Monday, May 13, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
All-Pro Safety Eric Weddle to Hold Book Signing at Blaze
All-Pro NFL safety Eric Weddle will be signing autographs on the concourse of EnergySolutions Arena from 6:30 - 7:15 p.m. this Saturday, May 18 when the Utah Blaze take on the Iowa Barnstormers. Weddle will be signing copies of his newly released book, "No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story."
"No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story" is an inspirational biography that follows the former Utah Ute's journey through football beginning as an unheralded freshman recruit to becoming a Pro Bowl safety for the San Diego Chargers.
"People didn't like me because I didn't take any garbage," Weddle explains in an excerpt from the book. "A lot of guys thought I'd bow down to them, but I wasn't like that. I was just trying to play football and do my thing. I wanted to be the best, and I was going to outplay anyone out there. I've always been that way."
Weddle was a consensus All-American selection at the University of Utah, where he earned Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of Year accolades in each of his final two seasons.
Since being selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Weddle has become one of the NFL's elite safeties. He has earned All-Pro honors in each of the past three seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011 after leading the NFL with seven interceptions.
All fans attending the Utah Blaze versus Iowa Barnstormers this Saturday, May 18 are invited to meet Eric on the concourse before the game.
VooDoo/ Hard Rock Cafe Partner Up
The New Orleans VooDoo and Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans are hosting a live Legendary Burger Building and Eating Competition with the VooDoo Arena Football team, VooDoo Dolls, VooDoo Football Fans and Members of the Military on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.
To celebrate National Burger Month this May the New Orleans VooDoo has partnered with Hard Rock Café New Orleans for a live Burger Eating Competition. The competition will consist of four preliminary rounds and one final round.
Each round will consist of one VooDoo Player or Doll, one VooDoo fan and one member of the military.
The contestant that builds and consumes the chosen Legendary Burger the fastest will advance to the final round. The four finalists must then devour a second burger for the grand prize of $100 to Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans.
VooDoo players, VooDoo Dolls and mascots will be in attendance to this event. All are welcomed to come out and be a part of this Burger Bash.

Continental Indoor Football League
Explosion Defeat Sting to Win CIFL Championship
In a game of epic proportions, two of the CIFL's finest teams battled tooth and nail to the final whistle; but at the end of the day the hometown fans of Erie stormed the field to celebrate with their team as the Erie Explosion defeated the Saginaw Sting 37-36 in front of nearly two thousand fans at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Erie took the lead early in the first quarter to go up 7-0 before the Sting marched back with a score and trick-play two point conversion to take the lead 8-7. The Sting tacked on another score with twelve minutes to go in the first half but failed on the two point conversion to take a 14-7 lead. With just under 7 minutes to go Erie's Shon Rowser kicked a field goal to close the gap to four with a score of 14-10.
The Sting fumbled late in the second quarter but Erie was unable to capitalize and turned the ball back over on downs. Sting QB AJ McKenna scored on a keeper and DeShawn Hayes added the two point conversion to go up 22-10 with twenty seconds to go in the half. The momentum changed in the favor of the Explosion with one second remaining on the clock as Erie QB Aaron Smetanka connected with Alfonso Hoggard to cut the lead to five with a score of 22-17 at the half.
The CIFL announced during halftime that the winners of their post season awards, as voted on by the coaches and owners, were as follows:
CIFL Players of the Year: Offensive - Tommy Jones, Dayton Sharks; Defensive - Kwaheem Smith, Erie Explosion; Special Teams - CJ Tarver, Saginaw Sting; CIFL MVP - CJ Tarver, Saginaw Sting
Erie added two more scores in the third quarter to lead Saginaw 30-22 at the end of three. The Sting scored to make it a two point game but failed on the two point try and the Explosion continued to lead 30-28. McKenna found Shaun Hldaki in the back of the end zone and added the two point conversion on a run play to put the Sting ahead for the final time 36-30. With 1:48 remaining on the clock Erie's Richard Stokes closed out the scoring when he plunged into the end zone to score the go-ahead touchdown putting the Explosion up for good 37-36. The Sting fought back to the Explosion six yard line but were unable to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs.
During the post game celebration the league also announced the CIFL Coach of the Year honors went to Shawn Liotta of the 12-0 Erie Explosion.
The Explosion capped off an undefeated season with the CIFL Championship, their first ever indoor football championship in Erie history. With the conclusion of the 2013 CIFL Championship, the Continental Indoor Football League would like to thank it's fans, teams and corporate partners for helping complete its eighth consecutive season - continuing its tradition as the longest running indoor football league in the country.

Indoor Football League
Storm Lose 4th Road Game
The Cedar Rapids Titans (6-4) started the season strong, winning their first 5 games, but have faltered of late. That was not the case on Saturday, as they were set to host the 2012 IFL Champions, the Sioux Falls Storm (6-4).
The Storm took the field minus a couple of familiar faces, Mike Tatum (#23, WR) was out with a concussion, Tory Harrison (#24, RB), third in the league in rushing, was out with a knee injury and veteran Cory Johnsen (#96, DL) was out with injury as well. Some familiar faces were back with the Storm. Stewart Franks (#2, DB) was signed this week to hopefully give the Storm DBs some veteran help and Clinton Solomon (#8, WR) was also back in a Storm uniform.
Things started off well for the Storm, defensively. A holding call in the end zone gave the Storm a 2-0 lead after Cedar Rapids initial possession. On the ensuing drive, after the free kick, Parker Douglass hit a field goal to give the Storm a 5-0 lead, that would be their last lead of the game.
The Titans next series, Dan O'keefe (#18, Safety) intercepted a Charles McCullum pass, giving the Storm great field position, but could not get the ball across the goal line. On the next drive, a fumble by the Titans gave the Storm, once again, great field position, but once again, they could not get the ball in the end zone. One play into the next drive, after the Titans took the ball over on downs, McCullum found Bryan Pray in the end zone for a 49 Yard TD strike, taking the lead and never relinquishing that lead.
Martaveous Young (#1, QB) for the Storm, had been sitting silently on the bench for the past three weeks watching Storm veteran, Terrance Bryant (#15, QB), come out of retirement and show why he was, and still is, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play indoor football. After struggling to move the ball throughout the first half, Head Coach Kurtiss Riggs went with Young, to see if his talents running the ball could spark some life into the struggling Storm offense. While there were some bright spots and moments of excitement, the results were more of the same... turn overs and stalled drives.
The Storm defense played well through 29 minutes and 40 seconds of the first half, but turnovers by the offense forced them to stay on the field and continue to wear down. With 20 seconds left in the first half, McCullom found a target in the endzone giving the Titans a 22-5 lead going into the locker room. When both teams hit the field for the second act, more of the same was the theme, with a final score of 52-18.
The Sioux Falls Storm are still tied for 2nd place in the United Conference. Let's say that again... The Sioux Falls Storm are still tied for 2nd place in the United Conference. A bad night will not dictate the "end of the season" as the Storm still hold the keys to their own path with two straight home games against the top two teams in the conference. On May 18th, The Storm host a rematch against the Chicago Slaughter (7-4) and on May 25th the Storm host a rematch against the Cedar Rapids Titans (6-4). The Storm have not lost a game at home since 2009. In the Intense Conference, the once dominant Nebraska Danger (6-4) lost their 2nd straight game, giving the Colorado Ice (6-3) the top spot in that conference. The remainder of the season promises to be exciting as parity in the IFL is more evident than ever.

Professional Indoor Football League
Steel over Night in Battle of the Hawks
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (4-4) are back at .500 on the season after defeating the Knoxville Nighthawks (2-7) 63-47, in the second of three rounds in the battle of the hawks. The Hawks from the Valley now hold a 2-0 series record.
The first half was a back and forth battle between the two teams. The offenses traded touchdowns for most of the half. On the Steelhawk side it was WR/FB Elliott White who got in from 4 yards out and wide receivers Tyrone Collins and Tom Gilson each picking up a touchdown reception from QB Hunter Wanket, who was starting in place of Adam Bednarik who missed the game for personal reasons. Then it was the Steelhawks defense that stepped up; first, creating a fumble that LB Terence Thomas recovered in the end zone, and then DB Stefaun Whitehead recording his first interception as a Steelhawk. The offense capitalized on both turnovers, and Lehigh Valley took a 31-22 lead as the half drew to a close.
The second half played out much like the first half. Each time the Steelhawks would score, the Nighthawks seemed to answer, keeping the game within reach for most of the half. It was again the Steelhawk defense that would create turnovers to give Lehigh Valley the ball back and stop the Nighthawks from countering. DB John Kennedy picked off Knoxville QB Ryan Porter in the third quarter, and the Steelhawks took advantage when Wanket found Collins for his second touchdown of the game on a 35 yard pass.
The teams would trade touchdowns again on consecutive possessions, with White scoring his third touchdown of the game out of the wildcat in the fourth quarter. White would later be named Buca Di Peppo and Countess Communications Player of the Game for his performance in tonight's game. Lehigh Valley's defense would come up big once more with under a minute remaining in the game. Forcing Knoxville to fumble into the end zone and recovering the ball, giving the Steelhawks the possession back with 33 seconds left in the game, sealing a 63-47 win.
By scoring 63 points, the Steelhawks have once again achieved the Domino's 50 point Challenge. Fans can get 50% off any menu priced pizza for the next three days at participating Domino locations in the Lehigh Valley, just use the code SH50.
The Steelhawks will return back home to the Valley this week for their final two home games of the season May 18th and 25th. The game on the 18th is Non-Profit Awareness night and is also a night dedicated to the Race for Adam against the defending champion Albany Panthers. Game time for both games I 7 p.m. inside the Stabler Arena on the campus of Lehigh University.

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