Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day with the Spokane Shock
On Tuesday, April 9th from 3:00 to 4:00 PM at the RiverPark Square Mall, Shock coaches and players will be serving ice cream to customers at the Ben & Jerry's located in the food court. Each year, the Shock participate in this great event which benefits The First Tee.
The First Tee is a wonderful organization which teaches young people core values such as sportsmanship, confidence, integrity, perseverance, respect and responsibility through golf lessons.
The non-profit program is now run in 17 local elementary schools and on golf courses throughout Spokane.
Join the Shock and Ben & Jerry's at RiverPark Square Mall on Tuesday, April 9th to support The First Tee to benefit local elementary school programs.
VooDoo Committed to Children
The New Orleans VooDoo is committed to serving and being a part of the Greater New Orleans community.
Starting this Tuesday, VooDoo players and VooDoo Dolls will begin their weekly visits to Tulane Children's Hospital. While there, patients will be able to take pictures, play games and interact with players and Dolls.
Our coaches, players, mascots, and Dolls spend a large amount of time with some of these very special fans who are unfortunately not able to plan too far ahead in their lives because of serious disease. Although we put smiles on many children's faces, there are so many more we don't know about. This season the VooDoo is dedicated to reaching out to those special fans.
The VooDoo would like for our fans to find such a boy or girl that can take the opening kickoff of our Friday, April 19th game against the Pittsburgh Power and return it as a VooDoo: full uniform and with "official" status.
Here's our criteria:
1. They must be old enough and able to follow simple instructions;
2. They must be still mobile enough to at least jog 50 yards;
3. They must be a VooDoo through and through!
This will be a monumental event in their lives and in all of ours. The VooDoo will be able to memorialize this special event on live television for our special participant and his or her family. In addition to the official VooDoo uniform, that one special child will receive an autographed official game ball. We hope this means as much to our fans as it does to the VooDoo organization. If we have put just one smile on a child's face, we have done our job.
Please send your nominations with name, age, infirmity, and parents contact information to or call 504-875-3900 and ask for Hayley, ASAP.
Storm Host Talons During Faith & Family Night, April 12
The Tampa Bay Storm takes on the San Antonio Talons this Friday, April 12 at 8:00 PM on Faith & Family Night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This will be the first-of-two matchups between the teams this season.
The Talons come to Tampa for the second time in two years. It is the fifth game versus the Talons. The Talons hold a1-3 advantage in the series with the Storm's lone victory coming in the 2010 playoffs. Over the past two meetings, the Talons have outscored the Storm by a total of 52 points.
Talons head coach Lee Johnson is in his second season at the helm and knows the Storm well. Both Storm head coach Dave Ewart and Johnson are familiar with each other as they have met the past three seasons. Prior to joining the Talons, Johnson was the defensive coordinator for the South Division rival Orlando Predators during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
The Storm enters the matchup riding a two-game win streak, while the Talons has yet to find its first win of the season. San Antonio seems to be struggling for answers as its offense has been decimated by injury. Starting quarterback John Dutton suffered a season ending injury to his Achilles tendon during the Talons 48-41 loss to the Chicago Rush. This is a tremendous blow to the team that was looking to him to replace Aaron Garcia, who is now with the San Jose SaberCats. The Talons will now have to rely on Rohan Davey who took over for Dutton and threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for one more.
San Antonio will have its hands full trying to contain the Storm's offense. Coming off of a dominating victory versus the Utah Blaze, the Storm will search for its third consecutive win. The high octane offense is powered by Adrian McPherson who has accounted for 25 total touchdowns (15 - Passing, 10 - rushing) and has yet to throw an interception. He leads the league in rushing yards with 130 and 10 rushing touchdowns. In addition, McPherson is the league's leader in total offense with 1,004 yards.
McPherson has a plethora of receivers to throw to including Joe Hills. Hills is coming off the best game of his career and one of the best in the Storm and AFL history. In Utah, Hills caught 16 passes for 259 yards and seven touchdowns. The 16 receptions are the second most in a single-game in franchise history, and his 259 receiving yards are the most in franchise history, and the third most in a single-game in AFL history. Hills now leads the league in receptions per game with 10, and receiving yards per game with 155.7. However, the Storm can also look to receivers Greg Ellingson, Michael Lindsey and Chris C. Davis to contribute as well.
The Storm is improving defensively. Defensive backs Chris Smith and Jean Fanor have each intercepted a pass in the last two games. Fanor also leads the league in forced fumbles, averaging .67 per game. The team earned its first sacks of the season with defensive linemen Rodney Beamon and Tank Tyler finding ways to get to the opposing quarterback.
The improved defense has created turnovers for the offense, increasing the opportunities to score. Through three games, the Storm has a +8 turnover margin, second behind only the Arizona Rattlers. This is quite the improvement from 2012 when the Storm finished fifteenth in the league with a (-10) mark.
Lavell Edwards to Perform Coin Toss vs Chicago
Former BYU Head Coach LaVell Edwards will perform the coin toss at EnergySolutions Arena on April 20th when the Utah Blaze take on the Chicago Rush, the franchise announced today. The matchup will headline Week 5 as the "NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday" game of week on CBS Sports Network.
"We are truly honored to have LaVell Edwards attending our game," said Head Coach Ron James. "He is an iconic figure not just in this state, but in the history of college football. It's truly going to be a humbling experience being on the same field as two legendary coaches in Coach Edwards and Coach Ron McBride."
Over 29 seasons as the head coach at Brigham Young University, LaVell Edwards recorded 257 victories, ranking as the sixth all-time winningest coach in college football history. Under his direction, BYU recorded 10 straight WAC championships from 1976 through 1985. The Cougars also played in 17 straight bowl games from 1978 until 1994.
Edwards led BYU to a perfect 13-0 season in 1984. Following a 24-17 win over Michigan in the Holiday Bowl, the Cougars were crowned National Champions and Edwards was named the National Coach of the Year.
During his tenure, Edwards coached four College Football Hall-of-Fame inductees, a Heisman Trophy winner, seven Sammy Baugh Trophy winners, two Outland Trophy winners, five Davey O'Brien Trophy winners, 34 All-Americans, including 10 consensus All-American performers, 11 conference player-of-the-year recipients and 24 Academic All-America player citations.In 2004, Edwards' tremendous career was immortalized as he was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
San Antonio Talons Sign QB Nate Davis
The San Antonio Talons signed quarterback Nate Davis to replace injured starter John Dutton who was placed on injured reserve.
Dutton suffered an Achilles tendon injury on Friday night against the Chicago Rush. Talons backup quarterback Rohan Davey also suffered a foot injury in Friday's game. Davis is likely to play on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Storm.
"We are thrilled to have Nate Davis join the Talons," Head Coach Lee Johnson said. "His experience in the league, playing for Orlando last season, will be a huge asset to the team. I coached Davis' brother in Colorado so I am familiar with him and his family. He knows the game and with our current quarterbacks injured, this is a great opportunity for him."
Davis was a three-year starter at Ball State where in 2007 he set the team's all-time record for touchdown passes in a single season. He chose to leave at the end of his junior season after the San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft,. Davis also has experience in the Arena Football League with the Kansas City Command and Orlando Predators.
Storm to Host New Orleans on CBS Sports Network
The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce that it will host an additional AFL National Game of the Week on CBS Sports Network.
"We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with CBS Sports Network, the national television partner of the AFL, in hosting the AFL National Game of the Week," said Storm president Derrick Brooks. "We encourage all of our fans to come out and show their continued support of the Storm."
The Storm's Week 7 matchup with the New Orleans VooDoo, set for May 4, will now take place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 9:00 PM EST on CBS Sports Network.
This will be the third nationally-televised game for the Storm, and the first-of-two hosted in Tampa.
Utah Blaze Bye Week Breakdown
The Utah Blaze head into the bye week with a sour taste in their mouths following a 77-65 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm. The team has posted a 1-2 record through three games this season, one game off from the 2-1 record the franchise held at this point a year ago. With seven days to strategize on how to remedy the team's misfortune, Head Coach Ron James wasted no time in identifying the issues.
"We've been a little more error-prone than what is customary for the Utah Blaze," Coach James stated. "We're still trying to find our way here early in the season and we're combining a lot of new faces with the concepts that we've installed. It's been a slower process at this point, but we're looking forward to getting ourselves back on track in the weeks to come."
For the offense, the rhythm and timing has taken longer to progress in part due to a slew of new weapons at the wide receiver position. While the coaching staff feels it has upgraded from a talent perspective, simple repetition can be an invaluable asset when developing the passing game.
Through three games in 2012, all three of Utah's starting wide receivers were returners from the previous season. Quarterback Tommy Grady has thrown to an entirely new cast in 2013 with the exception of Aaron Lesue, who was inserted into the lineup for the first time last week after missing the first two contests with injury.
Despite significant changes in the receiving corps, Utah's offense isn't too far off from its pace of a year ago. The Blaze have actually scored more points through three games than they had at this point during the previous season (178 in 2013 compared to 177 in 2012). Grady has thrown 18 touchdowns, matching his total through three games in 2012. Of course, when all was said and done, Grady went on to shatter the passing touchdown record 25 times over, throwing for 142 scores to topple the previous mark of 117.
The disparity lays in a pair of factors that play a critical role in determining the outcome of any game.
"The two biggest areas we have to eliminate are penalties and turnovers and to be able to do both of those, you've got to be a little more disciplined. We've got to put ourselves in better positions, play smarter football and hone in on situations a lot better. We'll work through those things in the weeks to come and make ourselves a stronger team."
Coming out of the bye week as a stronger unit is not an unprecedented trend for the Utah Blaze. Utah headed into a bye week after suffering a tumultuous 72-57 loss at home to the New Orleans VooDoo in Week 4 of the 2012 season. The Blaze looked as sloppy as ever in that contest, committing an astounding seven turnovers. Following the week off, Utah put the loss in its rearview and rattled off four straight victories.
"From a player's perspective, you've got an opportunity to get these guys healthy. We've been banged up a little bit. That isn't any excuse for where we are at this point in the season but it does give them a chance to recharge both physically and mentally."
"From a coaching perspective, it gives us more time to prepare internally to make sure we're at the best level we can be for the next football game. If we can get ourselves ready and make sure that the errors that we've had in the past are behind us, then we should be setting ourselves up for the weeks to come."
For the Blaze, the opportunity for redemption will come on April 20th in Salt Lake City when Utah takes on the Chicago Rush in a nationally televised matchup airing on CBS Sports Network.
"Anytime you perform on a national stage, you're going to get the best out of your folks. Players tend to play up for those types of games. We know we're going to get Chicago's best game and we also understand our players are going to be playing for those same reasons."
"It's more important for us to take care of the internal aspects of the football game; performing better on the offensive side and not turning the ball over. Defensively, creating turnovers and playing more sound in the red zone. I really feel like the nationally televised game is a good opportunity for our players to perform at their best for the national audience and to give ourselves an opportunity to move forward into the remainder of the season."
Orlando Predators and Eco Construction & Maintenance Host Community Outreach Youth Football Camp
The Orlando Predators, in partnership with Eco Construction and Maintenance, will be holding the Orlando Predators Community Outreach Youth Football Camp Saturday April 13th from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Northwest Community Center located at 3955 WD Judge Dr. in Orlando Florida.
The camp is free to the public and will include instruction from Predator players and coaches. In addition to the camp, there will also be an autograph session with the players.
Eco Construction and Maintenance Management strives to be an active member of the community and participates in a number of child out reach programs. Eco delivers best-in-class total facilities maintenance solutions to a wide variety of clients. The company has successfully streamlined the maintenance proves for its clients, offering an innovative alternative to traditional facilities maintenance solutions. Eco is on-call and on-line 24 hours a day. Eco Construction and Maintenance is privately held company with headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida. More information about the company is available at
Raul Vijil Re-Joins Shock for 2013 Season
Raul Vijil is no stranger to Arena Football. After growing up in Pasco, WA Vijil played college football at Eastern Washington University where he was awarded a spot in the 2005 2nd Team All-Big Sky after logging 129 career receptions for 1,966 yards and 10 touchdowns. Coming out of college he joined the Spokane Shock as a member of the AF2 team in 2006.
In his career with the Shock, Vijil had 421 career receptions for 4,952 yards and 131 touchdowns. He also earned a place on the first team all-afl2 in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Along with all of these accomplishments, he played a large role in the debut of the Shock in the AFL and helped them win the Championship.
Raul Vijil has become a huge fan favorite through his career at Eastern Washington University and his time spent with the Spokane Shock, and along with his work at the clinic he is back in the office playing a much different role. Many people have asked if Vijil would ever return to the field in a uniform. Well, he will be re-joining the Shock but not as a player. He will be in the front office serving as a public figure and a representative for the organization around the community.
"We are really looking forward to having Raul re-join the Shock organization in his new role. He is a standout member of the Spokane and Eastern Washington community and having him as a part of the front office will be a huge boost to the team, on and off the field," Shock Executive Vice President of Operations Tracy Malingo said.
Vijil had a big impact on the fans and the organization and there are plans to retire his jersey at the regular season game against Jacksonville on June 8. This will be a first for the Shock.

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