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'Canes loss protested
Team adds defensive coordinator, plays at home tomorrow
A Hinesville Hurricane receiver jumps and reaches for the pigskin during practice Monday night. The Hurricanes host the Cobras tomorrow night at 7 at Long Bell Stadium. - photo by Photo by Patty Leon/Coastal Courier
The road to Waycross started off paved with good intentions as the Hinesville Hurricanes faced the Waycross Firebirds in their second meet this season last Saturday. But the pavement soon turned bumpy and the Hurricanes found themselves in an uncomfortable situation after their 40-28 loss.
"Both teams played hard but there was definitely a problem with the officiating crew," coach James Sharp said. "To start with they only had three referees when the league states there must be five for a game."
"They were lacking in referees and their own knowledge of the rules of the game and professionalism was lacking a lot," new defensive coordinator Gustavo Regus said. "The referees did not have control of the game and they only had three when you are supposed to have five refs. So they didn't see a lot of things both ways."

Blown call
Regus, who just joined the 'Canes and is enjoying his first season with the team, said plays were blown dead before they were down, others were just mishandled completely for both the Firebirds and the Hurricanes.
At one point the Hurricanes came back after being down 28-6 and tied the score 28-28. The team was attempting a two-point conversion to go ahead and ran an option play where the quarterback faked the hand off to the full back, tucked the ball in and ran to the outside with his option pitchman.
"The referees didn't see the play and they thought the full back had the ball," Regus explained. "When he was completely covered by defenders they blew the whistle but the quarterback had the ball on the opposite side. We could have converted the play and gone ahead. Instead they blew the whistle, the quarterback slowed down and was hit by Firebirds. He got up and threw the football down on the ground where it accidentally hit a Waycross player and we got flagged for 15-yards. That just took the air out of our players when bad calls like that happened and they happened all night. That killed the momentum."
The 'Canes have filed a protest with the league.
"We were penalized for 100 yards," Waycross Firebird coach James Cox said. "I don't think there is anything to protest but I respect coach Sharp and I think he is a real good guy."
Waycross went on to out maneuver the 'Canes and took a 40-28 victory. With a friendly rivalry developing between the teams, coach Sharp said he can't wait for their third meeting. This time it will be at home with certified officials.
With the loss behind them the 'Canes are focusing on their home game at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Long Bell Stadium against the Cobras. The team is striving to improve and brought in Regus to develop the defense. It's his first season as a 'Cane coach but he has 14 years of football experience when he played in high school and at Indiana State University as a strong safety. An injury ended his career.
Football, he said, was in his blood and he has two relatives in the pros. One recently retired from the Steelers, the other plays for the Bears.
"Our players hit but don't wrap and those are some of the fundamental and technical things I plan to work on," he said.
He also wants to improve the communication between the players while on the field and improve their knowledge of the game. He wants to teach them to react to the ball.
"Don't talk the game, play the game," he said. "
Tomorrow night's game has an added measure of devotion as the team plans to dedicate the game to the coach's wife, the late Mary Jo Sharp. They were hoping to have a dedication in the first home opener on June 14, but the team they were scheduled to play cancelled at the last minute. The family decided they would wait until tomorrow to honor her memory with a real game, as she would have preferred to see her team in a challenge.
The dedication ceremony scheduled for half time. Admission is $6 for adults and children over 12.
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