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Firecats cap weekend

April 19, 2009
By RYAN RYLES, Special to the Breeze

The Florida Firecats capped off a memorable weekend with a 68-62 victory over the Kentucky Horseman Saturday night at Germain Arena.

After starting the season 0-2 for the first time since 2001, the Firecats followed up their first win at Albany on April 10 with Saturday's win over the Horseman. They also teamed up with the Special Olympics and various Lee County elementary schools last Friday to assist with the Lee County Special Olympics at Lakes Regional Park in South Fort Myers.

Firecats quarterback Chris Wallace helped to coordinate the event and participated along with six other team members as cheerleaders and assistants for the various events which Lee County's special-needs children participated in on that day.

"Peggy Pavlit (coordinator) is a personal friend of mind," said Wallace, "She mentioned that she didn't have much help or motivation from other organizations in the region so I took it upon myself to get us involved."

For those Firecats who participated it was an event they won't soon forget.

"This is awesome," said Magic Benton of his participation, "Anytime you can come out and help kids who have disabilities or who are less fortunate, it's just awesome. You could see it when (the kids) walked up and saw us, their faces just lit up."

After a great day of helping the Special Olympics, the Firecats took to the field on Saturday looking to put on a show for the all those special-needs kids who showed up to watch them play against the Horsemen and they didn't disappoint.

Florida and Kentucky matched each other score for score in an AF2 shootout which required the Firecats to score a last-minute touchdown and secure the win with a last-second fumble recovery.

"It was a big win," said coach Kevin Bouis, "We hadn't been getting the breaks in our first three games, but we finally got some when it mattered in this one in the fourth quarter."

Florida's biggest offensive contributor for the contest was James Panui. Panui was asked to step in for injured star receiver Chris McKinney and did so without missing a beat catching 12 passes for 131 yards and five touchdowns.

"What can I say, Panui was huge for us," said Bouis.

All in all it was the kind of weekend the Firecats needed after the disappointing start.

The win gets Florida back to .500 for the year at 2-2, and improves their divisional record to 1-2, getting them back into the race for the South Division crown for which the Firecats are the division champs.



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