Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Sharks Activate Markee White on Tuesday
Four days before the 2013 season opener, the 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks announced Tuesday that the team has activated wide receiver Markee White from Refused to Report.
The 29-year-old White first joined the Sharks in a trade this past Friday, heading to Jacksonville in exchange for future considerations. He was placed on Refused to Report on Saturday.
Now entering his fourth AFL season, White spent 2012 with the Arizona Rattlers, helping the team capture the ArenaBowl XXV title. He caught 30 passes for 425 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season before making an impact in the Rattlers' playoff run. In the National Conference Championship Game against Utah, White caught six passes for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Before heading to Arizona, White spent each of his first two AFLseasons with the Spokane Shock. In 2011, White totaled 29 catches for 303 yards and two scores. He made a huge impact as a rookie in 2010, debuting with a total of 925 yards and 18 touchdowns on 66 receptions. White saved perhaps his best game of that rookie season for ArenaBowl XXI, hauling in four touchdown receptions in the Shock's win over the Tampa Bay Storm.
White also spent time with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League during the early part of 2012. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the National Football League's St.Louis Rams in 2007, but was waived prior to the start of the season.
Prior to his pro career, White played his final two seasons of collegiate football at Texas State University. As a senior in 2005, White led his team with 56 catches for 786 yards and five touchdowns, earning a selection to the All-Southland Conference FirstTeam in the process. White is a native of Long Beach, California.
To make room for White on the roster, the Sharks announced that wide receiver Trandon Harvey has been placed on Refused to Report. Following the transactions, the Jacksonville roster remains at the league maximum of 24 active players.
Utah Opens Season at Pittsburgh
With the dust from training camp still settling, the Utah Blaze will waste no time in transitioning into the regular season. Preparation for the season opener begins immediately, as the franchise travels on the road to kick off 2013 against the Pittsburgh Power on Saturday, March 23rd. The game can be heard on 97.5FM with Scott Garrard calling all the action.
An All-Arena defensive back during his playing career, Pittsburgh Head Coach Derek Stingley parlayed his playing experience into producing the Arena Football League's top-ranked secondary in 2012, as the Power surrendered just 218.8 passing yards per game last season.
The unit is led by defensive back Chris Leflore, who posted a team-high nine interceptions last year. Also added to the secondary was defensive back Sergio Gilliam, who delivered 15 interceptions over the past two years for the Kansas City Command. However, Pittsburgh's biggest free agent acquisition of the offseason was landing first-team All-Arena Jack linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson. Jackson led the Arena Football League with 14 interceptions in 2012 as a member of the New Orleans VooDoo.
Of course, it will be strength against strength when the Blaze meet the Power, as Pittsburgh's defense is charged with the task of stopping MVP quarterback Tommy Grady and the explosive Utah offense. Despite setting nearly every AFL passing record last season, the early indication from the coaching staff is that this year's group could be even more effective.
The 2013 wide receiver corps features veterans in Aaron Lesué, Brandon Thompkins and L.J. Castile. That trio produced astonishing numbers last season, posting 335 receptions, 3,913 receiving yards and 109 touchdowns combined. Rookie wideouts Mario Urrutia and Chase Deadder have drawn rave reviews and add an extra element of size and strength, as both players measure in at 6-5 and over 225 pounds. Hard-nosed fullback Ben Stallings also returns to the backfield for his third campaign in the orange and black.
On the offensive front, Utah will roll out a new group that features returning starter Antonio Narcisse, AFL veteran Shannon Tevaga and rookie Jermarcus Hardrick. They must protect Grady from defensive ends Dominie Pittman, who notched five sacks as a rookie with Pittsburgh last season, and Neil Purvis, who has delivered four sacks over five seasons in the AFL. Pittsburgh features a rookie along the interior in nose guard Willie McGinnis.
Utah is excited to unveil a new-look defense that figures to be much improved from seasons past. Veteran defensive backs David Hyland and Al Phillips return to the secondary. Hyland looked significantly more explosive during training camp after a full offseason of rest and Phillips is the franchise's all-time leader in tackles. First-year starter Maurice Leggett enters his rookie season in the AFL, but has already displayed outstanding coverage ability thanks to a unique combination of size and athleticism. Antwan Marsh is a natural playmaker and will also be back in the lineup as Utah's starting Jack linebacker.
Pittsburgh lacks size in its receiving corps, but features explosive speedsters in Mike Washington and PJ Berry. The duo notched 226 receptions for 2,766 yards and 52 touchdowns for the Power in 2012. Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson is a dual-threat passer with running ability, but will be making the first appearance of his AFL career as Pittsburgh's starter this Saturday.
Jefferson's inaugural game will be baptism by fire as he takes on the vaunted Blaze defensive front, nicknamed "Sack Lake City." Caesar Rayford is the longest-tenured member of the team and contributed 7.5 sacks last season. Keenan Mace returns to anchor the interior after leading all AFL nose guards with seven sacks in 2012. Joe Mortensen is a ferocious pass rusher at Mac linebacker and often looked like the best player on the field during training camp. The Blaze also added veteran defensive end Mike Alston, who bring explosive rushing ability off the edge.
The Blaze will take on the Power this Saturday, March 23rd at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Tampa Bay Storm vs Jacksonville Sharks Preview
The Tampa Bay Storm kicks off the 2013 season with its home opener versus the Jacksonville Sharks at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday evening at 7:30 PM EST. This will be the seventh meeting between the two teams, and fourth in Tampa. The Storm has a 1-5 record versus the Sharks, with its lone victory coming at home last season.
The Storm finished the 2012 season with an 8-10 overall record, just one win away from a playoff spot. In the offseason, the staff saw the need to improve the defense. Head Coach Dave Ewart added two new faces to his coaching staff, bringing in defensive backs coach Doug Kay, who returns for a third stint with the Storm, and defensive line coach Chris Hovan. They join offensive coordinator Lawrence Samuels, who returns to the Storm for his second season as a coach.
Nine players return to the Storm from the 2012 season. With the retirement of former quarterback Stephen Wasil, Ewart will have to rely on Adrian McPherson and Shane Boyd to run an offensive unit that saw much improvement last season, finishing 8th in the AFL scoring an average of 56.7 points per game. The quarterbacks will be throwing to returning wide receivers Joe Hills and Michael Lindsey, along with newcomers Chris C. Davis, Greg Ellingson, and Jesse Julmiste.
Veteran center Brad Serini and offensive lineman Terence Crosby return for their second season with the Storm. They will be joined by rookies Alfred McCullough and Nevin McCaskill.
On the defensive side of the ball, only four players return from last season. Second-year Storm defensive back Vance Cuff will be patrolling the defensive backfield with four new faces, Rashad Barksdale, De'Audra Dix, Jean Fanor and Chris Smith. The defensive line will also have some new faces in Rodney Beamon, LeRoy Burgess, R.J. Roberts and Demarcus "Tank" Tyler. They join returning veterans John-Kevin Dolce, Paul Griffin, and Pernell Phillips.
The Sharks are lead by Les Moss. The three-time South Division champion looks to continue its dominance this season by adding a veteran presence to the team. With more veterans, the Sharks hope to improve its overall play.
Moss will lean on quarterbacks Bernard Morris and R.J. Archer to help an offense that finished 12th in the AFL averaging 51.7 points per game. The Sharks also acquired former Storm wide receiver Hank Edwards from the San Jose Sabercats, and former Arizona Rattler, Markee White. The re-acquisition of Jeff Hughley, a wide receiver/kick returner that was a key piece to Jacksonville's championship team in 2011, should also help the offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sharks upgraded the defensive backfield by adding 2012 second team all-arena selection Tracy Belton. Returning on the defensive line is six-year veteran Jerry Turner and first team all-arena selection Aaron Robbins. Newcomer Dusty Bear, a 2011 second-team all-arena selection, has also joined the fold.
AFL Vet Joins the New Orleans VooDoo
The Arena Football League has assigned Wide Receiver Derek Lee to the New Orleans VooDoo, announced the VooDoo front office Wednesday, March 20.
In 2012, Lee spent time with the San Antonio Talons where he caught 32 passes for 333 yards and 11 touchdowns. While with the Chicago Rush, in 2011, Lee caught 41 passes for 461 yards and five touchdowns. Lee hauled in 101 passes for 1,298 yards and 24 touchdowns when he was with the Dallas Vigilantes in 2012. Continuing on in Lee's career, in 2008, Lee caught a career- high 142 passes for 1,762 yards during time spent with the Columbus Destroyers. Lee spent the beginning of his AFL career, 2005-2007, with the Georgia Force. There, Lee was named First-Team All-Arena and earned a spot on the All-Ironman Team and the All-Rookie team. Also, while with the Georgia Force for three years, Lee recorded 2120 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns
Before joining the AFL, Lee played four seasons at Tennessee Tech from 2000-20003.
"With seven years of experience, Lee brings a lot of veteran qualities to the VooDoo," said Head Coach O'Hara. "I see him being a great locker room leader."
Philadelphia Holds Events to Kick off 2013 Season
The American Conference Philadelphia Soul will give fans and media members an opportunity to meet the team by inviting the fans to the Soul Meet-and-Greet and Soul Watch-Party in support of the Soul kicking-off their 2013 season.
The Meet-and-Greet will take place at the Holiday Inn - Stadium Sports Bar, located at 900 Packer Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 21. The fans and their families will have an opportunity to get photos and autographs from the Soul players, coaching staff, and watch a Soulmates' performance.
The official Philadelphia Soul Watch-Party will be held at Dave and Buster's, located at 325 N. Columbus Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19106, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. Every Soul fan will receive free parking, on a first-come, first-serve basis, and a Dave and Buster's Power Card. Children are invited, however must be accompanied by an adult. Along with games and trivia, there will be appearances by the Soulmates, Soul Man, and Soul staff.
The Soul will play their season-opener in a rematch of ArenaBowl XXV against the Arizona Rattlers at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. The matchup is the AFL's Game of the Week and will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Wild to Host Koyotes in Home Opener
The Wichita Wild (2-0) is set to take on the Kansas Koyotes (0-1) in their home opener at Hartman Arena on March 23, kick-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The Wild are riding high after opening the season with a two game winning streak on the road while the Koyotes are winless after beginning the season at home.
The Wild visited the Salina Bombers last Saturday and emerged with a huge 63-34 win, in what turned out to be a competitive affair in front of a large crowd. The Bombers struck in the first play of the game to take the lead with a 45-yard touchdown pass against the Wild, missing the two-point conversion. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty put the Wild in great field position as running back Tywon Hubbard put the Wild on the board with a seven yard drive to the endzone. At the end of the quarter, Hubbard cashed in his second touchdown with a kick-off return to the five yard line followed by a five yard touchdown. Hubbard continued to fire on all cylinders, scoring two more touchdowns in the second quarter to allow the Wild a 43-20 lead over the Bombers heading into halftime. Defensive end, Matt Moss proved to be a huge threat to the Bombers offense with a blocked field goal recovered for a safety, and a sack on the quarterback for a fumble that led to a touchdown to keep the Bombers at bay. Salina attempted to comeback, securing two touchdowns in the third quarter, but the Wild proved to be too much for them to overcome, as Kicker Alex Fambrough sealed the win for the Wild with the final points of the game to defeat the Bombers.
The Kansas Koyotes were unsuccessful in their first game of the season against the Oklahoma Defenders, falling 60-24. The Koyotes stuck with the Defenders for the entire first half, converting on a blocked field goal kicked off by quarterback Chris Mayabb connecting with wide receiver Justin Craig for the first of his four total touchdowns. Koyotes running back James Walker found his stride in the second quarter, contributing by driving in two touchdowns of his own. Although the first half proved to be a battle, the Defenders turned up the heat on the Koyotes in the second half. The third quarter highlight was a WR Craig's final touchdown and the Koyotes only point in the second half. The Koyotes were never able to generate the offense they needed to get back in the game as The Koyotes fell to the Defenders, 62-40.
Player to Watch: Running Back Tywon Hubbard
Hubbard produced a phenomenal game against the Bombers Saturday, scoring four touchdowns in the first half, contributing to the 30 points the Wild put up in the second half alone. Hubbard has proved to be an unstoppable force for opposing defenses because of his explosive running game. The Central Missouri Alum racked up 2,325 yards last season with the Wild and 23 touchdowns. Hubbard has already packed away seven touchdowns this season and shows no signs of slowing down. As a key piece of the Wild's offense, watch for Hubbard to shred the Koyotes defense and continue to put up major points this Saturday.

Indoor Football League
Storm Take on Ice this Sunday
The Sioux Falls Storm will travel to Loveland, CO this weekend to take on the #5 Colorado Ice Sunday, March 24th kicking off at 4pm.
The Sioux Falls Storm (2-1) were victorious 67-7 over the Wyoming Cavalry (0-2) on Sunday afternoon in their 2013 home opener. Dwight Dasher ended the game with 164 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. He also rushed for 138 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. This was the Storm's twenty-fifth straight win at home.
The Ice who are now (2-1) outlasted the Green Bay Blizzard 24-20 in a defensive battle last Saturday.
Tune in to AM 1230 & FM 98.1 KWSN at 4:00pm CT to hear The Silver Fox, Rich Roste, give the play-by-play for the game.

Lone Star Football League
New Signing for the Venom
The Amarillo Venom have signed Texas Tech University graduate, and native of Childress, Sawyer Vest.
This will be Vest's first year in the Lone Star Football League and he will be playing wide receiver and defensive back. Vest played in twelve games for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. During that time span he had thirteen tackles, eleven of which were solo tackles, while playing corner and special teams for the Red Raiders.
According to his profile page on Texas Tech's website, Vest had a very decorated high school career playing quarterback for the Childress Bobcats. He was a three year letterman, district MVP, named district newcomer of the year in both football and basketball and was named honorable mention in the race for all-state quarterback.
"Watching him from his Childress High School days to his Texas Tech days has been a lot of fun," Venom owner Stephanie Tucker said. "We are very excited to have him and our Childress fans are going to be excited to see a familiar face."

Professional Indoor Football League
Steelhawks Travel South to Battle Swashbucklers
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (1-1) will look to take their win from last week and turn it into a streak when they travel to Louisiana to battle the Swashbucklers this Saturday, March 23rd at 8:00pm (EST).
The Swashbucklers' (0-1) are led offensively by QB Chris Mitchell (208 yards, 3 tds) and WR Jordan Rideaux (11 catches for 166 yards, 2 tds). Rideaux is their biggest offensive threat, accounting for over half of all their receiving stats - catches, yards, and touchdowns. DB Brandon Robinson (6 tackles) and DB Greg Harvey (5 tackles) are lead their defense.
The Steelhawks (1-1) are looking for another repeat performance from QB Adam Bednarik (423 yards, 7 tds) who accounted for 6 touchdowns - 4 passing, 2 rushing - last week against the Nighthawks and has a 70 percent completion average on the year. His favorite target this year has been WR Jeff Willis (11 catches for 134 yards, 3 tds). WR Tom Gilson (11 catches) and WR Troy Pascley (3 catches for 105 yards, 3 tds) give Bednarik a mix of lethal targets to throw to. On the defensive side of things, DB Clarence Curry leads with 8.5 tackles. DB Marvin Johnson (6.5 tackles), LB E.J. Webb (2 tackles, 2 sacks), and a solid defensive line will be looking to shut down Louisiana's attack as well.
Kickoff is slated for 8:05 (EST). Steelhawk 2013 home games will be broadcast on Service Electric TV2 Sports.

Ultimate Indoor Football League
Raider Rally at Ker's Winghouse Lakeland
It might be the start of spring but football is still thriving in Lakeland. The Lakeland Raiders Professional Arena team has been dominant so far boasting a 2-0 record, while averaging 76 points through their first two performances.
The upcoming games will be a true test for the Raiders as they take on their rival Florida Tarpon's in back to back weeks. The Raiders were unable to come out on top last season against the Tarpon's in the conference finals. Good thing Head Coach Michael Mink has been letting the revenge boil up inside him since the end of last season.
Come support your hometown team, Ker's Winghouse in Lakeland will be hosting a Raiders Rally extravaganza on
March 23rd beginning at 7:00PM.
Make sure to come out & meet your favorite players/dancers/coaches     and the new Raider mascot "Gunny."
There will be plenty of time for autographs, photo sessions and complete interaction for fans to enjoy. This is a rally you won't want to miss, guarantee your friends and co-workers will rub it in your face all week if you miss out.

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