Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Rain Hits Storm Training Camp
As the Storm hit the midway portion of the final week of camp, the weather chose a bad time to start raining. Due to rainy weather conditions, the Storm had to cancel the morning session of practice, losing valuable practice time. While this would normally pose a problem, the players used the time to rest their bodies and recover.
"Morning practice was cancelled, but it wasn't a bad thing," said first-year Storm defensive back Jean Fanor. "We took the time to rest our bodies. I got in a workout which helped me feel more alive for the afternoon session, and helped me get better."
For the coaching staff, the sentiment was the same.
"Sure we had some rain," said Storm head coach Dave Ewart. "But we took the time to improve and we were focused today."
The afternoon session consisted of special teams drills. The players worked on kickoff coverage which is vital in dictating field position. With the shortened field of arena football every inch counts, making it imperative for the kicking team to pin the return team deep in its own territory.
The Storm finished the day working on pursuit and team drills.
Coaches' Perspective: "We didn't let the rain bother us today," said Ewart. "We were able to finish installing the offense, defense and special teams. Now we need to iron out the details."
Quote of the Day: On reaching the midway point of the final week of training camp, Storm wide receiver Joe Hills said, "We've been getting better and better each day. The hard work will pay off in the end."
Player Spotlight: Second-year Storm linebacker John-Kevin Dolce is returning from a season-ending injury. Dolce was injured during the first game of the season in 2012 versus the Chicago Rush. The former Virginia Cavalier worked the entire offseason to get back in shape to play for the Storm fans. His hard work and determination paid off as he has made it difficult for his quarterback to make plays during training camp.
99.5 WRNO Radio Back with Voodoo for a Third Year
The New Orleans VooDoo and Clear Channel Radio announced their 2013 partnership on Tuesday morning with 99.5 FM WRNO serving as the flagship station for VooDoo football for the third consecutive season. Also returning for a third tour of duty is play-by-play announcer Ken Trahan. Joining Trahan will be former VooDoo QB Danny Wimprine. Wimprine will enter his first year as the VooDoo's color analyst.
99.5 FM WRNO "Rush Radio" is a 100,000 watt station, which has a coverage area as far west as Baton Rouge, La. and eastward into Biloxi, Miss. The broadcasts will also originate on the internet at
"We are thrilled to enter into our 'Three-Peat' year with Rush Radio," said VooDoo Co-Owner Dan Newman. "The first two seasons gave our fans a wonderful opportunity to join Ken Trahan for VooDoo games that they couldn't see in person. Having them back with us for another season is really great for our fans and our team."
The radio broadcast team for the 2013 season includes longtime local play-by-play professional Ken Trahan and AFL veteran and former VooDoo QB Danny Wimprine on color. Trahan brings over 25 years of broadcast experience to the VooDoo broadcast booth and Wimprine besides being a well known local high school, college, and professional quarterback is making quite a mark in performing color analyst duties on area football broadcasts.
Competition Rises for the Final Days of Soul Camp
The 2012 American Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul, presented by Parx Casino, prepare to close out training camp in the next few days. Players are playing harder than ever to earn their roster spot for the upcoming season.
With four days left of training camp, including a scrimmage, the Soul players are picking up their intensity to show they deserve to stay. At this point of the camp, practice has become routine but the players are still motivated. The players know the way to standout in practice is by making the block, running the precise route, fight for the extra yards, or make the hard tackle. The coaches need to use all the time they can to evaluate which players will be the best in assembling a championship-caliber team.
With any camp, the players may become friends in the locker room but they need to battle out their roster spot on the field. The players have four days to put forth all their effort as camp ends on Saturday with a scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Power. Tomorrow, the Soul will continue with practices at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DL LAWON SCOTT (6'2, 305, Mississippi): Rookie DL Lawon Scott joins the Soul defensive line after spending 2012 with PIFL Columbus Lions and 2011 with the Dallas Cowboys after leaving Mississippi. During Scott's collegiate career, the St. Petersburg, FL native recorded 57 tackles and two sacks in 20 starts with the Rebels. In 2008, Scott earned Honorable Mention All-SEC recognition as a sophomore.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This camp is going well, this is something you can always learn from," said Soul veteran DL Dustin Barno. "Whether it's something Coach Dolezel or anyone else on the coaching staff is teaching us, for me to be in the league for nine years and still learn from them is something special. You learn the guys around you and know them as a person and a player and they are all great. One player that stood out to me is LB Calvin Fance. It has been a while since I seen someone as fast as him. He shakes people up and he is learning the game fast. Young guys need to remember to pay attention to the small details such as knowing your plays and assignments and to stay healthy; take the rest whenever you can.
RUNNING FOR THE BOOKS: During the 2012 season and his first season with Philadelphia, two-time All-Arena First Team FB Derrick Ross (6'0, 250, Tarleton) broke every rushing record in the Soul record books except one: career-rushing touchdowns (32). Ross has six AFL rushing records, breaking two records last season with the Soul.
The reason Ross has yet to break the Soul career rushing touchdown record is because he is tied with Chris Ryan. Ross will surely break the record book this season and own every rushing category in the Soul record book.
Ross signed a max-contract during the offseason to be in Philadelphia through the 2015 season. At the rate Ross is playing, Philadelphia may have invested in not only the best rusher in team history, but also the best rusher in AFL history.
Hyland Returns; Blaze Add Rookies Ikner, Lester
The Utah Blaze have agreed to terms with veteran DB David Hyland, as well as DB Arness Ikner and WR DeJay Lester, the franchise announced today. Ikner and Lester enter their rookie seasons in the Arena Football League, while Hyland returns after starting 15 games for the Blaze in 2012.
Despite missing the first five games of the 2012 season, David Hyland (6-0, 190, Morehead State) managed to lead the Utah Blaze with 93 total tackles, including three tackles for loss. He added two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Off the field, Hyland was awarded the Arena Football League's Community MVP of the Year award for his philanthropic efforts.
"I'm excited to be back with my Blaze family. It's a privilege to be surrounded by such great people throughout the organization," said Hyland. "The opportunity to wear the black and orange for a second season is a blessing that I hope to take full advantage of. I can't wait to get out on the field and get back to work."
A native of Layton, Utah, DeJay Lester (6-3, 200, Wyoming) played two seasons at the University of Wyoming after transferring from Snow College. In 2009, Lester hauled in 27 receptions for 456 yards and two touchdowns while helping Snow capture the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl. Snow finished the season ranking fifth in the NJCAA National Poll with a 10-2 overall record.
"It's humbling and a blessing. It feels great to be part of great organization," Lester stated. "I'm ready to contribute wherever I'm needed and hopefully I can help this team win a championship. It's an amazing feeling."
After transferring from Mt. San Antonio College in 2009, Arness Ikner (5-8, 180, Middle Tennessee State) started 24 games during his junior and senior seasons at Middle Tennessee State. He totaled 112 tackles with two tackles for loss over his final two campaigns, adding two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. Ikner was voted a permanent team captain for the Blue Raiders as a senior in 2011.
"I'm excited and blessed to have the opportunity to play for the Blaze," said Ikner. "I hope to bring playmaking ability to the team and I'm going to do everything I can to help Utah reach the championship in 2013."
Sharks Training Camp Report - March 12
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks took to the Plantation Park practice field for a full-contact workout on Tuesday morning.
Although a light rain fell throughout the early portion of practice, the weather never worsened. In fact, the sky stayed dry throughout the majority of practice, allowing the team to progress from positional drills to one-on-ones, three-on-threes and the final team session as scheduled.
Though the Sharks' first regular season game is still more than 10 days away, the on-field portion of training camp has nearly come to an end. After tomorrow's full practice, the team will hold a walkthrough on Thursday before hosting the Orlando Predators in Friday's preseason scrimmage on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
With not much time remaining, each and every one of the Sharks' 28 active players is under pressure to continue to improve on their body of work from the first week and a half of camp. After Friday's scrimmage, the Sharks' coaching staff will be forced to make a number of tough decisions in reducing the team's roster from 28 to 24. These decisions will be made on Saturday, as from the end of the week through the rest of the season the team will operate with a 24-man active squad.
Player Spotlight
Four rookie receivers remain in Shark training camp, but only one of them will have the chance to play in front of a hometown crowd on Friday. Wideout Charles Gilbert starred at Ridgeview High School in Clay County. After finishing his collegiate career at Concordia University in Minnesota, Gilbert spent time in training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Looking to crack the Sharks' roster, Gilbert is excited for the chance to represent his local team.
"It's definitely exciting to play in front of your hometown, get back here and run arount a little bit for a bunch of people I know who will come out and watch," Gilbert said. "It'll be fun, entertainment for them and fun to go out there and play."
Like any young receiver, Gilbert has had to adjust to the differences between Arena Football and the outdoor game. Fortunately, the Sharks possess a group of veteran receivers that have helped Gilbert and the other rookies make that transition. After Tuesday's practice, Gilbert spoke about the specific areas in which the Shark vets have helped him.
"They're helping me out with the route running, how to square up [defensive backs] and how to put yourself in better situations to get open," he said. "The vets are doing a good job and I'm just looking at them and doing what I can."
Roster Moves Following Tuesday's practice, the Sharks announced that defensive lineman Delvin Johnson has been activated from Refused to Report. An AFL rookie, Johnson was originally assigned to the Jacksonville roster on Friday, March 8.
In other Tuesday transactions, wide receiver London Crawford was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list, while wide receiver/defensive back Terrance Smith was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
The Sharks also announced Tuesday that offensive/defensive lineman Jordan Carlson has been placed on reassignment. Following the transactions, the Shark roster remains at the league maximum of 28 active players.
Up Next
The Sharks will hold their last full practice of training camp on Wednesday morning at Plantation Park. Wednesday's workout is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be open to the public.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Bombers Tickets Available to Early Arrivals
The Salina Bicentennial Center in conjunction with the Salina Bombers are inviting fans to come out early to purchase tickets for the first ever professional indoor football game in Salina. The Bombers will host the Wichita Wild at the Bicentennial center this Saturday with kick-off scheduled for 7:05.
However, the Bombers and the Bicentennial Center would like to invite fans out early, in efforts to minimize time that fans may spend in line. "With expected walkup attendance, we want to encourage people to purchase their Bomber tickets for Saturday ahead of time. The best way to avoid box office lines is to have your ticket in hand before the event. Come by the box office today or buy online at" said Chris Bird, Global Spectrum General Manager of the Salina Bicentennial Center. "The box office will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday and again at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Doors for the game will open early at 5:30 p.m. to give fans added opportunity to buy in advance and get into the building."
At this time, there are plenty of good seats available for the historic game on Saturday. Ticket prices start at $9 with $14 and $22 seats available. Kids ages 2-12 are $4.50 and $7.00 when purchased at the Bicentennial Center ticket office.
Haymakers Start Season On The Road Against Mid-Missouri Outlaws
The Lincoln Haymakers Pro Indoor Football team will start their inaugural season this Sunday March 17, in Sedalia, Missouri as they take on the Mid-Missouri Outlaws. The expansion Haymakers squad will be facing a veteran Outlaws team that finished 7-5 last year in the APFL. The Outlaws lost in the first round of the playoffs last season to the eventual APFL Champions the Sioux City Bandits.
The Haymakers regular season will start after nearly two months of training camp. Players are anxious and excited to take the field in Navy and Gold. Starting Defensive Back Michael Pace said "We're focused and ready." This historical weekend will mark the first time the Haymakers will play an official game.
The Wichita Wild opened up the regular season with a convincing 70-26 victory over the Oklahoma Defenders. With the twelve week season underway, the Haymakers would like to start off with a victory to maintain position running with the top contenders in the league. Top four teams out of the ten team league will qualify for the post season. The higher two seeds will have home field advantage.
The Haymakers will have a bye week, next week with the home opener on Friday March 29th against the Sioux City Bandits.

Lone Star Football League
Join Venom for What's on Tap
:The Amarillo Venom announced the event "What's on Tap" taking place Thursday March, 21 from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. at the Amarillo Civic Center. Along with the Amarillo Venom, "What's On Tap" is brought to you by AMA Techtel, the Amarillo Convention Bureau and various sponsors and partners of the Amarillo Venom. The event is free and will drawn in 200-500 people as vendors will be prepared with promotional materials and food and drink samples for the guests.
Those attending the event will also be treated to a free autograph section as well as a free ticket to the March 23rd season opener against the New Mexico Stars.
The event showcases what Amarillo has to offer in terms of local businesses and the Amarillo Venom. The Amarillo Venom will also be dropping their banner celebrating the 2012 Championship season during the event.

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