Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Philadelphia Pulls out Victory over Iowa, 54-43
The Philadelphia Soul (2-1) defense, which forced an impressive four stops on downs, stepped up for second week in a row as they defeated the Iowa Barnstormers (2-2), 54-43, in front of 7,743 fans at the Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.
"The defense had a tremendous game for us in all areas," said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "We will have to become more consistent on offense, but I am pleased how we overcame our mistakes and finished strong. It's a lot easier to work on mistakes coming off a win, but we are all looking forward to playing in front of our fans in next week's home opener against Cleveland."
Dolezel was also honored this weekend and during the game as a 2012 Arena Football Hall of Fame inductee for his 13-year career as a quarterback.
Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh guided the Philadelphia offense and finished by connecting on 22-of-30 passes for 270 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, Tiger Jones led Philadelphia receivers with eight receptions for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Andrae Thurman had seven catches for 57 receiving yards, while Ryan McDaniel added five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown and Larry Brackins had a 16-yard touchdown. The ground attack was led by Derrick Ross who finished with 19 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Defensively, Bryan Robinson, who earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Game honors, had 1.5 sacks and a blocked extra point that led to a Rayshaun Kizer two-point return. J Lewis Small AFL Playmaker of the Game, Joe Goosby, finished with 6.5 total tackles and two sacks. Dustin Barno had 1.5 sacks and two total tackles. LaRico Stevenson had 7.0 total tackles, Rayshaun Kizer had 3.0 total tackles and four pass breakups and Brandon Perkins added a sack for a safety.
Iowa's J.J. Raterrink connected 20-of-35 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns, while Marcus Harris led the Barnstormer receivers with 11 receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns and Jesse Schmidt had eight receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
The Soul got things started with the first offensive play of the game when Raudabaugh found Jones for a 33-yard scoring strike and a 7-0 lead. In the first quarter, the Soul defense recorded three sacks - Dustin Barno, Bryan Robinson and Joe Goosby - and added a turnover on downs as well as a fumble recovery. Robinson also added his second blocked kick of the year that led to a Rayshaun Kizer return for two points. Philadelphia added a Derrick Ross touchdown and ended the first quarter with a 16-6 lead.
The Soul defense continued to set the tone to start the second quarter with Brandon Perkins sacking Raterink for a safety and an 18-6 lead. Barnstormers answered with a Raterink to Schmidt touchdown after LaRico Stevenson fumbled a kick return - narrowing the Soul lead to 18-13. Iowa grabbed their first lead of the game when Errick McIntosh returned an interception 23 yards for the score and a 19-18 advantage.
The Soul regained the lead when Brackins scored on a 16-yard pass from Raudabaugh, while former Soul kicker Phil Marfuggi kicked a 50-yard field goal to end the half with the Soul leading 25-22.
A big defensive stop by the Soul defense when Iowa had it first and goal help swing momentum back to the Soul after the two teams exchanged touchdown scores and ended the third quarter with Philadelphia holding a 32-29 lead.
The Soul took over the fourth quarter and outscored the Barnstormers 22-14 in the final quarter. Jones had two touchdowns in the fourth, while Ross added a rushing touchdown and the two-point conversion for the final score of 54-43.
Next week, Philadelphia kicks off the home schedule against the East Division-rival Cleveland Gladiators on Saturday, April 20 at 7:05 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center.

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.
Lincoln Falls Just Short To Rival Omaha In First Meeting
The Lincoln Haymakers fell to the Omaha Beef in the first ever rivalry game between the two teams Saturday night. In the first half both the Haymakers and the Beef were on scoring sprees finding the end zone or field goal every time. The first game of the three in this rivalry was very exciting for both the fans and the players going down to the final possession.
The Beef wasted no time capping off a three minute drive to start the game. The Haymakers swing back with an answer and a 20 yard field goal from Ziola. Shortly after a kickoff out of bounds, Beef had good field position and took advantage of it. A run up the middle by Rollins put the Beef up 3-14 early. Haymakers settled for another field goal from Ziola in the red zone. That score made it 6-14 at the end of the 1st.
The first drive of the 2nd quarter finished with a quick 15 yard Omaha score. David Ferris filled in nice for Marlon Lucky as he added offensive firepower to the lineup. The Haymakers struggled defending the run game, when Rollins scored again for the Beef. David Ferris seemed to be all over the place, receiving a pass from Bolles and finishing the score with a successful fake field goal run to the left. With under a minute left, the Beef hurry-up offense caught the Haymakers off guard and got in a quick score to end the half 21-34.
First play of the second half, Bolles drops a bomb to Rickie Simmons for the quick score. With the muffed kick off, Beef had great position on the field. McNear secured his 4th touchdown pass of the night. Blake Bolles showed his skills with a bootleg run to match the score. The first interception of the evening happened when Cortney Grixby snagged the ball out of the air giving Lincoln the momentum. Capitalizing from nine yards out, Parker got a slant pass from Bolles to put the Haymakers up 42-41.
During the 4th quarter, Rollins scored for his 3rd time on the ground to put the Beef up by 6 with 10:40 left in the game. Mike Ziola attempted a 40 yard field goal, but missed to the left. The 4th quarter didn't show a lot of scoring for the Haymakers, with the Beef going up 42-55. Ferris's running attack was not enough to bring back the Haymakers. The final score of the game was 49-55 with the Beef staying undefeated on the year, while the Haymakers fall to a 1-3 record.
The Haymakers improved their performance not losing any turnovers on the night as they gave the top team in the league quite a challenge. The team has a quick turnaround this week as the next home game will be Friday Night at the Pershing. The Haymakers resume action next week versus the Salina Bombers.
Renegades Double Up The Koyotes 56-28 For Third Win Of The Season
What looked like a shootout in Topeka turned into a bit of an easy victory for the Renegades as they defeated the Kansas Koyotes 56-28 on friday. Kansas City jumped out to a 13‐0 lead behind a 31 yard touchdown pass from fill in starting qb Carlos Cavanaugh (starter Xavier Lee had to attend to a family health matter) to Anthony Parks and a 10 yard interception return for touchdown by David Garrett.
The Koyotes edged closer on a 6 yard pass from Chris Mayabb to Chris Davis. On the ensuing kickoff Kansas City’s OJ Simpson showed why he is the most dangerous returner in the league when he returned it 52 yards for a touchdown (his 3rd return in 2 games) to extend the lead to 20-7. Kansas came charging back behind James Walker’s 2 yard run and took the lead when Kaito Miller wrestled the ball away from Keithen Valentine and raced 43 yards for a touchdown. By the time the first quarter had ended the Koyotes had a 21-20 advantage.
After that the Renegades lowered the boom as they outscored Kansas 19-0 in the second quarter to take a 39-21 lead at the half. Cavanaugh was the star as he had a rushing and passing touchdown in the quarter and kicker Thomas Frevert had a 23 yard field goal.
In the second half the Kansas City defense took over, holding the Koyotes to 7 points. For the game the defense recorded five turnovers, 2 touchdowns, and a safety.
Cavanaugh also threw his third touchdown of the game in the third quarter when he hit Clint Solomon from 15 yards out. Cavanaugh also finished the game without an interception, the first game this year a KC QB hasn’t thrown at least one interception.
Kansas City, now 3-2, heads to Sedalia next Saturday to take on their instate rival the Mid-Missouri Outlaws at 7:05 pm.

Indoor Football League
Texas Revolution Defeat Cedar Rapids Titans 82-72
The Texas Revolution (3-3) defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (5-3) 82-72 in a high scoring game at the Allen Event Center Friday night.
The Revolution did not look like the same team that Cedar Rapids played in the first game of the season. Then, the Revs offense was mostly unable to advance the ball. Now, the Revolution scored 40 first half points, more than their total in all of that game in Iowa (21 points scored on March 1).
Even the good got better. Then, Frankie Solomon Jr. had one interception. Now, he had one interception and two kick returns for touchdowns. It's clear that this Revolution team is different from the one that started the 2013 IFL season, and can compete each night for a United Conference championship.
Maybe the biggest improvement came from the Revolution Quarterback Marcus Jackson. The Revs' signal caller finished 15-20 with 179 yards and 3 TDs. That was just through the air. The mobile QB added 6 rushing touchdowns from 11 carries.
As usual, Jackson shared the ball amongst his receivers. Keith Smith (5 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD), Mack Ogletree (4 catches, 40 yards, 1 TD), Phillip Barnett (3 catches, 41 yards), and Jordan Jolly (3 catches, 37 yards, and 1 TD) all were able to get open and allow for Jackson to make easy throws.
The Revolution host Nebraska in Allen next Saturday evening.

Legends Football League
Atlanta Scorch Omaha 42-6
The Atlanta Steam have quieted the skeptics who said a winless first season was probable.
With a lopsided victory 42-6 victory over the Omaha Heart, the Steam claim their historic
first win in franchise history, putting their harsh season opener far behind them.
The Steam looked confident on Saturday Night. From the moment they took the field
under the red lights and roaring crowd at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, this group of women
had an aura of toughness about them. It was as if the loss that took place two weeks ago
in Jacksonville instilled a nothing to lose mentality. Their defense played angry, their
running backs lowered their shoulders, and quarterback Brittany Morgan’s true colors as a
leader surfaced with a vengeance. implemented a Georgia Tech style triple option running
game that had the Omaha defense guessing on every play. Sweetness and Nas, who were nowhere
to be found in week one, were endzone magnets.
Game MVP Nasira “Nas” Johnson scored on Atlanta’s first drive to put a nervous chill
through the Omaha bench. The score was only 8-0, but the ease at which the Steam drove
down the field was foretelling of the success they’d have Saturday night. Two more touchdowns
from Cynthia “Sweetness” Freeman gave Atlanta all the swagger they needed to walk calmly
into the locker room at halftime. Omaha was trailing 21-0 and needed to find something to
be positive about after getting stopped on the Atlanta goal line late in the first half.
Mind you, not only was Atlanta’s running game impressive, what with their misdirections
and counter attack running game, but the true bright spot for this team was the intensity
of their defense. Their style of play was the sort that riles up a crowd. They tackle right
on the border of what’s legal. They close line weaker ball carriers. They throw their
opponents to the ground, and are not shy to a start and finish a fight when things get
dicey at the end of a play. The dominating power of Colette “Coco” Montgomery and
Alexandria Stone had the Omaha players looking at each other, each saying, “you take the
ball…No…you take the ball.”
Omaha struggled to move the ball and suffered the killer drops and busted plays that
tend to plague a rookie team on opening night. Despite showing great toughness, Omaha
quarterback Linsey Noble forced too many passes downfield. Her key target tonight was
Kelsey Lane, who’s great size enabled her to find mismatches and get open often. She’ll
need to work on her speed, but the chemistry between her and Noble is a positive light
that Omaha will work to center around moving forward.
The second half was all Atlanta again. Sweetness capped off a 3rd quarter drive with
another powering rushing touchdown, her third of the night. Brittany Morgan completed her
first passing touchdown of her career, after Jodie Nettles found herself in the right spot
at the right time, catching a deflected pass in the end zone. Omaha found the end zone late
in the fourth, but it was far too little far too late.
Atlanta made a statement with an Alfye Gore pick six to end their franchise home debut
and found themselves circling the middle of the field in celebration. This 42-6 victory will
give the Steam a little hop in their step as they head back to practice on Monday. Coach
Norell will sleep well tonight knowing he’s coached a winning team in a league that is
growing with more talent every day, but he knows the season for the Steam is only half way
done. There is still much more to prove for this young team from Atlanta.

Professional Indoor Football League
Lions Back In Win Column With Victory Over Bucs
On Saturday, the Columbus Lions (2-2) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) ended a two-game losing streak with a 45-42 thrilling victory over the Louisiana Swashbucklers (0-3) in large part to four receiving touchdowns from WR Maurice Dupree.
After falling down by two touchdowns mid-ways through the 3rd quarter, Head Coach Jason Gibson needed to unleash his offense and it began by getting Dupree into the open spaces in the field.
"It wasn't as if we hadn't been trying to get him the ball," says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson. "Louisiana was doing a good job on a number of plays disguising coverage's making him look double covered. I told Marcus just to make the throws and Pree will make something happen."
Indeed was the case as Dupree finished Saturday's contest hauling in 15 receptions for 230 yards and four touchdowns, three of which coming in the second half alone.
After a couple of costly interception throws returned for touchdowns, young Lions QB Marcus Jones seemed much more poised in the pocket completing 7 of 11 passes down the stretch as Columbus erased a 35-21 deficit.
Defensively, the Lions knew coming into the contest they were going to have to shut down the potent Bucs rushing attack spear headed by both QB Chris Mitchell and FB Kendrick Perry. Despite both averaging over four yards/carry, Columbus picked and chose their battles wisely creating three turnovers including a crucial fumble recovery in the Bucs end-zone early in the 4th quarter by DB LeRoy Vann.
With six minutes remaining and the game knotted at 42, Columbus embarked on a drive that chewed up four minutes of the clock ending on a Goeff Boyer 29-yard field goal in what ultimately proved to be the difference.
Boyer's kick left just enough time for Louisiana to mount a game-winning drive but the Lions defense stood strong forcing a Ernesto Lacayo 33-yard field goal try that never even glanced at the uprights going wide left.
The loss marks the first time in franchise history that the Bucs have lost three straight putting their record of eight straight seasons of reaching the playoffs in serious jeopardy. Next week Louisiana will look to put an end to their losing streak when they host the Knoxville Nighthawks (1-4).
Columbus will now enjoy a two-game home stand beginning next Saturday when they host the Richmond Raiders (3-1). Raiders come in hot having won three straight and it will be the Raiders first visit to the Columbus Civic Center in almost two years.
Next Saturday April 20th is "Cancer Awareness Night" brought to you by the John B. Amos Cancer Center and Aflac. The Lions will be donning their annual pink jersey's as well as be playing with pink footballs which will be ultimately auctioned off with a portion of the proceeds going towards cancer research.
Raiders Defeat SteelHawks, 62-51
The Raiders seized momentum early and forced the SteelHawks to play catch-up, then used big plays to snuff any hopes of a comeback en route to a 62-51 win over Lehigh Valley. The victory moves the Raiders to 3-1 on the season and gives them sole possession of second place in the PIFL.
The Raiders' fast start was facilitated by all three phases: T.C. Stevens kicked an uno on the opening kickoff, the defense forced a long field goal attempt which was blocked for a safety, and the offense scored in just two plays to build a 9-0 lead. E.J. Webb put the SteelHawks on the board with a three yard run, but the Raiders responded with another touchdown and another stop, resulting in a missed field goal.
Warren Smith hooked up with Hakeem Moore from 15 yards out early in the second quarter and Stevens notched another uno to make the score 24-6 and force Lehigh Valley to abandon the run. Adam Bednarik threw touchdown passes of his own on the last two SteelHawk possessions of the first half, but the red-hot Raiders offense never let up. Mike Jones scored the third of his four rushing touchdowns, and with time running out in the half, Smith threw a 40 yard bomb to Herb Jones, who dodged a couple of SteelHawk defenders inside the five yard line, scoring a touchdown to give the Raiders a 38-21 halftime lead.
For the first time, the Raiders offense sputtered as the second half started, and they were forced to settle for a 36 yard field goal. The teams traded touchdowns, with Smith again dialing long distance and finding Hakeem Moore from 40 yards. The Raiders defense pressured Bednarik all night long, sacking him twice and forcing four intentional grounding penalties. They took the ball away on fourth down on consecutive possessions, and when Jones bulldozed his way in to the end zone, the Raiders were up 55-27.
But the SteelHawks were not ready to concede. They got a Bednarik to Torieal Gibson touchdown and a two point conversion, then got to Smith in the end zone for a safety, and cashed in with another Bednarik touchdown and two. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, Lehigh Valley had run off 18 straight points to pull within 55-45 with four minutes to go. They attempted an onside kick, which sailed out of bounds and gave the Raiders good field position. Tight end Nick Royal caught a five yard touchdown after the offense milked the clock, and down by 17 with under a minute to go, the SteelHawks could not score quickly enough. They did get a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining, but once again the onside kick went harmlessly out of bounds and the Raiders ran out the clock.
Smith finished with 227 passing yards on 14 completions. Jones ran the ball 12 times for 87 yards, including gains of 21 and 25 yards, and four scores. Bednarik racked up 314 yards through the air, but got virtually no support from a rushing attack that had averaged 56 yards per game. The Raiders' 88 rushing yards represented more than four times the total ground yardage Lehigh Valley had given up their first three games.
The Raiders will hit the road for the next two weeks, traveling to Columbus to face the Lions next week before the rematch with the SteelHawks in Lehigh Valley on April 27.

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