Stingrays eye postseason

Team will travel to Jacksonville Saturday


Published: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.

The Florida Stingrays of Gainesville will try to seal a spot in the playoffs in the Gridiron Developmental Football League when they travel Saturday to face their arch rivals, the Florida Falcons of Jacksonville.

The Stingrays (5-4) will face off against the Falcons (9-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Skinner-Barco Stadium at Hodges Field at Bolles School in Jacksonville.

Melanice Copeland, general manager of the Stingrays, said the Stingrays will secure a spot in the playoffs with a win over the Falcolns, who beat the Stingrays 40-16 on May 31 at Citizens Field in a game that was closer than indicated by the final score. Saturday is the last day of the regular season for the Stingrays and the other teams in the league.

"If we don't beat the Falcons, we will have to wait and see how the other teams in our division and conference do in their games this Saturday to see if we made the playoffs," Copeland said.

Copeland said the players are looking forward to avenging their earlier loss to the Falcons and are excited about traveling to Jacksonville.

"The Falcons are our rivalry team and the players are geared up for this game, not only because a win will put us in the playoffs, but because they just like to beat the Falcons," Copeland said. "There will be some heated trash talking on the field, but the competition will be fierce and clean. We want to beat them and they want to beat us. It should be a good game."

The Stingrays will be led by its stingy defense, which is only allowing 46.7 rushing yards and 11.5 points per game. The defense is led by strong safety Tony Johnson, a Buchholz High School graduate; defensive tackle Ernest Davis, a former University of Central Florida player and others.

Copeland said the key to the game will be how well the offense performs. She said the offense will need to not turn the ball over and score some points.

"The last time we played them, we were in the game until we started making mistakes that led to points for them," Copeland said. "If we execute on both sides of the ball, especially on offense, like we are supposed to, we will have a good shot at winning the game and making the playoffs."

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