For the Orlando Phantoms of the United Football Federation of America, winning has become something they expect on a weekly basis. With a UFFOA title under their belt already in their short history, expectations are sky high as the get their 2017 season started.
Going into this week’s game against the Glynn County Revolution, the Phantoms expected to come out of it 2-0. While they did pull out the win, new head coach Marcus Manuel wasn’t impressed with their performance in the 40-28 win.
“I think this game we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” coach Manuel said. “It was definitely an ugly game most of which we brought on ourselves with mental mistakes. I think we left a lot of points on the field with some missed touchdowns. Defensively I think we let them get back in the game. We knew they were going to keep coming and we let them make it close and actually go up. Towards the middle of the 4th quarter we got a couple turnovers to take the lead and it went from there.”
The game was pretty much neck-and-neck, back-and-forth until the fourth quarter. The Phantoms found themselves trailing by three, 28-25, with less than 10 minutes to go, but they dug down deep and put together two consecutive touchdown drives to pull away and remain perfect on the young season.
While most coaches would give credit to a player or two for making game changing plays, Manuel gave credit to two units for the win.
“Defensively no one individual got a game ball tonight, but the defense as a whole got things done when we needed it done,” Manuel said. “Our running backs played well tonight. I think Chad Davis, Teddy (Walker), and Greg Debose all scored so I would give it to them as a group as well.”
Although disappointed with their performance, Manuel is glad they got the win against one of the top teams in the UFFOA.
“The win means we go to 2-0,” coach Manuel said. “It was a division game so it keeps us at the top. (Glynn County) Georgia is one of my favorite teams to play because I think highly of their coach and the organization as a whole, so to get a win against them feels good. Still though, I learned that we have a lot of work to do. I think we are a championship caliber team, but we aren’t there yet. We just need to fine tune everything and do what we do.”
For a team with championship aspirations like the Phantoms, the win will be short lived.
“Next Saturday we play against the North Florida Bears and it’s at their place,” coach Manuel stated. “I’ll start watching film on them tomorrow, we have a coaches meeting on Monday, and we start practice Wednesday. We’ll start preparing for them tomorrow and I expect us to play better. The coaches will make the right adjustments and the team should hopefully have a better showing then we did against Glynn County.”
Despite their 2-0 start, the Phantoms continue to make the adjustments needed to make another run at a title. Fortunately, they have a coach in Marcus Manuel who will do whatever is necessary to ensure the trophy returns to Orlando.