By David Conde

What was slated as the Battle for 239 and/or the “Soul Bowl” between the Florida Stingrays (UFF) and the Southwest Florida Panthers (League TBD), with the two semi-pro teams not competing in the same league but sharing the fans in the same area code, was one of the highly anticipated football games to be played this past Saturday, January 19, 2013.  The Stingrays with a full season under their belts and the Panthers about to begin their inaugural season in 2013, met for the first time ever. Bragging rights were on the line on Saturday.  Which team would come out on top?  Which fans would be able to say that their team owns the city until the two teams could meet again in another pre-season match-up? The Panthers the new team on the block against the Stingrays, considered the veterans in the area.


Below are the official Stingrays Game Notes and Press Release from Saturday Nights Soul Bowl (Battle for 239)

Courtesy of the Florida Stingrays Organization

Stingrays Win the Inaugural “Soul Bowl” with a Dominating 29-12 Win over the Panthers

The fans attending the inaugural “Soul Bowl” at Buckingham field got their money’s worth watching the Stingrays dominate the Panthers from the opening kickoff.  The Stingrays chose to defer after winning the coin toss opting to start the game with the “Bruise Brothers” defense taking the field to showcase its 2013 version of talent.  They did not disappoint, by forcing the Panthers into a third and fifteen on the first series.  Unfortunately, a controversial “Defensive Holding” call renewed the Panthers downs at midfield.  Upset by the call, the defense recorded three tackles for losses and forced the Panthers to punt.

The Stingrays first possession began at their own forty yard line after a dazzling thirty yard return by Vance St. Gourdin (Cypress Lake).   Stingray Quarterback Bryan Greenwell (Cape Coral) guided the team down the field with a combination of runs from Charles Long (Richmond Hill HS, Indiana) and short passes to Split End Steve Stillman (Ft Myers).  The drive stalled forcing the Stingrays to call upon kicker Rey Hernandez (Labelle) to connect on a thirty yard field goal to make the score “3-0”.

On the next series, Defensive Captain / Linebacker Max McDonald (Estero) both forced and recovered a fumble.  Three plays later, Lonnie Young (Ft Myers) swept around left end and dove into the end zone … Hernandez tacked on the extra point making the score “10-0” at the end of the first quarter.

The “Bruise Brothers” blitzed the house during the Panthers next possession resulting in another turnover when Strong Safety Calvin Green (Dunbar) recovered a fumble at the Panthers thirty yard line.  The Stingrays drove down to the one yard line when Greenwell called his own number and followed a bulldozer in the form of the Stingrays offensive line lead by Center Shea Curtsinger (Golden Gate) in for a touchdown. Hernandez connected again making the score “17-0” early in the second quarter.

Both teams then traded punts.  Unfortunately, a Stingrays fumble gave the Panthers the ball at the Stingrays thirty yard line with two minutes before the half.  Panther Quarterback, Kenny Makit, showed his elusiveness by sidestepping no less than four would be tacklers on route to a fifteen yard touchdown run making the score “17 – 6”. “Missed tackles are expected, but an unwelcomed part of the game, during the first game of the season” commented Defensive Coordinator, Joe Skladany.  “Now that our guys have experienced live game action, I hope missed tackles will become a distant memory”. 

The third quarter turned into a slug fest with both teams stifling eachother’s offense.   The Panthers then struck pay dirt when Makit connected with Wide out Tyron Laces on a fifty five yard bomb tightening the core “17-12” on the first play of the fourth quarter.  “We just had a busted coverage”, commented Free Safety Hezekiah Reed (Dunbar).  “Our corner was playing zone when everyone else was playing man …I promise that will not happen again!”

An inspired Panther team then drove to the Stingrays ten yard line only to be turned back on consecutive sacks by Defensive End Troy Green (Riverdale) and Outside Linebacker Bebe Young (Ft Myers).  The Panthers were forced to try for a thirty five yard field goal which was blocked by Defensive End Brandon Devero.

The Stingrays regained control of the line of scrimmage and marched seventy yards  ending with a diving catch by Lonnie Young in the corner of the end zone for the go ahead score of “23-12” with four minutes remaining in the game.

The last score of the day came when Travis Broomfield (Cape Coral) intercepted a pass and raced sixty yards for a Touchdown on the last play of the game making the final “29-12”. “I’m proud of our players”, beamed Head Coach Chris Morant, “we started out with a bang … hit a road bump … then poured it on at the end when we needed a score … the players showed a lot of poise and executed when the game was on the line … we have some work to do but we are going in the right direction.”

The Stingrays will travel to Cape Coral for their first game of the season when they battle with the Cape Coral Wolves on Saturday, February 9th

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Readers Comments (5)

  1. avatar James Ingerham

    Great article David Conde!

  2. avatar James Ingerham

    “When we put our first team back in they couldn’t stop us” Florida Stingrays

  3. avatar Mark K Trueblood

    Nice article David. Good luck to both teams in 2013!

  4. avatar Andrew

    Are these teams formed from the players that do not make the Tarpons?


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