Arena Football League
Soul Set to Face off against Unbeaten Sharks
Philadelphia looks to get back over .500 in this week's rematch of the 2012 American Conference Championship against the Jacksonville Sharks. The Soul face off against one of the two undefeated teams left in the league, after their home opening overtime loss to the Cleveland Gladiators.
Philadelphia head coach Clint Dolezel has a career record of 13-9 (13-10 overall) in his first season with Philadelphia, and second season of his coaching career. Les Moss is in his fourth season as head coach, all four with the Jacksonville Sharks. In his time with Jacksonville, he has compiled a record of 41-16 (45-18 overall). Philadelphia won all three matchups against the Sharks last season including an 89-34 victory in the American Conference Championship.
"We need to play a complete game in all the phases of football to win," explained Dolezel. "Our defense has been playing well all season, but they went away last week. Jacksonville is playing well, and they're coming into this week with a lot of confidence. We will need to play well and execute plays in every aspect of the game. Our players prepared well this week, they're in the right mindset and I feel confident heading into this match-up."
The Soul enter the game 2-2 after giving up a two-touchdown lead in the second half against Cleveland. The team's defense has been the catalyst to their season, as they rank No.4 in the league in total defense (262.8). Perhaps the team's biggest strength is their rush defense, as the Soul are ranked No.1 in rushing yards per game (10.8) and tied for No.1 in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (3). The 2-2 Soul rank No.3 in total offense (310.0), posting a passing attack that averages 284.2 yards (No.5) and a running game that averages 25.8 yards per game (No.4).
The Sharks are 5-0 based on their strong secondary that ranks No. 3 (224.2) in fewest passing yards allowed per game. While Jacksonville is very good defending the pass, they have struggled to stop the run, giving up 11 rushing touchdowns (tied for No. 1) and 29.4 rushing yards per game (No. 12). Even with a defense that struggles against the run, the Sharks are No. 1 in scoring defense (40.6), giving up 50 or more points just one time this season. On offense, Jacksonville is the best rushing team in the league (55.0 yards per game) and have scored the second most rushing touchdowns (14). Despite a strong running game, the Sharks rank No. 7 in total offense (293.8) because of their passing offense that averages 238.8 yards per game (No.11).
One match-up to watch out for is Philadelphia WR Tiger Jones against Jacksonville's secondary. Jones is No. 2 in the AFL in receiving yard per game (123.0), tied for No. 3 in touchdowns (12), No. 4 in receiving yards (492), and tied for No. 5 in receptions (36). The Sharks have two members of their secondary that rank in the top ten in interceptions (Terrance Smith and Micheaux Robinson) and passes defended (Robinson and Tracy Belton).
There are a few factors that will be an advantageous to win in this match-up. Jacksonville has the second best red zone offense (92.0) in the league while the Soul's red zone defense ranks No. 12 (86.7). Turnovers have plagued Philadelphia this year as they rank No. 12 in turnover margin (-6) while Jacksonville ranks No. 4 (+6). If Philadelphia turns the ball over and can't get the passing game going, the Sharks could see their undefeated season continue.
Blaze Travel to Cleveland to Battle Gladiators
The Blaze (1-3) came up short in Week 6 during a back-and-forth contest with the Chicago Rush, ultimately losing on a game-deciding field goal as time expired. On the same weekend, Cleveland (1-3) earned its first victory of the season following three straight losses. The Gladiators upset the Philadelphia Soul in a 64-57 overtime win.
Reigning Arena Football League MVP Tommy Grady threw for 345 yards and a season-high seven touchdowns last week against the Rush, but turnovers still plagued the offense. Utah turned the ball over four times, leading to three extra possessions and 14 points for Chicago.
The offense will have the opportunity to get back on track this week against a Gladiators defense that has surrendered 64.8 points per game, ranking last in the Arena Football League. Cleveland places 12th in pass defense, as the unit has allowed 307.2 aerial yards per contest. That bodes well for the Blaze, who have posted and average of 301.5 passing yards per game, placing second in the AFL. Additionally, the Gladiators have managed six turnovers on the season, including two interceptions, which is the second-lowest total in the League.
Grady spread the wealth in his last outing, finding All-Arena wide receiver Aaron Lesue for three touchdowns and wideouts Brandon Thompkins and Mario Urrutia for two scores apiece. Lesue has shown improvement each week as he continues to recapture his timing and rhythm with Grady, hauling in eight passes for 136 yards against the Rush. Urrutia has been sensational in his rookie campaign and leads the Blaze with 30 receptions for 420 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Offensively, Gladiators quarterback Brian Zbydniewski is coming off a nine touchdown performance against the Soul that earned him Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week honors. Zbydniewski completed 72 percent of his attempts for 316 yards and eight touchdowns while adding another score on the ground.
Cleveland's receiving corps includes second-team All-Arena performer Dominick Goodman, who set a franchise record with 170 receptions in 2012. Goodman has posted 24 catches for 247 yards with five scores this season. Second-year receiver Jonathan Wilson currently leads the Gladiators with 25 receptions for 304 yards and six touchdowns.
The Gladiators offense is especially effective in the red zone, where the team has scored on over 91 percent of its possessions. Fullback Derik Steiner is a powerful runner and has rushed for four touchdowns in short yardage opportunities. Utah's defense allowed opponents to score on 89.5 percent of red zone opportunities. Ironically, the only defense in the Arena Football League that has allowed a higher percentage of red zone scores is the Cleveland Gladiators (93.3%)
The Blaze defense currently ranks 12th in scoring having allowed an average of 61.5 points per game through the first four contests, but the unit forced three takeaways last week against the Rush. Utah forced a four-and-out during Chicago's opening drive and recovered two fumbles in the third quarter. The Blaze will make great strides defensively this week if the team can with the turnover margin against the Gladiators.
Game Preview: Rush Head to Iowa Looking to Continue Hot Streak
With three-tenths of a second left in Saturday's game, kicker Jose Martinez's 23-yard field goal gave the Rush a walk-off win in Utah. The remarkable turnaround by the defense the last three weeks has been the story of the season thus far, leaving Martinez's consistency unnoticed. Martinez has flown under the radar, but his production has gone unmatched in the AFL this season. He is 32-for-33 in extra point attempts this season, which translates to a 97% success rate.
After the first two weeks, the Barnstormers looked like the early favorites in the National Conference Central Division after starting the season 2-0. The tables have turned quickly the last three weeks, and the Rush now sit atop the division with a 3-2 record. Iowa has lost three straight games and has been outscored 160-120 in that time period. The Rush have outscored opponents 152-111 in the same three game span.
Iowa played well last week in Jacksonville, but came up empty as the Sharks scored with four minutes remaining in the game. The game ended as Barnstormers quarterback JJ Raterink rushed from the two yard line on third down and came up one yard short of the end zone as time expired. Of Iowa's three losses this season, two have come at the hands of undefeated teams.
The Barnstormers were assigned 2012 Cutters Wide Receiver of the Year Jesse Schmidt just before Week 3. He returned against Philadelphia two weeks ago and regained his status as the team's go-to receiver, catching eight passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Schmidt has posted gaudy numbers in his six career games against the Rush, leading all receivers in yardage three times. Despite all this, he has never defeated Chicago.
Rush Head Coach Bob McMillen called out his defense following a 76-61 loss to Spokane in Week 2. Since then, the Rush defense has responded, creating ten turnovers. The veteran presence of defensive backs Semaj Moody, Jorrick Calvin, Vic Hall, and Joe Phinisee has shown through in the current win streak; they have six combined interceptions in the last three games and remain the team's top four tacklers.
Offensively, Chicago has remained consistent throughout the season. Quarterback Carson Coffman continues to impress in his first year with the Rush and as a starter in the AFL. He has thrown 23 touchdowns and just three interceptions through five weeks. Perhaps more intriguing is his ability to stay composed in tight situations. He threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter last week and helped set up the game-winning field goal with an incomplete pass that ran the clock down to less than a second. Reggie Gray and Rodney Wright continued their scoring ways with two touchdowns each last weekend. They'll line up opposite 2012 First Team All-Arena DB Jason Simpson in Iowa this week. Wright and Simpson are first and second in kick return averages per game in 2013.
This game wraps up the season series between the two teams. The Barnstormers topped the Rush 63-41 to open the 2013 season; a game in which they jumped out to a 12-0 advantage and never looked back as they held the lead the entire game. The Rush defense did not create a turnover, and as a result, quarterback J.J. Raterink had a career night, throwing for seven touchdowns.
Chicago heads into this matchup with the opportunity to extend the division lead to two games. San Antonio, who currently stands at 1-3, faces the Pittsburgh Power Sunday.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Renegades Offer Free Kids Admission Saturday
One child 15 and under gets free admission for every paying adult (so in a family of four, both kids get in free).
As always, kids can take the field after the game to meet players and get autographs.
Also: DB Donta Moore was named CPIFL Defensive Player of the Week this week for his three interception game against Mid-Missouri. KC is tied with the Wichita Wild with four players having taken player of the week honors.
KC, 4-2 and winners of four straight, have a challenging two game homestand. Salina (3-2) is this Saturday, and then Sioux City (4-1) comes to town. The Bandits beat KC 38-26 in the second week of the season.
Indoor Football League
Jeremiah Oates Joins the Sioux Falls Storm
The Sioux Falls Storm and Head Coach Kurtiss Riggs announced the signing of University of Sioux Falls standout wide receiver, Jeremiah Oates.
Earning All NSIC First Team honors and selected for the Don Hansen NCAA II Super Region Three team as a Senior, Jeremiah was the 2012 NSIC leader in touchdown catches for the USF Cougars. His 12 touchdown grabs included a career-best 62 yard catch against Upper Iowa. He stood second in the league with an average of 92.1 receiving yards per contest, which also placed him 27th nationally. Oates' average of 133.1 all-purpose yards per game was the sixth-best mark in the NSIC and placed him 45th in the country. A second-team All Dakota team honoree in 2011, Oates finished his senior season with 921 receiving yards and 1,331 all-purpose yards, as he also returned 12 kickoffs for 265 yards and 17 punts for 138 yards.
In 2011 as a transfer from Sacramento City College. Jeremiah proved to be an instant game-changer. He recorded a minimum of one catch in eight of nine starts, scoring in six of those games... tallied a career-high 124 all-purpose yards, finding the endzone on three of his four receptions, including the longest play from scrimmage in 2011, a 52 yard TD grab. He ranked first in the squad in scoring (54 points), second in receptions (26), and fourth in all-purpose yards (402 yds). He finished with 373 receiving yards and a team-high nine receiving TDs.
"We are excited to have Jeremiah with Storm to provide some much needed depth to our receiving core and as a potential kick return threat. USF fans will be excited to see him on the field." - Head Coach, Kurtiss Riggs.
The Sioux Falls Storm are on the road this weekend to take on the Chicago Slaughter. Kickoff is Saturday, April 27th at 6:05pm CST.
Danger, Ice Set to Battle for Intense Conference Lead
For the third time this season, the Nebraska Danger and Colorado Ice will square off with the IFL's Intense Conference top spot on the line. Both teams enter Friday night's game at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island with 5-2 records and they have split the first two games of the four-game season series.
The Danger picked up their first road win of the season last week, as they defeated the Texas Revolution 62-47 behind a big second half from their offense and a gutty defensive performance against one of the top offensive teams in the league.
"We did some nice things in the second half down in Texas," Danger head coach Mike Davis said. "Obviously our first two road games this year didn't go like we wanted them to, but to get a win down there was big for our team. That said, we've got to forget about that game and focus on another great opponent this week."
Last week against Texas, Danger defensive back Pig Brown was recognized for his nine tackle, two sack performance as the IFL's defensive player-of-the-week. Down 20-14 at the half, the Danger allowed just seven third quarter points and quarterback Jameel Sewell threw four of his five touchdown passes in the period to help Nebraska open up a 41-27 lead.
Sewell's outstanding season continues as he leads the IFL in passing with 1,264 yards and 26 touchdown passes. He has thrown just two interceptions in 190 attempts on the season. His favorite target, Kayne Farquharson, is second in the league in yards (515) and receptions (40) and third in the league in touchdowns with 11.
"Our offense has played pretty well most of the season and we feel like our defense is getting better each week," Davis said. "That said, Colorado had our number when we played them out there. We were out of sync offensively the entire game and we'll have to find a way to fix that this week."
The first two games in the series this season were a bit Jekyll and Hyde. In the second game of the season in Grand Island, the Danger scored on 11 of 12 offensive possessions for a 77-53 win. But in Colorado, two weeks ago the Ice defense - ranked third in the league - controlled the proceedings in the Ice's 32-12 win.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 on Friday night at the Heartland Events Center. Doors open at 6:00 with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30.
Green Bay Looks To Build On Last Week's Offensive Success
The Green Bay Blizzard return to the Resch Center Saturday for the second part of a two game home stand as they face off against the Texas Revolution (3-4). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM. This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Saturday's game will feature the University of Wisconsin's Marching Band presented by Festival Foods and Fox 11. The marching band will perform during pregame, halftime and postgame.
Under new head coach Chad Baldwin and Offensive Coordinator John Pate, the Blizzard scored season highs in points (66) and yards (367) in the Blizzard's 66-54 victory over Tri-Cites last week. The offense racked up 367 yards against the Fever after averaging only 212.6 coming into the game.
QB Spencer Ohm and WR Ryan Balentine were named IFL Co-Offensive Players of the Week after their explosive game last week against Tri-Cities. Ohm, in his first ever start, threw for 275 yards and seven touchdowns. He also ran for two more touchdowns. Ryan Balentine caught an IFL season-high 11 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for one. He now leads the IFL in receptions (43) and receiving yards (535).Defensively, the Blizzard were led by DB Aaron Moore who had nine tackles against the Fever. DB Elijah Fields leads the team with 53.
The Blizzard will face off against an explosive Texas Revolution team. Coached by three-time CIFL Champion Head Coach Billy Back, the Revolution put up an IFL season-high 82 points two weeks ago. The team is headed by QB Marcus Jackson. Jackson is a dual-threat quarterback and is second in the IFL in passing yards with 1240 and he also tied for fourth in the league in rushing yards with 312.
DB Frankie Solomon Jr. leads Texas' defensive unit. Solomon Jr. leads the league with five interceptions and he leads the team in tackles with 47. He is also dangerous on special teams as he has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.
Legends Football League
LFL Announces New Name & City for the 2013 Championship Game
Legends Football League has announced the rebranding of its legendary annual Super Bowl Sunday halftime game called Lingerie Bowl which will now be called the Legends Cup. The high-profile championship game has been awarded to the city of Pittsburgh and Highmark Stadium.
Since premiering in 2004 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Lingerie Bowl has become a staple of Super Bowl Sunday festivities for millions annually reaching nearly 140 million viewers around the world and thousands at the LA Coliseum.
Pittsburgh was awarded the Legends Cup on the heels of also being named as an LFL expansion city for the 2014 season. “We are making a significant investment in the city of Pittsburgh and more importantly its incredible diehard football fan base. This will be an historic first-ever Legends Cup and there is no better background than the Monongahela River as its backdrop, played in front of the country’s greatest football fans,” said LFL Chairman Mitchell S. Mortaza.
The host stadium for Legends Cup 2013 will be the newly built Highmark Stadium. “This is a monumental moment for our young facility. We are incredibly excited and proud to have attracted such a blue-chip event that will surely generate significant excitement throughout the city,” said Melissa Lazar, CEO of Highmark Stadium.
As part of the Lingerie Football League’s re-branding to the Legends Football League, the championship games played across each of its existing leagues in the USA, Canada, and Australia will also be titled Legends Cup.
The city of Pittsburgh will host a game that has been called the “Ultimate LIVE Sports Experience” as well as all of the events leading up to Legends Cup 2013 on Sunday, September 1st.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, August 29, 2013 | National Media Day (Highmark Stadium)
Friday, August 30, 2013 | LFL Black-Tie Awards Dinner (Private Venue TBA)
Saturday, August 31, 2013 | Championship Team Practices open to public (Highmark Stadium)
Saturday, August 31, 2013 | Legends Cup Official Kickoff Party (Private Venue TBA)
Sunday, September 1, 2013 | LFL Tailgate Village, 5pm (Highmark Stadium)
Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Legends Cup 2013, 8pm (Highmark Stadium)
Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Legends cup Official After-Party (Private Venue TBA)
Professional Indoor Football League
Lions, Bucs Extend Rivalry This Saturday
For the second time in three weeks, the Columbus Lions (3-2) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) and Louisiana Swashbucklers (1-3) hook-up on the gridiron this time in "The Jungle" on "Stadium Cup Night."
Two weeks ago Columbus and Louisiana entered their meeting both reeling from two consecutive losses. Late in the 3rd quarter and down by 14, it appeared the Lions were headed for a third loss until the offense converted touchdowns off three straight stops by the defense to closing out a 45-42 come-from-behind victory.
"Last two weeks have created some building moments for our team," says Columbus Lions Head Coach. "We still have not played a complete game from start to finish, these last minute finishes are great but we should play like that the entire game."
Last Saturday the Swashbucklers picked up their first win of the 2013 season pulling out a 36-27 dogfight of a victory over the Knoxville Nighthawks (1-5). After starting out their first four games of the season at home, Saturday's game will mark the first time the Bucs will have ventured out on the road.
If not for a Brian Harris rally, the Lions might have been once again staring at a below .500 record again. With a little over six minutes to go the backup quarterback rallied the troops from 15 down to upend the Richmond Raiders 48-42. Harris, who stepped in for incumbent starter Marcus Jones late in the 3rd quarter, completed 11-15 passes for 125 yards and four touchdowns leading the Lions to touchdowns on four their final five drives.
While Harris united the offense, it was total team effort on the defensive side of the ball causing three turnovers and two sacks including keeping Richmond off the board on their last three drives. Key pass break-ups down the stretch from DB Jeremy Gray and WR Jarmon Forston thwarted the Raiders last minute efforts at taking a final lead.
DB Anthony Shutt picked up two interceptions and earned the Week 7 PIFL Defensive Player of the Week award along with moving to the top of the leaderboard in INT's with five.
Since that disastrous eight touchdown performance three weeks ago against the Hammers, the Lions defense has turned it around having only surrendered two in the past two weeks combined. Overall on the season the defense has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns and opposing QB's are completing just 53.1% of their passes, a 0.1% off the leader.
Saturday's meeting serves as the seventh meeting between this two clubs since 2010. All-time Columbus is 3-0 at home versus the Bucs having out-scored them 231-106 in those previous three meetings. One of those meeting of course includes the 68-13 Lions championship win in 2010.
Despite the Bucs not having a potent passing attack, the Lions defense will have their work cut-out for them considering the dual-threat option of QB Chris Mitchell. In their last meeting Mitchell rushed for three touchdowns while accounting for 214 total yards.
"Louisiana likes to catch defenses off guard with their rushing attack," continues Gibson. "We have had some difficulty the past couple of weeks stopping those running plays, especially in the red-zone."
Columbus will still be dealing with some injuries including WR Maurice Dupree who missed last week's game with a shoulder injury and LB Ryan Babb with a sore knee. Dupree and Babb are both day-to-day while FB Gerald Harris is expected to miss his second consecutive game with cracked ribs.
Kickoff is at 7:30 and fans should get their early as the first two thousand fans in attendance will receive a 22-ounce Lions souvenir cup courtesy of Sprague's Auto Supply.
Nighthawks to Take on League Leader Alabama Hammers
The Knoxville Nighthawks (1-5) will take on the Alabama Hammers Saturday, April 27th at 8:00 pm EST at the Von Braun Center in Hunstville, AL.
The Knoxville Nighthawks are on the road again this week to take on the Alabama Hammers, who sit on top of the PIFL, with a 5-1 record. Last weekend the Nighthawks lost a tough game to the Louisiana Swashbucklers 36-27. The Nighthawks have been on the practice field preparing for a very talented Hammers team. The Alabama Hammers are the best team in the league. The have a great players from top to bottom on their roster. We will need to play a perfect game against the Hammers in order to have a chance, said Head Coach Cosmo DeMatteo.
This is the first of two meetings between the Nighthawks and Hammers during the 2013 season. The Hammers and the Nighthawks will play in Knoxville for the final home game of the season June 15th. There will be score updates on the Nighthawks' Facebook and Twitter pages. Be sure to watch them live online at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ala-hammers.
The Knoxville Nighthawks next home game will be Saturday, May 4th vs. the Louisiana Swashbucklers. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm EST at the Knoxville Civic Center Coliseum.
Raiders to Take on SteelHawks Saturday
The motto for the Richmond Raiders (3-2) as they prepare for their game with the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks (2-3) Saturday night is simple: Finish. Starting fast has not been a problem for the Raiders, but in the final seven minutes of the last two games, they have been outscored 35-7. Both teams are coming off heartbreaking losses that might have gone the other way on the last play of the game, making a strong finish critical in their quests to get back in the win column.
The Raiders surrendered a 15-point fourth quarter lead in last week's 48-42 loss to the Columbus Lions. Though the Raiders moved the ball to the Lions' eight yard line in the closing seconds, a game-tying touchdown pass was knocked incomplete as the clock struck 0:00. Two weeks ago, the Raiders seemingly had the game against Lehigh Valley in hand as they led by 28 midway through the fourth quarter. But a SteelHawk rally closed the gap to just 10 points before the Raiders held on for a 62-51 win.
Mike Jones ran for three touchdowns against the Lions, increasing his league-high total to 12 - twice as many as anyone else. He also leads the PIFL in rushes (54), yards (224), and yards per game (44.8). Herb Jones set career highs with 14 catches and 150 yards, including a couple of impressive catches-and-runs that set up the Raiders inside the Columbus five. The Raiders turned the ball over three times, but their defense bailed them out, yielding no points off those turnovers. However, the offense managed just one first down and no points over the final three possessions.
The first meeting between the Raiders and SteelHawks saw Richmond score on offense, defense, and special teams in building an early 9-0 lead, and strike from 40 yards out for a touchdown on the last play of the first half. Mike Jones' fourth touchdown run of the game pushed the Raiders' lead to 28 points before SteelHawks QB Adam Bednarik led a spirited Lehigh Valley comeback that fell just short. Defensive lineman Brandon Sutton led the Raiders with 3.5 sacks, three additional tackles for a loss, and three quarterback hurries that contributed to Bednarik's four intentional grounding penalties.
The SteelHawks find themselves in a two game losing streak after their comeback against the league leading Alabama Hammers ended one play short of forcing overtime. The lead changed hands six times in the fourth quarter alone, but a costly fumble by QB Hunter Wanket in the final minute, trailing by one, gave Alabama a golden opportunity to increase their lead to eight with 34 seconds left. Wanket drove his team 40 yards, throwing a touchdown pass to Tyrone Collins with no time left to set up the dramatic finish. Wanket's two point conversion pass went incomplete, and the Hammers escaped with a 79-77 win. Wanket threw for 329 yards and ran for 74, setting a PIFL record with 403 yards of total offense. He started since Bednarik suffered an injury in the game against the Raiders, but no matter who starts on Saturday, Lehigh Valley's offense should remain potent. Wanket and Bednarik are 1-2 in the league in passing efficiency, while the Raiders rank last in pass efficiency defense.
Swashbucklers to Face Columbus Lions for the Second Time
The Louisiana Swashbucklers will take to the road for the first time this season when the Bucs face the Columbus Lions on Saturday, April 27th. Louisiana won its first game of the year with a 36-27 victory over the Knoxville Nighthawks. Columbus also enters the game on a high note after defeating the Richmond Raiders 48-42 last Saturday. Louisiana is 1-3 on the year while Columbus is 3-2. In other Professional Indoor Football League action this coming Saturday the Albany Panthers will take on the league leading Alabama Hammers while the Richmond Raiders will face off against the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.
Columbus and Louisiana will be face-to-face for the second time. The Bucs are looking to avenge a loss against the Lions on April 13th in which a field goal lifted Columbus to a 45-42 win with about two minutes remaining on the game clock.
The Swashbucklers were able to keep the Nighthawks limited on their offensive production thanks to a swarming defense that kept Knoxville quarterback Anthony Speight off balance. Though Speight was 12 out of 21 for 136 yards and one touchdown, he was chased out of the pocket in different intervals throughout the game. Despite the fact the contest was tied in several places and the lead changed hands as well, defensive backs Damien Huren, Brian Harvey Jr., Kenny Kitchen and a determined defensive line for the Bucs gave the Nighthawks all they could handle.
Once again, Louisiana will be relying on the kicking game. Against Knoxville, kicker Blake Bercegeay came in to the game and hit a 46-yard field goal to put the Nighthawks away in the fourth quarter shortly after a five-yard scoring run from Jordan Rideaux. Bercegeay also nailed four PATs. The offense came alive for the Bucs when quarterback Chris Mitchell found Willie Pritchett for a short scoring pass and later hit Rideaux on a 17-yard pass into the end zone. Mitchell was 17 out of 23 for 148 yards and three touchdowns. The running game is improving with Kendrick Perry. He had 12 carries for 30 yards and one pass caught for a touchdown. Wide receivers Sammy Knight had six catches for 46 yards and Rideaux was four for 57 yards.
The Swashbucklers will be on the road for two more games after Columbus before returning home on Saturday, May 18th, to face the Richmond Raiders in the Lake Charles Civic Center.