Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Power Partner With PITT OHIO For 2nd Annual Food Drive
The Pittsburgh Power have teamed with season partner PITT OHIO once again to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Fans attending the Saturday, May 25 Arena Football League game against the Cleveland Gladiators are asked to bring at least one non-perishable grocery item to the PITT OHIO van, which will be located outside the Trib Total Media Gate at CONSOL Energy Center.
PITT OHIO employees along with volunteers from two other charities that PITT OHIO strongly supports, Autism Speaks and The Boys and Girls Club of America, will collect the donations. As an incentive to donate, the first 50 fans to bring a non-perishable item will go down on the CONSOL Energy Center field before the game to welcome the Power with a special "high five tunnel."
"Giving back to the community is an important part of what we do as an organization," said Candi Cybator, Manager of Marketing Creative and Public Relations for PITT OHIO. "When we learned from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank that the summertime was just as important to receive donations as the holidays, we thought what a great idea to team up with the Pittsburgh Power, our two corporate charities and our employees to help make that happen. It is really inspiring to see the community working together to help the community," Cybator remarked.
The Pittsburgh Power and Cleveland Gladiators kick off at 7:00 p.m. EDT. In addition to the 2nd Annual PITT OHIO Power Food Drive, the first 5,000 fans will receive a free Power freezer mug, courtesy of Esmark.
Talons To Honor San Antonio Area Veterans
On Fri., May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alamodome, the San Antonio Talons will honor San Antonio's military. For the game against the Spokane Shock, active military, veterans and reserves who show up in uniform will receive free admission. In addition, their families who accompany them will receive 50 percent off admission. Anyone who purchases a ticket and presents a military ID will receive 50 percent off admission as well.
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). The WFSC provides coordinated services to patients, next-of-kin and extended family members with a primary focus on wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom warriors. Wounded warriors and their family members visit the WFSC to extend their rehabilitation away from the hospital by learning to cope with war related disabilities as individuals, as couples and as families.
During halftime, approximately 50 Delayed Entry Program (DEP) members will be sworn into the United States Air Force.
The Air Force Delayed Entry Program is an Air Force program under which an individual may enlist in a Reserve or Inactive Component of the United States Air Force and specify a future reporting date for entry on active duty in the Active Component that would coincide with availability of training spaces and with personal milestones.
WHEN: May 24, 2013 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Alamodome
100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78205
VISUALS: Lackland's Air Force DEP (Delayed Entry Program) Swearing In Ceremony during halftime
Tampa Bay Faces Philadelphia On Military Appreciation Night
The Tampa Bay Storm (6-3, 2-1) takes on the Philadelphia Soul (4-4, 0-2) Saturday, May 25 on Military Appreciation Night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Watch the action live on "NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday" on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM ET.
This will be the ninth meeting between the teams, with the Soul holding a 5-3 advantage in the series. This will be the fourth matchup in Tampa, with the Storm holding a home record of 2-1 when playing host to Philadelphia. In their final matchup of the 2012 season, the Storm suffered a heartbreaking loss, losing in the game's final seconds by a score of 83-79.
Tampa Bay enters this week coming off a rebound win versus the Pittsburgh Power. The team was led by quarterback Adrian McPherson who completed 20-of-22 passes for 240 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed 90.9-percent of his passes, setting a Storm single-game record for completion percentage. McPherson also rushed four times for 29 yards and rushed for his 24th touchdown on the season. His 24 rushing touchdowns set a Storm single-season record for most rushing touchdowns. He now leads the league in rushing yards (297) and rushing touchdowns (24).
Last game the Storm's receivers were led once again by local Tampa product Greg Ellingson. He caught ten passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns. This was his fourth consecutive game with two or more touchdowns. The game also marked the return of receiver Joe Hills who had six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.
The Storm defense also had one of its best games of the season versus Pittsburgh. The backfield reeled in four interceptions bringing its season total to 18, putting it in a tie for first in the league with the Arizona Rattlers. Defensive back Chris Smith leads the team with seven interceptions, and is in sole possession of second place in the AFL. The backfield thrives when the defensive line puts pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Storm defensive line did just that versus Pittsburgh, but it will have a tough time with the Soul offensive line; a line that has given up only two sacks all season.
With the right protection, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh has proven to be effective. He has had success against the Storm. In his previous game versus Tampa Bay, Raudabaugh completed 24-of-37 passes for 415 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. His go-to receiver for the season has been Tiger Jones. Last game versus Orlando he caught five passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
The game will also feature the league's second leading rusher, behind McPherson, Derrick Ross. Ross enters the game ranked second in rushing yards with 235, and touchdowns with 18. Look for Ross to attack a Storm defensive line that let up 30.4 yards per game. It should also be noted that Ross is six rushing yards away from becoming the league's all-time second leading rusher with 1,508 yards.
Blaze vs. SaberCats Set To Square Off Saturday May 25th
The Utah Blaze travel west this Saturday, May 25 for a divisional matchup with the San Jose SaberCats. The game can be heard exclusively on The Zone 97.5 FM with Scott Garrard providing all the play-by-play coverage. Kickoff from HP Pavilion Arena is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT.
Utah evened its record to 4-4 last week following a dominant defensive effort against the Iowa Barnstormers that resulted in a 43-34 victory. On the same night, San Jose toppled the Jacksonville Sharks in an out-of-conference matchup, 57-36. Each team will be looking to gain ground in the division, as Utah holds a 1-2 record inside the West while San Jose sits at 0-2.
Following a 2-2 start the season, the San Jose SaberCats jettisoned veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia in favor of Russ Michna. Since making the switch, Michna has led San Jose to four straight victories while completing 68.9 percent of his pass attempts for 949 yards with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
The SaberCats have become a more efficient group with Michna under center. Last week against the Sharks, San Jose scored on every offensive possession, with exception to the game's final drive, when the team elected to run out the clock. Michna has spread the wealth since his arrival, most often hooking up with wideouts Jason Willis, Huey Whittaker and Fred Williams.
The Blaze defense has come on strong in recent weeks, holding opponents to an average of just 223.3 total offensive yards per game. The unit has put the clamps down on opposing offenses, forcing 19 turnovers over the past four games, including eight turnovers on downs, four interceptions and three fumbles.
Maurice Leggett logged two more interceptions last week against the Barnstormers and now leads the Blaze with five on the season. David Hyland has provided strong coverage in the middle and set a franchise record with six pass breakups in Week 9. Up front, Caesar Rayford has been Utah's most successful pass rusher off the edge, logging six sacks and four forced fumbles on the year.
Utah's offense is still trying to find its stride, but turnovers have prevented the unit from getting into a consistent rhythm. On the bright side, wide receiver Mario Urrutia has been nearly unstoppable in his rookie campaign and currently ranks third in the Arena Football League in receiving touchdowns (22), fourth in receiving yards (890) and sixth in receptions (66).
San Jose ranks second in the League having registered 20 sacks in 2013. Their strength lies in the interior, where Mac linebacker Francis Maka and nose guard Jason Stewart have combined for 10.5 sacks. However, Utah's pass protection has consistently stalemated opposing defensive lines and also ranks second in the AFL having allowed just seven sacks on the year.
The SaberCats currently place third in the League in total defense and fourth in scoring defense, allowing 250.5 yards and 48.8 points per game. San Jose has held its competition under 40 points in each of its past four contests. However, the unit has been susceptible on fourth-down, allowing opponents to convert 61.5 percent attempts, ranking last in the AFL.
In its simplest form, the matchup figures to be an intense, physical battle between division opponents. As competition for a postseason berth continues to heat up, racking up wins inside the West Division becomes increasingly important as the season wears on.
VooDoo Set For Match Against Rush
After three straight road games, the VooDoo (1-7) return to the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to square off with the Chicago Rush.
New Orleans will host Military Appreciation Night on the heels of Memorial Day Weekend to honor our nation's active military, veterans, and their families.
The VooDoo are searching for a win after losing seven straight, and Chicago (4-5) is also looking for a win after losing their last three. These teams last met in 2011 in Chicago as the Rush beat the VooDoo 50-28.
Despite losing a close one to Spokane last weekend, the VooDoo made some positive strides. Starting quarterback Kurt Rocco returned after being out with injury and played a solid statistical game going 22-38 for 318 yards with a season high seven touchdowns. However, Rocco did throw three interceptions, and two of those were returned for touchdowns.
Rocco's overall play was solid, though, and is something that the team can build on to get a win. Receiver Donovan Morgan had a breakout game as he hauled in 13 passes for 255 yards and five touchdowns, all season highs. Rocco's chemistry with Morgan was evident, which is also a good sign for future games. Morgan is now the team's leading receiver with 506 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Chicago brings the league's leading receiver in Reggie Gray, who has 76 receptions for 1,136 yards and 27 touchdowns. Last week, he was one of only three receivers to catch passes in the loss to Arizona as the Rush had a slew of receivers on the inactive list. Quarterback Carson Coffman has been solid all season and ranks in the top 10 in passing with 1,700 yards. Coffman has done most of this work with a small receiving corps over the last two weeks, as his top three receivers have caught everything.
Defensively, Chicago fields the league's top two tacklers in Jorrick Calvin (58) and Joe Phinisee (56.5). Calvin also leads the team with 14 pass breakups. The VooDoo have the edge in sacks 13-10, while the Rush hold the turnover edge 12-9. Turnovers could be a very important edge in this game as both teams have turned the ball over multiple times during their respective losing streaks. One thing that has not plagued these teams is penalties, as both teams rank in the top five in least penalties allowed in the league.
On special teams, VooDoo kick returner Brent Holmes is fifth in the league despite missing three games. Holmes has 601 return yards and returned to action last week with eight returns for 132 yards. Chicago's Gray ranks eighth league-wide with 545 yards. Chicago kicker Jose Martinez ranks third in the league with 62 points with 56/59 extra points and 2/6 on field goals. The VooDoo's Gary Cismesia has been up and down at times with 28/38 extra points and 2/7 on field goals. The kicking game could come into play considering both teams suffered close losses last weekend.
Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. local time in the Dome, also known as the Mausoleum, this Saturday night.
Talons to Host Shock Friday, May 24
The San Antonio Talons (4-4) are looking to extend their winning streak against the Spokane Shock (6-3), Friday night at the Alamodome. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 CST, as the Talons look to carry the momentum back to their home turf and capture their third straight victory on Military Appreciation Night. Last week, the Talons defeated the Cleveland Gladiators 57-33 and reached the .500 mark for the first time this season. The victory put them in first place in the Central Division, but the Talons know that they must remain focused.
The Talons faced the Shock at the Alamodome last season, and Spokane emerged victorious in a nail biting 63-60 game. Spokane was led by their rookie back-up QB Adam Froman who passed for 6 touchdowns and ran for two more scores, as the Talons defense failed to contain him the entire game.
Friday's matchup features two teams who are essentially polar opposites. The Shock are ranked 2nd in the AFL in total offense putting up a whopping 66.8 points per game. Their attack is led by Erik Meyer who has passed for 2,671 yards and 63 touchdowns already this season. He also leads the Shock in rushing; recording 4 touchdowns on the ground this season.
The Talons on the other hand rely heavily on their defense, and are top 10 in the AFL in several defensive categories. The Talons had a season high six interceptions against the Gladiators last week, with three of them being from JLB Jamar Ransom. Ransom would create more havoc for the Gladiators that night, by bringing two of those three interceptions back for scores.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Talons, D.J. Stephens had his second straight superb game. The WR from Arkansas-Monticello University posted 76 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns and was a terror for the Gladiators all night. However, the Talons offense struggled mightily in the second half, posting only seven points on that side of the ball after the break.
This week's matchup will certainly spotlight the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. The Shock have a tendency to rely too much on their offense to carry them while the Talons, have counted on their defense to bail them out of poor offensive play all season. If the Talons are to win, they will need their defense to keep the high-powered Shock offense out of their coveted end zone.

Indoor Football League
Storm Hosting Blood Drive May 24th
The Sioux Falls Storm will be hosting a Blood Drive on Friday, May 24th at the Sioux Falls Arena from Noon-5:30pm. The Community Blood Bank Blood Mobile will be parked in front of the Arena Box Office Lobby.
Each person that donates blood will receive 2 free tickets to that Saturday's game against the Cedar Rapids Titans. The first 25 donors will also receive a free Storm cupcake from Oh My Cupcakes. Every donor will be put in a drawing to win one of the following:
Signed Storm Game Ball 4 Hail Center Season Tickets for 2014 Framed autographed photo of Terrance Bryant Certificate for a 2013 or 2014 Birthday Bash Party
Storm players, cheerleaders & Big Bear will be on site for the Blood Drive giving away posters, signing autographs and donating blood.
Danger Look to Clinch Playoff Berth Against Wyoming
The Nebraska Danger are in unchartered territory.
The third year IFL franchise can clinch their first ever postseason berth on Friday night with a win over the Wyoming Cavalry. The Cavalry are a familiar foe to Nebraska, as the Danger are 2-0 against Wyoming this season and just last week took an 82-53 win on the road in Casper.
The importance of the game is not lost on Danger head coach Mike Davis.
"This is, obviously, a really big game for us," Davis said. "We've got to try and not think about the first two wins and go out and play our best game. Obviously, getting in the playoffs is just a first step. We'd like to be in a position to play some games at home in the playoffs and that may take winning out."
The Danger (7-4) sit one-half game behind the Colorado Ice in the Intense Conference standings. The 7-3 Ice travel to Washington for a game with Tri-Cities on Saturday. A Danger win on Friday would make them the first team to eight wins in the IFL this season. Saturday's winner for bragging rights in the United Conference between Sioux Falls and Cedar Rapids will also produce an 8-game winner. Both of those teams are also 7-4.
The Nebraska offense continues to be productive. The Danger is averaging 51.1 points per contest and last week's 82 point performance against Wyoming was the second most points in a game in franchise history.
Wide receiver Kayne Farquharson today was named the Vidswap IFL player-of-the-week for his efforts in Casper. The Miami (FL) product set a franchise record with 186 yards receiving, while hauling in eight receptions and three touchdowns from quarterback Jameel Sewell.
"Our offense has been playing really well," Davis said. "We hope we can just keep our momentum going and keep getting better each game from here on out."
Sewell continues to be a candidate for IFL player-of-the-year honors. He leads in the league in passing, touchdown passes and fewest interceptions. In addition, he is fourth in rushing and has accounted for 54 touchdowns on the season.
The Danger has been opportunistic on defense in recent weeks. They have three players - Maurice Simpkins, Pig Brown and Carl Gettis - in the top-20 in the league in tackles and are tied for second in the league with 20 takeaways.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm on Friday night at the Heartland Events Center. Doors open at 6:00 with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30.

Legends Football League
1st LFL Australia Major Stadium Deal Announced In Perth
Legends Football League Australia officials are announcing LFL Australia’s first major stadium deal in Perth, nib Stadium. It will serve as the host stadium to the Western Australia Angels.
Since premiering in 2009 in the States, the LFL has drawn sell-out crowds in excess of 22,000 while also being broadcast to now over 120 territories around the world and launching international play with LFL Canada, LFL Australia and in 2015, LFL Europa alongside the immensely popular LFL USA.
“Having built now a global sport, we appreciate the importance of partnering with premiere arenas and stadiums as we have done in the US, Canada, and now Australia. Our Western Australia Angels have already developed a great fan base, and now we want to provide those fans the best game day experience possible. That is nib Stadium,” said Mitchell S. Mortaza, LFL Global.
The teams in LFL Australia’s inaugural season will include the New South Wales Surge, Queensland Brigade, Victoria Maidens and Western Australia Angels.
The Western Australia Angels will play (2) two home games at nib Stadium. LFL Australia schedule set to be released June 2013.
LFL Hires Former CFL Great Brent Hawkins As Head Coach Of Regina Rage
LFL Canada officials announced the hiring of one of the most high-profile former CFL players, former Saskatchewan Roughrider, Brent Hawkins as Head Coach of the Regina Rage. Hawkins joined the CFL’s Roughriders in 2010 following a stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL.
Hawkins, a fan-favorite in Rider Nation retired in May 2013 and is now focused on building a winning tradition with the Rage, a roster that will return key veterans and boasts LFL Canada’s largest fan base.
The newly appointed Head Coach will begin his coaching duties this weekend as the Regina Rage host their 2014 Open Tryout Football Combine on Saturday, May 25th from 10am to 1pm at:
O’Neill High School
136 Argyle St, Regina SK, S4R 4C3.
“I am ready for my next challenge in football. It’s truly a great opportunity for me to coach where I enjoyed playing these past years in front of the greatest fans in football. We as a coaching staff and team will focus on building LFL Canada’s most storied and successful franchise,” said Brent Hawkins, Head Coach, Regina Rage.
Due to its inaugural 2012 season successes of drawing (20%) twenty percent more than its projected attendance as well as a television deal, LFL Canada will have an expanded season in 2013 with teams playing three home games and three away games. The Regina Rage will return to the Brandt Centre in 2014.
“The evolution of LFL Canada is following the same path as LFL USA, and we certainly know the success the US league has enjoyed in a rather short period of time. That success is a direct reflection of the coaching and the product on the field. Brent’s hiring is a testament to how serious we are in building the sport in Canada and more specifically in a incredible football market like Regina,” said Mitchell S. Mortaza, Founder & Chairman, LFL Global.

Professional Indoor Football League
Lions Make Two Roster Additions
Facing an daunting task of trying to sneak into the 2013 playoffs, the Columbus Lions (3-5) of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) signed two veterans in hopes of turning around the club and ending their current three-game losing streak.
It's only happened once before in team history, but right now the Lions are in the midst of a three-game losing streak that could put a halt to the franchise's six consecutive trips to the playoffs. Hoping to make a quick turnaround, on Tuesday the clubs signed OL Adam Durham (6'5 300, Jacksonville St.) and DB Ramone Nickerson (5'10 195, Tuskegee).
Durham is no stranger to the Lions having played against them back in 2010 when he was a member of the Lafayette Wildcatters. He spent the 2012 season with the AFL's New Orleans Voodoo starting seven games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve.
Ramone "Big-Stick" Nickerson should be a familiar name to Lions Nation considering he has spent parts of five seasons with the team over his career having last played in 2011. From 2008-2011 Nickerson played in 28 games notching 76 tackles, nine interceptions, and three fumble recoveries while playing a huge part in the clubs 2010 championship season.
"We needed to bring in some solid vets who are also well-spoken leaders," says Columbus Lions Head Coach Jason Gibson. "It's going to take a team effort to get through this losing streak and make a mad dash to the playoffs and hopefully these high character guys and get us through it."
The Columbus Lions will try and end their three-game losing streak this Saturday May 25th when they hit the road to take on the Richmond Raiders (5-3). Kickoff is at 7:00 PM ET, fans can catch all the action by logging on to and clicking on the Listen Live icon.
Steelhawks to Kick-off "Kicks 4 Kidz" Program
The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks will be launching the kick-off of the Kicks 4 Kidz program this weekend for the teams Memorial Day game against the Knoxville Nighthawks at the Stabler Arena. The team will be accepting clothes, shoes, and donations to contribute to local missions, rescues, and as well the Kicks 4 Kidz group.
The group, being started by Lehigh Valley Steelhawks star linebacker EJ Webb, has a primary goal and purpose of helping families and groups in need.
Kickoff for the game is 7 p.m. and fans can make their donations at designated areas within the arena. For any donations of clothing or contributions made to the Kicks 4 Kidz group, the Steelhawks organization will present fans with a coupon for 50% off All Steelhawks merchandise for the evening!
For further information in inquiries you can contact Aaron "EJ" Webb via email ( or phone (540) 537-052. All participation and efforts are greatly appreciated.

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