FOOTBALL: D.C. feels sting of '09 loss to Cardinals
By MIKE MILLER Staff writer
The last time the D.C. Explosion came to Chambersburg, there was trouble.
It was the first game of the 2009 North American Football League playoffs and Cardinals running back Andre McDonald cemented a 14-0 victory with a 40-yard touchdown run with 1:30 remaining in the game, pulling several D.C. defenders into the end zone with him.
The game was called moments later because of unsportsmanlike conduct by the D.C. players and the teams, both in their inaugural year in the Gridiron Developmental Football League, haven't met since.
"I know there's still a little bad blood there," Cardinals coach Chad Fauson said. "This game is sort of like a rivalry game for us. Some guys from both teams have played together with the Frederick Outlaws in the spring, so they know each other. There's been some friendly banter going on."
The Explosion is not off to an auspicious start. It is 3-2 and has been outscored 169-129 so far. D.C. lost by 39 points last week to the New Jersey Stags -- a team Chambersburg roughed up with a 41-0 victory in the season opener.
"I know the Explosion has a lot of athletes," Fauson said. "I've watched their spring team, the DMV Knights, and they won their league. They have talent, no doubt about it. They're probably the most talented team we've see up to this point.
"I know if they lose another game in the division their chance to make the playoffs will be very slim. So this is their season in a nutshell."
Cardinals, who beat the Bergen Hawks 54-3 last Saturday, will have a few reinforcements at their disposal tonight. Newly-signed defensive backs Jermaine Thaxton and Donald DeFrand will see the field and bolster the Chambersburg secondary.
Fauson said Thaxton, a West Virginia University product, excelled in limited time against Bergen. DeFrand, of the University of Nebraska, will make his Cardinals debut.
Linebacker Louis Corum is back with the team after signing with the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League last week. Corum returned when the UFL announced it was pushing its season back to mid-September. He is still expected to play for the Destroyers.
Corum's return will help a defensive unit that's been a little banged up the past two weeks.
"We're looking pretty decent with the depth we've added," Fauson said. "Injury-wise, we're a little better. I think giving a couple guys the week off last week might have helped. We've still got a little injury bug, but we're trying to hammer through, get healthy and get geared up."
NOTES: Quarterback Anthony Gardner has completed 36 of 57 passes for 743 yards and 10 touchdowns ... Running back Keon Lattimore leads all rushers with 226 yards on 28 carries and six touchdowns (one touchdown reception) ... Wide receiver Ottis Lewis leads the team with 10 receptions for 229 yards and four touchdowns.
Cardinals-Explosion at a glance
Game data: D.C. Explosion at Chambersburg Cardinals ... Today, at Trojan Stadium, 7 ... Gridiron Developmental Football League game.
Ticket prices: Adult ($10), 65-older ($5), ages 11-18 ($7), ages 7-10 ($5), 6-under (free).
The teams: The Cardinals (4-0) beat the Bergen Hawks 54-3 last week ... The Explosion lost to the New Jersey Stags 45-6.
Last meeting: The Cardinals won 14-0 in the first round of the 2009 North American Football League playoffs.
P.O. pick: Cardinals by 28.