Arena Football League
VooDoo Looks to End Three-Game Skid, Moves to the Superdome
The Superdome last hosted Arena Football in the early 1990s with the New Orleans Night, but the VooDoo will bring it back as the team begins its six-game stint in the historic building as the New Orleans Arena undergoes renovation.
Both teams are coming off of losses last week as San Jose (2-2) was turned back by Spokane 69-47, and New Orleans (1-3) fell just short of Pittsburgh 46-43. San Jose is led by quarterback Aaron Garcia, who is fifth in the league with 1154 passing yards. He also has thrown 24 touchdowns. Garcia had a decent statistical night against the Shock as he was 28-45 for 309 yards and six touchdowns, but he also threw five interceptions. Garcia has 13 interceptions on the year, which is more than both VooDoo quarterbacks combined. The VooDoo defense, which has struggled in recent weeks, will have to find a way to take advantage and get some turnovers their way.
VooDoo quarterback Kurt Rocco only saw one half of action last week due to an injury, but he put up serviceable numbers. Rocco was 7-13 for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback Zack Eskridge finished the game, but he had few chances to make an impact, only throwing for 29 yards. He was also sacked three times.
San Jose wide receiver Jason Willis is in the top ten in the league with 397 receiving yards. He also has scored eight touchdowns. Willis had a great night against Spokane as he amassed 123 yards on nine catches with three touchdowns. Receiver Jamarko Simmons was equally as good last week as he hauled in a team high 11 catches for 126 yards with a score.
The VooDoo receiving corps was a bit depleted by injury last week. Leading receiver Courtney Smith did not play against Pittsburgh, and Donovan Morgan suffered an injury in the first quarter. Second-leading receiver Derek Lee will need to take over the slack if either Morgan or Smith can't go this week. Lee has 16 receptions for 186 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
The VooDoo defensive backs have struggled at times and will have another set of prolific receivers to deal with. The unit has only picked up three interceptions, but they will be facing a quarterback who has double-digit picks. The SaberCats are just a shade better in the interceptions department with four, but the VooDoo signal callers have only thrown seven total interceptions. VooDoo DB Demarcus Robinson leads the team in tackles with 23, which also has him in the top ten league-wide, but he is yet to get an interception. SaberCats DB Clevan Thomas has only 16 tackles, but he leads his team with four interceptions (T-2nd AFL), something the VooDoo quarterbacks will have to look out for.
Both teams boast stellar kick return games as San Jose's Mervin Brookins and New Orleans' Brent Holmes are second and third respectively in kick return yards. Brookins has 488 kick return yards and one touchdown. Holmes has 469 yards and a touchdown. Brookins was essentially a one man show last week, but Holmes split duties with Quorey Payne, who had an electrifying 57-yard return for a touchdown last week. A good kick return game could be a big factor for these teams.
Both teams sit in third place in their divisions, and both teams are looking to snap their respective losing streaks (VooDoo - 3, SaberCats - 2). The teams will get their chance this Saturday night at 7 p.m. local time in the temporary Graveyard.
Shock prepare for second home game of 2013 after 5-0 start
The Spokane Shock (5-0) take on the Tampa Bay Storm (3-2) for only their second home game of the season in a week 6 Net10 Wireless Arena Football League match up. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, April 27th at 7:00PM PST at Spokane Veteran's Memorial Arena and will be available for viewing as the featured CBS Sports Network game of the week as well as online at shock.arenafootball.com/allaccess. 700AM ESPN Radio will also be providing radio coverage of the contest.
Last week, in San Jose, Paul Stephens was played a key role in the game setting an AFL record and taking the league lead with five interceptions while giving the Shock the second best turnover margin going into week 6 of the season (+10) as the Shock are tied with Tampa Bay and trail Arizona (+12).
Erik Meyer continues to lead the league in passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns. On Friday, against the SaberCats, Meyer went 26-37, 242 yards and 8 TDs. To go along with Meyer's leading numbers, Tennell had 3 TDs on Friday giving him 17 on the season which is also leading the league.
Spokane and Tampa Bay only played once last season on the final day of the regular season with the Shock coming out on top 63-53. In that game Shock QB Kyle Rowley threw for 6 TDs, hooking up with Tennell for 4 scores and after grabbing an early first quarter lead, the Shock never looked back and led for the remainder of the game.
Coach Andy Olson said, "Tampa Bay is a very good football team. They traveled to Utah just a few weeks ago and took care of a very good West Division rival of ours on the road. Tampa Bay is a very talented on both sides of the ball and well coached. So far they've caused 10 fumbles this season which shows their aggressive style of play and are ran by a dual threat QB in McPherson who has racked up 21 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing. It's going to put a lot of pressure on our defensive line and linebackers and we'll have to work extra hard up front to understand the timing involved and angles to be able to cut him off when he leaves the pocket."
Last week Tampa Bay defeated Orlando 53-35 with their defense also coming up big causing 4 turnovers on the day, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions. Storm QB McPherson threw 4 TDs and over 200 yards with 2 of those TDs going to WR Joe Hills who played for Spokane last season. Hills has 14 total TDs this season, only second to Adron Tennell, and is leading the league in receiving yards.
Andy Olson on this week's game; "We're excited to come back to Spokane Arena and are itching to play in front of our fans back here at home. We have the best fans in the league and are ready for another sellout crowd with another big game and being featured on National TV."
In only their second home game of the season the Shock will look to add to their (5-0) start to the season when they play the Tampa Bay Storm on Saturday, April 27th kick off is scheduled for 7:00 PM. Game broadcast will be available on CBS Sports Network, radio on 700AM ESPN, and online at shock.arenafootball.com/allaccess.
Indoor Football League
Ice Prepare for #1 Ranking Battle with Danger
The Colorado Ice will have little time to recover before hitting the road again this weekend for a key matchup with the Nebraska Danger. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM MST Friday, April 26 in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Last week in Sioux Falls, the Ice were looking to avoid becoming the 28th straight opponent to lose in front of the Storm's home crowd. When Aric Goodman (9) made a 30 yard field goal to give the Ice a 20-17 lead with 6:18 left in the 2nd quarter, it looked like they might be able to pull it off.
With just one second left on the clock, quarterback Willie Copeland (13) connected with receiver Rashad Mason (12) on a 45 yard touchdown pass to bring the Ice within two points. However, the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, sealing the game for the Storm.
The Ice had two standout performances in Sioux Falls by wide receiver Kyle Kaiser (3) who had a career high of 4 touchdowns for 130 yards and defensive back Moses Ellis, Jr. (6) had back to back interceptions, after the first interception was called back for a penalty.
The Nebraska Danger returns home to Grand Island after handing the Texas Revolution their first home loss of the season by a score of 62-47. For the second time in two meetings with Texas, the Danger went in to the half trailing and struggling to score. However, they were able to get the offense moving in the second half, outscoring the Revolution 48-27.
For the second time in less than two weeks, the Ice and the Danger will square off with 5-3 records and first place in the Intense Conference up for grabs. The last time these two teams met, the Ice defense held Nebraska to just a single touchdown in a 32-12 victory.
This is the third meeting of four in 2013 between these two squads, and the Ice are looking to get a road win in the series, something neither team has been able to do so far.