Saturday, April 13, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Talons Dominate in Tampa
The San Antonio Talons [0-2] travel to take on the Tampa Bay Storm [2-0] at Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday, April 12 2013 for their first road game of the season. The Talons are debuting new quarterback Nick Hill as he returns to his former home stadium as an opponent for the first time. The Talons are chasing their first win of the season while the Storm is looking to extend their win streak to 3-0.
The first quarter began with Tampa's star quarterback McPherson running in a 28 yard Touchdown, but Bongarra failed to hit the extra point. Dwayne Eley Jr. answered back quickly for the Talons with a 58 yard kickoff return and Stefan Demos adding the extra point making the score 7-6. The Talons defense did a good job pressuring McPherson into throwing before he was ready. Bongarra hit a 29 yard field goal to give the Storm a 9-7 lead going into the second quarter.
The Talons struck first in the second quarter with a 1 yard pass from Nick Hill to Jomo Wilson. Stefan Demos added the extra point, bringing a 14-9 score in favor of the Talons. With less than 5 minutes left to play in the first half, McPherson hit Greg Ellingson with a 44 yard touchdown pass, but Bongarra failed his second extra point of the night. San Antonio answered back when Nick Hill found wide-receiver Burl Toler with a 7 yard pass and only 3 seconds remaining, putting the Talons on top 21-15 going into the half. According to the Tampa Bay broadcasters, the Talons definitely did not look like the 0-2 team that their record shows.
The Talons received the second half kickoff. Hill continued to outperform his Storm counterpart, Hill was 15/20 for 97 yards and 2 Touchdowns while McPherson was 6/15 for 80 yards.
The third quarter began with McPherson finding Hills for a 7 yard Touchdown pass and Bongarra missing his 3rd kick of the night. Talons D.J. Stephens answered back with a 50 yard kickoff return. The Tampa Bay special teams gave up two touchdowns making it 28-21 in favor of the Talons while Demos remained perfect on the night. Hill continued his hot streak as he found Eley with an 8 yard pass for a touchdown in the deep right corner of the end zone. Tampa would not give in as McPherson found a gap running in a touchdown for 10 yards. Bongarra finally found the uprights and hit his first extra point of the night bringing the score to 35-28 Talons going into the 4th quarter.
The Talons were not satisfied with their lead yet, Nick Hill secured a 25 yard touchdown pass to Jomo Wilson to kick off the 4th quarter and keep the excitement up for San Antonio fans. The Talons continued to make the right plays at the right time throughout the night. With less than 11 minutes left to play, Joe Sykes knocked McPherson down causing a fumble that was recovered and ran in for a touchdown by Ransom bringing the score to 49-28 Talons.
Shane Boyd entered in as quarterback for injured McPherson following the sack by Sykes, bringing Tampa to a total of 4 injured starters. Boyd found Joe Hills for a touchdown with 7 minutes left to go and a 49-36 ball game after Tampa secured the 2 point conversion. San Antonio recovered the onside kick allowing Demos to make a 23 yard field goal to reach the final score of the night 52-36 with 3:48 remaining.
Nick Hill had a great night with 4 touchdowns and completing 66 percent of his passes for 187 yards. Hill favorite Tolor, Wilson and Eley in tonight's game making it a true team effort. The skill of Stefan Demos cannot go unnoticed as he remained perfect on the night. The Talons defense was a force to be reckoned with the entire game with standout defensive players Joe Sykes and Tim McGill pressuring McPherson's passing game. Sykes posted 2.5 sacks, 4 tackles, a forced fumble and 3 quarterback hurries. San Antonio is now 1-2 on the season as they travel to Arizona next weekend to take on the Rattler's Saturday April 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm CST.
Sharks Dominant in Friday Rout of VooDoo, 76-30
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks opened their 2013 home schedule in style on Friday night, racing out to a 28-0 lead en route to a 76-30 victory over the New Orleans VooDoo in front of 8,330 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
With the win, Jacksonville (4-0) extended what already stood the best start to a season in franchise history. The Sharks have now won two South Division games in as many tries, and fell just three points short of tying the franchise record for most points in a single game.
The Sharks broke the game open early with a dominant first quarter. Mac linebacker Aaron Robbins set the tone on the second play of the game, when he sacked New Orleans (1-2) starting quarterback Kurt Rocco for a five-yard loss. After the Shark defense forced a turnover on downs later in that series, Bernard Morris hit Jeff Hughley for the game's first touchdown on the Sharks' second offensive snap.
Hughley struck again at the end of New Orleans' next possession. When a Gary Cismesia field goal attempt missed, Hughley picked up the loose ball, cut past several would-be-tacklers and raced to the end zone for the first missed field goal return touchdown in Jacksonville franchise history. Hughley added another receiving touchdown on his team's next drive, giving Jacksonville a 21-0 lead.
With a three-score lead in hand, the Shark defense helped break the game open even further, as Terrance Smith and Bill Alford intercepted Rocco on back-to-back possessions. Rendrick Taylor capped each ensuing drive with a short touchdown run, extending the Sharks' advantage to 35-0 early in the second quarter. Taylor finished the game with four scores on the ground, matching a team record last reached by Kirby Griffin during the 2011 season.
After the VooDoo offense got on the board with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, Smith closed the first half in style. He stepped in front of Zack Eskridge's pass, grabbing the interception in the end zone and returning it for a touchdown as time expired in the half. Smith's big play gave the Sharks a 55-12 advantage heading into the locker room.
Smith finished the game as one of several defensive stars, totaling four tackles and a pass breakup to go along with those interceptions, while Micheaux Robinson racked up six solo tackles and a team-high three pass breakups. Robinson has now broken up over 100 passes in his outstanding four-plus-year AFL career. Along the front four, Matt Marcorelle led the way with two sacks, while Robbins totaled two tackles for loss to go along with his first-quarter sack.
The halftime whistle signaled the end of the night for Morris, who attempted just six passes in spite of the Sharks' prolific first-half output. Morris ended the game five-of-six for 45 yards and a pair of scores, adding two rushing yards. Most importantly, Morris extended his string of turnover-free play, as the Shark signal-caller has now accounted for 23 total touchdowns (20 passing, three rushing) without throwing an interception or losing a fumble this season. R.J. Archer replaced Morris at the beginning of the third quarter, completing 11 of his 16 passes for 132 yards and two scores in his first game action of the regular season.
At receiver, Markee White led the offense with five catches for 75 yards and a score, while Jeron Harvey caught 6 passes for 68 yards. Smith and Dusty Bear saw time on offense in the second half and each recorded a reception.
For the VooDoo, Courtney Smith led all receivers with eight catches for 150 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. Donovan Morgan recorded a game-high three touchdown catches, while defensive back Eddie Moten logged seven total tackles (five solo) and a pass breakup. Rocco completed 13 of his 28 passes for 172 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Eskridge went 6-for-9 for 71 yards, two scores and a pick.
The win combined with a Tampa Bay Storm loss gives the Sharks a one-and-a-half-game lead in the South Division, as each of Jacksonville's divisional foes has lost at least two games through the season's first four weeks.
The Sharks return to Sea Best Field next Friday night, hosting the Central Division's Iowa Barnstormers. Kickoff on "Faith and Family Night" is set for 8:00 p.m. as local performer Austin Adamec will play a live set following the conclusion of the game.
Shock Rattles Arizona with 66-49 Win
The Shock (4-0) come home after a long road trip and defeated the defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,358. Quarterback Erik Meyer continued his league leading numbers throwing for another 8 touchdowns giving him a total of 32 on the season with no interceptions. There were no defensive stops until 3:45 left in the fourth quarter when Spokane held the Rattlers to a four-and-out.
Arizona received the opening kickoff and QB Nick Davila took the Rattlers down the field for the opening touchdown of the contest. On the Shock's first possession of the game it took only two plays for quarterback Erik Meyer to connect on a deep post corner route to Duane Brooks for his first AFL reception and touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Arizona would go deep on their next drive and score on a 35-yard pass from Nick Davila to wide receiver Windsor. To end the first quarter Shock quarterback Erik Meyer drove the team down the field and with less than two minutes to go ran the ball in from four yards out to level the game 14-14.
In the second quarter of play, Arizona kept possession and scored in four plays to go up 21-14. The shootout would continue with Meyer finding Jorden in the flat who was able to out juke and out run the Rattler defenders, capping off the play with a diving score on a 28-yard touchdown, tying the game at 21-21. After the score, the Shock attempted an onside kick and were able to recover, taking a key possession away from the Rattlers. Meyer and Jorden would again connect on the ensuing drive, this time on an 18-yard pass to take the lead 28-21. Arizona's would be backed up into their own end zone and on a 4th-10 Davila would find Reed for the deep 49-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 28 before the half.
To start the third quarter the Shock would come out with a slow methodical drive culminating in Meyer connecting with Tennell in the back of the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass, putting Spokane up 35-28. Arizona would keep the back and forth game going driving down the field ending in a 1-yard rushing touchdown by fullback Odie Armstrong. Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer would find Kamer Jorden for the third time in the game on the slant for the 7-yard touchdown strike, giving the Shock the 42-35 lead.
In the final quarter of play, Arizona came out with possession and scored on a five play drive ending with a 6-yard pass to Perry from Davila. Erik Meyer continued the high scoring night with a 45-yard pass to Adron Tennell who bounced off the pads and took it in for the touchdown, putting the Shock back up 49-42. After a six yard sack by the Shock, Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila would find Ron Windsor for his third receiving touchdown of the night tying the game at 49 with fewer than nine minutes to go. Tennell bounced off the pads in the end zone and shows off his supreme concentration and hands on the next drive when Meyer throws a 24-yard touchdown pass towards the pads to put Spokane up 56-49. The Shock defense comes up big with less than three minutes to play forcing a turnover on downs and giving the Shock the ball on the Arizona five yard line. Kenney Spencer gave the Shock a 59-49 lead with 1:16 to play on a short field goal, but the Shock weren't finished quite yet with their West Division opponents. With Arizona driving and less than one minute to go Beau Bell came up with the critical interception while spying Rattler quarterback Nick Davila from the mac-linebacker position and returned the pick 20-yards into Arizona territory. As the clock dwindled down, Head Coach Andy Olson and the shock offense put a stamp on the win with yet another scoring drive leaving only 12 seconds on the clock to close the game out by a final score of 66-49.
The Shock will travel to San Jose next week to take on their second straight West Division opponent in the SaberCats on Friday, April 19th with a 7:30 PST kickoff time.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Wild Bounce Back with Big Win over Edge
The Wichita Wild (5-1) returned to their winning ways in Bloomington against the Edge (2-3) Saturday night in a final score, 49-35. Most notably, Tywon Hubbard's return to the field this week after his absence in the Wild's loss to the Kansas City Renegades last week proved the importance of his role on the team with two touchdowns on the night as well as a fantastic special teams performance. Joe Kassanavoid and Tim Simmons also tallied two touchdowns apiece on the night to help lead the Wild to a huge victory over the tough Edge.
In the first drive of the game against Bloomington, Wichita came out hot with a quick start and good field position, but on a fourth and goal attempt and a failed conversion, the Wild turned the ball over on downs on the Edge 5 yard line. With a quick drive and the Edge offense poised to score, Wild linebacker Anthony Smith produced a huge stop, tackling quarterback David Knighton for a loss, causing only a field goal attempt which was missed by Edge kicker Pete Christifal to keep the score 0-0. A personal foul penalty on Edge linebacker Ross Cochran would set the Wild up for a first and goal and a second try at producing points. On the next play, Wild quarterback Rocky Hinds threw an interception in the endzone, but on the very next play, defensive back Dan Kontz took the ball right back with an interception off of Kighton's first pass of the drive. The Wild would fail to score before the first quarter came to a close, leaving the score tied at 0-0.
As the Wild opened the second quarter with a third down situation, an 11 yard run by Hubbard followed by a 7 yard catch by Joe Kassanavoid, set up for a 2 yard rush by Hubbard and a touchdown with a missed extra point to give the Wild a 6-0 lead. Bloomington would hit back almost immediately with an incredible 46 yard field goal by Christofilakos . Then off of the Edge's kick-off, Hubbard broke through the Edge special teams to make it to the Bloomington 20 yard line. On another third down situation, Hinds scrambled and narrowly avoiding a sack, found Kassanavoid for a 17 yard catch in the endzone, and with the extra point, the Wild began to heat up extending their lead, 13-3. After another squandered opportunity by Bloomington, Hubbard continued his outstanding play with another kick-off return for 36 yards, leaving the Wild with great field position at the Edge 21 yard line. Hinds found Simmons for a Wild touchdown, although a bad snap would cause Alex Fambrough to be unable to convert on the extra point. Wild defensive back Dan Kontz caused a safety for the Wild to convert on their second of the night to give the Wild a 23-3 lead. With under 2 minutes left in the half Knighton rushed seven yards for an Edge touchdown and with a missed extra point, brought the score 23-9 with the Wild still in the lead.
Shortly after the start of the third quarter, Bloomington put together a strong drive let by Knighton which would eventually end in a 23 yard touchdown pass to Jasonus Tillery and with a missed extra point, the Edge cut the lead, 23-15 still in favor of the Wild. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a mental mistake by the Edge gave Wichita excellent field position at the Bloomington 21 and a chance to extend their lead which seemed to be dwindling. A pass complete to Simmons from hinds and a five yard rush put the Wild in scoring position, but with two consecutive sacks on Hinds, they would settle for a field goal from Fambrough to keep their lead at double digits, 26-15. Bloomington fired back on a short field with a pass from Knighton complete to Marcus Lewis for a 13 yard touchdown to cut the Wild lead to just 5 at 26-22. With an incredible special teams play, Hubbard returned the kick-off for a 56 yard touchdown and with the extra point missed, the Wild continued their lead 32-22. Although Bloomington set up a strong drive, they would not convert before the end of the quarter.
At the start of the final quarter, Bloomington's Andre Raymond ran the ball in three yards to make the score 32-29 as the Wild clung to a three point lead. On the next drive, Hinds found Kassanavoid for the second time of the night with a 26 yard pass to extend Wichita's lead to 10, 39-29 with nearly 11 minutes left in the game. An excellent defensive stand by the Wild defense held Bloomington to just a field goal try, but Wichita's Chris Hemphill blocked the kick to allow the Wild to maintain their 10 point lead. As Hinds attempted to build on the Wild's advantage, he inadvertently threw an interception to give Bloomington another chance to cut down their deficit, but Hemphill would get the ball right back with an interception of his own on the very next play down to the Bloomington three yard line, just short of a touchdown. Simmons caught a three yard pass from Hinds for his second touchdown late in the final quarter and the extra point by Fambrough gave the Wild a 46-29 lead over the Edge. A one play scoring drive by Bloomington's Tillery, kept the Edge within two possessions of Wichita's lead at 46-35, but a botched onside kick and penalty by Bloomington's special teams placed the ball at their own 8 yard line to put the Wild in scoring position. Hubbard would be buried on two consecutive rushes, forcing the Wild to try a field goal with just under a minute left in the game. Fambrough cashed in on the field goal to clinch a 49-35 Wild victory over the Edge for the second time this season.
The Wild continue season play when they return home on April 20th to host the Omaha Beef in Hartman Arena; Kick-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Indoor Football League
Colorado Ice Getting Ready for Key Conference Showdown
The Colorado Ice will be looking to avenge what currently stands as their lone loss of the 2013 season when they host the Nebraska Danger at the Budweiser Events Center, this Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 6:00 P.M.
The Ice first road game of the year was a 73-50 loss to the Danger in Grand Island, NE on March 9th. The team left Nebraska with a 1-1 record and questions about a defense that had allowed points on every Danger possession of the game. The Ice haven't lost since however, and are now 4-1, tied with the Danger for the Intense Conference lead.
One of the biggest reasons for the Ice's hot streak has been a refocused defensive unit. After allowing 73 points in the loss, the team has only surrendered 89 points combined in the three games since. Quarterback Willie Copeland (13) has been another factor in the team's success; his 17 passing touchdowns are tied for 2nd in the IFL.
The Danger will be looking to get off to a faster start than they did last week at home against the Texas Revolution. The Revolution took a 21-9 lead into the half after holding Danger QB Jameel Sewell to just 2 completions on 12 attempts through the first two quarters. The Danger managed to turn things around in the second half however, storming back for 53-50 victory.
As the IFL season nears the halfway point, the Intense conference is looking like it may come down to a two horse race between the Ice and the Danger. Both teams are well ahead of the Tri-Cities Fever and Wyoming Cavalry, the other two teams in the conference who are both currently 1-4. While the top 2 seeds from each conference make the playoffs, both teams have plenty to play for. The conference champion gets a home game in the first round against the second-place team with a trip to the United Bowl on the line.
Storm Win on the Road
Sioux Falls scored first when Bryant connected with wideout Mike Tatum for 43-yard touchdown pass making it 7-0 Storm. Tri Cities scored next when quarterback Dante Warren took in a quarterback keeper to tie the game. Sioux Falls struck again when Bryant connected with wideout Blake Wilson for a 16-yard touchdown making it 14-7 Storm. The Fever answered right back when quarterback Warren rushed in for his second of the game making it 14-14.
Bryant gave Sioux Falls the lead back when he scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper, giving the Storm a 21-14 lead. The Storm held strong on the ensuing possession blocking a field goal attempt which was recovered by Patrick Wells in the end zone giving the Storm a 28-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams struggled early on offense in the second quarter until Storm quarterback Bryant threw his first interception. It happened early in the second but the Fever was unable to capitalize as they forfeited their possession on downs. Sioux Falls took advantage and got close enough for a successful 18-yard field goal by Parker Douglass making it 31-14 Storm.
The next Storm Possession Douglass made a 45-yard field goal to make it 34-14 Storm. Tri-Cities scored on their next possession on a 28-yard quarterback keeper by Warren but missed the extra point making it 34-20 Storm. Storm scored one more time at the end of second off an 18-yard field goal from Douglass to make it 37-20 Storm at the half.
Fever quarterback Warren started off the third quarter scoring on another quarterback sneak to make it 37-26 Storm. On the Storm's next possession, running back Troy Harrison ran in a touchdown to give Sioux Falls a 44-26 lead. The Fever answered right back but were unsuccessful on the 2-point conversion to make the score 44-32 in favor of Sioux Falls. Tri Cities scored next on a 31-yard pass from Warren to wideout Whitehead and with the two-point conversion good it was 44-40 Storm at the end of the third.
Sioux Falls scored first in the fourth quarter on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Tatum to make it 51-40 Storm. Tri City shortened the deficit on their next possession when kicker Brady Beeson hit an 18-yard field goal to make it 51-43 Storm. Tyler Knight gave the Storm back some momentum next when he sacked Fever quarterback Warren in his own end zone for a safety making it 53-43 Storm. Sioux Falls scored next when Douglass kicked in another field goal from 20-yards out to make it 56-43 at the final.
Bryant finished the game throwing for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also threw for a completion percentage of 61% and 2 interceptions. Tory Harrison ended the game for the Storm with 63 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The Storm plays next Saturday on April 20 when the Colorado Ice comes to the Storm Shelter. Kick-off is for the game is scheduled for 7:05.
Chicago Slaughter Extend Win Streak to 5 Games
In a league where offense is the marquee staple, defense was the name of tonight's game, as the Chicago Slaughter extended their win streak to five games, defeating the Wyoming Cavalry, 33-20. The Slaughter defense allowed only two touchdowns, both of which came in the second half, then scored one of their own.
The Cavalry opened the scoring with a 30-yard field goal by Josiah Powell to take the early lead of 3-0. The Slaughter answered with a Cody Kirby 5-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Dufrene to take the lead 7-3. The Cavalry tacked on another field goal, then Kirby ran a touchdown in from 8 yards out to extend their lead at halftime to 13-7.
In the third quarter, Kirby completed a 30-yard pass to J.J. Hayes to make the score 26-13. Chicago's offense stalled in the fourth quarter, but that's when the defense stepped in. After allowing a Wyoming touchdown to make it 26-20, Chris Johnson intercepted a Barney O'Donnell pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. Johnson would intercept another pass a few minutes later to seal the victory.
Kirby led the team with 225 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, and Hayes led all receivers with 5 catches for 73 yards. However, the defense was the story, holding Wyoming to 6 points in the first half, the second time this season that Chicago has held an opponent under 10 points in the first half. Ameer Ismail had 9 tackles and Lenny Radtke followed up with 6 tackles and a forced fumble. The defense that leads the IFL in both interceptions and fumbles forced four turnovers on Friday night.
The Slaughter travel to Cedar Rapids next Saturday, April 20, to face the Titans.

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