Coach says Augusta can win league

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Despite the Augusta Spartans' loss to the Daytona Beach Thunder last week, coach Bubba Diggs thinks the team still has what it takes to win the World Indoor Football League championship.

Augusta (4-4), which now has lost twice to last-place Daytona Beach (2-6), is tied for second with the Osceola Ghostriders (4-4), who are two games behind the Columbus Lions (6-2).

The Spartans play at Osceola on Sunday before next week's showdown with Columbus, whose only losses were to Augusta at James Brown Arena.

"We just need to click on all cylinders, that's my take on it. We're playing pretty good ball," Diggs said. "We're having some breakdowns in some areas, but we'll try to finish up strong. We're right there in the hunt, and we've beaten everybody in the league."

Diggs said the success of Daytona Beach in the series goes back to the rivalry that was started last year in the American Indoor Football League.

"There are no excuses to be made for us," Diggs said. "No team is head and shoulders above anybody. I like what I have personnel-wise after seeing everybody. The numbers show that, and I'm pumped up thinking about it all coming together on a given night."

LIKE MIKE: The Spartans brought in receiver Michael Flint to replace an injured Anthony Young, who is expected to miss several weeks recovering from a hand injury.

Flint didn't disappoint, catching seven passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

"He did a darn good job, especially for his first time in arena ball," Diggs said. "I was really pleased with his effort. I'm excited about him. He adds something really special."

FEELIN' THE RATHE: Spartans quarterback Mike Rathe has been stellar the past three games, taking over the WIFL's top passing offense.

Rathe has completed 56 percent of his passes for 633 yards and an impressive 17-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Rathe is expected to be named the WIFL's offensive player of the month for April.

ROLLING STONE: Receiver Marvin Stone caught three more touchdown passes in last week's 54-51 loss to Daytona Beach - the highest-scoring game of the season.

Stone, the league's leading scorer by far, continues his push for player of the year. He has 22 touchdowns and 134 points, 44 more than the next-closest player.

HOME COOKIN': The Spartans are 3-0 at home and 1-4 on the road (winning only the season opener on Feb. 11).

At home Augusta has averaged 50.7 points per game, compared to 38.6 on the road.

Diggs doesn't want that trend continue in the team's last two road games of the regular season, before four in a row at home to close out.

"I'm going to see if I can't try to put the whole James Brown Arena on the back of the bus," Diggs said.

"Then maybe we'll see if we can win on the road."

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steve.l.sanders.@augustachronicle.com.

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demented dave
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demented dave 05/02/07 - 09:11 am
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The Augusta Spartans Fan Club

The Augusta Spartans Fan Club will be meeting this Sunday for a game and tailgating party at St. Luke Evangelical Christian Ministries, 4319 Wilson Rd., in Hephzibah. We'll be listening to the game and serving grilled hotdogs, sodas, etc. All Spartans fans are invited. That's this Sunday, starting at 3 pm. Come help cheer on the best team in the WIFL!

For directions and a map to St. Luke's visit our web site at http://www.saintlukeministries.org

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