Tuesday, April 30, 2013

McPherson, Belton and Gray Earn Weekly AFL Honors

Tampa Bay Storm QB Adrian McPherson has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while Jacksonville Sharks DB Tracy Belton has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and Chicago Rush WR Reggie Gray has been named J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 6 of the 2013 NET10 Wireless Arena Football League season. In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. Cleveland Gladiators DB Lenny Wicks earned the Cutters Catch of the Week, while Chicago Rush WR Jared Jenkins was awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week.
McPherson (6-4, 225, Florida State) accounted for 10 total touchdowns for the second time this season in Tampa Bay's 70-62 victory over the Spokane Shock in Week 6. McPherson completed 21-of-26 passes for 310 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, while adding another 50 yards and three scores on the ground. His 17 rushing attempts also represents the highest single-game total in the AFL this season. This is the second time McPherson has earned Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week honors this season.
Belton (6-1, 180, Massachusetts) played a pivotal role in keeping the Sharks undefeated record intact during the team's 55-53 victory over the Philadelphia Soul in Week 6. Belton tallied seven tackles, including a half-tackle for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
Gray (5-10, 185, Western Illinois) tied the Chicago Rush single-game franchise record for touchdown receptions with six in the team's 64-63 overtime win against the Iowa Barnstormers in Week 6. Gray collected 12 receptions for 234 yards on the night. He also tallied 116 yards as a return specialist, bringing his game total to 350 all-purpose yards. He will be awarded a timepiece crafted by J. Lewis Small for his efforts.
Wicks (5-10, 200, Youngstown State) made an over-the-wall interception to end the first half in Cleveland's 57-40 loss to the Utah Blaze in Week 6. The interception was the first of the season for the third-year defensive back. Wicks also finished the game with a team-high 9.5 tackles. He will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.
Jenkins (6-3, 230, Wisconsin-Stevens Point) collected his biggest reception of the year on a two-point conversion pass from Rush quarterback Carson Coffman in the team's 64-63 overtime victory against the Iowa Barnstormers. Following a two-yard touchdown run by Kelvin Morris to bring the Rush within one of the Barnstormers, Chicago elected to pass up a tie and go for the win. The gamble paid off when Coffman found Jenkins for the game-winning score. This marks the second consecutive week a Rush player has been awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week following a game-winning play.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included : Arizona's Odie Armstrong, Chicago's Reggie Gray, Jacksonville's Jeron Harvey, Pittsburgh's Mike Washington, San Jose's Russ Michna and Utah's Tommy Grady.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included : Arizona's Jeremy Kellem, Chicago's Jorrick Calvin, Cleveland's Lenny Wicks, Pittsburgh's Chris LeFlore, San Antonio's Tim McGill, San Jose's Clevan Thomas and Tampa Bay's Rodney Beamon.
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included : Iowa's Marcus Harris, Jacksonville's Jeff Hughley, Orlando's Dominic Jones, San Antonio's Dwayne Eley, Jr., San Jose's Huey Whittaker, Tampa Bay's Joe Hills and Utah's David Hyland.
The Arena Football League is also awarding the AFL MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Chicago Rush WR Reggie Gray, Iowa WR Marcus Harris and Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills. Fans will have 24 hours to vote on beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 1. The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 2.

IFL Week 11 Players of the Week Announced

The Indoor Football League (IFL) is proud to announce the Week 11 Players of the Week.
Offensive Players of the Week: Cody Kirby (QB, Chicago Slaughter)
The Slaughter defended their home turf on Saturday night with a 61-56 victory over the Sioux Falls Storm. The win propelled the team back into first place in the United Conference standings. QB Cody Kirby (5'11, 215, Missouri State) has put together an impressive season, creeping his way into the IFL MVP race. Facing the #1 defense in the IFL, Kirby completed 28 of 35 passes for 257 yards and 4 touchdowns while also rushing for 61 yards on 15 carries and 2 scores. Kirby currently ranks 1st in the IFL with a 111.4 QB Rating (minimum 60 pass attempts) and has a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio. This week, the Slaughter hit the road to take on the Texas Revolution.
Defensive Player of the Week: Elijah Fields (DB, Green Bay Blizzard)
The Green Bay Blizzard earned commanding a 74-25 victory over the Texas Revolution. After starting the season 1-5, the Blizzard have now won two in a row to get back into the thick of things in the United Conference playoff race. Defensive Back Elijah Fields (6'2, 215, Pittsburgh) led the Blizzard's dominating defensive effort against the Revolution, registering 13 tackles (1.5 for loss) and 2 interceptions. The Blizzard held the Revs to only 76 yards of total offense. Fields now ranks 4th in the IFL with 66 tackles, tied for 2nd with 2 forced fumbles, and tied for 3rd with 6 pass breakups. Green Bay takes their two game winning streak into a bye this weekend. The Blizzard will return to action on May 10th when they host the Nebraska Danger.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Joe Houston (K, Nebraska Danger)
In an "IFL Instant Classic" and the leading candidate for Game of the Year, the Nebraska Danger outlasted the Colorado Ice, 69-66. This matchup is quickly becoming one of the IFL's most intense rivalries. Trailing for the majority of the game, Colorado erased a 22-point deficit to tie the game at 66 with 24 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. With the Danger returning the ensuing kickoff to midfield, QB Jameel Sewell looked to improve field position to set up a game winning field goal. However, the stingy Ice defense caused three straight incompletions, forcing a long 42-yard attempt. Kicker Joe Houston (5'6, 170, USC) answered the challenge, splitting the uprights as time expired, sealing the 3-point victory for the Danger. On the day, Houston converted 2 of 4 field goal attempts and 7 or 9 PAT's, good for 13 total points. The win has major implications in the race for the #1 seed in the Intense Conference. Not only did the Danger move a game up on the Ice in the standings, but they also take a 2-1 lead in the season series. The teams meet again in Colorado on June 7th. In the meantime, the Danger face another difficult challenge this weekend when they travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Storm.

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
VooDoo: All Purple Everything
The New Orleans VooDoo unveiled their new look last Saturday night in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Last Saturday was the first time in franchise history that the New Orleans VooDoo set foot inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The VooDoo sported an all-purple look as a way to kick off their six-game stint of home games in the Superdome. This blast from the past and fan favorite consists of a purple jersey with black and red sleeves. The VooDoo will stay with the traditional white top and purple pants for away games.
The VooDoo travel to South Division rival Tampa Bay to take on the Storm, Saturday, May 4 on the CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. CT.
Rush to Host First Latin Heritage Night
The Chicago Rush will honor the local Latino population by hosting Latin Heritage Night on Saturday, May 4th against the Philadelphia Soul. The evening will be highlighted by appearances by notable local Hispanic individuals and groups.
"We're very excited to host our first Latin Heritage Night," said Rush executive vice president Ryan Simmons. "This celebration will bring the excitement of the AFL to Latin American and Hispanic communities in ways that are culturally relevant."
Professional Wrestler and local restaurateur Lisa Marie Varon will be conducting the coin toss immediately prior to the game. Varon, better known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's 'Tara', is a six-time TNA Women's Knockout Champion, capturing both singles and tag team titles. Prior to her time with the TNA, she wrestled with the WWE for nearly a decade, earning the WWE Women's Championship twice. In addition to her efforts in the ring, she's a restaurateur who has opened a pizzeria in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Die-hard fans will be able to snag an autograph from her on the concourse near the South Gate from halftime into the third quarter.
At halftime, the Latino Club of Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center will be performing a variety of native dances that will feature a "Caribbean Flavor". The club, under the direction of Nilda and Edith Pauley, incorporate Hispanic culture in the Chicagoland area through dance and by making appearances at local senior citizen homes, churches, and community organizations. It is their first venture into the world of professional sports.
In addition, various game day elements will reflect the nature of the evening. Both the Allstate Arena's LED boards as well as a Spanish-language program insert will embrace the culture that the local Hispanic community prides itself upon.
VooDoo Acquire FB Jeramie Richardson
The Arena Football League has assigned FB Jeramie Richardson to the New Orleans VooDoo, announced the VooDoo front office Tuesday, April 30.
Richardson (6-1, 270, Angelo State) comes to the VooDoo from the Orlando Predators where he recorded 3 tackles, one fumble recovery and two rushing touchdowns, so far, this season. In 2012, played in 16 games as a fullback and defensive lineman for the Cleveland Gladiators where he rushed for 40 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also recorded 20.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks on defense. In 2011, Richardson recorded 5.5 tackles, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups in one game with the Utah Blaze.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Haymakers Edge Defenders 46-40
The Oklahoma Defenders traveled to Cornhusker country for their first ever meeting with the Lincoln Haymakers on Friday night in an attempt to get back on the winning track after losing to Bloomington last week.
After falling behind 14-0 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Oklahoma receiver Jason Stephenson fielded a Lincoln kick five yards deep in the end zone and took off the length of the field for the first Defenders score of the contest. Then, after a Haymaker's fumble, Defenders QB David Bowie found Packy Jones the open for the equalizer.
The home side scored with 30 seconds remaining in the first half giving Lincoln a 7 point lead at the intermission. The Haymakers opened the second half with a 27-yard field goal by Benny Hanaphy, extending Lincoln's lead to 24-14. Then on the ensuing possession Defenders running back Kingjack Washington took a handoff from Bowie 39-yards for a touchdown, cutting the Haymaker's lead to 24-21.
Haymaker running back Nick Rhodes took a handoff from quarterback Benny Bolles and ran 11-yards in for a Lincoln score, then Benny Hanaphy struck again for Lincoln with a 21-yard boot with just :45 seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter to give the home team a 34-21 advantage,
Kingjack Washington scored the second of what wound up being three touchdowns on the night at the 13:05 mark of the 4th quarter when he reeled in a 31-yard strike from Bowie, cutting the Haymakers lead to just 6 points at 34-28. Benny Hanaphy then kicked his 3rd successful field goal of the night, this time a 38-yarder to give the home side a 37-28 lead.
Juan Redmon hauled in an 11-yard strike from Bowie to allow the Defenders to cut the Lincoln lead to three, but Brandon Noahr's extra point try was blocked and the Haymakers Willie Horn ran the kick recovery in for two points extending their lead to 39-34. The Haytmakers followed that with an 18-yard run by David Ferris to give Lincoln a 46-34 advantage.
Kingjack Washington scored his final touchdown of the night with just under 90-seconds left in the game, but that was not enough and the game ended with the Defenders on the short side of the scoreboard 46-40. The loss drops them to 2-5 on the season thus far and Lincoln improves to 2-4.
In the end it was the Defenders slow start that had them come up short when the final buzzer sounded, a sentiment echoed by head coach Derek Rasmussen after the game.
"We waited a little too long to get rolling.  I need to figure out a way to get our guys playing the first 3 quarters like they do in the 4th." Rasmussen said, "Again my guys showed resiliency and took the game to the wire. We're an extremely young football team compared to the others, and I know these games will come back to help us down the road."
The Defenders will remain on the road for a matchup with the Wichita Wild on Saturday, May 4th at 7:05pm. The Defenders will return home on May 11 to face the Kansas Koyotes in the Convention Center.

Indoor Football League
Storm Streak vs. IFL's Top Team... Again
The Sioux Falls Storm (5-3) is in uncharted territory. At this point of the year, the 2013 season has been full of peaks and valleys. This is unusual for a team that is so attuned to the top. With a record of 5-3, the Storm is only one game out of the top spot in the league. But the Storm and its fans are a custom to being the team that is chased.not the team doing the chasing.
After losing only one game through the last two seasons, the Storm has lost three of the first eight in 2013. All of them on the road. Every loss, however, has been close. The average margin over those three games has been six points. The first loss of the season came at the hands of the Nebraska Danger on March 2nd in Grand Island, NE. The Storm will get their chance at revenge this Saturday night at the Sioux Falls Arena. The Danger happened to be the top team in the league, holding the best record at 6-2. The Storm is toting a 28-game home win streak. If this sounds should.
Two weeks ago, the Storm put their 27-game home streak up against the, then, top team in the league, the Colorado Ice. The Storm, with the help of a sell-out Sioux Falls crowd, kept the streak alive by defeating the Ice, 45-43.
Last week the Storm traveled to Chicago and suffered a last-second loss to the Chicago Slaughter. That loss puts Nebraska at the top spot in the league.and they're coming to Sioux Falls.
This game has more storylines than a movie. The Storm avenging their first loss of the season, while trying to continue a home winning streak that dates back to 2010.and it just happens to be against the top team in the IFL. This has all the makings of an instant classic.
"Another big game at the Storm Shelter. We have the best team in the league coming into our house and we need a full house!" stated Storm Head Coach, Kurtiss Riggs.
The Gas Stop is the official Sponsor of Saturday Night's game. A 7:05pm kickoff is scheduled but come early to check out the 2013 line of Storm apparel.
Tickets are on sale for this weekend's home game against the Nebraska Danger.

Professional Indoor Football League
Game Preview: Steelhawks Look to Tame Lions
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-4), coming off a series of tough losses, will be battling the Columbus Lions (3-3) when they come to the Valley this Sunday, May 5th for a 4pm game. The game is deemed Health Awareness Night and is presented by St. Luke's University Health Network. It will also feature a Precious Metal Dance clinic prior to the game, and special performance by all the participants at half time.
The Steelhawks defense needs to find its rhythm again as they face a top scoring offense in Columbus. The Lions are led by QB Marcus Jones, he is their top passer (821 yds, 16 tds) and rusher (108 yds, 6 tds). He has found solid targets in three different receivers, all with more than 20 receptions on the season- Maurice Dupree (36 catches, 601 yds, 12 tds), Jarmon Fortsen (21 catches, 229 yds, 3 tds), and Gerald Gales (20 catches, 279 yds, 8 tds).
Lehigh Valley has been dangerous on offense every week. QB Adam Bednarik (1,275 yds, 22 tds, on 69% completion rate) utilizes all his receiving weapons; all three receivers have more than 300 yds already this year- Tom Gilson (46 catches, 412 yds, 7 tds), Tyrone Collins (30 catches, 318 yds, 8 tds), and Torieal Gibson (27 catches, 399 yds, 5 tds).
Kickoff is slated for 4:05 (EST), this Sunday. Steelhawk 2013 home games will be broadcast on Service Electric TV2 Sports.
The Steelhawks will be on the road in Knoxville for their game next week but then will return back home to the Valley for their final two home games of the season May 18th and 25th. The game on the 18th is Non Profit Awareness night and is also a night dedicated to the Race for Adam.
The Steelhawks have been working hard, both on and off the field, filling their roster with a ton of talent and adding great partners to the Steelhawk family. The Steelhawks' 2013 PIFL schedule is now available online and individual and season tickets are available.

PIFL Names Week Eight Players of the Week

The Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) names Louisiana Swashbucklers WR Jordan Rideaux, Richmond Raiders DB RoShawn Marshall, and Knoxville Nighthawks K Armando Cuko the Week 8 Players of the Week.
For the first time this season a player from Louisiana grabs a weekly award as WR Jordan Rideaux (5'9 165, Louisiana College) earned the Week 8 Offensive Player of the Week with his nine reception, 117 yards, and five touchdown performance in the Swashbucklers 77-65 victory over the Lions this past Saturday. After beginning the season 0-3, Saturday's win was the Bucs second consecutive placing them in the middle of the pack of the PIFL's playoff picture.
For the second time this season Richmond Raiders DB RoShawn Marshall (5'10 205, CMS) nabs the Defensive Player of the Week award earning the nod earlier this season back in Week 4. In Saturday's come-from-behind victory over the Steelhawks, Marshall helped close out the game by picking up his second and third interceptions of the season on Lehigh's final two drives. Through the Raiders six games Marshall owns four of the team's six total turnovers, fewest of all the teams in the PIFL.
Armando Cuko (5'11 183, UMASS) earned his second 2013 Special Teams Player of the Week nod after scoring a league-high 17 points in the Nighthawks 53-51 upset victory over the first-place Alabama Hammers. Cuko, who previously won the award in Week 5, was 5-6 on PAT attempts, 3-3 on field goal attempts (30, 40, 28) and wedged in three Uno's. In six games, Armando has shot to the top of the PIFL leaderboard currently leading all kickers in scoring (59) and Uno's (9).
This weekend, The Professional Indoor Football League enters the second half of the 2013 season beginning with a double-header this Saturday starting with the Albany Panthers (3-2) hitting the road after a two-week hiatus to face-off in a rematch of the inaugural PIFL Championship against the Richmond Raiders (4-2). The Swashbucklers (2-3) and Nighthawks (2-5) will look to maintain momentum off their upset wins from last weekend in a showdown against one another in Knoxville. Then on Sunday the reeling Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-4), losers of three straight, will try to right the ship when they host the Columbus Lions (3-3) in the duo's first ever meeting.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 8 UIFL Players Of The Week

The Lakeland Raiders dominated Week 8 with an impressive win over the Sarasota Thunder as they sweep up all of the Player of the Week Spots.
Offensive Player of the Week - Lakeland Raiders QB Chris Walley throwing to 4 different WR for 6 TDs
Defensive Player of the Week - Lakeland Raiders DB DeAngelo Woodie with 3 INTs, 2 returned for a TD, and 2 tackles
Special Teams Player of the Week - Lakeland Raiders Tyler Batts with 3 2 pt conversions, 1 rushing TD, and 1 receiving TD

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Soul Announce Bella Thorne and Friends Concert After Soul Game
The 2012 American Conference Champion, Philadelphia Soul presented by Parx Casino announce that the Bella Thorne & Friends Concert Jam Tour starring Bella Thorne, Disney Channel Star, seen on "Shake It Up" is coming to Philadelphia. The concert will begin immediately following the Philadelphia Soul home game on Saturday, June 1 as part of "Daddy-Daughter Night" with the Soul. The Concert Tour will last approximately 90 minutes and is FREE with a game ticket.
"I am excited to be part of the Philadelphia Soul Daddy-Daughter Night and can't wait to get to see all my fans in Philly!" said Bella Thorne. "I know the Soul will win, and my friends and I will put on a show that will create memories to last a lifetime"
Other stars of the Concert Tour include Disney star, Roshon Fegan seen on "Shake It Up" and the band, IM5. Fegan was also featured on the 14th season of the ABC show "Dancing with the Stars." He stayed on for 8 weeks and was placed in the top 6. MC will be Adrian R'Mante, made famous from his role playing "Esteban" from Disney Channel's, "Suite Life of Zack & Cody".
IM5 is quickly making waves as the world's next dominant boy band and was founded on a national talent search headed by American Idol creator Simon Fuller along with world famous celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton. The multi-cultured quintet comprised of band members Cole Pendery, Dalton Rapattoni, Dana Vaughns, Gabe Morales and Will Jay boast their own unique style that fuses together hook driven pop melodies, authentic vocal harmonies, and full blown dance routines.
"We are thrilled to have a star as big as Bella Thorne be part of Daddy-Daughter Night", said Soul Vice President and COO John Adams. "Teaming our family friendly product up with one of the biggest stars in the child entertainment industry will make this day a can't-miss event for dad, daughters and all family members."
Daddy-Daughter Night was created to provide an opportunity for all fathers to create an unforgettable experience with their daughters. Dads will get to experience a great day of Arena Football watching the Soul in a rematch of Arena Bowl XXV vs. the Arizona Rattlers. Daughters will have the opportunity to see an incredible concert filled with some of today's top child performers. Of course, the entire event is great for the entire family, not just daddies and daughters.
To accommodate this concert the game kickoff will be moved up to 4 pm with the concert set to start at approximately 7pm.
Predators Suffer Another Loss, Arizona Takes the Victory 42-82
The Orlando Predators (0-5) suffered another loss, (42-82) to the Arizona Rattlers (5-1) in front of 8,062 fans in Phoenix Sunday evening. The Predators fought strong to break the seasons loosing streak, but could not overcome the Rattlers strong offense. Rowley stood out offensively for the Predators completed 27 of 49 passes (55%) for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns, but also threw 3 interceptions. Deonte Bolden joined the Predators defense for the first time, making 8 tackles total for the game.
Orlando won the coin toss and started the first quarter with a kick off from Mark Lewis for 56 yards but was returned by Arizona for 12 yards by Trandon Harvey. Arizona's Nick Davila was the first to score when he completed a touchdown pass to Kerry Reed for 19 yards, and Garre Lindholm made the kick, (0-7). When Orlando gained possession, Rowley threw an interception to Marquis Floyd for a 22-yard return. The Rattlers did not slow down in the first quarter, scoring again when Davila threw another touchdown pass to Rod Windsor raising the score (0-14).
Dominic Jones began to stand out defensively at the end of the first quarter when he made a 37-yards. Orlando gained possession again halfway through the first, but Rowley threw another interception and Virgil Gray returned it for 22-yards. Arizona came back with another touchdown, when Davila made another pass completion to Jared Perry (0-21).
Orlando finally scored when Rowley completed a pass to Prechae Rodriguez for 5 yards, and Mark Lewis made the kick (7-21). Tim Cheatwood came in with a sack on Dilvila at the end of the first before Arizona scored again, (7-28).
Orlando had difficulty scoring throughout the first half as Arizona scored again (7-35) before the Predators could achieve another touchdown. Rowley was able to complete a pass to T.T. Toliver, pushing the Predators up the scoreboard (14-35). The Rattlers never sat idle, as Davila completed another pass to Odie Armstrong for 12 yards, and Armstrong rushed 1 yard for another touchdown (14-41). At the end of the first half, the score climbed (21-48) for the Rattlers.
Orlando showed strong energy at the beginning of the second half, scoring their fourth touchdown in 7 plays, (28-48). Davila came back at the Predators when he threw 2 pass completions to Harvey and Windsor, setting Armstrong up for a 1-yard rush, making another touchdown for the Rattlers (28-55). The Predators followed suit as Rowley connected with Toliver on an 8-yard pass and another one to Jason Geathers. The touchdown was finally made when Marlon Moye-Moore rushed 1-yard hiking the score up (35-55).
Entering the fourth quarter, the Predators faced difficulty trying to catch up on the scoreboard. Arizona made 3 touchdowns for 20 points in the final quarter, and Orlando was only able to accomplish one touchdown over 4 plays when Rowley made a pass to Geathers for 7 yards half way through the fourth.
Marlon Moye-Moore rushed 2 yards for a total of 2 touchdowns, TT Toliver made 1 touchdown for 139 receiving yards and Prechae Rodriguez was another stand out with 123 receiving yards for 2 touchdowns. Defensively Dominic Jones made 5 tackles, and Travis Coleman made 3.
Next week, the Predators head to Pittsburgh (1-3) to face the Power. The Predators hope to turn things around next Saturday and break their on going loosing streak. After facing the Power, the Predators will head to Spokane (5-1) to take on the Shock.
Talons Shut off the Power 42-37
The San Antonio Talons (2-3) defeated the Pittsburgh Power (1-4) Sunday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh in front of a crowd of 6,688 by a score of 42-37.
Burl Toler led San Antonio receivers with 8 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Toler was Hill's go-to-guy on third downs, and it worked out well for the Talons offense. Dwayne Eley Jr. also had a great game with 4 catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Talons quarterback, Nick Hill connected on 17 of 29 passes for 180 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Power's Jefferson completed 20 of 36 attempts for 209 yards and three touchdowns before coming out of the game in the fourth quarter. Jefferson favorited Wide Receiver Mike Washington who had 13 receptions for 133 yards and four touchdowns. The Talons struggled to stop Washington in Sunday's matchup.
The Talons defense made a big statement by attacking quarterback Jordan Jefferson quickly in the first quarter when Turner sacked Jefferson for a loss of 10 yards. Despite the aggressive defensive effort, the Power put three points on the board first with a 36-yard field goal by Czajkowski. San Antonio answered back quickly when Hill found Eley with a 23 yard Touchdown pass with 3:50 left in the first quarter. Demos' successful extra point put the Talons on top 7-3.
After a fairly uneventful first quarter, the Talons showed up strong in the second quarter looking to make a statement. Just 6 seconds in, Hill hit Wide Receiver Jomo Wilson with a 9 yard touchdown pass. Demos' kick attempt was good to up the Talons lead to 14-3 over the Power.
Jefferson responded by completing a 10 yard pass to Washington for a touchdown cutting the Talons lead to 14-10. Pittsburgh began to give San Antonio lots of yardage in the second quarter. Hill completed a five yard touchdown pass to Wilson with less than five minutes left in the half. Demos remained perfect for the game hitting another extra point expanding San Antonio's lead to 21-10.
With 1:20 left in the second quarter, Jefferson hit Washington with a 15 yard touchdown pass going into halftime; the Power trailed the Talons by just 4 points at 21-17. The Talons capitalized on turnovers and penalties in the first half. The competition was fairly even with both teams having 1 turnover and 6 first downs. San Antonio led in the rushing category with 14 yards over Powers 4.
Power's opening drive of the third quarter resulted in a 32 yard touchdown pass to Washington once again; Czajkowski's kick was good, putting the Power on top of the Talons for the first time since their first drive of the game with a score of 21-24.
With just under three minutes left in the third quarter, Nick Hill found Dwayne Eley Jr. in the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown pass and with Demos' kick the Talons reclaimed their lead 28-24 over the Power. Pittsburgh attempted to neutralize the Talons' pass rush with quick passes to put more pressure on the defensive backs, but they were ultimately unsuccessful
The Power, trailing by four points going into the fourth quarter struggled to put anything together. Talons defensive lineman Joe Sykes took down Jefferson for a loss of 6 yards at the start of the fourth. Nick Hill continued to find Toler, allowing him to showcase his speed where he ran it in for a 21 yard touchdown with 13:14 left to play. Demos' extra point increased the Talons lead 35-24. Chad Tank Cook after several rush attempts, found the end zone for a 1 yard Touchdown bringing the Talons lead to 42-24. Attempting to shake things up, Shane Austin came in the quarterback spot for Pittsburgh. Austin quickly ran in a 17 yard touchdown cutting the Talons lead 42-31. Austin added one last heroic attempt to chase the Talons lead with a Touchdown pass to Washington, but fell short with a final score of 42-37.
The Talons now boast a (2-3) record on the season, causing the Power to fall to (1-4) after a heartbreaking loss on their home turf. The Talons return to action this Friday May 3 against the Iowa Barnstormers at the Alamodome for Los Talons night. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM CST and a post-game concert by Stefani Montiel will take place in the Coors Light lounge immediately following the game.

Indoor Football League
Slaughter Outlast the Storm
The Sioux Falls Storm (5-3) were defeated by the Chicago Slaughter (6-3) on Saturday night with a final score of 61-55. Sioux Falls came into this game riding the wave of a three game win streak. Their last loss was on March 24 in Colorado against the Ice.
Chicago scored the first points of the game on a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cody Kirby giving the Slaughter a 7-0 start.
On the Storms first offensive possession, quarterback Terrance Bryant threw an interception to Slaughter defensive back Chris Johnson. It was returned for a touchdown giving Chicago a 14-0 lead over Sioux Falls.
The Storm got on the board with their next offensive possession when wideout James Terry ran in a 4-yard touchdown to make it a 14-7 Slaughter lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chicago answered right back when Kirby connected with wideout John Cooper for a 3-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was no good making the score 20-7 Slaughter lead.
Sioux Falls found consistency on offense when Bryant connected with running back Tory Harrison for a 4-yard touchdown pass to make it a 20-14 ball game with the Slaughter still holding onto the lead.
The Slaughter was successful on their next offensive drive when Kirby connected with wideout Shatone Powers for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The special teams for Chicago continued its struggles when kicker Chris Nendick missed his second extra making it a 26-14 lead for Chicago.
The Storm reduced their deficit to only four points when Bryant threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Terry and then were successful on a 2-point conversion.
With 3:34 left in the second quarter, Juice Williams of the Slaughter ran in a 2-yard touchdown making it a 33-22 game.
Sioux Falls answered right back on a successful drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by James Dunlap. The Slaughter blocked the Storms extra point and returned it to the end zone for two extra points.
The first half came to an end with the Chicago Slaughter leading the Storm 35-28.
Sioux Falls tied Chicago at 35 to start third quarter when Bryant connected with Blake Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
Chicago answered right back to regain the lead when Kirby took in a one-yard quarterback keeper to make it 41-35.
Bryant connected with Terry for the second time in the game to give the Storm it's first lead of the game, 42-41 at the end of the third quarter.
The Storm continued it's offensive spree in the forth quarter when Bryant connected with wideout Mike Tatum on a 7-yard touchdown pass to make it a 49-41 Storm lead.
Kirby answered right back for the Slaughter when he connected on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Williams. The Storm still led 49-47 due to Chicago's 2-point conversion attempt being no good.
With 59 seconds to play Chicago took the lead to make it 55-49 when Daniel Dufrene ran it in from 3-yards out.
Sioux Falls answered right back with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Wilson with 24 seconds remaining. Storm kicker Parker Douglass made the extra point to give Sioux Falls a 56-55 lead.
Chicago retook the lead with 13 seconds remaining in the ball game when Kirby connected with Dufrene for a 25-yard touchdown making it 61-56.
The Storm attempted a few plays to the end zone on their next drive but time ran out giving Chicago the 61-56 point victory.
Terrance Bryant led the way for the Storm as he threw for 253 yards with a completion percentage of 87%. He also threw for six touchdowns but of his four non-completions, three were intercepted.
Slaughter quarterback Kirby ended the game throwing for 257 yards and four touchdowns with a completion percentage of 80%.
The Sioux Falls Storm returns home on May 4 at 7:05 when they host the Nebraska Danger.
Green Bay Blizzard Quash Revolution 74-25
The Green Bay Blizzard (3-5) achieved their first winning streak of the season as they routed the Texas Revolution 74-25, Saturday night at the Resch Center in front of 3,607 fans.
Blizzard WR B.J. Hill started off the first ever meeting between the Green Bay Blizzard and Texas Revolution with a bang. He returned the opening kickoff 54 yards for a touchdown and put himself alone atop the Indoor Football League for most career kickoff return touchdowns with 12.
He also found himself on the receiving end of two first-half touchdown passes from Quarterback Spencer Ohm, the IFL's reigning co-offensive player of the week.
Ohm would throw four touchdowns in the first half against the Revolution, bringing his total to 11 in his first six quarters as the starting quarterback for Green Bay.
Hill was not the only player however, with a major impact on special teams.
Kicker Jered Fohrman, who was recently added back to the team roster after a brief appearance earlier in the season, was a perfect 5/5 on extra points and 2/2 on field goal attempts in the first half including a 43-yard make in the first quarter.
He also proved kicking was not the only weapon in his arsenal as he recorded three solo tackles in the first half, including a touchdown saving tackle near the sideline early in the game.
The second half started off similar to the first with the Revolution's first drive resulting in a three and out and the Blizzard quickly finding the end zone.
Lucian Walker took the handoff and ran in from six yards out for his second score of the game giving Green Bay a commanding 55-17 lead with only two minutes taken off the clock in the third quarter.
Revolution quarterback Marcus Jackson came into the game leading the league in interceptions with 10 and added two more to his total after a rough night on Saturday.
Green Bay's defense held him to just 13 completions on 36 attempts and under 100 yards passing. Defensive back Elijah Fields intercepted the Texas quarterback twice for his third and fourth takeaways of the season. Fields also led the team in tackles with 13,tying a franchise high.
The defensive unit played its best game collectively of the season holding Texas to only 76 total yards; including -8 on the ground.
Defensive lineman James McClinton came into the game with 19.5 career sacks with the Blizzard, needing just one to take sole possession of the all-time lead in franchise history. He did just that when he took down Jackson behind the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter.
Ohm finished the night completing 18 of 25 passing attempts for 201 yards and six touchdowns while fellow Blizzard teammate B.J. Hill racked up an impressive 190 all-purpose yards. WR Jon Meadows led all Blizzard receivers with five catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Green Bay has now piled up 140 points in its first two games under the direction of head coach Chad Baldwin and offensive coordinator John Pate and has arguably been the league's hottest offense since the new coaching change.
Unfortunately, the Blizzard will have a bye next week but will look to continue its first winning streak of the season on Friday May 10. Green Bay will face a big test in their next game as the team faces Intense Conference leader Nebraska Danger (6-2) at the Resch Center at 7:30 P.M. The first 1,500 youth 17 and under will receive a free youth cap sponsored by Fox 11 and Martin Security Systems.

Lone Star Football League
Stars Defense Shuts Down Bandits
The New Mexico Stars came away with a 57-28 victory behind a brilliant defensive effort on Saturday night at the Santa Ana Star Center. In a game where the Stars never trailed, the defense came up with 6 turnovers (4 fumbles and 2 interceptions), didn't allow a 3rd down conversion (0-7), and allowed just one 4th down conversion (1-4).
Stars DB Darius Pettigrew was all over the field and finished the game with 11 tackles, 2 deflections, and 2 recovered fumble in which he ran one back 40 yards for a touchdown. Speaking after the game, Pettigrew said "I was in the right place at the right time all night long. All week long the coaches have stressed getting to the ball and that is all I could think about after the snap... getting to the ball carrier."
The few times the offense got to touch the ball, they made the most of it by scoring quickly with surgical precision. New Stars QB Kasey Peters threw for an impressive 5 TDs on his way to 157 yards in the air, and had nothing but praise for his new team after the game. "It was a lot of fun coming out and getting a win at home" Peters said. "Our defense played great and got so many turnovers, that is really helped me relax. The Offensive Line put up a wall of protection around me, and the Wide Receivers ran perfect routes. Everyone did their job like a professional."
Peter's go-to man all night long was Superman himself, Mr. Joshua Floyd. Of the 8 completions that Peters threw, Floyd was on the receiving end of 7 of them. He finished with 149 receiving yards and a whopping 4 TDs.
The Stars have another bye this coming week, then take on the 3-2 Abilene Bombers at home on May 11th. The Stars currently hold the best rushing offense in the LSFL with 63.4 YPG on the ground, are tied for 1st in the league with 19 passing TDs, and the Stars are 1st in the league with 1,128 yards of total offense. Individually, RB Seth Smith leads the league with 193 rushing yards, and Chaz Thompson and DeMarcus James are #1 and #2 in the league for INTs (4 and 3 respectively).

Professional Indoor Football League
Hammers Stumble at Home
Seemingly in control for much of the Professional Indoor Football League contest, the Nighthawks rallied late and took a 53-51 lead on Ryan Porter's long touchdown pass to Deandre Brown with less than half minute to play and that total included an extra point and aone-point uno from kicker Armando Cuko on the ensuing kickoff.
The Hammers responded with a short drive, but Brain Jackson's 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as time expired at the Von Braun Center's Propst Arena.
Final score: Knoxville 53, Hammers 51.
It was Alabama's first home loss of the season and dropped the PIFL-leading squad to 5-2. Knoxville improved to 2-5.
Hammers quarterback Russell Hill completed 15 of 30 passes for 317 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions. C.J. Johnson had six receptions and four touchdowns and Mico McSwain six and two scores for the Hammers. Fullback Dan Ross also had a rushing touchdown for Alabama.
Porter completed 27 of 41 passes for 287 yards with four touchdowns and two picks for Knoxville.
The Hammers led it 51-34 with three minutes left in the third quarter after Hill's 7-yard pass to McSwain.
That was the end of the offensive night for Alabama, which gave up 19 unanswered points to the Nighthawks in the fourth quarter on the way to the loss.
The Hammers have a pair of bye weeks before heading to Columbus on May 18.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Storm Defeats the Shock 70-62
The Tampa Bay Storm (4-2, 1-1) defeated the formerly undefeated Spokane Shock (5-1, 2-0) Saturday evening at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, in front of a crowd 9,872 fans, by a score of 70-62. The game saw the Storm defense intercept Erik Meyer twice, breaking his streak of 193 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
The Storm defense led the way in the first half holding the Shock's high-powered offense to only seven points. The Storm defense came away with two interceptions giving the team its fifth consecutive game with an interception. Defensive lineman Rodney Beamon had an interception to go along with his sack for a loss of 10 yards.
The Storm offense was led by the combination of Adrian McPherson and Joe Hills. They connected nine times for 177 yards and five touchdowns. Hills extended his streak of games with multi-touchdown receptions to 10. Receiver Greg Ellingson also caught eight passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson completed 21-of-36 passes for 310 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns.
The Shock came back at the half, scoring twice within the first five minutes of the second half, but the rally was short lived as the Storm scored on its next possession with a 42-yard reception by Joe Hills.
The highlight of the night for the Shock was a 58-yard kick return for a touchdown by defensive back Terrance Sanders. The Shock outscored the Storm by 14 points in the third quarter, but it was not enough to overcome the Storm. The team's offense was led by Eric Meyer who through for 222 yards and six touchdowns, and two interceptions on 16-of-30 passing. His primary target was Adron Tennell who caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tampa Bay Storm heads home for its matchup with the New Orleans VooDoo at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on "Net10 Arena Football Saturday Night" on CBS Sports Network this coming Saturday, May 4...Kickoff is set for 9:00 PM ET.
Sharks Take Down Soul, 55-53, for Sixth Straight Win
With his team clinging to a two-point lead in the final minute, Jacksonville Sharks' defensive back Terrance Smith knocked away a would-be game-tying pass, then recovered an onside kick to seal the Sharks' 55-53 win over the Philadelphia Soul at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
Jacksonville (6-0) held a 55-47 lead with under a minute left, before Philadelphia (2-3) fullback Derrick Ross shook off several defenders to bring his team within two with a short rushing touchdown on fourth and goal with 18 seconds left. After a delay of game penalty moved Philadelphia back, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh looked for Larry Brackins in the corner of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt. Smith stayed with the six-foot-five Brackins and tipped the pass away, keeping the Sharks in front. On the next play, Smith tracked down Carlos Martinez' onside kick attempt, allowing the Sharks to retain possession and run out the clock. With the win, the Sharks remained perfect in 2013, extending what has become by far the team's best start to a season in franchise history.
The dramatic finish ended what was actually a two-score game for much of the second half. On the possession before Ross' late touchdown, Jacksonville had the ball with a chance to seal the game, but the Soul defense held and forced a field goal attempt. Marco Capozzoli's kick missed wide right, and Philadelphia returner Rayshaun Kizer returned the free ball past midfield to give the Soul another chance.
Jacksonville led almost wire-to-wire, taking the lead for good after Philadelphia scored the game's first touchdown. Morris tied a career high with eight touchdown passes, connecting on 17 of his 26 passes for 219 yards and eight touchdowns. Jeron Harvey scored a touchdown on each of his five catches, setting a new career high with those five touchdown grabs. At one point in the second half, Harvey caught a touchdown pass on four consecutive Jacksonville possessions.
The Sharks received the game's opening kickoff but started slow, going four and out on the game's first possession. Philadelphia took over and scored first, as Ross plunged in from two yards out for the first score of the evening. But on the ensuing possession, Morris' pump fake allowed Markee White to slip past his man and glide under a 30-yard touchdown pass that put the Sharks ahead, 7-6."¨
On the Soul's next drive, Tracy Belton generated the game's first turnover with an outstanding hustle play. After Raudabaugh completed a pass to Alvance Robinson, Belton stripped the football, collected the fumble himself and returned it for 13 yards to improve the Sharks' field position. A few plays later, Morris went deep again, this time looking for Jeff Hughley who made an impressive catch up against the wall in the corner of the end zone. The 29-yard touchdown gave the Sharks a 14-6 lead."
The teams then traded touchdowns, as Andrae Thurman collected a touchdown pass from Raudabaugh and then Harvey hauled in an 18-yard pass from Morris with a sliding catch in the end zone, putting Jacksonville ahead by a 21-12 count. Belton stepped up again on Philadelphia's next drive, knocking away a fourth down pass in much the same way as he did to seal the Sharks' Week 5 win over the Iowa Barnstormers. The Sharks took over deep in Philadelphia territory, and the Jacksonville offense converted in short order with a three-yard pass from Morris to White."
Now trailing 28-12, Philadelphia closed the first half with back-to-back scores. After Derrick Ross broke through the line and trotted in for a 16-yard rushing touchdown, Soul Jack linebacker Joe Goosby gathered an interception off a ball deflected by a fellow Soul defender. On fourth and goal in the final minute of the half, Brackins outmuscled Smith for a three-yard touchdown catch, cutting the Sharks' lead to 28-26 at the break.
On the first play of the second half, Belton swung momentum with his second forced fumble of the game. This time, Belton knocked it loose from the grip of Tiger Jones, and Smith pounced on the loose ball. The ensuing drive ended with an outstanding catch by Harvey, who made a one-handed grab on a three-yard pass from Morris despite defensive pass interference being committed on the play. Harvey's score gave the Sharks a 35-26 lead."
After Jones finished a Soul drive with a short rushing touchdown, Harvey delivered again with his third score of the game, this time on a 10-yard pass from Morris that put the Sharks up 42-33 late in the third."¨
The Sharks' front four finally broke through against Philadelphia's pass protection unit late in the third, as Aaron Robbins brought down Raudabaugh to end the quarter. The reigning First Team All-Arena Mac linebacker, Robbins extended his streak to five consecutive games with a sack. A few plays later, Belton's tight coverage forced an incompletion on fourth down, allowing the Sharks to take over on downs with a nine-point edge.
Harvey followed that defensive stop with his third touchdown in as many drives, breaking free on a second-down play from near midfield. Morris hit his wide-open receiver, as Harvey's fourth touchdown catch of the game extended Jacksonville's advantage to 48-33 with just under ten minutes remaining.
Though Philadelphia responded with a quick touchdown, Harvey delivered yet again on the Sharks' next drive. Harvey out-jumped two Philadelphia defenders to bring down his career-high fifth touchdown of the game, putting the Sharks back up by two scores, 55-40. Thurman answered with a touchdown to pull the Soul within eight points, setting up the dramatic finish in the final minutes.
As Harvey led the Sharks with his five touchdowns, White chipped in with five catches for 65 yards and two scores of his own. Though he was held out of the end zone, Hughley led Jacksonville with seven receptions for 98 yards, adding 96 kick return yards for a game-high total of 194 all-purpose yards. Morris gained 45 yards on eight rushing attempts.
Defensively, Smith led the team with 7.5 total tackles (seven solo) and his fumble recovery, while Belton had a tremendous all-around game, totaling seven tackles (six solo), two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Robbins totaled two tackles for loss to go along with his sack, and Jerry Turner blocked an extra point.
For Philadelphia, Raudabaugh went 24-for-37 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Ross scored three rushing touchdowns on his 13 carries, totaling 38 yards on the ground. Tiger Jones led all players with nine catches for 148 yards, but was kept out of the end zone by the Jacksonville defense. Thurman and Brackins each caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Soul.
Jacksonville returns home to put its perfect record on the line next week against the defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, May 4. Kickoff on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
SaberCats Claw Past VooDoo
The New Orleans VooDoo (1-4) drop their fourth straight as they fall to the San Jose SaberCats (3-2) 57-38 in front of a crowd of 4,357 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night.
VooDoo quarterback Zack Eskridge got the start ahead of the injured Kurt Rocco, and he struggled out of the gate. Eskridge threw three straight incomplete passes on the team's first possession, leading to a missed field goal. The VooDoo took over after the SaberCats fumbled deep in New Orleans territory, but Eskridge tossed an interception to San Jose linebacker Huey Whittaker, who returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. The VooDoo added three to make it a 7-3 ballgame. The VooDoo scored 14 straight points in the second quarter as kick returned Quorey Payne rattled of a 57-yard return for a touchdown, the second consecutive week he has done that. The VooDoo then recorded a safety, but Eskridge was picked off again on the ensuing possession, this time in the end zone. The VooDoo defense struck back as defensive back Eddie Moten grabbed his third interception of the season. Eskridge later found Duvault for a nine yard score to make it 17-14.
San Jose countered with a 47-yard touchdown, a one-play drive, from quarterback Russ Michna to receiver Jamarko Simmons to retake the lead 21-17. The SaberCats successfully executed an onside kick after challenging the original call of illegal touching. The Cats turned that into a nine yard score from Michna to Whittaker to take a 28-17 halftime lead. Michna was efficient tonight, completing 23 of 35 passes for 312 yards and six touchdowns.
San Jose kept the pedal down as Michna found receiver Fred Williams on another one-play scoring drive, this one a 45-yarder for the touchdown. The SaberCats added a safety as Eskridge was charged with intentional grounding in the end zone. San Jose turned it over on downs and Eskridge helped cut the lead to 37-24 after a 1-yard touchdown run. Payne nearly broke off another return for a touchdown but was cut down at the San Jose 23 yard line. Eskridge was knocked out of the game after a roughing the passer penalty on San Jose. Eskridge finished the night 7-18 for 67 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Newly acquired quarterback Bill Stull checked into the game for New Orleans and led the way 8-14 for 97 yards and a touchdown. Simmons would find the end zone once more on a 1-yard run, and Michna connected with receiver Fred Williams for a touchdown to keep the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Stull's lone touchdown pass was to Courtney Smith as time expired.
VooDoo fans were treated to the team's throwback purple uniforms. The team opted to go with the purple because of popular demand from fans and as a way to kick off their six-game stint of home games in the Superdome. But the purple jersey magic wasn't enough.
New Orleans begins a three-game road trip against Tampa Bay, Iowa, and Spokane before they return home on May 25 to take on Chicago.
Utah Blaze Conquer Cleveland Gladiators, 57-40
The Utah Blaze (2-3) put forth its most complete effort of the season in a 57-40 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators (1-4) on Saturday night. Utah dominated the third quarter, outscoring the opponent 21-0 while coming up with three turnovers.
MVP quarterback Tommy Grady completed 30-of-42 attempts for 300 yards with seven touchdowns before being relieved by backup Jason Boltus in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Aaron Lesue turned in an outstanding performance, coming up with a season-high 14 receptions for 156 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Blaze forced five takeaways on the night, coming up with two interceptions and three turnovers on downs. Maurice Leggett led the way for Utah, registering seven tackles with five pass breakups and one interception. David Hyland also notched an interception, as he totaled four tackles and two pass breakups in the game.
Cleveland got on the board first, as wide receiver Jonathan Lewis caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brian Zbydniewski to take a 7-0 lead. However, wide receiver Mario Urrutia quickly tied the game for the Blaze, hauling in an 11-yard score from Grady.
The Gladiators regained the lead on the following possession, capping off a six-play, 45-yard drive with a quarterback sneak from Zbydniewski. But the Blaze needed just one play to find the end zone, as Grady scrambled to avoid pressure before launching a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open Aaron Lesue. Cleveland maintained a 14-13 lead, as kicker Adrian Trevino missed the extra point and was injured on the play, forcing Utah to go for two during the remainder of the game.
The Blaze opened the second quarter with a turnover on downs, as pressure by the defensive line forced an incomplete pass by Zbydniewski on fourth-and-goal. Utah found the end zone four plays and 43 yards later, as wide receiver L.J. Castile secured a 16-yard touchdown reception that sent him flying into the dasher boards. A failed two-point conversion attempt gave the Blaze a 19-14 advantage midway through the second frame.
Cleveland scored quickly off a touchdown run by Zbydniewski after a failed onside kick attempt gave the Gladiators the ball at Utah's five yard line, taking a 21-19 lead. On the ensuing possession, Tommy Grady capped off a 10-play, 38-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak and Urrutia successfully converted a two-point conversion to a take a 27-21 lead at halftime.
Grady hooked up with Urrutia on a five-yard touchdown completion on the opening possession of the third quarter to put Utah ahead, 33-21. On the ensuing Gladiators drive, defensive back David Hyland went flying over the boards while securing an interception in the end zone to give the ball back to the Blaze. Grady and Lesue successfully converted the turnover into points, as Lesue snared a 16-yard touchdown pass before hauling in the two-point conversion to give Utah a 41-21 advantage.
Defensive back Maurice Leggett halted another Gladiators drive moments later with another interception and Lesue once again found the end zone on the ensuing Blaze possession. Grady hit Lesue from six yards out for a touchdown and Mario Urrutia came down with the two-point conversion, as Utah mounted a 49-21 lead at the end of the third period.
Cleveland finally found the end zone again to start the fourth quarter, as Zbydniewski hooked up Wilson from 19 yards out. But the Gladiators would be unsuccessful on the onside kick attempt and the Blaze quickly converted the great field position into a score, as Grady connected with Lesue on a 12-yard touchdown and fullback Yoshi Hardrick pounded the two-point attempt into the end zone to take a 57-28 lead.
The Gladiators scored twice to end the game, as Zbydniewski tossed another score to Wilson and fullback Derik Steiner rushed for a one-yard touchdown.
With another victory under their belts, the Utah Blaze will return to Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 4th to take on the division-rival Spokane Shock. Kickoff from EnergySolutions Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Renegades lose 47-31
KC narrowed an 11-point halftime deficit to 3 points early in the fourth quarter thanks to a Kansas City fumble recovery and score. But Salina kept the lead out of reach when they scored on a 4th and goal from the goalline. Kansas City appeared to have intercepted the ball earlier in the drive, but it was wiped away by an offsides penalty.
Following Salina's clutch score, Kansas City had their chance to answer and narrow it back to a 3-point game. But a Carlos Cavanaugh pass got deflected into the air and found a Bomber. The turnover (KC was -1 in turnovers on the game) led directly to another Salina score, putting the game away at 47-31.
The Bombers dazzled their traveling fans with multiple deep touchdown completions and very few goalline scores. Meanwhile, Kansas City consistently marched down to the goalline, but couldn't always punch it in.
Running back Keithen Valentine scored two rushing touchdowns, but Kansas City was denied on two other drives at the goalline..
Valentine also had a reception touchdown. WR Anthony Parks had a receiving touchdown to round out KC's four touchdown scores.
Special teams threat OJ Simpson was neutralized for the second week in a row because the Bombers refused to kick him the ball. Instead they squibbed it. In the second quarter, a surprise onside kick caught KC off guard. The recovery and quick touchdown score extended Salina's lead to 28-10 in the 2nd quarter, a score that Kansas City had to slowly work their way back from.
Kansas City seemed to capture momentum early in the 4th quarter when Keithen Valentine caught a Cavanaugh pass following a Kansas City fumble recovery. That brought the score to 34-31 Salina, but that was as close as KC got.
Following Valentine's score, the Renegades were unsuccessful on a surprise onside kick attempt, giving the ball to Salina inside the 10. The defense put up a stand, but on fourth down Salina scored on a pitch to the left.
When it came time for Kansas City to bring it back to a 3-point game with around 3 minutes to play, Cavanaugh's pass was deflected and intercepted. The turnover and resulting Salina touchdown sealed the game.
Kansas City, 4-3, plays host to Sioux City next Saturday at 7:05. Sioux City beat KC earlier this year, 38-26.
Edge Shut out Koyotes for Second Straight Road Win
The Bloomington Edge defense came up big, holding the Kansas Koyotes scoreless in a 48-0 win in Champions Professional Football League action Saturday at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas.
The Edge would open up their scoring with a pass from quarterback Jim DuPage, finding Andre Raymond on a short dump-off pass for a 25-yard touchdown at the 2:48 mark in the first quarter.
The Edge would add 14 more points in the second quarter after a 7-yard touchdown pass from DuPage to Raymond and a 1-yard touchdown run for Antonio Ficklin to give the Edge a 21-0 lead at half time.
In the second half the Koyotes were looking for their first score in Edge territory before Josh Walker would come up with a drive-stopping interception, leading to one of two Marcus Lewis 3rd quarter touchdowns.
Lewis would end up with 5 receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns after touchdown receptions of 8 and 40 yards, both coming from DuPage who was 10-of-22 with 163 yards through the air with 4 touchdowns and one interception.
With time running out in the 4th quarter, the Koyotes would bring out the kicking unit in attempt to cut into the Edge lead, but Ross Cochran had a better idea, blowing through the line and blocking the long field goal attempt. Defensive lineman Antonio Ficklin would recover the ball and take it in for the score, giving the Edge the 41-0 advantage with 10:58 left in the game. With under a minute remaining in the game Lee Banks would cap the game off with a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Edge would improve on their season to 4-3 and put together their first back to back wins on the year. Cochran had a team leading 7 tackles with 1.5 sacks.
The next Edge game will be a meeting with the Haymakers in Lincoln Nebraska next Saturday at 7:05pm.
The Edge return home for their final two home games on May 10 and May 17.
Wild Control Outlaws in Blowout
The Wichita Wild (7-1) defeated the Mid Missouri Outlaws (0-7) in a final score 82-9 Saturday night in Sedalia, Missouri. In a true team effort, the Wild scored a season high 82 points to maintain their place atop the CPIFL standings.
Wild wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid kicked off the game with an incredible catch while falling onto his back in the middle of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. An extra point by Alex Fambrough allowed the Wild a 7-0 lead. The Outlaws followed up the Wild's score with a drive of their own all the way down to the Wild seven yard line, but a strong defensive effort by Darius Parish, Kiaree Daniels and Chris Hemphill prevented them from cashing in. After gaining possession of the ball on a turnover on downs, Kassanavoid picked up his second touchdown of the night off a pass from Rocky Hinds and an extra point put the Wild up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Wild continued to shut out the Outlaws with their explosive defense, giving the Wild offense a chance to extend their lead with a touchdown run by Tywon Hubbard, leaving the score, 21-0. Mid-Missouri could not catch a break from the Wild defense, as Kiaree Daniels intercepted the ball to allow Hubbard his second touchdown of the night capped off with an extra point for a Wild 28-0 advantage. On the Outlaws next possession, quarterback Damien Dunning threw his second straight interception, this time caught by the Wild's Kendrick Harper made complete by a 35 yard field goal by Fambrough to bring the Wild lead to 31-0. After another empty run by the Outlaws offense, Tim Simmons scored for the Wild and with an extra point, gave the Wild a 38-0 lead. Just before the end of the first half, Mid Missouri was finally able to convert a field goal for their first points of the game leaving the score 38-3 in favor of the Wild at the half.
Although Mid-Missouri opened the quarter with the ball, the turnovers continued with back to back interceptions, resulting in the Wild extending their lead, 52-3. On the very next possession, the Outlaws fumbled the ball allowing the Wild to run the ball in courtesy of Jarell Kelley for a 59-3 advantage. Finally able to put a drive together, the Outlaws were unsuccessful in their ability to put points on the board. Easily controlling the game, the Wild took over for another touchdown, run in by Travis Ribbing to close the quarter with a commanding lead.
To start the fourth quarter, Fambrough hit a 25 yard field goal to expand Wichita's lead, 69-3. A 27 yard run by Ken Davis, set the Outlaws up for their first touchdown of the night to leave the Wild ahead 69-9. Ribbing answered back for the Wild with his second touchdown of the night followed by a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Darius Parish to end the game with an 82-9 victory in favor of Wichita.
The Wild will return home May 4th to host the Oklahoma Defenders in Hartman Arena; kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Professional Indoor Football League
Raiders Defeat SteelHawks, 66-64
The Raiders rallied from a 21 point deficit and bottled up the Lehigh Valley offense in the second half en route to their second win over the SteelHawks in three weeks, 66-64 at Stabler Arena. Warren Smith threw for eight touchdowns and RoShawn Marshall intercepted Adam Bednarik on the "˜Hawks' last two possessions to seal the victory.
Lehigh Valley held a 12 point lead at halftime but managed just one touchdown after the break. The Raiders' defense, which utilized a defensive lineman and linebacker by committee approach, limited the SteelHawks to field goals to finish the third quarter, and came up with takeaways at the most important junctures in the game. The first came after the Raiders turned the ball over on downs after failing on fourth and goal from the one yard line, and the second came as Lehigh Valley was driving to the Raiders' 15 yard line with less than a minute to go.
Early on, the game looked like it might turn into a runaway. John Kennedy recovered a fumble when Warren Smith got hit in the pocket, and picked off Smith in the span of three drives. The SteelHawk offense showed why it was the league's most potent, racking up touchdowns the first five times they had the ball and putting up 51 points in the first half. When Adam Bednarik hooked up with Tom Gilson from nine yards out as the first quarter ended, it was 29-8 and the Raiders were reeling.
Smith quickly righted the ship, engineering a quick 25 yard touchdown drive, then throwing three straight TD passes to Jason Lovett, who finished with six receptions, five for scores, and 138 yards. The Raiders drew to within a touchdown twice in the second quarter, but after Bednarik ran for his second TD, had to settle for a field goal on fourth and goal with four seconds left.
Hakeem Moore became Smith's target of choice in the third quarter, hauling in touchdowns of 33 and 32 yards. Meanwhile, the defense harassed Bednarik to the tune of just 5-for-15 and 50 yards in the second half. Lovett's final touchdown brought the Raiders to within two, but Evan Selman's second field goal gave the SteelHawks some breathing room. The Raiders were poised to take their first lead since the opening kickoff and drove inside the Lehigh Valley 10, but Smith was stopped short of the end zone on a third down keeper, and lost four yards on fourth down.
The SteelHawks had the ball, the lead, and the momentum, but lost all three in the span of three plays. Marshall picked off a long Bednarik pass and returned it to the 10, and Smith hit Herb Jones on the next play to put the Raiders up by two with 4:16 remaining. Lehigh Valley took more than three minutes off the clock and were poised to at least get a short field goal to take the lead, but for the second straight week, they turned the ball over in the final minute. Marshall stepped in front of Bednarik's pass at the five yard line, returned it to the 21, and two Rodney Sledge runs later, the Raiders had the win.
The Raiders set season highs in points and in total yards (361). Smith ended with 327 yards on 18 completions with eight touchdowns. Lovett and Moore each caught six passes for over 130 yards. The Raiders moved to 4-2 and into sole possession of second place behind the 5-2 Alabama Hammers.
The Raiders will return home next week to face the Albany Panthers in a rematch of last year's championship game. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.
Nighthawks Beat Hammers in Slugfest
There is something about playing the number one team in the PIFL that the Knoxville Nighthawks really enjoy. The Nighthawks hit the road again Saturday as they traveled to Huntsville, AL to take on the top team in the league, the Alabama Hammers. Knoxville went into tonight's game seeking to find the magic they had the first time they played the best team in the PIFL. Once again, the Nighthawks found that magic and beat the Alabama Hammers 53-51.
The first half was like two heavy weights in a slug fest. Alabama started off quickly with a strike to Mico McSwain on the third play of the game for the touchdown. The Hammers converted the extra point and kick off for the uno to make the score 8-0. Knoxville then slowly moved the ball down the field and got to the 12 yard line of the Hammers. Armando Cuko nailed a field goal to make the score 8-3. The Hammers wasted no time scoring their their second touchdown of the evening as Dan Ross ran the ball in from the two yard line. The Hammers then hit the extra point and got the no making the score 16-3. The Nighthawks were not fazed. On the third play of their next possession, the Nighthawks' new quarterback Ryan Porter found Kelvin Bolden for a long pass and the touchdown. The score was then 16-10. Then the Hammers struck again with a pass to CJ Johnson for the touchdown and the score at the end of the first quarter was 23-10.
In the second quarter, the Nighthawks marched right back down the field and capped off the drive with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Deandre Brown and cut the score to 23-17. The Nighthawks held the Hammers to a 3 and 15 situation, however CJ Johnson slipped by the defense for the long touchdown and the Hammer made the score 30-17 with 7:50 left in the first half. On the next drive for Knoxville, Daccus Turman scored on a long run. Cuko hit the extra point and uno bringing the score to 37-31 with one minute left in the half. Alabama started marching down the field and got inside to the 8 yard line of the Nighthawks. But Stanley Clark came up with a huge play on defense as he intercepted the ball with 6.5 seconds left. After one pass play, Cuko scored on a long field goal. The score at the half was 37-34 Alabama.
Things slowed down just a bit in the 3rd quarter. The Nighthawks received the ball to start the second half. They moved the ball down the field, however were intercepted in the end zone. The Hammers took advantage of the situation and appeared to have take control of the game as they scored two more touchdowns. The Nighthawks could only manage a field goal as Alabama lead 51-37.
In the fourth quarter, the Knoxville refused to quit. Nighthawk fullback Daccus Turman scored on a 1 yard touchdown run. Cuko hit the extra point and uno to bring the score to 51-45 with 5 minutes left in the game. On the Hammers next possession, the Nighthawk defense stepped up. Knoxville got a sack and forced Alabama to kick a field goal, which was no good. With less than a minute to play, the Nighthawks went to work from their own five yard line. It did not take long for Porter to hook up with a wide open Deandre Brown who raced down the sidelines for the score. Cuko connected on the extra point and made another uno to make the score 53-51. But it was not over yet. Alabama began moving the ball down the field. With 6 seconds remaining in the game. Alabama made a decision to go for the win on a field goal attempt. But it was not meant to be as Hammers kicker Brian Jackson missed the opportunity allowing the Nighthawks to win their second game of the season.
Nighthawks head coach Cosmo Dematteo said, "This was a great win for our team tonight. To beat the best team in the PIFL is truly a testament to the hard work our guys have put in on the practice field. We will enjoy this for now and get back to work and prepare for a good Louisiana team. We look forward to playing again at home next week and in front of our fans."
The Nighthawks will be back at home Saturday, May 4th as they take on the Louisiana Swashbucklers for the second of three meeting this season. Game time is at 7:00 pm EST.
Lions Walk The Plank In Loss To Bucs
From the opening coin toss to the final blow of the whistle, on Saturday the Columbus Lions (3-3) of the Professional Indoor Football League got man-handled in a 77-65 thrashing at the hands of the Louisiana Swashbucklers (2-3).
Going into the game it is one thing to know who the best player on the opposing team is, but a total separate idea on how to stop that player. Thus was the case for the Columbus Lions on Saturday as coming into their contest against the Swashbucklers they knew their main threat was that of WR Jordan Rideaux.
Rideaux was a one-man wrecking crew hauling in nine passes for 117 yards and five touchdowns accounting of 1/3 of the Swashbucklers total offense. QB Chris Mitchell arguable had his strongest passing performance of the season completing 20 of 30 passes for 266 yards and six touchdowns while FB Kendrick Perry scored his first multi-touchdown in 2013 finding the end-zone on three rushing scores. The three headed rushing attack of Mitchell, Perry, and WR Sammy Knight pitched in with a season-high 98 yards keeping the Columbus defense on their heels for much of the night.
Offensively, the Lions were unable to solve the mystery that was the Swashbucklers secondary as new starting QB Brian Harris completed just 18 of 32 passes in addition to throwing three interceptions and fumbling the ball twice. WR Jarmon Fortson was the main receiving target on the night nabbing seven receptions for 84 yards while finding the end-zone once.
Early in the 1st quarter, DB LeRoy Vann picked up his second special teams touchdown of the season scoring on a 56-yard kick-off return. Taking into account his Week 1 special teams touchdowns, to date Vann is the only player in the PIFL to have scored a touchdown on special teams as well as being the only player in PIFL history to have scored a touchdown in four different facets in one season.
For Louisiana, their win over Columbus gives them their second straight overall while breaking a four-game losing streak on the road. Next week they continue on their three-game road swing when they face-off against the Knoxville Nighthawks (2-5) who pulled off a 53-51 up-set the first-place Alabama Hammers (5-2) Saturday night.
Columbus drops back to .500 and next Sunday will make their first ever trip to Bethlehem, PA taking on the reeling Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2-4) losers of three straight.