I was able to make it to their first exhibition game a couple of weeks ago and the team looked great!
For their first regular season game they were playing the Kentucky Drillers, who are starting their third season this year! In the world of indoor football, that makes the Drillers one of the older teams around.
Its a bit funny, because I was able to catch the Drillers play against the defunct Northern Kentucky River Monsters. I do have photos from back then on this blog- go to this entry-
The River Monsters were a fun team to watch too. Luckily, there are some connections to the old River Monsters and the new Owensboro Rage. Head coach Mike Goodpastor and offensive coordinator Brian Schmidt both contributed to the success of the River Monsters and now they are helping out with the Owensboro team!
I am really happy to see Goodpastor and Schmidt still around, and I am glad to see that the Drillers are making it!
I am hoping to make it to one of their games in Pikeville this season. There is another town with a lot going on! AND, that is a cool area showing their local professional football team a lot of support!
This game was just as fun as the first one I attended. There is a good, fun vibe going on here.
First off, Larry Mitchell performed the National Anthem on guitar before the game. The guy has won a Grammy, and he has performed with everyone! That was kind of a nice bonus before the game! I get goose bumps when I hear it done well, and Larry nailed it! His version was true and melodic, and it wasn't the Hendrix version that you have heard a million times before.
Also before the game started, the team had a nice tribute to Eddie Cronin who was a huge part of the team before their move to Owensboro from Evansville.
There is something touching and motivating about watching an organization go on after one of its key members passes on. I am not a fan of the over used cliche about the Phoenix but it may be appropriate to make that comparison with the Rage. It is inspiring that this team is fighting on after such a devastating loss.
The Rage have added Brent Clary as their on field announcer for this season. Brent is a witty football fan and really kept things moving. I appreciated his ability to update the fans on the score and other stats as the game went on, while making jokes about himself and the fans during breaks. He encouraged fans to keep any football they may catch as a souvenir, but he stressed the importance of returning any players that may fly into the stands.
Oh, I appreciated the fact that Brent took a moment several times to thank the Drillers for coming to town to play the Rage. Very classy.
I talked to Brent briefly after the game. When he is not watching football, he enjoys collecting Precious Moments figurines and Beanie Babies.
The Owensboro Rage won the contest 52-18! Of the 2 games I have attended this season (and pre-season), the Rage have beat their opponents by a score of 112 to 18!
After the game, I had a moment to chat with some of the players. EVERYONE of them thanked us for coming out! They were all very kind and sincere about it. Team announcer Brent Clary also thanked fans for coming out several times during the game.
There is a very warm feel going on at the Next Level during these games. Young kids were tossing a football around, Renny, the teams mascot was all over the venue entertaining everyone, and the home team dominated!