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Chris Carothers & Johnnie Jones in "NIFL"

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I'm guessing some of you bay area people had heard of this NIFL before...not me.


Newer ThunderBolts Get Their Chance as Playoffs Approach

Published Thursday, June 22, 2006


By Tom Zebold

The Ledger

With the regular season winding down and the division clinched, it was time for head coach Teddy Keaton to see what some of his newer ThunderBolts players could do last week.

Lakeland went on the road to face Osceola on Saturday and nearly pulled off a win with a number of starters sitting out. The ThunderBolts carried a 26-24 lead into the fourth quarter, but let it slip away after they were shut out for the rest of the game. The result was a 34-26 defeat that marked Lakeland's second loss of the season.

"The purpose was to get some players some time," said Keaton of readying his newer personnel for a playoff run. "We just wanted to make sure that they can play football so when we get to the playoffs we can win some ball games."

One of the ThunderBolts who proved to be effective while seeing significant playing time was first-year NIFL defensive back Johnnie Jones, who signed with the team almost two months ago.

Since finishing his career at the University of South Florida last season, Jones has rotated in with Lakeland's defensive backs and contributed during the Charleston road win on May 27. Saturday, he tallied 3.5 tackles and gave up one passing touchdown while playing his first entire game with the ThunderBolts.

"He just did a real good job. I was excited about it," said Keaton of the former Booker High star. "He's a big defensive back and he can go up and make tackles."

In 2005, Jones played in every game for USF head coach Jim Leavitt and recorded a pair of interceptions. He is also the second Bulls player that Lakeland has signed this season. Chris Carothers also joined the T'Bolts to bolster the offensive line.

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I've only heard of 'em because they just brought a franchise here to Greensboro this past year. Think low-budget Arena football. nonetheless, it's a good time when it's the only football gig in town/in season. I'll have to keep an eye out for 'em when the T'bolts come to town next season. I seem to remember they've got some kanigits on the squad as well.

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any football is better than no football right  ;D

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It's a rough league, a former high school teammate of mine was in it last year and didn't get paid for a few weeks. His weeks consisted of bus trips, 4 guys in a motel 8 room, and crowds of about 100-500 people at games. The team he played for folded after one season.

Hopefully for Carothers and Jones they are able to lach on to the AF2 which is a much more stable minor league indoor league.

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