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Newspaper article on the Northern KY-Ohio Flames:

Semi-pro Flames football team heating up for new season

Like many startup teams, the Northern Kentucky-Ohio Flames had their share of problems last year.

But the second-year, semi-pro football team looks for a strong season this year.

"Our goal is to help the player who wants to take it to the next level," said team representative Jack Patterson. "We let them advance their skills."

The Flames are looking to have their first full season under their own name. They played three games last year -- winning one -- before merging with an established team called the Kings Comets based in Warren County, Ohio.

The players are either just out of college or had experience in college, professional or arena football.

"It's a place for guys to have a chance to be picked up," Patterson said.

Patterson, a Hebron resident who is also a linebacker on the team, said the rules of their league, the Ohio Valley semi-pro league, are just like that of the National Football League.

"It's very regulated," he said. "It's very hard-core. There are no punches pulled. You're going to get hit and you're going to get hit hard."

The head coach and founder of the team is Lamont Watson, a graduate of Aiken High School and the University of Cincinnati, and a semi-pro football veteran since 1998.

He said a team like the Flames is a chance for diehard football players to stay competitive and keep their dreams alive.

"It's the love of the game, the passion of the sport," he said. "The idea is to attract young, keep them busy so they don't get caught in anything else. It's an outlet."

The team's top returning players are running back Maurice Kidd (Western Hills), fullback Ryan Brady (Boone County), defensive backs Chris Hicks (Harmony) and Brandon Martin (North College Hill), and wide receiver Farah Rogers (UC).

The team started practice in early April and still has two months to settle on a final roster. The Flames will begin their season Saturday, June 24, against the Hardin County Wolverines.

Home games are at Colerain High School in Cincinnati on Saturdays. Other home games are July 15 (vs. Henderson), July 22 (vs. Lawrenceburg), Aug. 5 (vs. Circle City), Aug. 19 (vs. Louisville) and Aug. 26 (vs. Lawrenceburg).

The team practices three times a week and is open to new players. They are also looking for sponsors. Contact Watson at 513-242-1403 or Patterson at 859-802-5974.