Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Native American tribe to sponsor Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers have secured new sponsorship from the Ak-Chin tribe, which will see its home venue renamed Ak-Chin field.
The native American community, which has nearly 1,000 members, owns a casino and other entertainment properties in Arizona but did not reveal how much it was investing in the sponsorship.
“We are excited about the partnership we are fostering with the Arizona Rattlers,” said Ak-Chin tribal chairman Louis J. Manuel Jr.
“We respect the Rattlers’ commitment to community and know that our children will really enjoy the programmes this relationship will foster.”
Ak-Chin's tribal seal will be displayed at both ends of the Rattlers' field, while the agreement also includes plans for a series of activation events at the Ak-Chin-owned UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, which features cinemas, bowling, restaurants and live entertainment.
Chicago Rush to Host 'Rush against Violence' April 14th against Pittsburgh
The Chicago Rush are proud to announce that they will be hosting "Rush Against Violence" on Sunday, April 14th against the Pittsburgh Power. They will pair up with local youth groups, teams, churches and area police stations to help bring more awareness to the ever-increasing issue of violence in the Chicagoland area. In addition, the team will donate one dollar of every ticket sold to Chicagoland afterschool and summer programs.
"As a community member, one of our main responsibilities is to give back to those around us," Owner David Staral said. "It hurts to see the youth of Chicagoland suffering, and we cannot just sit back and watch it happen without trying to help in any way possible." The Rush, who were a part of anti-violence events at schools in the Auburn-Gresham and Logan Square neighborhoods last season, intend on providing a safe haven and education for those who have to deal with the ever-present issue of violence. They are once again making appearances at Chicagoland events this season to do their part in helping out neighboring communities.
Kickoff is slated for 3:00 at the Allstate Arena on Sunday, April 14th. On the field, the Rush will be returning home from a trip to San Antonio to host the Pittsburgh Power for the first time in franchise history.
Sharks Add Wideout Jarvis Williams
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks made an addition at receiver on Wednesday, announcing that Jarvis Williams has been assigned to the team's roster.
The 25-year-old Williams (6'4", 220) attended training camp with the Orlando Predators prior to the start of the season, but was placed on recallable reassignment on March 17. He broke into the Arena Football League with Predators a year ago, appearing in 13 games during the 2012 season and starting nine of those contests. A midseason addition, Williams got a start in each of the Predators' final eight games of the season, including the team's Week 19 trip to Sea Best Field to face the Sharks.
A consistent target from the start, Williams was the Predators' second-leading receiver in 2012, catching 74 passes for 769 yards and a team-high total of 24 touchdowns. Williams caught two or more touchdown passes in seven of the Predators' last eight games, racking up four or more scores on three separate occasions. His top performance came in a Week 18 game against Cleveland, during which he hauled in 13 receptions for 147 yards and five touchdowns.
Williams also returned five kickoffs for a total of 65 yards during his time with the Predators.
Before beginning his AFL career, Williams enjoyed a successful stint at North Carolina State University. As a senior in 2010, Williams caught 52 passes for 713 yards and five touchdowns. Williams also totaled 11 touchdown receptions during his junior year. A native of Orlando, Williams attended Jones High School.
In another Wednesday transaction, the Sharks announced that offensive lineman Nick Torresso has been placed on reassignment. Following the day's transactions, the Jacksonville roster stands at the league maximum of 24 active players.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Wild Aim to Remain Undefeated against Edge
The Wichita Wild (3-0) is set to host the Bloomington Edge (1-1) at Hartman Arena on March 30, kick-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Wichita is coming off a hard fought win over the Kansas Koyotes in their home opener to remain undefeated and in first place in the CPIFL. Bloomington enters this week's game on the heels of a 54-3 thrashing of the Mid-Missouri Outlaws last Friday.
Wichita won their season home opener last Saturday against the Kansas Koyotes, 39-20 at Hartman Arena. On the opening drive the Wild drove the ball to the 5 yard line but failed to convert on a third and goal when defensive lineman Callahan Bright, playing fullback, was stopped at the line of scrimmage and fumbled, recovered by the Kansas Koyotes. Worse than losing the fumble, the Wild also lost Bright to a season ending knee injury suffered on the same play. The Koyotes would go on to score the game's first touchdown on a quarterback draw on 4th and goal. Kansas opened the second quarter with a score when they recovered a blocked field goal in the end zone to give the Koyotes a 13-6 lead. The Wild defense came alive after the blocked field goal and went on to outscore the Koyotes 33-7 the rest of the way, which included shutting out the Koyotes for the entire second half. Wichita was led on defense by James McCartney's three sacks and quarterback Rocky Hinds threw 4 touchdowns and no interceptions to power the Wild's offense.
The Bloomington Edge defeated the Mid Missouri Outlaws 54-3 on Friday in their second game of the season. The game was a complete turnaround for the Edge's defense who had allowed 62 points to the Sioux City Bandits in their season opener just one week earlier. The Edge was without their starting quarterback David Knighton who was attending a professional tryout. Backup Jim DuPage, seeing his first game action in 5 years, completed 12 of 26 passes and cashed in three touchdowns. The star of Friday night's game was the Edge linebacker Ross Cochran who tallied 10.5 tackles, and an outstanding performance from the secondary, picking off three passes.
Player to Watch: Lineman James McCartney
McCartney wreaked havoc on the Koyotes offensive line recording three sacks. With the injury to Bright, and lineman Blake Gordon who also suffered a season ending knee injury against the Koyotes, McCartney should see an increase in playing time. The increase in playing time could lead to an increase in production for McCartney who currently leads the CPIFL in sacks with 7 through three games.
The Wild are set for Saturday against the Edge in Hartman Arena, with kick scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Omaha Beef Sign Derek Dreher
The Omaha Beef today announced the signing of former All-American defensive back Derek Dreher.
Dreher, the 6'1", 210 lb back out of University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse recorded 141 tackles in 44 games while in college while earning numerous honors. After college, Dreher has continued his pursuit of playing professional football and spent time in the Baltimore Ravens organization during 2012.
Omaha co-head coach and defensive coordinator James Kerwin said that he was excited to have an athlete of Dreher's caliber on the squad. "Derek is not only an exceptional athlete, but has exceptional character and will be an immediate contributor to our team," Kerwin said. "There is no doubt in my mind that Derek will soon be playing football at a higher level, so we are excited to have him here right now while he waits for that opportunity."
The Omaha Beef (1-0) will host the Kansas Koyotes (0-2) in their regular season home opener Friday night in their first ever regular season game at the new Ralston Arena. Kickoff is at 7:05pm.
Bombers to Hold Fusion Contest
One Salina Bombers fan will get the chance to win a brand new 2013 Ford Fusion when the Salina Bombers host the Mid-Missouri Outlaws at the Bicentennial Center this Saturday, March 30th. Long McArthur Ford Lincoln, who put a Ford Mustang up for grabs in the home opener, is the Salina Bombers exclusive halftime sponsor. Registration, for a chance to kick a 43 yard field goal, will take place at the Bicentennial Center up until kick-off at 7:05 pm
Tickets for the Bombers game on Saturday are $9, $14 and $22, tickets are available for $4.50 and $7.00 for kids ages 2-12. The box office at the Bicentennial Center is open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily and will be open at noon the day of the game.
The Fusion up for grabs will be on display at the Bicentennial Center on Saturday where fans can register to participate. One fan will be chosen for the contest to be held at halftime.
Gates to the arena will open on Saturday at 6:00, kick-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Indoor Football League
Take the Road to Chicago with the Titans
Details have just been announced for the Titans Bus Trip to Chicago! Cheer on the first place Titans as they take on the Chicago Slaughter in Chicago next Saturday, April 6th. Cost is $55 which includes round trip transportation courtesy of Cedar Valley World Travel, ticket to the game, t-shirt, a tailgate party at Gatherings Restaurant before the bus heads out, and light snacks & beverages on the bus.
The bus will leave Gatherings at 1 pm with a brief stop at Jo's Roadhouse in Solon. The bus will then head back to Cedar Rapids immediately following the game. $5 discount for season ticket holders. To register call Karol in the Titans office at 319-730-6301 x 106 or email Space is limited!
Colorado Ice Preparing for I-25 Rivalry
The Colorado Ice will be seeking their first win on the road in 2013 when they head north for their game against the Wyoming Cavalry at the Casper Events Center in Casper, WY. The game is Friday, March 29 and starts at 7:05 P.M.
The Ice have an opportunity to move past the Nebraska Danger, who have week seven off, and into sole possession of first place with a win over the Cavalry on Friday night. The Ice offense will likely look once again to wide receiver Justin Helwege (88) for a big game. Helwege has been an absolute nightmare in the red zone for opposing defenses this season. He currently leads the IFL with 10 touchdown receptions, and has reached the end zone on an incredible 59 percent of his catches this year (10 touchdowns, 17 receptions). Quarterback Willie Copeland (13) has 14 touchdown passes on the year, just two behind Danger QB Jameel Sewell for the league lead.
The Wyoming Cavalry will come in to the game looking to turn their season around after a rough 0-3 start. The Cavalry have allowed more than three times as many points as they've scored (183-54) so far in 2013, and they have been ranked last in the first two IFL coach's poll. However, there have been a few bright spots for the Cavalry. Thomas Gordon leads the IFL in kick return yardage and has already returned one kick for a touchdown this season while also catching a pair of touchdowns, and wide receiver Troy Evans' 17 receptions are tied for 5th in the IFL. The Cavalry have been undone by a leaky defense that has allowed an average of 61 points and 299 yards per game, both of which are by far the worst in the league.
History is not on the Cavalry's side either, as the Ice have taken the last 4 meetings between these squads, and 7 of 8 all-time. The only time the Cavalry beat Colorado was on May 27, 2011, when they edged out a 59-53 win in Casper.
Blizzard at Cedar Rapids Game Preview
The Green Bay Blizzard (0-4) travel down to play the Cedar Rapids Titans (4-0) on Mediacom Field at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena this Saturday at 7:05 p.m CT. This will be the third meeting between the two teams with the Blizzard holding a 2-0 advantage all-time.
The Blizzard look to rebound after a disappointing loss in which they put up a franchise-low 14 points against United Conference rival Chicago Slaughter. The Blizzard struggled on offense and special teams as the Slaughter blocked two Jordan Wettstein field goals and returned one for a TD. The Blizzard were able to add a B.J Hill touchdown run but it was too little too late as the team fell 27-14.
The Blizzard and the Titans are familiar opponents. The Blizzard defeated Cedar Rapids twice last season. This season,however, the Titans have four former Blizzard players on their roster in addition to Head Coach Mark Stoute who coached for the Blizzard during the 2008 season.
The Titans come into the game riding a four game winning streak and the best record in the United Conference. In their previous game the Titans routed the Wyoming Cavalry 54-12, in the Titans most lopsided victory in franchise history. The Titans defense set the tone as the team held the Cavalry to just 89 total yards. Defensively, the Titans are led by former Blizzard linebacker Trevor Glomski, who leads the team with 44 tackles, DL Xzavie Jackson who leads the IFL in sacks with nine and DB T.J Simmons who has snagged three interceptions this season.
Led by Head Coach Mark Stoute, the Titans will rely upon starting Quarterback Charles McCullum. McCullum,is a dual threat QB and has thrown for seven touchdowns this season and has also rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns. The Titans also have a trio of former Blizzard players on their potent offense, which leads the IFL in points per game with 53.3. RB LaRon Council, who rushed for 1,040 yards with the Green Bay last season carries the load for the Titans. Council is tied for the league lead with six rushing touchdowns. Brian Pray and Desmond Tardy have combined to catch eight touchdowns as well.
The Blizzard offense has struggled in the recent weeks. A week after tying a franchise-low for points scored (20) the offense followed up with a franchise-low 14 last week. QB Donovan Porterie, despite being second in the IFL in passing yards with 658, and the offense have struggled to convert third downs and move the ball effectively. WR Ryan Balentine is starting to emerge as the Blizzard's go-to receiver as he is currently second in the IFL with 23 pass receptions. The Blizzard will look for a spark this week against a very familiar opponent.
Defensively, the Blizzard have are starting to return to their dominant 2012 form. The defense has allowed only 41 points during the last two games. In addition, the team's rushing defense has stiffened as the team has only allowed two rushing touchdowns in the past two games while allowing 12 in the previous two. Led by DL Lebron Daniel, DL Tim Hume, DL James McClinton and DL Maurice Hampton the Blizzard defense will look to put the clamps on Titans RB LaRon Council.
Screamin' Head Buzz will host the official watch party of the Blizzard. Watch the Blizzard take on the Titans while enjoying food and drink specials.

Professional Indoor Football League
Raiders Hit the Road for Rematch with Knoxville
The Richmond Raiders (1-1) will renew acquaintances with the Knoxville Nighthawks (0-3) as the teams meet for the second consecutive week. Saturday's game in Knoxville follows a 41-23 Raiders win in Richmond last Saturday.
Last week the Raiders used a balanced offensive attack, including 45 rushing yards and two touchdowns from fullback Mike Jones, to top the Nighthawks and get their first win of the season. Richmond outscored Knoxville 21-8 in the second half and twice stopped the 'Hawks on fourth down; once on a QB sneak on fourth and one, and again after Knoxville had a first and goal at the Raiders' six yard line. Knoxville came into the game as the most prolific offense in the league, averaging 292 yards of total offense per game, but managed just 138 yards against the Raiders - the second-lowest total in PIFL history.
2012 PIFL MVP Antwon Young returned to the Raiders last week and started at quarterback, notching two touchdowns passing and one rushing before going down with a knee injury early in the third quarter. He did not return to the game and is being evaluated this week. His status for Saturday's game is unknown. If Young can't play, Warren Smith will get the start. Smith replaced Young last week and led the Raiders to three touchdowns in as many possessions. Including his start in the season opener against Alabama, Smith has completed 41% of his passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receivers Herb Jones and Antwun Williams each have over 100 yards on the young season, and Hakeem Moore is four yards shy of that mark. Moore and Jones have each scored two touchdowns. Mike Jones has three rushing scores and is averaging 26.5 yards per game, both of which rank second in the league. Thanks in large part to keeping Knoxville wideout Deandre Brown in check last week, Raider DB Davon Morgan is fifth in the league in tackles and third in passes defended.
The Nighthawks will be playing their home opener after three straight road games to start the season. They hope the return to familiar territory will energize the team, which has allowed a league-high 54 points per game. Knoxville came away with points on just one of three trips into the red zone last week, on pace with their 35% scoring rate on red zone possessions. Saturday's matchup will be broadcast live on the Raiders' website, Coverage starts with the pregame show at 6:30; kickoff is slated for 7:00.

Ultimate Indoor Football League
Raiders Prepare For Rematch
The Raiders are coming off of a tough loss to the Florida Tarpons but returning home to play in front of the home crowd. The final score of the game, 41-36, does not amount to the excitement of the game.
The Raiders fought hard on the road but still were not able to get over the challenge of defeating the Tarpons. The Raiders trailed at halftime 28 to 16 but came out strong in the second half. A touchdown run from Bj Hall and later a touchdown pass to Roderick Jefferson and Jason Harmon had the Raiders trailing by 5 points with under one minute left in the game. Sam Smith had a big interception which gave the Raiders the ball back with 44 seconds left in the game. A false start started the drive and the drive ended with a scrambling Bj Hall interception to end the game for the Raiders.
"It was a tough loss and hard fought but with the way we played and the mental mistakes we had, we still had a chance to win the game and we know we are a better team that played that night" said Coach Mink. That loss was the first for the 2013 season for the Raiders but it does not put them out of contention of the playoffs or even hosting the championship game. The Raiders just have to beat the Tarpons this weekend and continue to win the rest of their games.
The Raiders are also pleased to have 3-time pro bowl Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson doing the coin toss for the rematch! A product from the University Northern Colorado, Vincent (V.J.) was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 2nd round in the 2005 NFL Draft. Standing at 6'5 and weighing 240lbs, Vincent was a true specimen when entering the NFL and turn heads when he clocked a 4.46 40 yard dash for scouts. With his speed, size and strength, he has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since entering. Vincent then signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
He was very impressive in his first season with the Buccaneers and set multiple Buccaneer records, with the longest reception in Tampa Bay history (95 yards) and the most receiving yards in a single game (216 yards). Vincent will also be giving thanks to all Raiders and Buccaneers fans at the Raiders game. He will be doing an autograph and meet and greet session for all fans from 6:15pm to 7:00pm ONLY. He will then be doing the coin toss and enjoying the Raiders game with his family and friends. The doors for the arena open at 6:00pm, get their early if you would like to have your picture taken with him or an autograph.
"I am very grateful VJ is taking the time out of his busy schedule to come do the coin toss and watch our game. We definitely plan on putting on a great show for him, his family and friends" commented General Manager Feddy Azofeifa.
The Raiders kick-off is at 7:30pm on Saturday March 30th against the Florida Tarpons.

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