From worst to first in two years for Wildcats - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

From worst to first in two years for Wildcats

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July 28, 2008

Albany - The South Georgia Wildcats rolling into the AF2 playoffs as South division champions and winners of seven straight games.

It has been a turnaround promised by team owners two years ago.

It was a sweet celebration in Huntsville Saturday night where the South Georgia Wildcats won the AF2 South division title.

A celebration appreciated by those who remember two years ago when the team finished a second straight 3-13 season.

Wildcats general manager Darren McPhail said "Going to every game, every Saturday and knowing you don't necessarily have a chance to compete the way you like. That is not fun. "

Wildcats ownership vowed to turn the team into a winner.

The first step McPhail says was to hire Derek Stingley to be the Wildcats head coach.

McPhail said "I think immediately Stingley took us from the laughing stock of the league to a team that was respected."

Of course the master plan to the Wildcats turnaround if far from finished.

The goal is to an AF2 championship.

The road to the 2008 Arena Cup playoffs for the Wildcats starts here Saturday night at the Civic Center against Manchester.

McPhail said "I am excited and somewhat nervous about being in the stadium Saturday around 7:00 or 7:15 with kickoff on the way for that very first playoff game."

Another reason for McPhail's anxiety is that Manchester is just as hot as the Wildcats but the g-m believes fate is on the side of his team.

McPhail said "So, I really feel like this is our year."

Wildcats fans hope Darren McPhail is right.

Tickets for Saturday's home playoff game for the South Georgia Wildcats are on sale at Albany Civic Center box office.

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