Friday, March 22, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
SaberCats Add AFL Veteran Defensive Lineman Mike Landry
The SaberCats announced today that they were assigned six-year Arena Football League veteran defensive lineman Mike Landry on a one-year contract.
"Bringing in Mike is big for us on the defensive side of the ball," said Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet. "He brings a ton of AFL experience to our football team and we look forward to adding him to the mix."
Landry (6-4, 290, Southern) has spent six seasons in the AFL, most recently with the Kansas City Command in 2011. He posted seven-and-a-half tackles and a sack in six appearances for Kansas City. In addition to his time with the Command, the Louisiana native has spent time with the Dallas Vigilantes (2010), Columbus Destroyers (2008), New Orleans VooDoo (2005 and 2007), and the Kansas City Brigade (2006). Throughout his six years of AFL service, Landry has posted 12 sacks.
The former Southern Jaguar originally signed out of college as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League in 2002. He then spent time with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe (2003), the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers (2004), the Billings Outlaws of the Indoor Football League (IFL) and the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2009) and both the CFL's Calgary Stampede and the IFL's Sioux Falls Storm during the 2010 season.
Shock travel to Cleveland to begin three game road stint
The Spokane Shock will have their first challenge of the 2013 season as the team heads to Cleveland to face the Gladiators Sunday, March 24th with a 10:00 AM PST kickoff.
This marks the third meeting between the Shock and the Gladiators since the Shock's debut in the Arena Football League in 2010 with the series being tied 1-1. After their first meeting early in the 2010 season which resulted in a Shock victory, Spokane would go on to win ArenaBowl XXIII. In the last encounter with the Gladiators the Shock that took place in the 2011 season, the Shock were unable to undo Cleveland's early lead despite a late surge of scoring drives, falling 61-55.
In 2012, the Shock had a closing record of 10-8. This was a record for the Shock as the first year the team has missed the playoffs in franchise history. The Gladiators also missed the playoffs in the 2012 season with a losing record of 8-10.
The Shock will begin the fourth season in the AFL with some familiar faces. Andy Olson is coming into his second season as head coach with the Shock. On defense the Shock have three returning members of the secondary with Paul Stephens, Terrance Sanders and Patrick Stoudamire. Some new additions to the defensive side are rookie Chase Vaughn and veteran Terrance Taylor. Defensive backs coach Will Mulder will make his coaching debut in Cleveland after a career as a player.
For the offensive side star receiver Adron Tennell, who set single-season franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and points, is returning and looking to repeat the feats of last season. Quarterback Erik Meyer is also returning to the Shock after a concussion suffered in week 1 of the 2012 season had Meyer out for the season.
The Gladiators had a very active offseason rebuilding the roster as only eight players are returning to the team. The Gladiators feature a team with 18 rookies but still look to maintain their second best passing and overall defense in the league. Defensive star Brian Brikowski will be expected to lead the Gladiator defense with his experience.
Three of the returners for the Gladiators were the team's top receivers from the previous season. All-Arena wide receiver Dominick Goodman will lead the receiving core for the Gladiators. There is a heated battle for the starting quarterback role in Cleveland as Chris Dieker and former 2010 Shock backup Brian Zbydniewski go head-to-head after both served as backups last season.
The Shock will make the 2013 debut in style with a fresh new look as the team will be sporting new jerseys and helmets. The new jerseys feature the Shock "S" which was utilized by the team as a secondary logo on jersey sublimation. The home jerseys have been upgraded to orange uniforms and a navy blue helmet with an orange facemask. The Shock will stick to the classic white on white combination for away games with the jerseys featuring similar sublimation patterns.
No love will be lost Sunday morning as the matchup pits Shock head coach Andy Olson against his former coach during his player days, Gladiator head coach Steve Thonn. Coach Olson was a player when Thonn was an offensive coordinator for the Georgia Force. Brian Zbydniewski was a former backup quarterback for the Shock in the Shock's championship winning season in 2010, taking limited snaps during the campaign. Lance Caldwell, a defensive back for the Gladiators, participated in the Shock's 2012 training camp. The only confrontation between these two teams this year is sure to be an offensively explosive game as the total combined points in both meetings between the Shock and Gladiators is tied at 117-117.
The Shock will prepare to travel to Cleveland this weekend for a 10:00 AM PST Kickoff on Sunday, March 24th at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. This will be the start of the Shock's three game road trip to begin the 2013 Net 10 Wireless Arena Football League regular season.
The Shock will host their home season opener on April 12th as they take on the defending 2012 AFL ArenaBowl champion and West Division Rival Arizona Rattlers, set for a 7:00 PM PST kickoff at Spokane Arena.
ArenaBowl XXV Rematch: Philadelphia at Arizona
The 2012 American Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul, presented by Parx Casino, look to carry on their season-opening win streak in a rematch against the Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. ET in Week One's nationally televised game on CBS Sports Network. The two teams battled out in last season's ArenaBowl XXV as Arizona defeated Philadelphia, 72-54.
The Soul, on a six-game season- opener win streak, fly into Phoenix with Hall of Fame QB Clint Dolezel as the head coach. Dolezel, in his second season as a head coach, takes over Philadelphia for his first time after having been the assistant head coach of the team last year. He is 11-7 (11-8) in his lone season as a head coach in Dallas in 2011. Kevin Guy leads Arizona with a 48-24 record (53-27 overall) coming off his first championship in two ArenaBowl appearances as Arizona's head coach. Guy has a season-opening record of 3-1 with Arizona.
"I think this game is going to come down to the "˜bigs ' and their play up front," explains Dolezel. "We have to put pressure on Davila and we have to protect Dan. If we can do this, we put ourselves in great position to win. I'm happy we're playing Arizona in Week One. It's a chance for us to get the sour taste out of our mouths from the last time we met. We can finally stop thinking about it and we can move on to the rest of the season."
Arizona currently leads the series between the two teams, 2-0. Aside from the championship last season, the Soul lost to Arizona 55-54 on June 25, 2011. The 2013 season-opener is promising as last season's No.1 (68.2) and No. 4 (62.1) scoring offenses match-up.
Philadelphia brought back the offensive weapons that led them to being the best scoring offense in the league. FB Derrick Ross looks to continue his record-breaking career against a defense that ranked No. 2 (13.4) last season in stopping the run. In the last match-up, he was shut down to four rushes, primarily because of the Soul's deficit early in the game. During the ArenaBowl, WR Tiger Jones was invited to attend the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles training camp, leaving QB Dan Raudabaugh without his top target against the No. 15 (293.4) pass defense. Raudabaugh still threw for seven touchdowns in the loss.
Arizona 's QB Nick Davila, WR Maurice Purify, and DB Arkeith Brown are returning to the team for the 2013 season. In the ArenaBowl, Davila won Offensive Player of the Game and Brown won Defensive Player of the Game. In the last match-up, Davila beat the Soul secondary for nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The last game came down to turnovers. Philadelphia led the league in turnover margin (+23) and Arizona was No. 4 (+10). They were able to force Philadelphia into four turnovers, as Philadelphia was unable to force a single turnover.
This week's match-up will come down to which defense can stop the high-scoring offense. Both teams offset each other, as last season Arizona, No. 2 run defense (13.4) matched up against the No. 1 run offense (44.2). The Rattlers No. 3 (312.0) pass offense matched up against the No. 1 (94.8) pass defense efficiency. Both teams are talented; it will come to which side of the ball breaks first.
Sharks Hit the Road to Open 2013
The Jacksonville Sharks' quest for a fourth South Division title in as many seasons officially begins on Saturday, March 23, as the team heads southwest for a divisional matchup against the Tampa Bay Storm. Kickoff from the Tampa Bay Times Forum is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Led by quarterback Bernard Morris, the Sharks enter the 2013 season with the core of the team's division-winning roster largely intact. In all, 10 players who played with the Sharks in 2012 broke camp with the team for Week 1.
On offense, Morris will throw to a couple of familiar targets, including longtime Shark in Jeron Harvey, a Jacksonville native who is the franchise's all-time leader with 218 career receptions. Harvey is one of three Shark players who have been with the team in every one of Jacksonville's seasons as a franchise, joining offensive lineman Isaac Morales and defensive back Bill Alford in that distinction.
Along with Harvey, the Shark offense will look to the versatile Terrance Smith, who excelled in several dimensions in 2012. Beginning the season at wide receiver, Smith established a new franchise record for all-purpose yards in a single season, then switched to defense as an injury replacement and recorded an interception in each of Jacksonville's five games.
The 2013 season also sees the return of playmaker Jeff Hughley, who is the reigning AFL Ironman of the Year after an outstanding season with the Philadelphia Soul in 2012. A key piece of the Sharks' championship run in 2011, Hughley is set to make an impact both on offense and on special teams. In addition, Jacksonville added height to its receiving corps within the last week, trading for the six-foot-seven Markee White, a fourth-year veteran who captured an ArenaBowl ring with Spokane in 2010 and with Arizona last season.
On the other side of the ball, the Shark defense is packed with an impressive collection of AFL resumes. Led by defensive back Micheaux Robinson, who earned a First-Team All-Arena nod in 2011 and a Second-Team selection in 2010, a total of four players on the Jacksonville defense have received All-Arena accolades. That group includes returning Mac linebacker Aaron Robbins (First Team, 2012) and veteran newcomers in defensive back Tracy Belton (Second Team, 2012) and defensive lineman Dusty Bear (Second Team, 2011).
Belton and Bear represent a key focus of the Sharks' offseason plan - veteran additions. After Jacksonville began the 2011 season with 13 rookies on its opening-week roster, head coach Les Moss took a different tack this time around. The Sharks open 2013 with just two players with rookie eligibility, and one of those - nose guard Rashaad Duncan - was with the team for all of 2012 after suffering a season-ending injury in training camp.
The Sharks open this season with a divisional road test, facing a Tampa Bay Storm team looking to recapture its former glory. As a proud franchise that is the only team in AFL history with five ArenaBowl titles, the Storm are on a mission to get back to the postseason after missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
In a contrast to the Jacksonville lineup, Tampa Bay enters this year with a young squad that features 10 rookies. The Storm did make a big splash late in the offseason, adding 2004 AFL Rookie of the Year Adrian McPherson, a former Florida State quarterback who has spent each of the last five seasons in the Canadian Football League.
Saturday's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and will air live on WJXT Channel 4 and AM 600 WBOB. The game will also be simulcast live online via the "AFL Live" video player.
VooDoo's Delvin Breaux Under Watchful Eye
The VooDoo's Delvin Breaux has a chance to break out as this season's NET10 Wireless Rookie of the Year.
For many, the adjustment to the Arena Game is a difficult one to make, but imagine the adjustment if you had fractured three vertebrae in your neck. This was actually a reality for the VooDoo's very own Delvin Breaux. After six years of perseverance and hard work, Delvin has now become a part of the 2013 New Orleans VooDoo. Not only was making the team a huge accomplishment for Breaux, but he is now a forceful contender for this season's NET10 Wireless Rookie of the Year. Breaux will now be under the watchful eye of many critics, but he has remained positive throughout the entire process.
"It is awesome to be a lookout for rookie of the year. When I first saw that I was on the list, I was like, man my dreams are really coming true," said Breaux. "Now that I know I have a chance at this award, I have to play like I don't even know. I am a team player and I have set my goals high. If I happen to win this award, it would be another milestone and accomplishment under my belt."
It remains to be seen what kind of impact Breaux will have in his rookie year, but one thing is for certain - do not bet against him.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Edge Ready to Bounce Back at Home Friday
The Bloomington Edge will be trying to bounce back from a close opening loss as they host the Mid-Missouri Outlaws in Champions Professional Indoor Football League action on Friday.
Kickoff at U.S. Cellular Coliseum is at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The Edge fell in last Friday's opener 62-56 to the Sioux City Bandits in Bloomington. Quarterback David Knighton was 16-of-23 passing for 186 yards and four touchdowns, and also led the Edge in rushing with 40 yards. Dustin Craig led the Edge defense with nine tackles and a pass break-up.
This is the first-ever meeting between the Edge and the Outlaws, who dropped their opener at home in Sedalia 38-31 to the Lincoln Haymakers. Outlaws quarterback Kyle Middleton was 24-for-40 through the air for 139 yards with two interceptions and three touchdowns. Marcus James rushed for 67 yards and one touchdown. Colton Miller recorded 10 tackles with one interception and one fumble recovery.
The first 1,000 fans receive a mini-football compliments of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. For Friday's game, four tickets are available for just $25 only through the U.S. Cellular Coliseum box office. All fans will receive a free small popcorn, and 12-ounce drafts and 16-ounce Pepsi products are only $1.

Continental Indoor Football League
Jared Lorenzen signs with Owensboro Rage
Offensive Coordinator Brian Schmidt needed a QB. It definitely helps when one of his closest friends is one of the best QB's in University of Kentucky history.
Therefore, the Owensboro Rage is proud to announce the signing of former University of Kentucky, New York Giants, and Indianapolis Colts QB, Jared Lorenzen as their new QB for this season.
Jared is no stranger to the indoor/arena football game. In 2009, with the Kentucky Horsemen, Jared threw for 2858 yards and 58 touchdowns. In 2011, with the Northern Kentucky River Monsters, and Coach Schmidt as his OC, Jared threw for 3473 yards and 81 touchdowns. He was also named the League's MVP in 2011.
"Jared and I talk weekly," Coach Schmidt remarks. "He was aware of our QB situation. So when he called me and said, 'If you want me, I'm there' it really meant a lot to me. Jared is a true professional, has an incredible fan base, and will not let his teammates or his fans down. Not only is Jared a top QB, he has a great ability to make the players around him strive to be even better."
Head Coach Mike Goodpaster stated, "I'm very happy to have Jared as our new QB. He was a very experienced indoor QB with the Lexington Horsemen and the Northern Kentucky River Monsters; a very coachable football player, and more importantly, he has played for Coach Schmidt in the past. Together, they were highly successful. Not very often in indoor football do you get a chance to have a starting QB with a Super Bowl ring, so the experience he brings to the table this year will be invaluable for our younger players. On a personal note, my goal is to have 25 quality individuals on our roster. Jared definitely fits here. "
Jared Lorenzen was quoted as saying, "I'm excited to be playing again. The bug to play never really goes away. I'm ready to get started."
The Rage is looking forward to this seasoned addition to their well-skilled team roster. Please join us in welcoming him this Saturday for his first game of the year. He will be playing under center at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum vs. The Marion Blue Racers.
His first home game will be April 6th at The Next Level.

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