Tuesday, April 30, 2013

McPherson, Belton and Gray Earn Weekly AFL Honors

Tampa Bay Storm QB Adrian McPherson has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while Jacksonville Sharks DB Tracy Belton has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and Chicago Rush WR Reggie Gray has been named J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 6 of the 2013 NET10 Wireless Arena Football League season. In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. Cleveland Gladiators DB Lenny Wicks earned the Cutters Catch of the Week, while Chicago Rush WR Jared Jenkins was awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week.
McPherson (6-4, 225, Florida State) accounted for 10 total touchdowns for the second time this season in Tampa Bay's 70-62 victory over the Spokane Shock in Week 6. McPherson completed 21-of-26 passes for 310 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, while adding another 50 yards and three scores on the ground. His 17 rushing attempts also represents the highest single-game total in the AFL this season. This is the second time McPherson has earned Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week honors this season.
Belton (6-1, 180, Massachusetts) played a pivotal role in keeping the Sharks undefeated record intact during the team's 55-53 victory over the Philadelphia Soul in Week 6. Belton tallied seven tackles, including a half-tackle for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
Gray (5-10, 185, Western Illinois) tied the Chicago Rush single-game franchise record for touchdown receptions with six in the team's 64-63 overtime win against the Iowa Barnstormers in Week 6. Gray collected 12 receptions for 234 yards on the night. He also tallied 116 yards as a return specialist, bringing his game total to 350 all-purpose yards. He will be awarded a timepiece crafted by J. Lewis Small for his efforts.
Wicks (5-10, 200, Youngstown State) made an over-the-wall interception to end the first half in Cleveland's 57-40 loss to the Utah Blaze in Week 6. The interception was the first of the season for the third-year defensive back. Wicks also finished the game with a team-high 9.5 tackles. He will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.
Jenkins (6-3, 230, Wisconsin-Stevens Point) collected his biggest reception of the year on a two-point conversion pass from Rush quarterback Carson Coffman in the team's 64-63 overtime victory against the Iowa Barnstormers. Following a two-yard touchdown run by Kelvin Morris to bring the Rush within one of the Barnstormers, Chicago elected to pass up a tie and go for the win. The gamble paid off when Coffman found Jenkins for the game-winning score. This marks the second consecutive week a Rush player has been awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week following a game-winning play.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included : Arizona's Odie Armstrong, Chicago's Reggie Gray, Jacksonville's Jeron Harvey, Pittsburgh's Mike Washington, San Jose's Russ Michna and Utah's Tommy Grady.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included : Arizona's Jeremy Kellem, Chicago's Jorrick Calvin, Cleveland's Lenny Wicks, Pittsburgh's Chris LeFlore, San Antonio's Tim McGill, San Jose's Clevan Thomas and Tampa Bay's Rodney Beamon.
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included : Iowa's Marcus Harris, Jacksonville's Jeff Hughley, Orlando's Dominic Jones, San Antonio's Dwayne Eley, Jr., San Jose's Huey Whittaker, Tampa Bay's Joe Hills and Utah's David Hyland.
The Arena Football League is also awarding the AFL MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Chicago Rush WR Reggie Gray, Iowa WR Marcus Harris and Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills. Fans will have 24 hours to vote on beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 1. The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 2.

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