howard, and gave the Pirates an early 7-0 lead.
The Stallions (3-4) responded on their next drive, traveling 74 yards on nine plays, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Rob Stafford. Tampa Bay later capitalized on an interception thrown by Pirates quarterback Brian Koesling, and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown. The Stallions went up13-7 heading into halftime.
The third quarter turned into a boxing match between two heavyweights, with both teams exchanging big-play jabs.
Bay Area snatched a 19-13 lead during the third quarter, but later in the period Koesling fumbled and Stallions linebacker Chauncey Ward returned the miscue 78 yards to the house and gave Tampa Bay a 20-19 lead.
Late in the final quarter, Bay Area reclaimed the lead, 27-20, on a James Andre five-yard touchdown run. The Pirates scored again near the end of the game clinched the game when former University of South Florida product, Curtis Weatherspoon, picked off Stallions quarterback Worthy Jackson and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown.
The Pirates went up 33-20, with just 1:20 to play when the game was deemed over by the officials after the Witherspoon’s touchdown led to tempers getting the best of several players who were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on both sides in the aftermath.
The Stallions and Pirates will both be the recipients of forfeit victories this Saturday against the Cape Coral Wolves and Palm Beach Phantoms, respectively. Both the Wolves and Phantoms have folded their operations for 2013.
I’m not late on these picks. Just making you guys wait for the best part of your Fridays! I know you coaches, players and fans look at these choices. Why not wait until the last possible minute? I mean most of us are itching to watch upstart Florida Gulf Coast take on Florida (college basketball) and some of us may go out tonight. But this is the excitement for some of you. I know the season is winding down to a close and the final countdown is on for the postseason hunt. Which teams will enter the 12 finalists for United Cup III of State Road 60? Here’s my long awaited picks for the week.
I-4 Ironbacks 20, Duval Panthers 17 – Ironbacks looking to make the playoffs in Year 1.
Orlando Phantoms 35, Central Florida Scorpions 7 – Phantoms too much for their neighbors, the Scorpions.
Gainesville Gators 30, Pasco County Hitmen 14 – Gators looking for consecutive wins.
Brooksville Ballers 14, Central Florida Rampage 12 – Ballers eke out another victory.
Suncoast Cobras 28, West Coast Soldiers 12 – This time around should be much closer.
Tampa Bay Stallions 30, Bay Area Pirates 27 – Look for another shootout between these two rivals.
Broward County Cowboys 52, South Florida Xtreme 6 – ……..
Florida Stingrays 34, South Florida Chargers 14 – Chargers will compete in this one, but Stingrays eventually too much.
BY ANDY VILLAMARZO
HUDSON – Playing for the love of the game is why most adult amateur players continue to compete in 11-on-11, full-contact football.
For the coaches and players of the West Coast Soldiers, who compete in the 20-team United Football Federation, its deeper than just football.
The Soldiers, founded in the Summer of 2012 by team organizer Ed Meyer, decided on their team name because several of the current players having ties to the military and wanted to play for the respect of armed forces. According to Meyer, the team’s colors are derived from each of the military branches (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy) and said the team will be making a donation at the end of the season to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“The biggest thing with our team is our respect of everyone who serves in our armed services,” Meyer said. “I wanted to give something back to those who served in the past and currently. I’ve got a tremendous amount of feedback from current people who serve in the military and they love the fact our team is around.”
West Coast has a wide range of players, with an assortment of ages ranging from 19-year-olds just out of high school to 40-plus year old fathers. Some former prep standouts from the west side of Pasco County can be found on the Soldiers roster, including Nick Martino (Ridgewood), Louis Truppi (Hudson), T.J. Blount (Gulf), Lyntin Smith (Gulf), Eric Braithwaite (Mitchell) and John Edington (Hudson).
According to Meyer, another player making a splash is Matt Larkey, who attended Pasco High, but did not play during his high school days. The Soldiers are currently 0-6 on the season, but have made several encouraging strides as the season has progressed.
A 60-40 loss to the Deltona I-4 Ironbacks last Saturday served as a reminder that West Coast is moving in the right direction. West Coast’s next game is Saturday in Tampa against its rival, the Suncoast Cobras.
“I know we’ve had a lot of ups and downs in our first season,” Meyer said. “Something that I see with our team is we’re a tight knit family. We go out on the field and the guys play together and respect each other like brothers.”
MILLIONAIRES DEFEAT TAMPA BAY STALLIONS 22-12 FOR FIRST HOME WIN OF THE SEASON; COURTESY OF THE EXAMINER
BY DOUG MILES
Home sweet home. The Sarasota Millionaires got their first win of the regular season on the home turf of Booker High School Saturday afternoon 22-12 over the Tampa Bay Stallions (3-3) in a key divisional matchup in the United Football Federation. Marcus Mills 52 yard punt return for touchdown early in the fourth quarter gave the Millionaires (4-2) the lead and lifted the “moneymen” to its fourth victory of the season.
On a muggy and warm late March afternoon, both offenses were sluggish. Neither team had success in the passing game. Millionaires’ quarterback Mario Davis completed just 4 of 20 passes for 79 yards and had three interceptions while Stallions signal caller Alex Cayer went 3 for 19 for just 30 yards and also had three passes picked off. Overall, both teams combined for 11 turnovers in the contest. The Stallions had six, the Millionaires had five.
The Millionaires capitalized on a Stallions fumble at the Tampa Bay 2 yard line when the ball came loose on a handoff attempt by Alex Cayer. Frank Young picked it up and ran it in for the touchdown to give Sarasota an 8-0 lead after Patrick “Choo Choo” Brown converted the two-pointer.
Midway through the second quarter, the Stallions recovered a bad snap from center to punter Frank Young at the Millionaires 10 yard line. Three plays later, Alex Cayer punched it in from the 2 yards out. The Stallions did not convert the two-pointer and trailed 8-6 going into halftime.
Tampa Bay defensive back Jovante Flurnoy picked off the first of his two interceptions and returned the ball to the Millionaires one yard line. Running back Mark Kaigler scored up the middle: 52 seconds into the third quarter to give the Stallions a 12-8 lead.
Sarasota answered back, moving the ball to the Tampa Bay 2 yard line, but Mario Davis was intercepted again by Jovante Flurnoy, this time in the end zone to stall the drive.
Marcus Mills provided the spark the Millionaires needed early in the fourth quarter when he returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown, lifting Sarasota to a 16-12 lead after Mike Ford’s two point conversion.
“Just seeing green”, Mills said about the key play in the game for Sarasota. “My team needed me and anytime I can contribute, I give my all. When I came back around, all I saw was family.”
Willie Phelps intercepted an Alex Cayer pass which set up Mario Davis’ 32 yard run for the Millionaires third touchdown of the day, salting the game away at 22-12.
“It wasn’t pretty at all. We were flat”, said Millionaires head coach Ernest Givins. “We were not ourselves, but the second half we started coming together slowly but surely. I went to the hurry up offense to break up the monotony.”
After a tough loss last week to the Broward County Cowboys and in week two to the Bay Area Pirates, the Millionaires earned their first home win at Booker High School. “We’ve struggled at home”, said Givins. “I don’t know what it is, but we have to get it right if we plan on having home field advantage later on down the line. We need to be a little more intense in practice. If we are more intense in practice, the game is simple. It happens in practice on Tuesday and Thursday. We need to pick up the tempo in practice.”
The Millionaires hit the road next Saturday (March 30) to face the Cape Coral Wolves in another divisional game.
Interviews with Head Coach Ernest Givins and players Marcus Mills and Frank Young are included on the postgame show video attached to this article.
If I was a betting man(which I am), if I would’ve put money down on last wee’s Broward County Cowboys-Sarasota Millionaires game, I probably would’ve been a little bit lighter in the pocket this week. No matter. You know the saying ‘Live to make picks for another week’. Never heard of that one? Me neither. Its probably never even been said. So sad (sigh). This week brings new life to my mistaken guidance of choosing winners. There must be something I can use to decide these games better. How about flipping a coin? Nah.. How about blind-folding myself and throwing darts at each teams helmets? C’mon man! Maybe I should start asking other random people for picks? Lets just go with my Dan-gnam Style way and I’ll choose em! There we go and here we go!
Duval Panthers 10, Brooksville Ballers 7 – I feel the return of the Panthers upon us!
West Coast Soldiers 18, I-4 Ironbacks 14 - Don’t let me down Soldiers.
Gainesville Gators 27, Central Florida Scorpions 16 – Gators too much for Scorpions in this one.
Central Florida Rampage 21, Pasco County Hitmen 0 – Shutouts continue for the Hitmen.
Broward County Cowboys 35, Bay Area Pirates 14 – Cowboys are on a mission to blowout everyone.
Sarasota Millionaires 24, Tampa Bay Stallions 14 – Rematch goes to? Money men of Sarasota.
Florida Veterans 42, Cape Coral Wolves 12 – Wolves are seeing an improvement every week.
Florida Stingrays 20, South Florida Xtreme 7 - Stingrays come away with a good win in Miami.
STAFFORD MILLIGAN RECOVERING IN ICU AFTER EMERGENCY BRAIN SURGERY; COURTESY OF AMATEUR FOOTBALL DIGEST
BY MARK K. TRUEBLOOD
(Cape Coral) – Florida Veterans wide receiver Stafford Milligan is resting and recovering in the Intensive Care Unit upon undergoing emergency brain surgery this past Saturday afternoon at Cape Coral Hospital. Milligan suffered a concussion sometime while playing in the Veterans’ home game against the visiting Bay Area Pirates the same day.
According to Veterans head coach Wayne Gile, Milligan took himself out of the game shortly after receiving a hit during live action late in the 3rd quarter and went immediately to the bench on the sidelines. Milligan removed his shoulder pads and complained that he was not feeling very well. Gile said that his staff placed an ice pack on Milligan’s neck and monitored his well being.
“He (Milligan) told me he was feeling very nauseous”, said Gile. “The moment he vomited on the bench we knew it was serious and decided to transport him to the nearest hospital.”
Gile, Milligan’s wife and a family friend escorted him off the field and drove him to the nearest hospital emergency room. Upon being examined by the ER physician at Cape Coral Hospital, Milligan was quickly moved to the operating room where he underwent emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain as a result of the concussion, as diagnosed by the ER physician on-duty.
However, when I talked with Gile earlier today, he stated that Milligan was resting and has begun to recover from the surgery. In addition, Gile said that a tube that had been inserted into his brain to drain excess fluid post-surgery, was removed sometime Sunday.
“I had a chance to speak briefly with him on Sunday”, said Gile. “He was coherent and recognized me and I felt that was a good sign.”
Gile added that he during the surgery, the surgeon discovered a small blood clot in the back of Milligan’s brain that had apparently been there prior to this recent injury. Gile could provide no further information on how serious the medical staff has deemed the blood clot or whether Milligan is in any further physical danger as a result.
Upon contacting officials atCape CoralHospitalthis morning, they would not comment on Milligan’s current condition citing privacy laws in accordance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – 1996).
Milligan is a well liked player according Gile, as evidenced by the dozens of well wishers for his good health and recovery that have posted on facebook on pages such as the United Football Federation and that of Gile’s personal page.
Gile, who I spoke to as he was changing flights in Chicago to handle some personal family matters, said that at the present time Milligan cannot receive visitors, and that only family members will have access to him be telephone until such time as he is moved out of the ICU.
The Veterans will take on the Cape Coral Wolves this Saturday and Gile admits that there will be some heavy hearts all this week as Milligan’s teammates will have him on their minds and in their hearts.
“He’s such a great kid. We have him in our prayers and hope for a full and complete recovery”, said Gile.
BY DOUG MILES
Home is where the heart is, so they say, but not where the wins have been for the Sarasota Millionaires so far this season. The “Moneymen” fell behind early and were never able to catch up in a 24-8 loss to Broward County Cowboys Saturday afternoon at Booker High School in Sarasota. It was the second home loss of the season for Sarasota, who have won three in a row on the road.
The defending UFF champion and undefeated Cowboys (6-0) jumped ahead on their first possession of the ballgame when quarterback Daryle Hopper connected with Delaine Powell on a 42 yard touchdown pass over the middle. D’Andre Stringer added the two-point conversion to give the Cowboys an 8-0 lead 1:11 into the first quarter.
The Millionaires (3-2) offense was stifled by an aggressive, rushing Cowboys defense that kept Sarasota’s running game in check and forced quarterback Mario Davis out of the pocket and hurry his pass attempts.
After last week’s impressive 165 yard rushing performance by Patrick “Choo Choo” Brown against the Florida Stingrays, the Cowboys held Sarasota’s lead running back to just 14 yards on 12 carries.
Broward County recovered a Millionaires fumble at the Sarasota six yard line, one of four Millionaires turnovers in the game, early in the second quarter. Sarasota mounted a classic goal line stand and got the ball back on their one yard line. But on the next play, the Cowboys stopped “Choo Choo” Brown in the end zone for a safety to go up 10-0.
That score remained through halftime and the entire third quarter.
The Millionaires got the ball late in the third quarter and started to move the ball down the field. On a fourth and inches, Sarasota appeared to get a key first down to keep the drive alive at midfield, but were called for an aiding the runner penalty and were forced to punt. A six minute possession resulted in no points.
The Cowboys responded with a 72 yard touchdown pass play from Daryle Hopper to Tommy Pringle to give Broward County a 16-0 lead after a missed two point conversion with 10:32 left in the fourth quarter.
The Millionaires finally got on the scoreboard with a 52 yard drive capped off by a four yard touchdown run by “Choo Choo” Brown. Mike Ford added the two pointer pulling Sarasota to within 16-8 with 5:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds giving Broward County the ball at their own 45 yard line, D’Andre Stringer took the next handoff and broke through the middle and galloped 53 yards to the Millionaires two yard line. Stringer then scored from two yards out to put the game away for the Cowboys who were up 24-8 with 4:23 left in the game.
Stringer finished with 92 yards on 10 carries for Broward County. Daryle Hopper completed 6 of 22 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns
The Millionaires will try and get that first home victory next Saturday (March 23) when they host the Tampa Bay Stallions, a division opponent, at Booker High School in a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. The Millionaires defeated the Stallions 34-6 in week one of the regular season February 9th in Oldsmar.