Thursday, April 11, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Talons Assigned QB Nick Hill
The San Antonio Talons signed quarterback, Nick Hill to help shore up the Talons offense with his knowledge and experience of Arena Football.
Prior to joining the Talons, Hill competed in the Green Bay Packers' camp last summer and was a stand out on the Orlando Predators - throwing for 9,037 yards and 176 touchdowns in 2010 and 2011. Hill joined the Tampa Bay Storm in 2012 where he suffered an ankle injury. The 6'3", 210-pound former Southern Illinois University star is expected to start in place of Dutton at the Talons game Friday at Tampa Bay.
"Hill's experience and expertise is going to be a huge asset to the Talons," said Talons head coach Lee Johnson. "His performances over the past few years in the AFL speak for itself. We are very excited to welcome Hill to the team and can't wait to get him in a Talons uniform."
Pittsburgh Power Partner with Indiana University of Pennsylvania
The Pittsburgh Power have formed a partnership with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) for the remainder of the 2013 AFL season. The university, located 50 miles from Pittsburgh, will sponsor the "IUP Student Power Pass", a specially priced lower bowl ticket that will be available to all students with a valid school ID (middle school through college). The $10 ticket will also include $2 of food and beverage value which is redeemable for a $1 Smith's Hot Dog and a $1 7UP fountain drink, or can be used as a credit for other concession items in CONSOL Energy Center. The offer is only available at the Dicks Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center and students may purchase two tickets per game at the $10 price..
"Indiana University is excited to give back to students in the Greater Pittsburgh Area by providing a student discount on high-quality sports entertainment. Two current Pittsburgh Power players, Tyre Young and Beau Elliott, both studied and played football at IUP" stated Michelle Fryling, Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations at IUP. As part of IUP's new partnership with the Power, the school will be represented at all home games at CONSOL Energy Center and promoted through Power radio and television broadcasts. IUP also hopes to host alumni and student events at upcoming Power games.
Power owner Matt Shaner is pleased that the Power and IUP could forge a partnership. "We are thrilled to work with IUP," said Shaner. "Their commitments to academic excellence and community involvement have helped some of our players to grow and become successful working adults. The IUP Student Power Pass is also a great way to bring young fans to Power games for an affordable price," Shaner remarked.
The IUP Student Power Pass can be combined with full-price adult sales.
The Q Speeds Ahead with New Digital Technology
Quicken Loans Arena is officially wired and up-to-speed to meet fan expectations in the digital age. In partnership with Verizon Wireless, the ultimate tag-team solution for seamless digital and mobile connectivity has been created. Verizon's installation of a new distributed antenna system (DAS) combined with The Q's own FREE Wi-Fi network delivers a one-two punch that supports high-capacity simultaneous user activity inside the arena. Now, thousands attending events at The Q have the ability to talk, text, tweet and more to the max!
"Our fans can now access the digital world easy, free and with the speed they need and deserve anytime they are at The Q," said Len Komoroski, Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO. "These new DAS and Wi-Fi systems are a reflection of our entire organization's commitment to do whatever we can to make the in-arena experience fun, engaging and dynamic."
The Q's new carrier-led DAS, built by Verizon Wireless, remarkably distributes a powerful cellular signal through a network of more than 200 small antennas strategically placed around the arena. The antennas grab the signal from on-site base station equipment and transmit it through the facility to provide stronger wireless reception at 4G LTE speeds.
[WIFI Bars]Built to augment the DAS as an alternative connectivity point, Quicken Loans Arena installed QWiFi, its new high-speed wireless internet system. The high-density Wi-Fi network covers 100% of the arena and is free to fans and everyone visiting or working at The Q with their smartphones, tablets or devices. The system is designed so that if a loss of a critical Wi-Fi component occurs, it will recover within seconds without interrupting the user experience.
"Our network team worked closely with the Cleveland Cavaliers to construct this new DAS that will provide our customers with even more capacity at The Q," said Mark Frazier, region president for the Ohio/Pennsylvania/West Virginia Region, Verizon Wireless. "Sports fans are increasingly reliant on their wireless devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for streaming video, accessing social media and downloading apps, music, photos and other content. We built this in collaboration with the Cleveland Cavaliers to offer our subscribers a superior wireless experience while at the arena."
To install both the DAS and Wi-Fi in the 750,000 square foot Quicken Loans Arena required 106,575 feet of cable and 461 antennas (235 DAS antennas and 230 Wi-Fi antennas).

Indoor Football League
New Team Claims the #1 Spot in Poll for 3rd Week in a Row
For the third time in as many weeks, a new team sits atop the IFL Coaches Poll. The Nebraska Danger take over the #1 spot for the first time in the team's history.
Thanks to a 53-50 victory over the Texas Revolution, the Nebraska Danger (4-1) leapfrog the Colorado Ice to take over the top spot. The Danger average a league best 49.8 points per game and are led by QB Jameel Sewell. Sewell threw 5 touchdown passes on Saturday night, increasing his league leading total to 21. More impressive, through 5 games Sewell has thrown only 1 interception (an unheard of 21:1 TD-to-INT ratio). As we near the midway point of the season, Sewell is clearly at or near the top of most MVP ballots.
Idle in Week 8, the Colorado Ice (4-1) fall one spot to #2. In the IFL Game of the Week, the Ice will host the Danger on this Saturday night. This is the first #1 vs. #2 matchup of the season. This will be the second contest between the brewing rivals. In Week 4, the Danger defeated the Ice 73-50 in Grand Island. The Danger offense dominated that game, scoring on their first 11 possessions. Colorado are preparing for a different outcome this time around.
By far the hottest team in the IFL is the Chicago Slaughter. The Slaughter (4-2) jump 1 spot to #3 after a 50-45 victory over the Cedar Rapids Titans. After starting the season 0-2, the Slaughter have now won 4 straight, and find themselves in a tie with Cedar Rapids at the top of the United Conference standings. A balanced offensive attack led by QB Cody Kirby and RB Daniel DuFrene, paired with a stout defense, has been the recipe of success for the Slaughter. The Slaughter will look to improve their win streak to 5 when they face off against the Wyoming Cavalry on Friday night.
The Sioux Falls Storm (3-2) move up to #4 in this week's poll. Energized by the return of All-Time great QB Terrance Bryant, the Storm defeated the Green Bay Blizzard 48-29. The win marks the 7th in a row for the Storm over the Blizzard. Running Back Tory Harrison paved the way for the Storm on the ground, rushing for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, earning Offensive Player of the Week honors. The Storm defense continued its dominance in 2013, holding the Blizzard to just 36 rushing yards and 2-10 on 3rd down conversions. The Storm allow a league low 28.8 points per game, nearly 6 points better than the next closest team. This weekend, in one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, the Storm head to Tri-Cities to take on the Fever in a rematch of the previous two United Bowl Championship games.
Rounding out the Top 5 in this week's poll is the Cedar Rapids Titans (4-2). After a blistering 4-0 start to the season, the Titans have hit a rough patch, dropping their last two games to conference rivals by a total of 8 points. A revolving door at the QB position between Charles McCullum and Colton Hansen could be a contributing factor to the sputtering of a previously explosive offensive unit. A heavier dose of All-IFL Running Back Laron Council could be the cure for the Titans offensive woes. Council ranks 2nd in the league with 267 rushing yards and tied for 1st with 7 rushing touchdowns. The Titans will look to get back on track against the Texas Revolution in Week 9. The Revolution (2-3) are also coming off a loss at the hands of the Nebraska Danger. They remain at #6 in the coaches poll this week.
Spots 7-9 remain unchanged this week, belonging to the Green Bay Blizzard, Tri-Cities Fever, and Wyoming Cavalry. The Blizzard and Fever continued their struggles in 2013, falling to a combined 2-9 record. The Fever made a changed at QB this week by releasing starter Kasey Peters. The Cavalry earned their first victory of the season with a 36-34 win over the Fever in Week 8.

Professional Indoor Football League
Swashbucklers to Meet Columbus Lions on April 13th
After coming off a two-week bye, the Louisiana Swashbucklers return to the gridiron to take on the Columbus Lions in the Smuggler's Den in the Lake Charles Civic Center. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 13th. Pre-game tailgating starts at 4:30 p.m. This game will be dedicated to the Calcasieu and Cameron parish DARE programs.
The Swashbucklers will be looking to get into the win column for the first time this season after losing to the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 44-22 on March 23rd. The Bucs are 0-2 on the year while Columbus is 1-2. The stakes will be high though still early in the season as both teams are trying to improve their standings within the Professional Indoor Football League. In other PIFL action on Saturday the Albany Panthers will be taking on the Alabama Hammers. Both teams are 3-1 and looking to reach first place in the current standings. The Richmond Raiders and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks will also square off with identical records at 2-1.
Head coach Darnell Lee has announced quarterback Chris Mitchell will be under center to start the contest against Columbus. For the season, Mitchell has a passer rating of 141.37 along with 24 completions out of 42 attempts and no interceptions. He has six touchdowns to his credit and 292 yards.
Columbus will be looking to get their game back on track. The Lions were defeated last week by the Alabama Hammers 72-45. Despite the loss, Columbus defensive back LeRoy Vann was named PIFL Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against the Hammers. Vann intercepted two passes and returned them for touchdowns. Despite Vann's accomplishments, Coach Lee said the Bucs offense will be coming to the field ready to play. "We have the talent needed to win," he said. "Our special teams have done well this season. We just need the offense to step up and put points on the board when we are in the red zone. (Running back) Kendrick Perry is an exceptional leader on the field. He will challenge the Lions' defense."
Coach Lee reported there are no serious injuries on the team and every Swashbucklers player is ready for Columbus Saturday night.
Richmond Raiders Back in Action Saturday
The Richmond Raiders (2-1) will meet the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks (2-1) for the first time on Saturday night at 7:00 at the Richmond Coliseum. It will be a showdown for second place in the Professional Indoor Football League, with the winner grabbing sole possession of that slot.
Both teams are on two game winning streaks, and both have had a week of rest - the SteelHawks have had two - in preparation for the game, coming on Volunteer Appreciation Night presented by MeadWestvaco.
In the Raiders' last game, QB Warren Smith led the team to season-highs in points (51), yards (266), and yards per play (6.0) in a 51-36 win over Knoxville. Smith spread the ball around, completing at least one pass to six different receivers, and led the Raiders to touchdowns seven of the eight times he stepped on the field before running out the clock. The key sequence spanned the halves, as the Raiders' defense stopped the Nighthawks from extending their two point lead in the final 90 seconds, and got the ball back in time for a 52-yard field goal from T.C.
Stevens as the clock expired to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room. The Raiders received the second half kickoff and scored a touchdown, then recovered a fumble on the second play of the ensuing Nighthawks' drive, and got back in the end zone on the next play to go up by 15. Knoxville would never again have the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Three Raiders made the league's weekly honor roll. Smith was 21 of 26 passing, setting a team record with his 81% completion rate. He threw for four touchdowns and rushed for one more en route to being named the PIFL's Offensive Player of the Week. The 52 yard field goal was the longest of Stevens' career, and for his efforts, which included going 6-for-7 on extra points, he was named the league's Special Teams Player of the Week. Defensive Player of the Week Roshawn Marshall forced and recovered the Nighthawk fumble and added several tackles and a 4th down pass deflection on Knoxville's final play of the game.
The SteelHawks have had the last two weeks off after beating the Louisiana Swashbucklers 44- 22. Lehigh Valley turned a close game into a runaway, going on a 22-1 run after Louisiana got to within one point at 22-21 early in the second quarter. Adam Bednarik threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Tom Gilson led the SteelHawk receivers with nine catches for 108 yards and two scores, and the Lehigh Valley defense held the Swashbucklers to just 148 yards and 1- of-7 on third down conversions.
Saturday's matchup will be on Volunteer Appreciation Night, presented by MeadWestvaco, when the Raiders will salute everyone who donates their time to make our community a better place. Participants in the "First Things First" youth mentoring program will be honored at halftime, and there will also be a youth cheerleading demonstration presented in conjunction with the USO as part of the Month of the Military Child.

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