Friday, May 31, 2013

Talons To Be Featured On Reality TV Series

David Lynd, owner of the San Antonio Talons Arena Football Team, announced a partnership with local CBS affiliate, to make the station the home of a reality show. "Guts & Glory" will introduce Talon's team members to San Antonio viewers in a weekly series presenting the "behind the scenes" look at Arena Football.
The agreement will bring a 30-minute show called "Guts & Glory 2013" to KENS-TV premiering Sat. June 8, and will air for 11 weeks through August 17. The show will air on Saturdays at noon and repeated on Sundays at 5 a.m.
"We will give South Texas fans the "best" of the Talons off the field," David Lynd, Talons team owner and chief visionary officer for the EnV Group said. "Our coaches and team will candidly discuss the season to date with insight into the player's lives and game strategy."
Talons fans have the opportunity to be a part of the show by participating in interactive interview stations positioned throughout the stadium during home games and open practices.
"David has made the Talons team an essential part of the community," Jerry Kurz, commissioner of the Arena Football League said, "I was pleased that through this series the public will get to know Talons players as fathers, sons, and contributing members of San Antonio."
The Talons will participate in supporting the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as part of the AFL Championship Game on Aug. 17.
According to Peter Anthony Andrews, show producer and CEO of EnV Media, several AFL teams are closely watching the Talons and have expressed interest in the series.
"We look forward to working together with our players to bring a great series to viewers every week on KENS 5 TV," Andrews, a former VP at NBC, Columbia Pics and MGM Studios said.
"I think this show will inspire other owners to find a way to replicate David's program in every one of our markets," said Commissioner Kurz. "We'll come to know the players much more than what we see on game day. It's been a pleasure working with David. He has the drive, determination and love for the game. He has made it his own, and I admire, respect and appreciate David for doing that."
"Being able to expose Arena Football and the San Antonio Talons through this type of media is an incredible opportunity. Arena Football is the most fan friendly sport out there, and the opportunity to present it to South Texas in this forum is something that most teams and leagues can only dream about," Keith Recine, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the San Antonio Talons said. "I am thrilled that we will be able to inspire the kind of passion we have for Arena Football in new fans around the country."

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Talons to Honor First Responders Monday, June 3
On Mon., June 3 at 7:30 p.m. The San Antonio Talons (4-5) will be hosting a First Responder Appreciation Game at the Alamodome. For the game against the Utah Blaze (4-5), all San Antonio first responders who show their badge will receive free admission. In addition, their families who accompany them will receive 50 percent off admission. Monday's game is presented by: Red McCombs Toyota.
Orlando Predators Win Saturday Night Sports Network Showdown
The Orlando Predators scored a big victory in last weekend's sports television ratings. The team squared off against their archrival, the Jacksonville Sharks on WKMG/Local 6; Central Florida's local CBS affiliate.
The team posted impressive numbers despite tough competition from other networks that were featuring two other sports. NBC was televising a playoff game between two of their most popular teams; the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, and Fox was airing a MLB game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. The household rating (number of houses watching in the Central Florida market) for the game was 39% higher than the NHL playoff game and 117% higher than the MLB game.
To put this into context, the two game household average on WKMG has been 21% higher than the NBA's Orlando Magic's 2012-2013 regular season average and 79% higher than the MLB's Tampa Bay Rays 2013 regular season average.
Because of the strong viewer response, WKMG/Local 6 has added a third game to the schedule for the June 22nd game against Pittsburgh.
Blaze vs Talons - Game Preview
The Utah Blaze (4-5) will battle the San Antonio Talons (4-5) at the Alamodome on Monday, June 3rd in a rematch of the opening round of the 2012 playoffs. The game can be heard live in the Salt Lake area exclusively on 97.5 FM The Zone with Scott Garrard providing play-by-play coverage.
Utah is coming off a tough 35-34 loss to the San Jose SaberCats while San Antonio dropped a 61-48 decision to the Spokane Shock in Week 10. The last time the two teams faced off in Texas, the Blaze advanced to the National Conference Championship after emerging with a 35-34 victory in a historic moment for the franchise. A season later, Utah and San Antonio - both of whom sit a game below .500 - continue to lobby for position in the race to the postseason.
Points will be hard to come by this week as two of the Arena Football League's top defenses square off in what figures to be a low-scoring affair. Utah has surrendered just over 44 points per game in its last five outings and currently ranks second in the AFL in both total defense (248.7 ypg) and passing defense (229.1 ypg). San Antonio has also made its mark on defense and has surrendered 47 points and 254.2 yards in total offense per game.
The strength of the Talons lies in its defensive line, where the franchise employs three All-Arena performers and ranks third in the AFL with 21 sacks as a team. Leading the way is 2012 AFL Defensive Player of the Year Joe Sykes, who set an all-time Arena Football record with 16 sacks last season. Opposite Sykes is Victor DeGrate, who was a first-team All-Arena selection for the Talons in 2012 after leading the team with 9.5 sacks. Along the interior is seven-year AFL veteran and three-time All-Arena honoree Tim McGill.
Despite the challenge this week, Utah's protection has been nothing short of brilliant through the first half of the season. The unit has allowed the third-lowest sack total in the AFL with just nine sacks on the year. The group comprised of Antonio Narcisse, Neal Tivis, Shannon Tevaga, and Jermarcus Hardrick - as well as hardnosed fullback Ben Stallings - has routinely stalemated opposing defenses. The battle in the trenches is one of the most intriguing aspects of the game and figures to be an extremely physical matchup.
The Blaze defense will look to take advantage of an ailing San Antonio offense, as injuries have prevented the Talons from developing consistency under center. In fact, five different quarterbacks have taken snaps for San Antonio this season, including Xavier Lee. Lee was in the mix at wide receiver, but finished as a quarterback last week against Spokane after an injury knocked out starter Nick Hill.
San Antonio's passing offense has managed just 224.9 aerial yards per game, placing them at the bottom of the AFL. The offense has particularly struggled inside the red zone where they have scored on only 61 percent of their possessions, also ranking last. From a scoring standpoint, the Talons have put an average of 43.6 points on the board per game, placing 12th in the Arena Football League.
Utah's defense has caught fire in recent contests, logging 24 turnovers over its last five games. The Blaze have routinely denied opponents on fourth down, allowing just six total conversions over the course of the season (lowest in the AFL).
In the secondary, Maurice Leggett added another interception to his resume against the SaberCats and now has five on the season, tying as the most in franchise history. David Hyland has notched 15 pass breakups - most in the AFL - while adding four interceptions to place third in the League with 19 total passes defended.
As the second half of the season gets underway, the margin for error continues to shrink. With each team coming off a loss, the matchup between Utah and San Antonio will feature intense competition as the both look to build momentum heading towards the postseason.
Barnstormers Bulk up O-Line
Iowa Barnstormers Head Coach and Director of Football Operations Mike Hohensee announced Thursday afternoon that the AFL franchise has been assigned OL James Economou. In addition, the team also completed a trade, picking up OL Anthony Parker from the Arizona Rattlers for future considerations.
Economou (6-4, 330) re-joins the Barnstormers for a second season. The 3 year veteran of Arena Football spent time last season with Iowa, joining the team at mid-season. He began his career with the Milwaukee Mustangs in 2010, before signing with the Cleveland Gladiators for the 2011 season. The Selden, NY native played college football at Connecticut State from 2006-09 where he was a 3 time All-American.
Parker (6-4, 330) comes to Iowa after spending the first 10 games this season with the Arizona Rattlers. This is Parker's second season in Arena Football, as he spent the 2012 season with the Milwaukee Mustangs. Parker was a star at Western Michigan University from 2008-12, where he recorded 48 starts over 4 seasons. During his senior season in 2011, he started all 13 games and took 975 offensive snaps.
Both players should have an immediate impact with the Barnstormers and both should be in the lineup this Saturday night.
To make room for these additions OL Jack Breckner has been placed on re-assignment, while OL Alex Linninkohl has returned home to Washington and has been placed on team suspension.
Iowa returns home this Saturday, June 1 when the Tampa Bay Storm come to town.
Storm Bolsters Defense
The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce the acquisitions of defensive lineman Claude Davis and defensive back Jerrell Gavins.
"We are happy to add Claude and Jerrell to our defensive unit," said Storm vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch. "They bring experience with them which should benefit the team as a whole."
Davis (6-foot-2, 257 lbs., South Florida) enters his first season in the AFL and played two seasons at USF. The Lakeland, FL (Lake Gibson H.S.) native played in 24 games for the Bulls finishing his USF career with 17 tackles and 7 tackles for a loss, including six sacks. Davis also forced two fumbles and had a fumble recovery. He spent time at East Mississippi Community College before settling in at USF.
The former Bull began his professional career having spent time with the New York Jets (NFL) as an undrafted free agent.
Gavins (5-foot-8, 171 lbs., Boise State) played four seasons with the Broncos, starting 16-of-41 games. He finished his collegiate career with 103 tackles including four tackles for a loss, seven interceptions and 14 pass breakups. He also had seven kick returns for a total of 192 yards.
Defensive back Rashad Barksdale has been activated from injured reserve. Prior to being placed on IR, he tallied 25.5 tackles, an interception, five pass breakups and returned a fumble for 12 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Greg Ellingson has been placed on other league exempt.
Defensive back Vance Cuff has been placed on inactive reserve.
Offensive lineman Abdul Kuyateh has been reassigned.
VooDoo Aquire QB Chris Dixon and DB Cameron McGlenn
The Arena Football League has assigned quarter back Chris Dixon and defensive back Cameron McGlenn to the New Orleans VooDoo, announced the VooDoo front office Friday, May 31.
Dixon, (5-11, 210, Humboldt) former quarter back of the Sioux Falls Storm, is a three-time Indoor Football League most valuable player. While with the Storm, Dixon led the team to titles in both of his seasons with them. He also won consecutive titles with the Billings Outlaws before the folding of the Billings franchise. Dixon became the first indoor football player to ever throw for 500 career touchdowns.
In 2012, Dixon was assigned to the Orlando Predators where he completed 26 of 34 passes for 318 yards and 5 touchdowns.
McGlenn (6-0, 190, Elon) led the AFL with 125.5 tackles as a member of the Iowa Barnstormers in 2012. In 2011, McGlenn collected 89.5 tackles and nine interceptions as a rookie with the Barnstormers. During his collegiate experience McGlenn was named Second-Team All-Southern Conference as a senior at Elon, finishing the year with 59 tackles and three interceptions.
Former Storm Personnel Among Newly Named Arena Football Hall of Fame Advisory Board
The Arena Football League announced eight members of the 2013 Hall of Fame Advisory Board today.
The Advisory Board will select ten candidates for the Arena Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, based on AFL excellence in the categories of players, coaches, and contributors.
The Advisory Board includes: ED BARKOWITZ, a veteran Philadelphia Daily News reporter; TROY CLARDY, a longtime play-by-play announcer and AFL broadcaster for the San Jose SaberCats and Pittsburgh Power; play-by-play voice of the Chicago Rush, LES GROBSTEIN; WILLIAM NIRO, a founding father of the Arena Football League; RICHARD OBERT, Arizona Republic reporter; RICHARD OLIVER, a senior writer for the San Antonio Express-News; JIM ROBINSON, a longtime media liaison for the Tampa Bay Storm; and ARI WOLFE, who currently serves as a play-by-play announcer and sideline analyst for "NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday" on CBS Sports Network.
Barkowitz has been covering the Soul and the AFL for the Philadelphia Daily News since the team's launch in 2004. He has also worked as a general assignment sports writer for the Daily News since 1993, covering the World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Finals.
Clardy has 13 years of experience covering the AFL, most recently as a television and radio play-by-play announcer for the Pittsburgh Power. Clardy also worked San Jose SaberCats radio broadcasts for ten seasons and hosted's "Inside the AFL" for three seasons.
Grobstein, a Chicago sports radio veteran of more than three decades, has spent years as the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Rush. He has covered the Arena Football League since its inception in 1987.
Niro, a Chicago attorney, is an original founder of the AFL and partner at Gridiron Enterprises, a sports consulting company based in Chicago, IL.
Obert has worked at the Arizona Republic since 1982 and has covered the Arizona Rattlers since their inception in 1992. He was on-hand for two Rattlers' ArenaBowl victories. He also covered the University of Arizona men's basketball program from 1992-1995 and again during the 2000-2001 season, as well as the Arizona State University men's basketball program during the 1999-2000 season.
Oliver has been a senior writer at the San Antonio-Express News since 2003 and has covered the San Antonio Talons since their arrival in Texas in 2012. Oliver has also spent the last six years as a pregame and postgame analyst for the San Antonio Spurs on Fox Sports Net.
Robinson handled media relations for the Tampa Bay Storm from 2006-2012. He also served on the Communications Team for ArenaBowl XXII.
Wolfe worked as the TV and Radio play-by-play announcer for the Albany/Indiana Firebirds from 1998-2003 and the Philadelphia Soul from 2004-2008. He now serves as a play-by-play announcer and sideline analyst for AFL on CBS Sports Network and has worked in some capacity at every ArenaBowl since 2002. During the 2008 season, he had his own column on entitled, "Wolfe's Den".
The Advisory Board will select ten candidates for Hall of Fame nomination on Wednesday, June 19 and the nominees will be announced Saturday, June 22 on CBS Sports Network. Fans and current Hall of Fame members will then vote on the selected candidates beginning on Monday, June 24. Votes will then be turned in to the Hall of Fame Operating Board of Directors.
In order to be nominated for the 2013 Hall of Fame Class, candidates must meet four criteria. If a player was active before 1989, he must have played for at least two seasons. For players after 1989, a minimum of three seasons of service are required. All players must be retired for three complete seasons. Coaches must have been active for a minimum of five seasons and need not be retired. There is no minimum number of seasons required for contributors, but significant advancement of the AFL is a prerequisite.
The 2013 Hall of Fame Class will be announced during the 2013 Conference Championship weekend and inductions will be held during the 2014 Arena Football League season.

Indoor Football League
Slaughter Announce Fan Appreciation Night
Hey football fans, are you looking for some hard hitting, high scoring action closer to home? As the Chicago Slaughter regular season winds down rival Green Bay will come to town. The Chicago Slaughter, a member of the Indoor Football League (IFL), will face the Blizzard at the Sears Centre Arena as they look to win their sixth home game in a row on Fan Appreciation Night, Friday May 31 at 7:35 PM.
As part of Fan Appreciation Night, the Slaughter will honor any Chicago Rush ticket stub (used or unused) for a half priced ticket to the regular season finale on Friday. Bring your Rush football tickets to the box office and receive half off select tickets for Friday's home game. Tickets can be exchanged at the Slaughter office (1055 W. Golf Road, Hoffman Estates) Thursday, 9 AM-5 PM. Tickets can also be exchanged at the Sears Centre Box Office from 10 AM - 5:30 PM, Thursday and beginning at 10 AM Friday. The Sears Centre is located at 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates.
We'll celebrate you, the fans for our Fan Appreciation Night. Arrive early and enter into the raffles for hotel stays, museum tickets, spa treatments, and more! Random seats, rows, and sections will also win prizes throughout the game! Over $25,000 worth of prizes will be given away to the fans! Other Fan Appreciation events include merchandise discounts, a Dixieland band, Sinful Saints, performing live on the concourse near the Fun Zone, and the Northern Illinois Fire Museum's vintage vehicles from the Great Chicago Fire.
The Slaughter will hold silent and live auctions for limited edition, game worn St. Patrick's Day jerseys. Silent Auction at Customer Service - #10 Delric Ellington, #76 Sarge Post-game Live Auction on the field - #3 Daniel Dufrene, #7 Juice Williams, #76 Steve McMichael
Players from the NFL Players Alumni Chicago Chapter are scheduled to be in attendance and signing autographs for fans. The players will sign autographs prior to the game and during halftime on the concourse. Scheduled players include Rashied Davis (Bears), Ahmad Merritt (Bears), Brian Glasgow (Bears), Bruce Herron (Bears), Dan Morjal (Bears), Marques Sullivan (Bills), David Porter (Bills), Les Shy (Cowboys), Marc May (Vikings), Tim Tyrrell (Falcons), Jermaine Hampton (Colts), Ryan Yarborough (Jets), Ray McElroy (Bears), Levar Fisher (Cardinals), and Corey Mays (Chiefs).
Colorado Ice Sign Head Coach Heron O'Neal to Contract Extension
The Colorado Ice organization and Head Coach Heron O'Neal are proud to announce that they have come to an agreement that will extend Coach O'Neal's contract through the 2017 Season.
This shows that the Colorado Ice will remain in Northern Colorado and continue to provide professional football players the opportunity to advance to the CFL and NFL. During the 2013 season, 14 Colorado Ice players have moved up the ladder, including Ice defensive back Lamar "Marty" Markett, who recently signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.
In securing a playoff position for the upcoming 2013 playoffs, Coach O'Neal stated, "I look forward to continuing the on field progress and bringing a Championship to the Ice Fans and the great state of Colorado."
Coach O'Neal's agent, Eric Echols from Xtreme Sports Management, had this to say about the contract extension, "It was very important for Coach O'Neal to continue to be a part of the Colorado Ice Football Organization. Heron made it clear to our staff that he loves both the Colorado Ice and being in Northern Colorado."
Colorado Ice owner Tom Wigley observed, "It was paramount the Ice continue to have one of the premier head coaches in all of professional indoor football at the helm for the next four years. This is yet another major step in the quest to bring an IFL championship home to Northern Colorado. That's the goal and the fans deserve nothing less."

Professional Indoor Football League
Swashbucklers Finish Out Season
The Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) has taken steps to enable a restructured Louisiana Swashbucklers team to complete the remainder of their 2013 season schedule.
Louisiana, who is coming off an double overtime win against the Richmond Raiders, will head to Huntsville, AL this Saturday night to take on the first-place Alabama Hammers (6-2), followed by games at Knoxville, TN (6/7) and at Richmond, VA (6/15).
Head Coach Darnell Lee and star quarterback Chris Mitchell are eager to get back on the field after missing this past weekend's game in Lake Charles due to operational issues. "We are excited, and want to build upon our momentum coming off the Richmond win," stated Lee, "We have our hands full this week with the Hammers, but we are ready, and look forward to the challenge."
The PIFL heads into its final month of the regular season with the majority of the team's still jockeying for final playoff positioning in the four team post-season format.
Lions Playoff Hopes Rest On Thin Ice
A playoff streak of six consecutive years will be on the line when the Columbus Lions (3-6) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) host the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (6-4) this Sunday June 2nd at 4:00 PM.
Many names have changed off the back of those blue home jersey's, but no matter how many different faces are protected by the Lions shield the one constant this organization has maintained is it's pride in making the playoffs since the birth of their existence. "Many organizations go years without sniffing the playoffs," says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson. "For some teams they view it as being lucky, we take pride in the fact of our consistency." That consistency will be put to the test for the next three weeks as the Lions officially enter do or die mode beginning this Sunday when they play host to arguably the PIFL's hottest team the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, winners of four straight.
In fact ever since these two teams last encountered each other they have gone in separate directions. For Lehigh it was the start of their current streak while Columbus has never been able to recover from the late 4th quarter collapse in which the Hawks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 60-51 earlier this month. Two crucial calls including an apparent fumble recovery by the Lions when they were up by ten late in the 4th quarter as well as illegal forward pass on a botched snap on a field goal went against Columbus leading to their demise.
Since then it's been a house full of cards type ordeal as one piece continues to pull the house down each week. Two weeks after the Lehigh loss they lost to the first-place Hammers by turning over the ball four times and then just one week ago Columbus lost 48-42 in overtime to the Richmond Raiders after failing to come thru on a 16-yard game-winning field at the end of regulation.
Come Sunday the Lions will know what it will take to continue their streak of six consecutive playoff appearances having already known what in-state rival Albany and Louisiana did the following night. Victories by either team coupled with a fifth straight Columbus loss and they can kiss that dream of extending the streak goodbye. A potential victory on Sunday sets up a winner-take-all battle for the final spot of the impending playoffs between themselves and Albany with two matchups to settle it all (June 8th and June 22nd). But first things first, clip the hot the Hawks who boast the PIFL's top rated passer in Adam Bednarik. Last time out the Lions appeared to have Bednarik's number intercepting him three times, the first and only time that has happened this season.
Lehigh can hit you from a number of different ways, considering their signal-caller has a bevy of weapons on the outside. WR's Tyrone Collins, Toriel Gibson, and Tom Gilson have hauled in over 50 passes each, only trio in PIFL with that distinction, with Gilson being the high-man at 79.
Columbus comes into Sunday nicked up on both sides of the ball. QB Lee Chapple went down with a concussion late in last week's game vs. Richmond, his status for this week is doubtful, while FB Gerald Harris re-aggravated a rib injury that kept him out for almost an entire month. On defense DB Jeremy Gray may miss Sunday's contest with a groin pull while the already short defensive line may be without DL JamontayPilson who could be out with an ankle sprain. So literally the Lions playoff hopes rest on thin ice as many of their players have been soaking in tubs this week just to heal up and strap on the pads for this Sunday. One thing is for sure the mentality around the locker room is they aren't going down without a fight and anything goes once you enter "The Jungle."
Sunday is "Family Night." With tickets as low as $10 along with kids 12 and under in free with the purchase of an adult ticket the game promises to be a Family-Fun Affordable Night. There will also be $1 hotdogs, $1 Coke, and $1 popcorn concession specials and as always the first 150 military personnel get through the gates for free courtesy of the Drop Zone sponsors.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

American Indoor Football
Harrisburg Stampede vs York Capitals - Winner Plays in AIF Championship
The Harrisburg Stampede and York Capitals will face-off this Saturday, June 1st at the PA Farm Show & Expo Center for the right to travel to Fayetteville, NC in hopes of winning the AIF Championship.
The Harrisburg Stampede and York Capitals have qualified for the AIF playoffs. The Stampede is ranked second place in the AIF, following a bruising battle with the Cape Fear Heroes on 5/25. The Herd's regular season record is 6-2. The York Capitals are ranked third in the AIF with a regular season record of 5-3.
Although this is the Capital's inaugural season, the two Central PA titans have met twice before, once in Harrisburg and the other in York. The Stampede was victorious during the first two meetings, but there are no guarantees in playoff football. This final 2013 season matchup will secure one team's position in the 2013 AIF Championship. The winner will face the 2012 defending AIF champions, the Cape Fear Heroes on June 8th in Fayetteville, NC.
Both teams know each other incredibly well and this will be a high-flying, hard-hitting experience for fans! In effort to make this game engage both the Harrisburg and York communities, both teams are excited to offer complimentary tickets to all children ages 14 and under! In addition, adults may receive a $2 discount by using the promo code "STAMPEDE" when purchasing their tickets at .
Game activities include a field goal contest for the chance to win $1500 cash! Also, the Harrisburg Stampede is holding a sweepstakes promotion for the chance of a lifetime! Three winners will be selected on May 31st. Prizes include the ultimate fan experience - team captain for the day with the Stampede, box seat tickets with Marques Colston, Philadelphia Eagles or Pittsburgh Steelers tickets and much more. Adults 18 and older may register at

Arena Football League
Shock vs. SaberCats - Game Preview
The Spokane Shock return home to face their National Conference-West Division rivals, the San Jose SaberCats, in the CBS Sports Network Game of the Week this Saturday, June 1st at 7 p.m. (PST) at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
It will be a critical matchup with playoff implications for the Shock (7-3, 2-1) who find themselves one game behind the second-placed SaberCats (7-2, 1-2) in the West Division standings with eight games left to play. With a win on Saturday, Spokane would own sole possession of second place in the Division and own the tiebreaker against San Jose with the better record in head-to-head matchups between the two teams in the case of identical records at seasons end. Spokane would also inch closer to catching the Arizona Rattlers (9-1, 3-1) who currently have the best record in the AFL and sit atop the West Division standings.
The Shock seem to have rediscovered their rhythm winning two straight games after a brief three game losing skid. Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer is coming off a dominant performance last Friday against the San Antonio Talons in which he completed 23-of-29 pass attempts for 255 yards and 7 touchdowns to go along with two rushing scores in the 61-48 win. As they have done all season, Meyer and wide receiver Adron Tennell continued to exploit opposing secondaries with an unstoppable connection as Tennell hauled in 12 receptions for 177 yards and four touchdowns, his 15th straight game with multiple receiving touchdowns.
However, the Shock will be facing a red hot SaberCats (7-2) team that has ripped off five straight wins since the two teams last met in mid-April. San Jose continued their ascent in the West Division standings with a 35-34 nail biting win last Saturday night against the Utah Blaze. Quarterback Russ Michna completed 22-of-38 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He spread the ball around his receiving corps connecting with Fred Williams 10 times for 124 yards and a score, Huey Whittaker six times for 46 yards and a touchdown and Jason Willis five times for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Last season Spokane and San Jose split the season series with the SaberCats taking the first game 69-35 in Spokane, Wash., while the Shock returned the favor winning 90-63 in San Jose, Calif.
And although Spokane beat San Jose 69-47 earlier this year, that game has proven to be a turning point in the SaberCats season and may be directly responsible for the teams rise into playoff contention.
During the first meeting between the teams, Shock defensive back Paul Stephens picked off struggling SaberCats quarterback Aaron Garcia an AFL record five times which helped drop San Jose to a 2-3 record. The next week San Jose traded Garcia to the Orlando Predators and decided to attempt to sway former Chicago Rush quarterback Russ Michna, who had retired and had become a manager of sales and finance at the Higher Gear Group in Schaumburg, Ill., out of retirement to take over the starting gig.
Michna, who set a Rush franchise record in 2012 with 4,470 passing yards and 89 touchdowns in 2012, agreed to a two-year deal with the SaberCats and has been instrumental in San Jose's turnaround. Since taking over as the starter in mid-April, Michna has thrown for 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions while leading the SaberCats to five straight victories.
Michna will look to extend this winning streak against Spokane, a team in which he has had recent success against. Last season Michna threw for a Chicago single-game franchise record 400 yards and nine touchdowns against the Shock in the only meeting between the teams.
He will be facing a Shock defensive unit that has struggled to this point in the season giving up 54.8 points per game and are currently rank dead last in the league in total defense giving up 346.6 yards per contest. And even though they were able to force five turnovers in the first meeting, Spokane's secondary still allowed a combined 20 receptions for 249 yards and four touchdowns to receiver's Jamarko Simmons (currently on Inactive Reserve) and Willis.
While the Michna acquisition will certainly be an intriguing factor in Saturday's pivotal game, the most significant matchup will undoubtedly be Spokane's second ranked-scoring offense pitted against the SaberCat's fifth-ranked scoring defense.
Spokane's offense headed by Meyer, who currently leads the AFL with 2,926 yards passing and 70 touchdowns, scores 66.2 points per game and has only failed to reach the 60-point mark once this season. Meyer torched the SaberCats for 242 yards and eight touchdowns in the first matchup while Tennell, who leads the league in receiving with 1,221 yards and 35 touchdowns, added nine catches for 117 yards and three scores.
However, this is not the same SaberCats defense that the Shock faced on April 19.
San Jose has shored up their defense significantly since the April meeting as they have held their opponent to under 40 points in five consecutive games. They currently stand second in the AFL with 22 sacks and boast a secondary that only allows 241 yards passing per game. They are led by defensive back Clevan Thomas who is tied with Stephens for the league lead with eight interceptions and was named the Riddell defensive player of the week after collecting two interceptions, including one returned for a 50-yard touchdown, four tackles, and three pass breaks last Saturday against the Blaze.
Saturday's game will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network and will also be Military Appreciation Night at the Arena. Fans will receive bandannas courtesy of Century Link and can use the promo code ‘Military' via TicketsWest for $7 tickets to game. This week's game will also be featured on 700AM ESPN radio.
Breaux Earns Shot In CFL
Former New Orleans VooDoo DB Delvin Breaux has signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, announced VooDoo front office Wednesday, May 29.
Breaux (6-1, 200, Louisiana State) was assigned to the New Orleans VooDoo on November 5, 2012. While with the VooDoo, Breaux saw action in three games where he recorded 10 defensive tackles (8 solo, 2 assisted) and one pass breakup before signing with the Tiger-Cats on May 24, 2013.
The Tiger-Cats rookie mini -camp is set to begin today. Breaux tweeted, "Great first practice... looking forward to tom, get better."
Blaze Assigned DB Tony Tatum
The Utah Blaze have been assigned rookie defensive back Tony Tatum, the franchise announced today. Tatum arrives in Utah following a standout two-sport career at Gallaudet University, the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students.
"Tony has a lot of natural talent, but he's also a smart player," said Head Coach Ron James. "We brought him in for a workout and he picked up our system very quickly. I think Tony can play a few different positions on our defense and I'm excited to have him on board."
Tatum (6-2, 205, Gallaudet) earned All-Eastern Collegiate Conference accolades in each of his three seasons on the gridiron, where he played in 27 games for Gallaudet and totaled 69 tackles with four tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups, 12 interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
As a senior in 2012, Tatum earned All-American honors after returning six interceptions for 127 yards and one touchdown while adding 29 tackles with one stop for loss, three pass breakups and one forced fumble. An all-purpose threat, Tatum also posted 333 yards with two touchdowns on 22 punt returns and caught two passes for 13 yards and another score. At season's end, he was honored as the ECFC Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Year.
Also a star on Gallaudet's basketball team, Tatum scored 1,237 points over his four seasons on the court. He started all 24 games in his senior campaign and led the Bisons with 136 rebounds and 42 steals while averaging 11.3 points per game.

Indoor Football League
Titans to Host Viewing Party in Cedar Rapids
The Titans hit the road again this weekend before returning home for their last regular season home game next Saturday, June 8th. Let's show our Titans support by watching the game together! This Friday night, May 31st, CR Gatherings will be hosting a game viewing party beginning at 7 pm. Game time is 8 pm and there will be $1 taco bar and drink specials throughout the night. CR Gatherings is located at 905 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids.
And if you haven't made it to a Titans Tuesday @ The Butcher Block - this coming Tuesday, June 4th is your last chance! From 4:30 pm - 6 pm come mingle with Titans players, Dolls, and fans and register to win tickets to the final regular season home game June 8th. The Butcher Block is located at 1117 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids.
Then it's back to Titans Football!! Join the Titans as we return home to Mediacom Field inside the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena next Saturday, June 8th, to face the Green Bay Blizzard. Kick off is 7:05 pm and great seats are still available by going to or the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena Box Office.
June 8th is Schools Out - Fan Appreciation Night, presented by WMT AM/FM. The first 500 fans through the door will receive a free Air Blast Noisemaker courtesy of Creative Design Promotions. Join us for FREE face painting, Titans bounce house, Macaroni Kid activities, clown, and more in our St. Luke's Family Fun Zone in the lobby of the Ice Arena beginning at 5:30 pm.
Colorado Ice Defensive Back Signs with CFL
The Colorado Ice and Lamar "Marty" Markett are proud to announce that he has signed a CFL contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
While with the Ice Markett has put up stats to get him noticed by the scouts. In eight games played Markett had 44 total tackles, 21 solo and 23 assists; 2 interceptions for a total 19 yards and had 7 play break ups. Markett also had 319 return yards.
The Colorado Ice Head Coach Heron O'Neal commented, "Marty ran a 4.28 second 40 yard dash in his private workout with the CFL teams. That will get you a contract anywhere, we are just happy to see him moving up." This signing is the 14th player from the Colorado Ice roster to move up to the NFL, CFL or AFL since September 2012.
Markett is a 5'9", 175 lb. defensive back from The University of South Carolina, who was rated as the 103rd best corner prospect in the 2012 draft class. Markett spent his entire college career at South Carolina, but took an unconventional route to becoming a starting defensive back for the Gamecocks.
Originally Markett enrolled at South Carolina on a track scholarship; earning All-American honors as a freshman. Markett then walked on to the football team as a sophomore; not earning any playing time until his junior season. Over his final two seasons however, Markett played plenty for one of the best defenses in the nation; recording 38 tackles and 2 pass break-ups in 23 games.
Markett's amazing story didn't stop there as his speed, intelligence, and hard work earned him a contract with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL as a Preferred Free Agent.

Professional Indoor Football League
Swashbucklers to Play Alabama Hammers Saturday
The Louisiana Swashbucklers are preparing to start a three-game road trip that will determine how the team will finish the 2013 season. Though at 4-4 right now, the Bucs will be looking to get above .500 when taking on the Alabama Hammers Saturday (June 1st), at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. The game that was originally scheduled in Lake Charles on May 25th will be rescheduled at a later time and in a different venue.
The Hammers have emerged at the top of the Professional Indoor Football League rankings at present. Alabama is at 6-2, just slightly ahead of the Richmond Raiders. The Swashbucklers are still in contention for a playoff spot though tied with the Albany Panthers at present.
The Bucs, in their last game, pulled off a last second win over the Richmond Raiders in a hard-fought contest that ended with a 68-66 victory. The game went into double overtime and the lead changed a few times during regulation play. For his efforts, Louisiana quarterback Chris Mitchell was named the week 11 PIFL Offensive Player of the Week. Mitchell had five touchdown passes and guided the offense in erasing a 13 point score differential. He had two rushing touchdowns late in the final period that gave the Swashbucklers a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime. Mitchell had completed 19 out of 34 passes for 243 yards against Richmond. Up to this point, he has made 85 pass attempts without an interception.
The Hammers offense will once again look to quarterback Russell Hill to keep Alabama at the top of the standings. In 2013, Hill has thrown 132 completions out of 237 attempts for 1,964 yards. He has 47 touchdowns to his credit.
Following this match, the Swashbucklers will be traveling to Knoxville to take on the Nighthawks for the third time this season on Saturday, June 8th. Other PIFL action for this week includes the Albany Panthers against the Richmond Raiders along with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks taking on the Columbus Lions.
Albany Panthers Announce Kid's Night
As the Albany Panthers take the field Saturday night for a key Professional Indoor Football League matchup against the Richmond Raiders, Toyota of Albany and Kia of Albany will be partnering with the team to bring its fans another night of intense action and engaging entertainment.
"Over the past three years the partnership between the Albany Panthers and Toyota of Albany and Kia of Albany has been a tremendous asset," said General Manager Will Carter. "Their support for the franchise has been there since our inaugural 2010 season" "Toyota of Albany and Kia of Albany Night" festivities will include Courtney Spencer performing the National Anthem. Elton Wetteland will give the invocation. Nichole Adams will perform the Coin Toss. Elton Wetteland will present the Game Ball.
Raiders Begin 2-Game Road Trip
The Richmond Raiders (6-3) will begin a two game road trip Saturday night with a game against the Albany Panthers (4-4) that could go a long way toward clearing up the playoff picture and home field advantage for the first round. It will be a rematch of the game in Richmond on May 4 that started the Raiders' current string of three consecutive games that have come down to the last play.
Last week the Raiders played their second straight overtime game, this time getting the win thanks to a RoShawn Marshall interception on the Columbus Lions' first play of OT, and a Warren Smith to Hakeem Moore touchdown three plays later. Marshall finished with three picks, and Moore had 154 yards and three touchdowns. The duo were named PIFL Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week, respectively. The Raiders overcame six turnovers and a 23-minute scoring drought, eventually tying the game with 19 seconds left. Columbus then drove inside the Raiders' 10 yard line, and a touchdown saving tackle by James Carter at the one brought on the field goal unit. When Josh Smith's kick sailed wide left, the Raiders had new life. Moore had over 150 receiving yards for the second straight game, and Herb Jones went over the 100 yard mark for the second consecutive outing. They now rank second and third in the PIFL in receiving yards with over 800 apiece.
A win on Saturday would be the Raiders' first ever victory in Albany, and with it they would clinch a playoff berth for the second straight year. With a win and some help, the Raiders could all but clinch a home playoff berth. The top two teams stay home for the first round of the playoffs, and the Raiders currently occupy second place, ahead of third place Lehigh Valley and fourth place Albany. They already hold the head to head tiebreaker over Lehigh Valley, and would gain the tiebreaker over Albany. If the SteelHawks lose to the Lions Sunday afternoon, the Raiders would be two games ahead of both squads with two games to play. Under that scenario, only the performance of the Louisiana Swashbucklers (4-4, tied for fourth) could knock the Raiders below second place.
The last meeting between the Raiders and Panthers was one for the ages. Albany rolled to a 23 point lead by the last minute of the third quarter thanks to a couple of interceptions and a very efficient offense that scored touchdowns on their first six possessions. Following the sixth score, Raiders special teams stepped up when Joseph Jean-Pierre returned the kickoff 52 yards for a touchdown. Raibonne Charles forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return, and the Raiders offense was cruising. Thanks to a Panther turnover on downs and an onside kick recovered by Jean-Pierre, the Raiders completed a 28-0 run and were ahead by five.
Albany showed why they are the defending league champs, getting off the mat to put together a drive culminating in a touchdown with one minute to go. Their lead remained at just one point after a failed two point conversion, and the Raiders were able to get in position for a 25 yard field goal by T.C. Stevens with eight seconds left. Cecil Lester's Hail Mary pass as time expired was intercepted in the end zone, and the Raiders escaped with a 51-49 win.
Following that game, the Raiders traveled to Louisiana where their tangle with the Swashbucklers wasn't decided until the second overtime. The Raiders scored a touchdown but failed on the mandatory two point conversion, and the ‘Bucs answered with a TD and a two pointer to win the game, 68-66. Just for good measure, the Raiders had a chance to win their game in Columbus on April 20, but a pass went off Herb Jones' hands in the end zone as time ran out. That makes four out of the last five games that weren't decided until the final whistle.
Thanks to Warren Smith's back to back 350+ yard passing games, the Raiders are in second place in total offense with 293 yards per game. They are scoring 50 points per game, good for third in the league, but will be tested by the PIFL's best defense. Albany leads the league in total defense and scoring defense, yielding a mere 233 yards and 44 points per game.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Payne Leads League in Average All-Purpose Yards Per Game
The New Orleans VooDoo's 2013 season has not turned out as many of the players, coaches, and fans had expected. After making the playoffs last year, not many people could have predicted that after 9 games the VooDoo would be (1-8) and last in their division.
However, amongst all of the unexpected negativity that has been cast over the VooDoo, one of the positives this season has been the playmaking ability of WR Quorey Payne.
Payne is averaging an astounding 243.5 all-purpose yards per game, which leads the AFL. The 5'10", 180 lb wide receiver from Southern Illinois is dynamic with the ball in his hands, and has the ability to score from anywhere on the field at any time. Despite participating in only 4 of the VooDoo's 9 games this season, Payne has accounted for 938 all-purpose yards, with 25 receptions for 322 yards and 2 TD's, 8 rushing yards, 33 yards off of missed field goal returns, with 29 kick returns for 575 yards (19.8 yards per return), and 2 TD's.
In his last two games played, Quorey hauled in 10 passes for 102 yards against the Tampa Bay Storm, and had 8 receptions for 165 yards and scored 2 TD's against the Chicago Rush. If the VooDoo have any chance of resurrecting their season, Quorey Payne and his big play ability will be a key factor.
Another bright spot in a season eclipsed in darkness, has been the play of QB Kurt Rocco. Although he has missed a few games due to injury, Rocco reached a career milestone last week against the Chicago Rush, surpassing 200 career passing TD's.
Summers Assigned to the Sharks
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks announced Tuesday that veteran defensive lineman Derrick Summers has been assigned to the Jacksonville roster on a one-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Derrick was a huge part of our team in 2011 and 2012 before getting an opportunity in the CFL," Sharks head coach Les Moss said. "He's a talented pass rusher with a proven track record in this league, and we expect him to be able to step in and contribute right away. We're excited to have Derrick back here in Jacksonville."
The 25-year-old Summers rejoins the Sharks after spending time with both the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He signed with Toronto on May 26, 2012, and appeared in eight games with the team, recording 12 tackles and two sacks. Released by the Argonauts on October 18, Summers then signed with the Tiger-Cats on October 23, logging a sack in two games with Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats released Summers on May 15.
Summers is set to begin his third season in the Arena Football League, playing with the Sharks in both 2011 and 2012. Before signing with Toronto, Summers played in six games during the 2012 AFL season, totaling 10.5 tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. Summers also both forced and recovered a fumble.
The previous year, Summers was a breakout star during his rookie season in Jacksonville. Appearing in all 18 games during the 2011 regular-season campaign, Summers racked up team-high totals of 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles. He also tied for the team lead with totals of three fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. Summers' overall performance earned him a selection to the All-Arena Second Team that season, and his total of 11 sacks stands as the fourth-best individual performance by a rookie in AFL history.
A native of Southfield, Michigan, Summers played collegiately at the University of Toledo from 2006-09. In his four seasons as a Rocket, Summers spent time at linebacker, defensive end and nose tackle, registering a total of 135 tackles and five sacks.
In another Tuesday transaction, the Sharks announced that wide receiver Jarvis Williams has been placed on recallable reassignment. The Jacksonville roster remains at the League maximum of 24 active players.
Storm vs. Barnstormers - Game Preview
The Tampa Bay Storm (6-4, 2-3) heads to the Wells Fargo Arena to take on the Iowa Barnstormers (4-6, 1-3) Saturday, June 1 at 8:05 PM ET.
This will be the 11th time these two franchises have met, with the series tied at 5-5 and Iowa holding an eight point margin of victory. The series history is full of memorable moments, including the greatest game ever played - ArenaBowl X. A game that saw the Kurt Warner-led Barnstormers fall to the Storm by a score of 42-38, earning Tampa Bay its then fourth ArenaBowl championship.
Saturday's match will be the first time these two teams have met since April 18, 2008, when the Barnstormers were operating as the New York Dragons. The Storm has traveled to play this franchise a total of three times, and possesses a 2-1 road record. Saturday will mark the first time Tampa Bay has played in Iowa since May 25, 2000. The Storm is 1-1 when playing in Des Moines.
Both squads are coming into this contest having recently suffered a loss. The Barnstormers are currently riding a two-game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming against the Arizona Rattlers by the score of 70-26. The Storm dropped its latest match against the Philadelphia Soul by the score of 73-55.
Having been plagued by injuries to four starters before their most recent match, the Barnstormers look to make a comeback against Tampa Bay as the team tries to push for first place in the Central Division.
The Storm will look to break the "loss-win-loss" pattern against an Iowa team that boasts one of the best defenses in the league, holding opponents to an average of 46.4 points per game. Storm Quarterback Adrian McPherson continues to lead the league in rushing with 345 yards for 26 touchdowns but he may have a tough time getting through the Iowa defensive line; a line that allows a mere 19.6 rushing yards per game, good for fifth in the AFL.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Barnstormers are led by quarterback J.J. Raterink. Raterink has completed 187-of-314 passes for 2,285 yards, 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions. However, the team may be without its main signal caller due to an injury sustained during last week's matchup against Arizona. The receiving corps. is led by Marcus Harris who has 58 receptions for 851 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. Look for him to be the team's primary receiver in this week's game.
Defensively for the Storm, the team will look to get back to what made it a force earlier in the season. The team's defensive line will try and apply pressure on Iowa, and force it to make mistakes. Pressure will create turnovers, and will hopefully help an opportunistic backfield get back on track. Currently the Storm defensive backfield is tied for second in the league with 18 interceptions.
Sharks Set to Host Power on Saturday, June 1
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks (7-3) return home this week, hosting the East Division's Pittsburgh Power (3-6) on Saturday, June 1 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Sharks head into this week's action with a chance to build on the team's 44-41 road win over the in-state rival Orlando Predators last Saturday night. That victory snapped the Sharks' three-game losing streak and allowed the team to regain sole possession of first place in the South Division, as Jacksonville currently holds a one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Storm with eight games remaining for each team. Though much will change in the final two months of the regular season, this week's game is a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds in the American Conference playoff race.
This week, Jacksonville faces an opponent against which it has enjoyed tremendous success. The Sharks have taken each of their three previous meetings against Pittsburgh, winning each game by at least 20 points. That includes a 61-35 Week 2 victory over the Power earlier this season, a game in which the Jacksonville defense set a new franchise record with a total of seven quarterback sacks.
That early season performance established what has become a trend for each team this season. The relentless Shark pass rush has led the AFL in quarterback sacks for nearly the entire season and currently has a league-best total of 29. Defensive lineman Jerry Turner regained the individual league lead (8.0) with a sack last week, passing teammate Aaron Robbins, who leads all Mac linebackers with 7.5 sacks.
The Sharks' front four is a lot for any team to handle, let alone a team that has struggled to protect the quarterback to the extent that Pittsburgh has this season. Through nine games, the Power has allowed opposing defenses to record a total of 30 sacks, highest in the league. Rest assured that Turner, Robbins and the rest of the Sharks' d-line will be looking to exploit this advantage on Saturday night.
Offensively, last week's game saw the return of quarterback Bernard Morris to the starting lineup. Morris accounted for five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) against the Predators, and has a chance to build momentum with another matchup against his former team. Morris began the 2011 season as the Power's starter before suffering a mid-season injury, and has enjoyed tremendous success against Pittsburgh since re-joining the Sharks in 2012. In two games against the Power, Morris has completed 46 of his 62 passes for 442 yards and 12 touchdowns, throwing just one interception in those contests.
Though the Sharks did come away with a win in their last game, the offense has still crossed the 50-point threshold just once since Week 4. One area in which improvement could lead to increased production is on third down. Over the last three weeks, the Jacksonville offense is just six-of-24, a conversion rate of 25% that is well below the team's season average of 48%. With that said, converting against the Power defense is no small feat, as Pittsburgh's opponents have cashed in on just over a third of their third-down attempts this season.
On the other side, Pittsburgh hopes to have found stability at the quarterback position in Steven Sheffield, who has started the last three games in place of the injured Jordan Jefferson. Sheffield has led his team to two wins in those three contests, including a come-from-behind, 55-44 defeat of the Cleveland Gladiators last Saturday night. After seeing limited action with Spokane in 2011 and San Antonio in 2012, Sheffield has already set a new single-season high with 15 passing touchdowns. But the Power signal-caller has also been turnover-prone, throwing seven interceptions this season.
The Shark secondary enjoyed success in the first meeting between these teams, pulling down a season-high three picks, including a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown by veteran Micheaux Robinson. Worth noting, however, is that Sheffield did not play in that game, and so this week Robinson and his teammates will face the challenge of attacking a quarterback whom they have not seen in person. There is no doubt that Sheffield will look early and often for wideout Mike Washington, far and away Pittsburgh's most productive receiver this season. Leading his team with 79 catches for 842 yards and 15 scores, Washington has more than twice as many receptions and touchdowns as any other player on the Pittsburgh roster.
This week's game is the first of several rematches that the Sharks will play over the course of the second half of the season. In addition to this week, the team will square off against the Orlando Predators, New Orleans VooDoo, Tampa Bay Storm and Cleveland Gladiators for a second time. Finally, the Sharks still have two games remaining against the Spokane Shock, as those two squads will meet for the first time in Week 12.
To this point in the season, the Sharks have taken care of business against foes in the American Conference. In fact, Jacksonville has a perfect 6-0 record in conference play, notching exactly one win against each of the six other teams in the conference. Though there is still plenty of football to be played, that record definitely stands as a positive sign as the Sharks head toward the postseason.
Soul Set to Take On Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXV Rematch
The Philadelphia Soul (5-4) look to win their third in-a-row as they host the Arizona Rattlers (9-1) in a rematch of ArenaBowl XXV. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. and will be televised on the Comcast Network. Following the game, the Soul will host the "RoShon Fegan and Caroline Sunshine Concert Jam," which will be free to ticketholders and in conjunction with their "Daddy-Daughter Night."
Last week, Philadelphia defeated the Tampa Bay Storm in dominating fashion last week, 73-55, led by QB Dan Raudabaugh and the Soul defense. The Rattlers come into this matchup with the league's best record and are currently riding a six-game win streak after beating up Iowa, 70-26.
"We need to find a way to put pressure on Davila," explained Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "We know they're a team that likes to throw deep, so we need to make sure our guys play good coverage and we need to put pressure on him. They have a solid line, so our guys need to come with a strong pass rush. Arizona scores a lot, so we need to stay hot offensively. We've been scoring a lot these past couple weeks. There's a good chance this game could turn out to be a shoot-out."
The defense is led by DL Bryan Robinson who is No. 1 in the league in tackles for loss (12.5) and No. 2 in sacks (7.5). Robinson has led the Soul defense with six sacks in his past four games. Philadelphia's rush defense is one of their strengths as it ranks No. 3 in fewest rushing yards per game (18.1) and a league-leading fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (8).
Clint Dolezel's offense has been clicking this year, as Raudabaugh leads the league-leading total offense (311.4) and No. 3 scoring offense (59.0). Their passing attack ranks No. 4 (282.0) while they've scored the second most rushing touchdowns in the league (23). Tiger Jones is Philadelphia's main weapon, ranking No. 3 in the league in receiving yards (1,135), No. 2 in receiving yards per game (126.1) and No.6 in receiving touchdowns (20).
Arizona is led by QB Nick Davila. He is No. 1 in pass efficiency (131.9), No. 2 in passing yards (2,642), and No. 2 in passing touchdowns (66). The Rattlers have the best scoring offense in the league (67.9) and a strong defense with the No. 3 scoring defense (46.8). Although their pass defense hasn't been strong this season, (No. 13), they've been able to force the turnovers with a league-leading 20 interceptions. The Rattlers have also been shutting down the opponent's run (14.1) ranking No. 2, which is four yards better than the Soul's No. 3 run defense (18.1).
There are several factors to watch in this matchup. One factor to watch is Raudabaugh's performance. He has a rating of 131.88 over the past three weeks and is about to face the No. 13 pass defense in the league. The Soul are also facing the second-best run defense in the league, therefore FB Derrick Ross may be ineffective in this game. If Raudabaugh can connect with his receivers, they should be able to get a jump on the Rattlers.
Another factor to watch is the turnovers. Arizona is the best in the league at forcing turnovers, leading the league with a +24 turnover margin and 20 interceptions. Furthermore, turnovers have been the Soul's Achilles' heel all season long. Although Raudabaugh has thrown just one interception in his past 162 pass attempts, if Arizona can force the mistakes, they may come out of this matchup as the winner.
Lastly, Davila will have to be the Soul's target on defense. He leads the Rattlers' offense in his ability to be efficient and making the right plays. Facing one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league in Philadelphia, the Soul will need to put pressure on Davila in hopes of taking him off his game.
The Soul game will be themed, "Manayunk and Roxborough Night at the Soul," because of the Town Takeover on Friday from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Northern Children's Services. The night is also themed "Daddy Daughter Night," which will feature the "RoShon Fegan and Caroline Sunshine Concert Jam" following the Soul game. The concert will be free to ticketholders and additional VIP packages are available for purchase.
VooDoo Continue Homestand as Cleveland Comes to Town
The New Orleans VooDoo begin the back nine of the season with a home date with the struggling Cleveland Gladiators this Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans (1-8) and Cleveland (2-7) come in to this weekend's game with similar struggles as they both have suffered multiple double digit losses this season. These teams last met on June 16, 2012 in Cleveland as the VooDoo knocked off the Gladiators 55-42.
Last Saturday against Chicago, the VooDoo out-gained the Rush in most offensive categories but were unable to match the Rush's prolific second quarter. Both VooDoo quarterbacks saw playing time last week and both had similar results. Starter Kurt Rocco threw four touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. Bill Stull, who played the entire second half tossed three scores but was picked off once. Both quarterbacks have had their positive moments, but both have also struggled with consistency. Stull and Rocco combine for 1,849 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Cleveland quarterback Brian Zbydniewski is eighth in the league with 2,001 passing yards, but he also has 14 interceptions. Zbydniewski has thrown 34 touchdowns and also has struggled with consistency as his passer rating has bounced around, and his completion percentage is 57.4. Opponents have also sacked him 20 times this season. Rocco and Stull combine for 21. Both teams' passer ratings average in the mid-80s, so the team with consistent quarterback play could be the difference in this game between two struggling teams.
The teams' receiving squads match up relatively well. The VooDoo's Donovan Morgan has strung together two straight games of 140 yards or more receiving. He leads the team with 46 catches for 648 yards and 13 touchdowns. Courtney Smith is right behind Morgan with 42 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Cleveland's Thyron Lewis leads the Gladiators with 752 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 48 receptions are second to Dominick Goodman, who has 65. Lewis has also posted two straight triple digit yardage totals. The signal callers from both teams will have to rely on these squads to get that elusive victory.
The turnover bug has been an Achilles heel for both of these teams. Cleveland has turned the ball over 20 times this season, while the VooDoo have given the ball away 32 times this season. The team that wins the turnover battle will likely win the game. Turnovers have been a main factor in many of the VooDoo's losses as they gave up six against Chicago. The Rush turned those takeaways into five scores, which was the difference in that loss.
Both teams also boast solid kick return games. Goodman's 593 yards is right behind the VooDoo's Brent Holmes, who has 601. The VooDoo's Quorey Payne has also been busy as he recorded a team high 11 returns for 191 yards last weekend, totaling 575 yards on the year. All three players rank in the league's top ten list for kick returns. The teams square off Saturday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. inside the "Mausoleum" on Poydras Street.

Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Former Haymaker Lawrence Signs with CFL's Alouettes
Lincoln Haymakers former offensive lineman Will Lawrence has signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. During his time with the Haymakers, Lawrence was invited to a private workout with the Alouettes. Lawrence impressed Montreal during the workout enough to land him on their roster as the squad gets geared up for the 2013 season.
Lawrence attended Boise State University and will join former Boise State coach and current Alouettes Coach Dan Hawkins. The Haymakers are very excited to allow opportunities for their players to showcase their skills and move up to the next level with Lawrence being the first success story of the young Haymakers organization.
Defender's Road Woes Continue in Omaha
The Oklahoma Defenders (3-8) traveled north on their final road game of the 2013 CPIFL campaign to take on the Omaha Beef (9-1) on Friday night. The struggling Defenders were coming off a disappointing 65-28 loss to the Kansas City Renegades at home while the Beef beat Bloomington 51-38.
The Beef have been a dominant team all season and the struggling Defenders had a daunting task ahead of them.
As it happened, Omaha came out swinging and had three scores on the board and the first quarter in the books before the Defenders broke the plane of the Beef goal line. Oklahoma quarterback Carlos Cavanaugh connected with Cameron Clemons on a 31-yard pass for a touchdown. The two-point conversion try failed.Patrick "Packy" Jones caught the first of his two touchdown passes on the game when Cavanaugh found him in the Omaha end zone with a 9-yard strike.
Carlos Cavanaugh converted the two-point try and the Beef lead was cut to 27-14 with 5 minutes remaining in the half. Omaha would score before the halftime buzzer to extend the lead to 33-14. The Beef lit the Defenders up four times to inflate their advantage to 59-14 before David Bowie found Packy Jones open for an 18-yard pass for the final Oklahoma touchdown of the game.
Altogether the Defenders produced 183 yards of offense, and Packy Jones led his teammates with 117 all-purpose yards and two receiving touchdowns. Oklahoma's running game never got off the ground, but Carlos Cavanaugh and Jamario Thomas made 12 rushing attempts for a combined 51 yards. The tandem quarterback combination of Cavanaugh and David Bowie completed 19 passes on 34 attempts for 134 yards through the air for two touchdowns and two interceptions. The loss drops the Defenders to 3-8, and for the 2013 season they only managed one win while traveling, a 62-40 win over the Kansas Koyotes in Topeka on March 16th. The Beef improved to 9-1 on the year and with the Sioux City Bandits defeating the Wichita Wild 46-21 on Saturday, Omaha assumes sole possession of first place in the CPIFL.
The Defenders are on their second bye week, then they will return to the Tulsa Convention Center for the final game of the 2013 season against the Salina Bombers at 7:05pm on June 8.
Haymakers Partner With Team Jack Foundation
The Lincoln Haymakers and the Omaha Beef indoor professional football teams have joined up with Team Jack to raise awareness and continue to raise money for the leading cancer cause of death in children, being pediatric brain cancer. There are plenty of opportunities for fans to get involved! June 1st at 7:05 inside the Pershing Center in Lincoln, Team Jack will be in attendance as we kickoff the final Haymakers home game of the 2013 regular season.
Starting the night's special events will be Jack Hoffman representing the Haymakers as a ceremonial coin toss captain. Fans of the Beef and the Haymakers can visit to donate and see which fan base can donate more! Fans will be encouraged to wear grey for the event to signify their support for the cause. The Haymakers will sport special jerseys to commemorate the Nebraska National Guard with a jersey auction allowing fans to buy the jerseys. Part of the game's proceeds will be donated to Team Jack.

Indoor Football League
Slaughter Announce Upcoming Promotions
Join the Slaughter on Friday, May 31 for their final regular season home game of 2013. Kickoff is at 7:35 PM. The Slaughter will battle the Green Bay Blizzard. After losing on the road to the Texas Revolution, the Blizzard come in to the game with a record of 4-7. The Slaughter are coming off of a bye week and look to continue their home winning streak of five games.
They'll celebrate you, the fans for our FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT. Arrive early and enter into the raffles for hotel stays, museum tickets, spa treatments, and more! Random seats, rows, and sections will also win prizes throughout the game! Over $25,000 worth of prizes will be given away to the fans!
Other Fan Appreciation events include merchandise discounts, a dixieland band, Sinful Saints, performing live on the concourse near the Fun Zone, and the Northern Illinois Fire Musuem's vintage vehicles from the Great Chicago Fire.
LIMITED EDITION, GAME WORN ST. PATRICK'S DAY JERSEYS Silent Auction at Customer Service - #10 Delric Ellington, #76 Sarge Post-game Live Auction on the field - #3 Daniel Dufrene, #7 Juice Williams, #76 Steve McMichael
Players from the NFL Players Alumni Chicago Chapter are scheduled to be in attendance and signing autographs for fans. The players will sign autographs prior to the game and during halftime on the concourse. Scheduled players include Rashid Davis (Bears), Ahmad Merritt (Bears), Robin Earl (Bears), Brian Glaskow (Bears), Bruce Herron (Bears), Dan Morjal (Bears), Marcus Sullivan (Bills), David Porter (Bills), Les Shaw (Cowboys), Marc May (Vikings), Tim Terrell (Falcons), Jermaine Hampton (Colts), and Ryan Yarbrough (Jets).
Blizzard vs. Slaughter - Game Preview
The Green Bay Blizzard (4-7) enter their second game of their three game road trip as they take on the Chicago Slaughter (7-5) on Friday, May 31 at the Sears Centre Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:35 P.M
This is the tenth game all-time between the two teams with the Slaughter holding a 3-6 advantage over Green Bay. The two team's most recent game was on March 23 when the Slaughter defeated the Blizzard 27-14 in Green Bay.
Last week, the Blizzard fell to Texas Revolution 60-56.The team now has back-to-back losses for the first time under Coach Chad Baldwin. It was the first time in franchise history the team had lost to the Revolution and the loss dealt a severe blow to the Blizzard's playoff hopes.The Blizzard can still make the playoffs if the team wins out and the Wyoming Cavalry defeat the Cedar Rapids Titans this weekend.
The current Blizzard team has experienced a lot of change since the team last played Chicago. In the team's last game vs the Slaughter, the Blizzard tied a regular season franchise low 14 points. The Blizzard have since averaged 57.2 points per game under of QB Spencer Ohm, Head Coach Chad Baldwin and Offensive Coordinator John Pate.
Offensively the team is one of the most explosive in the IFL. Last week, the Blizzard offense racked up 299 offensive yards, their second highest of the season. B.J Hill led all receivers with his first career 100 receiving yard game. He ended the night with 234 all-purpose yards, the most in the IFL this season. He ranks first in the IFL with 1,474 all-purpose yards. WR Ryan Balentine is third in the league in receiving yards with 663.
However, the defense struggled to contain the Texas Revolution last week. The team allowed 60 points for only the second time this season and allowed a 300 yard passer for the first time since 2011. The defense now ranks sixth in points allowed per game at 44.6 and ranks fourth in yards per game in 227.2
The Chicago Slaughter are coming off a bye week and need to defeat the Blizzard to stay in the United Conference playoff hunt. Chicago is 5-1 at home this season.Chicago has three players that have previously played for the Blizzard in DL P.J South, WR Marquel Willis, and OL Tim Mueller.
The Slaughter are led by QB Cody Kirby. Kirby ranks first in the IFL in passer rating (11.8). RB Daniel DuFrene leads the team in rushing and is sixth in the IFL with 437 rushing yards. WR Juice Williams leads the team in receiving with 54 catches for 498 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Slaughter's offense ranks next to last in the IFL averaging just 40.5 points per game.
The Slaughter's defense, however, is one of the best in the IFL. Chicago leads the league in defensive touchdowns with seven and allows the fourth fewest points per game in the league with 41.2. The LB duo of Ameer Ismail and Lenny Radtke rank second and third in tackles with 116 and 86 respectively. In addition, DL Kyle Jenkins is second in the league in sacks (11.5) while DB Chris Johnson is also second in interceptions with six.

Professional Indoor Football League
Lehigh Valley Looks to Lock Up Playoff Spot
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (6-4) will be making their first of two trips in three weeks to Georgia when they travel to Columbus this weekend to take on the Columbus Lions (3-6) for a 4:00 pm EST, Sunday afternoon game. The Steelhawks won their first meeting between the two teams earlier in the year 60-51.
Lehigh Valley looks to continue the roll it's been on both offensively and defensively. Under the command of PIFL Week Twelve Offensive Player of the Week QB Adam Bednarik (2,197 yds, 40 tds, 71% completion rate) the offense has acquired a league best rating in several categories so far this season including- pass offense, total offense, and pass efficiency. Bednarik has three dangerous receivers to rely on in Tyrone Collins (8.75 rec/g), Tom Gilson (7.90 rec/g), Torieal Gibson (6.56 rec/g); all three of which are ranked in the top seven in receptions per game. Look for offensive fireworks as the Steelhawks number one pass offense encounters the Lion's lowest ranked pass defense.
The Lions, losers of four straight, are coming off a close overtime loss the Richmond Raiders. Their most dangerous offensive threat is in wide receiver Maurice Dupree (17 tds, 767 yds) who averages 96 yards per game. He also caught two touchdown passes in the teams' last matchup. Columbus will be facing a Steelhawk defense that has been coming on strong the past few weeks. Lehigh Valley leads the league in turnover margin with a +12 margin. LB Terence Thomas' (21.5 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 int) 4 forced fumbles being a large factor of that stat.
The Steelhawks currently sit in third place, but are just a half game behind the Richmond Raiders for second place and an opportunity to host a first round playoff game.
Hammers Set for Saturday's Military Appreciation Night Showdown Against Louisiana
It's Military Appreciation Night presented by Avion Solutions with the first 1,000 fans receiving special military night t-shirts.
Other sponsors of the event include the Alabama National Guard, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, ADT Security Systems, ADK, Still Serving Veterans, No. 1 Bailbonding, Redstone Federal Credit Union, H&R Block, KBM. Inc., QinetiQ North America and Yulista.
The two teams will meet as scheduled in Week 13 in Huntsville after having last week's gameat Louisiana rescheduled to a date to be named later. The Hammers (6-2) currently sit alone atop the PIFL standings after their 70-43 victory over the Columbus Lions in Week 11. The Swashbucklers (4-4) are currently tied for fourth place with the Albany Panthers.
Charles McClain and Cortez Stubbs picked up Week 11 PIFL honors while leading the Hammers to the victory over the Lions. Stubbs was named PIFL Defensive Player of the Week after recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass. McClain was named Week 11 Special Teams Player of the Week after almost single-handedly taking out the Lions with 228 all-purpose yards.
In addition to leading all receivers with 146 yards, McClain picked up his second interception of the season and helped put the game out of reach late in the 3rd quarter when he scored on a 54-yard kickoff return.
The Swashbucklers will be looking to build off of Week 11's 68-66 double overtime victory over the Richmond Raiders. Quarterback Chris Mitchell was named PIFL Offensive player of the Week for Week 11 after throwing for 243 yards and scoring seven total touchdowns, five through the air and two on the ground. In addition to leading his team to their fourth win in five games, Mitchell has a streak of 85 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
The Hammers will close out the 2013 regular season home schedule with the Richmond Raiders coming to town for a Week 14 matchup which has the potential to be a game between two teams with the best records in the league.