Thursday, March 21, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Sharks Announce Television Talent for 2013
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks have finalized the local announcing team for the team's six local television game broadcasts on WJXT. For the 2013 season, Cole Pepper will serve as the play-by-play broadcaster, while former AFL player and coach Jerry Odom returns in his role as analyst.
The Sharks' broadcast schedule kicks off with Saturday's season opener against the Tampa Bay Storm, which will air live from the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 7:30 p.m. EST. Saturday's game will be the first locally-produced road broadcast in franchise history.
Cole Pepper has been a familiar voice and face on the Jacksonville sports scene since 1996. He has served as the studio host for the Jaguars Radio Network for all but one year since 1997 and has called both radio and television play-by-play for Jacksonville University football, basketball and baseball.
Pepper has won 12 Associated Press Awards, including three selections as the Best Sportscast in Florida. He spent eight years as the sports director for WOKV radio, and has served as the fill-in sports anchor on WJXT since 2003.
Odom returns for his third consecutive season as the Sharks' television analyst. Odom also serves as the Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers coach at Jacksonville University, a position he has held for each of the last three seasons. Odom carries a wealth of Arena Football knowledge, spending a total of seven years with the Orlando Predators from 1992-98 as a two-way fullback and linebacker.
Odom also has AFL coaching experience, serving as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Soul during the 2008 season. Odom played linebacker at the University of Florida, earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team in 1987.
Pepper and Odom will team up for a total of six live broadcasts this season. After Saturday's opener in Tampa, the duo will call five Shark home games, beginning with the home opener against the New Orleans VooDoo on April 12.
Will Mulder Joins Shock Coaching Staff
The Spokane Shock are proud to announce the hiring of past player and new defensive backs coach William Mulder. Mulder will step in to replace former Shock defensive backs coach Stanley Franks who has accepted a position with the coaching staff of the NCAA FCS Idaho State Bengals.
Mulder joins the Shock for the 2013 season for his AFL coaching debut. When asked about the hiring, head coach Andy Olson expressed gratitude and high expectations for the former AFL veteran, saying, "We are very fortunate to find such a knowledgeable guy like Mulder on short notice. He has had so much success on the field over the years and we expect to see an immediate impact as a coach."
Mulder's past accomplishments on the field are sure to be an inspiration to the players he will now be coaching. After graduating from Campbellsville in 2004, Mulder spent five seasons as a member of the Lexington Horsemen of the United Indoor Football League and af2 (UIFL from 2005-2007). Mulder, a native of Versailles, KY, set nearly every record for punt returns and INTs as a defensive back at Campbellsville University from 2001-2003.
In 2009 Mulder earned second-team all af2 honors after recording 11 interceptions, 24 pass break-ups, and 65.5 tackles. He added 1,770 yards on special teams. During his af2 rookie season in 2008, Mulder led the Horsemen with 57.5 tackles, three INTs, and 19 pass break-ups. He also added 1,895 all-purpose yards as a kick returner.
In 2011, Mulder played for the Utah Blaze where he recorded two INTs and 25 tackles in four games. Mulder began his AFL career when he joined the Shock in 2010 where he recorded 82 tackles, 19 pass break-ups, three INTs, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble on the season; as a part of the 2010 ArenaBowl XXIII championship team.
Shock general manager Ryan Rigmaiden is very confident about the signing, counting on Mulder's game savvy and experience as a player to make a significant and immediate impact, saying "Will was always a smart player and it was an easy decision for us to think he'd be a good fit on our staff. His knowledge of the game and extensive Arena experience gives us the ability to replace Coach Stanley Franks with another capable young coach."
With the full support of the front office and players, Coach Mulder is sure to achieve great success. His first test as a coach will come on the Shock's season opener, March, 24, as the Shock take on the Cleveland Gladiators at Cleveland. Mulder will return to Spokane for the Shock for the first time since his player days on April, 12, as the Shock face up against the Arizona Rattlers in the home opener.
Jordan Jefferson Named Pittsburgh Power Starting Quarterback
The Pittsburgh Power have named Jordan Jefferson their starting quarterback for the 2013 season. After a spirited training camp battle with fellow quarterback Shane Austin, Jordan was given the nod by Head Coach Derek Stingley.
The 6'5", 225-pound Jefferson was a standout at LSU, throwing for 4,733 yards and scoring 34 touchdowns in his collegiate career. He was the Tigers starting quarterback in the 2012 BCS National Championship game against Alabama. He also holds the LSU school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,018. Jefferson signed with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent and was with the team for a brief stint. He then signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL for the 2012 season. "I'm excited about Jordan Jefferson being the starter. He has shown the ability to make plays during training camp" said Coach Stingley. "He's been a sponge throughout camp, soaking in all the knowledge about the QB position in this league. There's still a lot of room for improvement, but Jordan can make a negative play into a positive, he's an exciting player. He's an athlete that happens to be a QB," Stingley exclaimed.
The Power will practice at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on Pittsburgh's Southside (3200 S. Water Street) this evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and again on Thursday at the same time. The team will have a formal walkthrough at CONSOL Energy Center Friday at 5:00 p.m. Media wishing to interview Power players and coaches can do so from 5:15-5:45 p.m. at practice on Wednesday and Thursday and from 6:00-6:30 p.m. on Friday. Please contact Rob Goodman if you plan to attend either the practice or walkthrough.
The Power open their third Arena Football League season this Saturday against the Utah Blaze. Kickoff at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center will be at 6:00 p.m.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Bombers Release Gant
The Salina Bombers have made the decision to release Eugene Gant, a lineman from the University of Arizona. Gant, a 6'5" 250 lb defensive end, played in the Bomber's first game on Saturday, March 16th and wore jersey #90.
"We regret having to release any of our players, but if their conduct is unbecoming of the team we must act quickly", team General Manager Mike Reid stated. "Eugene Gant acted inappropriately during the game with both gestures and language.  A decision was made in the best interest of the Bombers, and our fans, to take action and release him immediately."
Salina Bomber's Owner Jake Leighty said, "We expect everyone to set a high standard in this organization. From owners to interns, we should do our best to represent the Bombers and the City of Salina." Leighty goes on to say, "We wish Eugene all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his time and hard work with the Bombers."
The Bombers have a bye week this weekend and will return to action Saturday, March 30th when they host the Mid-Missouri Outlaws.

Indoor Football League
Danger Look to Get Back on Track against Cavalry
After a tough loss on the road to the Tri-Cities Fever, the Nebraska Danger look to get back on track in an Intense Conference matchup against the Wyoming Cavalry. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at the Heartland Events Center.
In their first road test of the season last Friday, the Danger - who scored on 11 consecutive drives against the Colorado Ice - could not find momentum offensively in the second half as the reigning Intense Conference champion Fever pulled out a 44-31 win.
"It was just not being on the same page," Danger Head Coach Mike Davis said. "Being a passing league makes it tough to be successful if your timing is not on. We were prepared. We kind of knew what they were going to do. It's just that we didn't perform and we didn't execute. That's the bottom line."
In a run-heavy first half, Danger running backs Daniel Libre and Randy Bell combined for three rushing touchdowns. Dan Kleckner's 35 yard field goal as time in the first half expired put the Danger ahead at the break 24-20.
The Fever was able to break away in the second half with three touchdowns to receiver George Bell. Danger quarterback Jameel Sewell connected with Kayne Farquharson for Sewell's only passing touchdown of the night, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
"There are some things we did that weren't great, but the good thing is they are all correctable," Davis said. "We haven't done anything that you see when you go back and watch the film that you can't fix."
Wyoming, coming off a 4-10 season a year ago, is 0-2 after falling to Sioux Falls 67-7 last week and to undefeated Cedar Rapids 54-12 in week four. The Cavalry won the only meeting a season ago 44-43 after a potentially game-tying extra point attempt was blocked with 2.4 seconds remaining.
Friday's game is part of a full slate of IFL action in week six. In other action Tri-Cities travels to Texas to take on the Revolution on Friday night. Saturday features a week 3 rematch of Chicago vs. Green Bay where the Slaughter recorded the win 50-41. On Sunday the Sioux Falls Storm take on the Colorado Ice to see which team will become 3-1 and who will fall to 2-2.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm on Saturday night at the Heartland Events Center. Doors open at 6:00 with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30.
Tickets for Saturday night are available at area Pump & Pantry stores, the Heartland Events Center Box Office, or via Ticketmaster. The game will be broadcast live on 2DayFM 103.1 with veteran sports announcer Brad Fossberg on the play-by-play, or streamed live at
Special events during the game:
Pre-game entertainment by Engleman Elementary
The Nebraska Danger Danger Dolls Fan tunnel by Shoemaker, Centura, Chapman, and Westridge Elementaries
Pre-game songs by the St. Paul High School band and the Palmer High School band
Pre-game cheer by the Grand Island Senior High cheer team
National Anthem by the Ansley High School choir
Appearance by Bones
Halftime performances by the Danger Dolls, St. Paul dance team, Ravenna dance team and Northwest High School girls basketball & volleyball teams.
Throw for Dough contest benefitting the United Way! (Buy a mini-football from their booth on the Concourse Level for $1 for a chance to win!)
T-shirt shooter throughout game
Pizza Eating Contest with The Bunkhouse Section contests for Nebraska Lottery
Following the game, an autograph party/dance party with Players, Danger Dolls, Ball Babes, Mascots, Coaches and Staff will take place.

Professional Indoor Football League
Nighthawks announce East Tennessee Appreciation Night for 2013 home opener
The Knoxville Nighthawks will offer free tickets to Knox, Sevier, and Blount county and city employees for their first home game March 30th. A total of 1000 tickets will be available. Each employee may obtain two free tickets when they show their work ID badge at the Knoxville Coliseum Box office. Additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate based on the area of seating starting as low as $7.00 each. Nighthawks General Manager Andy Haskell said, "Coming from other major metros I can see how special this community is. This a way that we can say thanks and give the folks of East Tennessee something to enjoy that is affordable and entertaining for families. Also we want to say thank you to a couple of our partners Hovis Orthopedic and Cool Sports Home of the Icearium, that made this happen. It should be an exciting night. The team has improved greatly since week 1. The Nighthawks have a young team, however are currently the top rated offense and the 3rd rated defense in the PIFL. Coach Dematteo's team is looking forward to finally getting home, after three straight road games and putting on a show for the Knoxville and East Tennessee Community. "
The first 500 fans through the doors will be given a 2013 Nighthawks Souvenir Cup. This cup can be refilled, for $2.00, at any Knoxville Coliseum Events until October 1, 2013.
Panthers Announce "Coca-Cola Night" on Saturday, March 23rd
As the Back-to-Back and reigning Professional Indoor Football League Champion Albany Panthers prepare take the field for the third time this year on Saturday night against the Alabama Hammers, Coca-Cola will be highlighted as this week's sponsor.Â
Coca-Cola's Game Night festivities will include the National Anthem by singer Megan Sweeney & Molly Griner, invocation by Les Reed, coin toss by Brent Murphy and Game Ball presentation by Jermaine Whitehead.
"We are excited to have Coca-Cola as a partner" said Will Carter, General Manager of the Albany Panthers. "They are extremely supportive and plan many other programs with employees and the community."
The Panthers are AGAIN ranked 1st in this week's PIFL Poll, and they have a 2-0 record in league. Albany is coming off a win against the Columbus Lions last Saturday night, although the Hammers are currently 2-0 the importance of this match-up is huge. With a win, Albany takes one step closer to another league title.
Swashbucklers Prepare For Meeting With Steelhawks
After a disappointing loss to the Albany Panthers to start the season, the Louisiana Swashbucklers are ready to right the ship when the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks come to the Smuggler's Den on Saturday, March 23rd. This will be the second game on the schedule since the team had a bye week last week.
The Bucs are 0-1 while Lehigh Valley is 1-1. The Steelhawks are the newest members of the Professional Indoor Football League and based in Bethlehem, Pa. The tailgating will start outside the Lake Charles Civic Center at 4:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The game will spotlight the Ethel Precht Hope Foundation for breast cancer research.
This is the first and only meeting between the two teams in 2013. A win is important for Louisiana to stay in contention for a postseason berth. The Panthers and Alabama Hammers remain undefeated with 2-0 records while the Bucs remain in the middle of the PIFL standings. Other games Saturday will feature Knoxville vs. Richmond and Alabama vs. Albany.
Newcomer Chris Mitchell for the Swashbucklers did well for his first game at quarterback. He was 15 out of 25 for 208 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Veteran wide receivers Sammy Knight and Jordan Rideaux were in stride against the Panthers two weeks ago. Rideaux caught 11 passes for 166 yards and two scores. Knight was five for 69 yards and one touchdown.
The Bucs defense will be put to the test when the Lehigh Valley offense takes to the field. The Steelhawks will rely on quarterback Adam Bednarik to score early and fast. Against the Nighthawks, he had 423 yards and seven touchdowns. Bednarik will be looking to get the ball downfield to wideouts Jeff Willis, Tom Gilson and Troy Pascley. Willis had 11 catches for 134 yards and three scores while Pascley also found paydirt three times along with 105 yards receiving.
For Louisiana, head coach Darnell Lee will be looking to defensive backs Greg Harvey, Brandon Robinson, and lineback Damien Huren to stop Bednarik and his offense from scoring.
Richmond Raiders Back in Action Saturday
The Richmond Raiders (0-1) will aim to recover from a big loss to the Alabama Hammers as they host the Knoxville Nighthawks (0-2) on Youth Achievement Night sponsored by Frontier Health. Youth-oriented pregame and halftime entertainment will be featured, including chances for kids to compete in contests on the field. Meanwhile, Knoxville will be trying to earn its first win over the Raiders in a series that dates back to last year, when the teams played three times.
The 2012 league MVP, Antwon Young, has returned to the Raiders to provide depth at quarterback. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm this Saturday, March 23, at the Richmond Coliseum.
Last week the Raiders dropped a 65-23 decision to the Alabama Hammers. The Hammers scored the final 42 points of the game, including a 35-0 run in the second half that saw Raiders quarterback Warren Smith get picked off four times. "When you're playing your first indoor game, things happen a little quicker than you think," Raiders head coach James Fuller said after the game. "It's tough for a quarterback to get comfortable in the pocket, and it was no different with Warren [Saturday] evening."
The Raiders rallied to tie the game at 23 in the first half, thanks to two rushing touchdowns (by Smith and Mike Jones) and a Smith to Herb Jones pass, as well as a career high three unos from kicker T.C. Stevens. But Alabama's relentless defensive pressure was too much for Smith and the Raiders' offensive line to overcome, as the Hammers held the Raiders to just 51 second half yards.
Last year's quarterback and league MVP, Antwon Young, has returned to Richmond after pursuing opportunities in the Arena Football League. Young has been participating in Raiders' practice this week, getting back up to speed with the offensive playbook and terminology. Fuller could not comment on whether Young would start Saturday, but the additional depth he provides at quarterback is a welcome addition to the team.
The Nighthawks will be playing their third straight road game to open the season. Against the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks last week, Knoxville rallied from a 28-7 deficit to pull within four points with 12:08 left in the game, but Lehigh Valley pulled away in the final minutes. Fuller acknowledged that the Nighthawks will be a hungry team when they step on to the Richmond Coliseum turf Saturday night. "They're starting to roll. They scored some points late against Lehigh Valley," he said. "We've been pretty successful against them and I'm hoping we can continue that."
Saturday's matchup will be on Youth Achievement Night, when the Raiders will salute the accomplishments of youth leagues and other organizations. The game is sponsored by Frontier Health, a patient experience company bringing a more connected patient and staff experience to hospitals and clinics nationwide. Youth kicking, martial arts, and football competitions will take place at halftime. Pregame entertainment in the Coliseum Club, on the concourse, and on the field will start at 5:30, and fans will have the chance to enter on-field contests to win Raiders prizes!

Ultimate Indoor Football League
Buck Night at the Family Arena April 1
The Missouri Monsters will hold a college/high school night on Monday April 1st at the Family Arena. Any college or high school student with school id will be able to purchase a ticket for $1.00. In addition to the Student discount, the Monsters will be giving away a FREE rally towel to the first 2,000 fans at the game. The rally towel give-away is sponsored by Winning Technologies.
Show your student id and its only $1.00 to enter, $1.00 for a hot dog, $1.00 for fries, $1.00 for a soda (inside the arena) the first half of the game.
Join us for tailgating at 5pm! Food and drink available for purchase or bring your own! Be there by 5 and park for FREE!
College and High School Students: Join us for school yard games including the 3 legged race, tug of war and field goal kick. Teams of 5 can sign up during tailgating to participate. Make it to the finals which will be played during the breaks of the football game. Prizes for the winners!
Raiders 4 Kids League Is a Hit
Have you experienced the Raiders 4 Kids League this Season?
It's a Saturday at Jenkins Arena. An enthusiastic crowd has gathered to watch their favorite players compete on the indoor gridiron. The teams are hyped and ready to play. The Harlem Shake blasts from the speakers and a few players break into dance moves between plays.
It sounds like a normal Saturday at the Lakeland Center. Except... there's Coach Mink on the sideline calling the game over the PA. Coach Bingle is next to him keeping stats and running game clock. There's no sign of BJ Hall or Kendrick Stewart or the rest of the Raiders team anywhere.
Saturday was the inaugural game of the Lakeland Raiders' partnership with the Polk County Youth Football League. Teams from the four corners of Polk County - Auburndale, Bartow, Lake Gibson, and Polk City gathered to compete in a league unlike anything the kids have seen before. "It's been a really great experience for the kids and I think that Michael Mike went all out to make sure it would be an awesome experience," commented Bartow Coach Terry Lewis just before kick off. "The kids are very excited and ready to go."
The games started at 8:00am in front of a bleary-eyed but energetic crowd of friends and relatives and ran all the way to 3:00 pm in the afternoon. The youth teams, ages ranging from 8 - 16, participated in a total of six games split among three age groups. They played on the same turf as the professional Raiders, following (with a few adjustments for the safety of the kids) the same rules that govern the UIFL.
Current Standings
Division I Standings:
Bartow: 1-0
Polk City: 1-0
Lake Gibson: 0-1
Auburndale: 0-1
Division II Standings
Auburndale: 1-0
Bartow: 1-0
Polk City: 0-1
Lake Gibson: 0-1
Division III Standingins
Lake Gibson: 1-0
Polk City: 1-0
Auburndale: 0-1
Bartow: 0-1

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