Tifton Gazette


July 4, 2013

Lupus Awareness Bowl sees Georgia Firebirds face Pirates

TIFTON —  The Georgia Firebirds will be back in action Saturday night, against the Bay Area Pirates with Brodie Field as the site for the Lupus Awareness Bowl. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. Bay Area, formerly Anclote, hails from Tampa Bay, Fla., and holds a record of 6-5. The Firebirds are 7-1.

It will be a special night for the Firebirds, as not only will lupus survivors be recognized at halftime, but America's Got Talent contestant Travis Pratt will sing the national anthem. Fans will also have a chance to see Larry Dean, as the former Blue Devil and current Minnesota Viking will also be in attendance.

Bay Area, a member of the United Football Federation, ended its season nearly two months ago. A wild card team, they saw their hopes dashed in the first round of the playoffs against the Sarasota Millionaires, who defeated them 42-34.

The Firebirds, members of the Gridiron Developmental Football League, have had experience with UFF teams in the past, including the Millionaires, though not this year. Their schedule this season did contain the UFF's Florida Stingrays. They have played them twice, both games going the locals' way. In the second game of the season, the Stingrays fell on their own field, 22-6. The 'Birds played a return game in Tifton last week, increasing the margin to a 26-6 win.

It has been a good year for the Firebirds, especially on the defensive front. The squad has a current five-game winning streak and on the year are averaging 18.9 points and giving up a paltry 6.25. They have recorded three shutouts, including two in a row in June.

The only team to defeat them has been the Panhandle Crusaders, who tripped them up 19-12 in the third week of the season. They will have a chance for revenge next week when the Crusaders come to Tifton for the rematch.

Special Lupus Awareness Bowl T-shirts are on sale at Logan's and will also be on sale at the gate Saturday for $15.

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