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Locos playing well as team heads into UFL championship game

Editor’s note: Former UNLV wide receiver Casey Flair writes a weekly column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a member of the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives.

We played an all-around good game against the New York Sentinels last Friday in a 41-7 victory, keeping them scoreless most of the game and executing on both sides of the ball as well as on special teams.

Josh Scobey blocked our second punt of the year, while Ezra Butler scooped it up and scored. Offensively, we started Tim Rattay at quarterback — rather than regular starter J.P. Losman — and did not miss a beat, scoring early and often. Defensively, we played fast, made plays and did not allow New York any opportunities to get into an offensive rhythm. Wally Dada had a great game with two interceptions, the second one a great catch that showed phenomenal body awareness by tapping both feet in bounds and securing the pick.

Every player on the team was given the chance to play as Coach Jim Fassel had promised, and everything ran smoothly. I recorded my first catch as a Loco in the fourth quarter for a first down on third-and-3, making it an even more important night for me. The game allowed us to build momentum going into our last game of the season — Friday’s UFL championship game against the Florida Tuskers at Sam Boyd Stadium — but, more than that, there were no any serious injuries. It also was great to see that the number of Locos fans supporting us by attending the game had increased dramatically from the first two weeks of the season.

Now, for the second time this season, we play back-to-back home games in Las Vegas, and we could not be more excited. We knew when the league was first formed that our season would start in Vegas and, if we played well, it would end in Vegas with the first-ever UFL championship game.

Well, the season has come 360 degrees and only one game matters now, and that is at noon Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium against the Tuskers and Coach Jim Haslett. We have put ourselves in a great position, as winners of three games in a row who are headed into the title game with the chance to play a Florida team that escaped with a hard-fought three-point victory when we first met at Tropicana Field in Florida earlier this season. Both teams are vying for that title of “champion,” a little more money and a chance to put themselves in the history books as the first team to ever wear the UFL crown. Both teams have been staying in Vegas this week and practicing at Sam Boyd.

I know personally how great it is to be back home in Vegas, and the other Locos feel the same way. It’s amazing how quickly the guys have taken to Vegas as their home away from home. It’s also great to see the support from the local community, with attendance at every game surpassing the weeks previous — and now the championship game is expected to bring out a record number of Locos fans.

Practices have taken on a much more intense and businesslike approach than in weeks past, leaving emotions high and an eagerness to get back on our home turf and play at the season’s highest level. This is a chance for us to make history and to put our stamp on the UFL as the team to beat next year.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these journal entries as much as I have enjoyed writing them and that you will join your Las Vegas Locomotives this Friday at noon when we face the Florida Tuskers in the most important game of the UFL’s short history.

Quote of the week: Success is not measured by your greatest achievements, but rather by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals!

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