BY CARL BLEICH
Special to the Journal
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The American Indoor Football Association's Florida Stingrays could not put together a solid offensive attack in the second half of their game against the Mississippi MudCats at the Lee Civic Center Saturday night.
As a result, the Stingrays were outscored 32-0 in the second half and dropped their fourth consecutive contest 63-22.
The Stingrays (0-4) turned the ball over six times in the loss.
“It's the mental mistakes that are killing us,” Stingray coach BJ Jernigan said. “Right now we just can't seem to get over that.”
Florida forced Mississippi into a field goal attempt on the MudCats' first possession of the game. On the attempt, the snap was low and holder Darryl Carter scooped it and found a wide open Sam Smith for a 17-yard touchdown and a 7-0 MudCat lead.
Smith would score again near the end of the first half when he stripped Stingray Terrence Simmons, recovered the fumble, and scampered six yards for a touchdown.
Florida scored its three touchdowns in the first half. The Stingrays tied the score at seven when Ray Denson caught a 21-yard pass from quarterback Antone Gadsden. Denson snatched his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter on an 8-yard pass from Gadsden.
Kendall Newson scored the Stingrays other touchdown when he nabbed a 4-yard score despite being flipped over the wall and landing on the Civic Center's cement floor.
“We were just out of sync tonight,” Newson said. “They are a good team. This is our first time doing this. We can get better but we have to cut down on the mental mistakes.”
Mississippi quarterback Tommy Jones tossed six touchdowns, three in the fourth quarter, for the MudCats (3-0). The 63 points scored was the Mudcats' lowest point total of the AIFA season.
Gadsden finished the night 13-of-25 for 135 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
The MudCats travel to Baltimore on Saturday, hoping to run their undefeated string to four games. The Stingrays have a bye next week and then will play Augusta in Georgia on April 18.
“We only had one day of practice this week,” Jernigan said. “Once we let someone get up on us,. we can't seem to make a comeback. That is something we have to iron out.”