Originally created 06/30/00

Stallions to face improved Greensboro team



Mike Neu concedes that Greensboro is an improved team.

Augusta will find out how well the Prowlers have improved when the Stallions face them tonight at 7:30 at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

"Well, no question, they're a better offensive team," the Stallions head coach said. "They hired Ben Bennett two weeks ago, and he's a Hall-of-Famer in the Arena League."

Bennett, a former Arena League quarterback, joined Greensboro on June 5 as a volunteer assistant coach. He already has made an impact. The Prowlers (1-10) have scored 106 points in their past three games, but they dropped their past two contests to Richmond and Roanoke by less than a touchdown.

Greensboro is still last in the league with a 20.5 point per game average while allowing 52.3 points a game.

"They're going to be much more competitive offensively," Neu said. "They have struggled, but we can't worry about that. We're going to come out and fun. We want to be dominant right now. We want to turn it on and be full speed."

Augusta defeated Greensboro 67-7 on May 20 and has averaged more than 60 points in four of their past five games. The Stallions lead the league in total offense with 283.3 yards a game.

The one chink in Augusta's armor has been its special teams play, specifically its kickoff coverage and kickoff returns. But Greensboro is worse than Augusta on kickoff returns averaging 14.8 yards a return compared to the Stallions (15.2).

"The biggest thing we need to work on is, we need to be sharp in all areas," Neu said. "Special teams we improved on (two weeks ago), but now we need to put it together back to back. And I always like to work on our running game."

Eddie Diaz had his best rushing performance against Greensboro. Diaz rushed for 38 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown run.

"A lot of the (Greensboro) guys are the same personnel," Diaz said. "The last two days of practices, we've had the most intense practices we've had all year. Everybody is looking at this game as another big game. We need to win out these last five games."

Quarterback Aaron Sparrow tossed nine passes in the Stallions' last game and will face a Greensboro defense that has allowed more than 45 points in nine of its past 10 games.

Sparrow has passed for a league-high 2,888 yards, along with 54 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.