Arena Football League
Talons Fall to Shock 48-61
The San Antonio Talons (4-5) fell to the Spokane Shock (7-3) 48-61 in front of a crowd of 7,961 at the Alamodome on Friday night. After an evening plagued by 20 flags and losing Nick Hill only minutes into the first quarter, Xavier Lee stepped up by completing 22- of- 48 passes for 237 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Lee made his mark on the night by converting 5 of 7 fourth downs giving San Antonio numerous opportunities to catch the aggressive Shock offense. The Talons suffered their first loss in three games, and failed to rise above .500 for the first time this season.
The Talons started the game with two straight defensive penalties allowing the Shock to strike first with a quick 22 yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Adron Tennell to take the lead 7-0. Talons wide receiver Sale Key secured three straight receptions and moved the ball into Shock territory. Hill finished the drive with a 12 yard scramble to the end zone tying the game at 7 apiece.
The first quarter proved to be a scoring battle when Adron Tennell hauled in a 33 yard touchdown Pass for his second score of the first quarter. In an attempt to answer back, Nick Hill was put out of the game with a knee injury. Xavier Lee entered the game in the quarterback position. Lee completed a 4th down pass to D.J. Stephens for his first AFL completion.
San Antonio would not let an injured Nick Hill get in the way. A 13 yard touchdown strike from Lee to Jomo Wilson would tie the score at 14-14 going into the second quarter. Another Reception by Tennell set up the shock deep in Talons territory at the end of the first quarter.
The Talons defense did not hinder the high powered Shock offense, allowing Meyer to complete another touchdown pass, this time to Receiver Kamar Jorden. A Missed extra point by Taylor Rowan, left the score at 20-14 in favor of Spokane.
Xavier Lee successfully converted another fourth down to Jomo Wilson after Wilson broke two tackles and waltzed his way into the end zone. The two hooked up twice for touchdowns in the first half. Talons took the lead 21-20 with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
Adron Tennell answered right back with a 20 yard reception, taking the ball down to the Talons 1 yard-line. Meyer Punched it in from the one to score and give the Shock a 27-21 lead with nine minutes to play in the first half. The Talons defense looked to be on their heels unable to contain the Shock offense early on. Lee completed 3 passes on 4 th down in the first half.
The first defensive stop came with less than 2 minutes left in the first half when a pass from Lee to Wilson fell incomplete, giving Spokane the Ball after a loss of downs. The Shock gained their way inside the 10 yard line with 12 seconds left and a chance to extend their lead before the half. Duane Brooks capitalized on the opportunity and was on the receiving end of another Meyer touchdown pass to end the first half with a 34-21 lead.
Despite a very uneventful third quarter, Lee may earn a new nickname "Mr. 4th down" after this performance. Another conversion on a 4 th down quarterback sneak kept the Talons first drive alive. The Talons great drive to begin the 2nd half ended with a poor decision by Xavier Lee after throwing into double coverage and ultimately being picked off by Patrick Stoudamire in the end zone.
Meyer pushed the Shock lead to 40-21 with 6 minutes left in the 2 nd half, on a QB scramble to capture the only score of the third quarter.
After Jomo Wilson's opening drive touchdown of the fourth quarter, Ruffins reeled in his 2nd touchdown in two games bringing the Talons within 5 points of the Shock lead with 9 minutes to go in the final quarter 40-35. Adron Tennell scored his third touchdown of the game and extended the Shock lead to 47-35.
D.J. Stephens on the ensuing kickoff ran it all the way back for a touchdown, giving San Antonio a glimmer of hope within six after a missed extra point by Talons Kicker Stefan Demos. Within four minutes of his run back, Stephens brought another kickoff back for a touchdown after a score by the shock, the Talons trailed the Spokane 54-48. Despite a valiant fourth quarter effort, San Antonio's defense was unable to stop Adron Tennell throughout the three and a half hour fight. Tennell scored his 4th and final touchdown on a big 3rd down play extending the final score to 61-48.
Philadelphia Defense Stops Tampa Bay Storm, 73-55
The Tampa Bay Storm (6-4, 2-1 ) came up short Saturday night as the Philadelphia Soul (5-4, 0-2) defeated the Storm, 73-55, in an Arena Football League game on the Amalie Motor Oil Field in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Soul quarterback Dan Radabaugh threw for 7 touchdowns and 297 yards on 20 of 23 passing but Philadelphia's defense stymied the Storm with an outstanding pass rush that resulted in three quarterback sacks. The Storm also was held on 4th down three times.
Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson ran for a pair of scores and threw for 5 touchdowns. He connected with Joe Hills for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns and Greg Ellingson twice for 123 yards.
The Tampa Bay Storm heads to Iowa to take on the Barnstormers at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA this Saturday, June 1 at 8:05 PM ET.
Gov. Scott Presents Tony Dungy and Derrick Brooks with Prestigious "Great Floridian" Awards
Tonight, Governor Rick Scott will present "Great Floridian" awards to former Buccaneers Coach Tony Dungy and former Buccaneers Linebacker and current President of the Tampa Bay Storm Derrick Brooks. The "Great Floridian" designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.
Governor Scott said, "It is my distinct honor to present these two "ÂGreat Floridian' awards to former Buccaneers Coach Tony Dungy and former Buccaneers Linebacker Derrick Brooks. Tony and Derrick represented Tampa Bay with pride, on a national stage, during their tenure with the Bucs, and have each gone on to improve the lives of Florida families.
"Derrick has devoted his post-football career to positively impacting Tampa Bay's families by providing better opportunities in our classrooms. And Tony has extended his helping hand to those youth in-need, striving to give each child the chance to live their American Dream."
Attorney General Pam Bondi said, "Tony Dungy and Derrick Brooks are truly 'great Floridians' who both excelled during their years in the NFL and who used their athletic successes to inspire and help others. Both Tony and Derrick have transformed the lives of so many people throughout the country, whether by supporting families or helping mentor and educate children. Their work reflects the shared philosophy of both men that success isn't measured by what you do on the playing field, but what you do in your personal life for your community."
Tony Dungy said, "It is an honor to receive this award from Governor Scott, and to be able to accept it next to a great friend, Derrick Brooks."
Derrick Brooks said, "It is a humbling honor for me to receive an award of such distinction today from Governor Scott and I am grateful. I take pleasure in doing all I can for our community and I am proud of everything we have been able to accomplish through my Foundation. I look forward to continue making a difference where I can, especially for the young people in the State of Florida."
Only 67 individuals since 1981 have been given this distinct honor, and those honorees represent former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes, Florida Supreme Court Justices and others.
4th Quarter Offensive Explosion Leads Pittsburgh Power to 55-44 Win
Pittsburgh's Steven Sheffield threw for six touchdown and ran for one more to lead the Power to a 55-44 come-from-behind victory in front of 5,340 at CONSOL Energy Center tonight. The Power, who were down 44-28 with 13:58 to play in the 4th quarter, ended the game by scoring 27 straight points.
With the victory, the Power improved to 3-6 and 2-0 in the division and recorded their first home victory of the season. Cleveland fell to 2-7 overall and 1-1 in divisional play. The Power are currently in sole possession of the final American Conference playoff spot with Orlando's loss this evening.
On the game's opening possession, the Power defense held the Gladiators to -1 yards forcing Cleveland into a 62-yard field goal attempt that was wide right. However, the Power could not capitalize, missing a 53-yard field goal try. After stopping the Gladiators on their next possession, Sheffield connected with Mike Washington for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Cleveland tied the score at 7-7 on Bryan Zbydniewski's 19-yard touchdown throw to Thyron Lewis on the final of the play of the 1st quarter.
The Power took a 14-7 lead early in the 2nd quarter on Sheffield's 32-yard touchdown pass newly activated Kenny Stafford, the Cutters Catch Of The Game. The Gladiators tied the score at 14-14 on Terrill Byrd's 3-yard touchdown rush. Pittsburgh regained the lead at 21-14 on a Sheffield 6-yard touchdown rush that was set up by a 28-yard completion to Julian Talley. Cleveland tied the game at 21-21 on Jamar Howard's 12-yard touchdown catch from Zbydniewski. The Power went up 28-21 on Stafford's 17-yard touchdown catch from Sheffield. Cleveland closed out the first half quarter scoring on Aaron Pettrey's 36-yard field goal that sent the game into halftime with the Power leading 28-24, marking the first time Pittsburgh has led at the half in 2013.
On the first play of the 3rd quarter, Sheffield completed a 32-yard pass to Stafford to the Cleveland 17-yard line. However, the Power failed to score when Julian Rauch's field goal attempt was wide right. Cleveland capitalized on the turnover and took its first lead of the game at 31-28 three plays later on Carlese Franklin's 3-yard touchdown run. Cleveland added to their lead after LaRoche Jackson recovered a Sheffield fumble at the Pittsburgh 21-yard line, which led to Dominick Goodman's 6-yard touchdown catch from Zbydniewski, which made the score 38-28 heading into the 4th quarter.
On the second play of the quarter, Cleveland's Joe Phinisee, the Riddell Defensive Player Of The Game, intercepted Sheffield and returned the ball 49 yards for a touchdown, which was also the AFL Highlight Of The Game, which increased the Gladiators lead to 44-28. Cleveland would not score the rest of the contest.
The Power answered on the ensuing kickoff with Chris LeFlore's (the J. Lewis Small Playmaker Of The Game) 56-yard return for a touchdown which cut the deficit to 10 points at 44-34. After the Power's defense held Cleveland to a 4-and-out on their next possession, Sheffield found Washington in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown catch which made the score 44-41. Pittsburgh stopped Cleveland for the second straight series, as Pettrey's 64-yard field goal attempt sailed into the seats, which gave the Power the ball at their own 20-yard line. Washington would give the Power the lead, catching his third touchdown of the game that made the score 48-44 with 2:39 remaining. Power defensive back Brandon Freeman intercepted Zbydniewski on the next play from scrimmage, giving the Power the ball at their own 16-yard line. On the next play, Talley caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Sheffield, the Russell Athletic Player Of The Game, with 1:04 remaining. Pittsburgh's defense stopped Cleveland once again, making the final score 55-44.
The 55 points marked the Power's highest point total of the season, and their 11-point win was their largest margin of victory. The home win at CONSOL Energy Center also stopped an 11-game home losing streak dating back to April 14, 2012 - a win over the Orlando Predators, which ironically also featured a large comeback in the second half (31 points-the largest in AFL history).
The Power visit the Jacksonville Sharks next Saturday, June 1. Kickoff from Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Auditorium is at 7:00 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on both thisTV Pittsburgh and TribLIVE Radio SportsTalk. Pittsburgh's next home game is Saturday, June 15 against the division-leading Philadelphia Soul at 7:00 p.m.
SaberCats Stand the Heat, Harness Blaze to Extend Winning Streak
The San Jose SaberCats (7-2) won their fifth consecutive game, defeating the Utah Blaze (4-5) 35-34 in front of 8,438 fans at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. Quarterback Russ Michna delivered once again, completing 22-of-38 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns, though he also threw a pair of interceptions. Defensively, San Jose clamped down on the Arena Football League's reigning Most Valuable Player, Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady, holding Utah to just 34 points.
"The defense has played well five weeks in a row, they're on fire right now," said Owner/Head Coach Arbet after the win. "It was really important for us to get that first win inside the division. We have another one next week in Spokane that we have to get ready for."
The Blaze got off to a hot start in this divisional contest. After forcing an interception on San Jose's opening possession, Grady found wide receiver Anthony Jackson on fourth down from nine yards out to give Utah an early 7-0 lead. San Jose quickly answered back, as Michna shook off the interception to find wide receiver Huey Whittaker open in the back corner for the end zone for the score, tying the game at seven.
On their next possession, one that spanned five minutes across the first and second quarters, Utah methodically marched down the field to untie the ball game. Grady spotted wide receiver and Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game Aaron Lesue cutting across the middle for an eleven-yard connection, pushing the Blaze lead to seven with 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter. The SaberCats responded quickly, with Michna finding wide receiver and JLS Playmaker of the Game Fred Williams for a scintillating 28-yard pitch and catch to bring the score back to even at 14. San Jose's defense joined the fun on the next possession, as a big run stuff from Whittaker set up a Clevan Thomas interception on fourth down in the SaberCats' end zone. The San Jose offense would put the newfound possession to good use, as Michna hit wide receiver Jason Willis with a 41-yard bomb to give the SaberCats their first lead of the night just before halftime, 21-14. Trying to extend the margin before halftime, San Jose tried but failed to recover an onside kick, giving the Blaze a short field. After two running plays forced the SaberCats to burn their final timeouts, Utah unconventionally took to their air. Taking a pitch from Grady, Lesue ran to his left. The San Jose defense converged on the runner, leaving wide receiver Chase Deadder open in the end zone for the easy completion. Utah would miss the point after attempt, making the score 21-20 SaberCats going into halftime.
After winning the opening toss and deferring to the second half, Utah would start the second half with the ball. That didn't last long, as Thomas intercepted his second pass of the night and took it 50-yards to the house, extending the SaberCats lead to 28-20. Following a spectacular 28-yard catch from wide receiver Mario Urrutia, Grady escaped heavy fourth down pressure to once again hook up with Lesue, this time from 14-yards out to bring the Blaze within a point. Utah's defense would force a San Jose turnover on downs, headed by pressure up the middle from the defensive line on Michna. The SaberCats defense would match that task, as defensive back JC Neal forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Francis Maka. Michna would use this possession much better than the last, finding Willis for the second time on a beautiful touch throw over a defender to bring the lead back to eight at 35-27 in favor of San Jose after three quarters of play.
Opening the scoring in the final frame, Grady connected with Lesue from 17-yards out, their third hook-up on the night, to cut the SaberCats lead to 35-34. Surprisingly, this would be the only scoring for either side in the fourth quarter. After a tipped Michna pass resulted in an interception, the San Jose defense stepped up big once again, forcing a hard fought turnover on downs with just under four minutes to play. With a chance to put the game away, the SaberCats offense stalled, turning the ball over on downs with 32 seconds remaining. After incompletions on the first three downs, SaberCats defensive back Ken Fontenette broke up a Grady fourth down attempt to Lesue with 11 seconds remaining, sealing the 35-34 SaberCats victory.
For San Jose, Michna did an excellent job at spreading the ball around. Williams led the receiving corps with ten catches for 124 yards and a score. Whittaker pitched in with six grabs for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Willis hauled in five balls totaling 67 yards and two scores.
On defense, the SaberCats held their opponent to under 40 points for the fifth consecutive game. In addition to the game-ending pass breakup, Fontenette racked up a team-high nine-and-a-half tackles (nine solo). Thomas continued his stellar play with the two interceptions and added four tackles and three pass breakups. Maka and defensive lineman Terrance Carter each tallied a sack in the win as well.
In the loss, Grady finished 24-for-48 for 291 yards and four touchdowns along with two interceptions. His primary target, Lesue, hauled in ten balls for 117 yards and three scores, in addition to throwing one passing touchdown. Urrutia caught seven passes for 126 yards and fellow wide outs Deadder and Jackson added receiving scores.
Next week, the SaberCats put their winning streak on the line against Spokane. The Shock (7-3) defeated San Jose at HP Pavilion in Week 5 69-47, so the SaberCats will look to return the favor with a road victory next week.
Sharks Get Back in Win Column with 44-41 Victory over Predators
The Jacksonville Sharks (7-3) forced four turnovers and sealed the game in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 44-41 victory over the Orlando Predators (2-7) at Amway Center.
The Sharks held a 30-14 lead early in the third quarter, but came up empty on the offense's next two possessions, losing the ball with an interception and a turnover on downs. After Orlando converted each stop into a score, the Sharks led by just a 30-28 count early in the fourth. But quarterback Bernard Morris shook off the rust, stepping up to deliver a 21-yard strike to Jeron Harvey to extend the lead to 37-28.
Orlando then answered with a touchdown from Aaron Garcia to Prechae Rodriguez, cutting the Sharks' lead to just two. Shark defender Jamaal Fudge then stepped up with an onside kick recovery, and Morris converted the short field into a score with a nine-yard touchdown scramble, giving Jacksonville a 44-35 lead.
Though Orlando responded with another Garcia touchdown pass, making the score 44-41, the Shark offense answered the call on the game's final possession. The Sharks took over with 1:37 on the clock and never relinquished possession, as Morris ran out the clock with three straight runs in the final minute, sealing the victory.
For the Sharks, the win was the team's first since a Week 6 victory over the Philadelphia Soul, and guaranteed the Sharks at least a share of the South Division lead at 7-3. The Sharks improved to 6-1 against the Predators in the regular season (7-2 overall) and, counting the postseason, have won each of the last six matchups in this series.
Going back to the start of the game, the Jacksonville offense found itself in a 7-0 hole before taking the field, as Predator kick returner Dominic Jones took the opening kickoff back for an Orlando touchdown. Facing an early deficit, Morris and the Shark offense opened with an efficient five-play, 48-yard scoring drive that ended with a 15-yard toss from Morris to Markee White, knotting the game at seven.
The Predators answered with a three-play scoring drive that started with a long completion from Garcia to T.T. Toliver and ended with a 10-yard catch-and-run by Rodriguez. The Shark offense returned to the field and picked up a pair of first downs, but the Predators then picked up the game's first turnover on a fumbled snap. But this time, the Shark defense bailed out their offensive brethren, standing strong faced with a goal-to-go situation. On third and goal, defensive lineman Matt Marcorelle broke through the line, hit Garcia from behind and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Jerry Turner. The turnover allowed the Sharks to stay within one score, as the first quarter ended with Orlando up 14-7.
Opening the second quarter with the ball, the Sharks tied the game in short order. On second and goal from the three, Morris faked a handoff to fullback Rendrick Taylor, then pitched it to Jeff Hughley as Hughley came across the formation at full speed. Thanks to a great block from White, Hughley beat the Predator defense to the corner, making the score 14-14.
On its next drive, Orlando moved into the red zone in short order only to have two touchdown passes wiped off the board by offensive penalties. The Predators faced third and long from near midfield, when Jerry Turner beat his blocker and took down Garcia to force a long field goal attempt. Mark Lewis' miss sailed wide left, and Hughley brought the ball back across midfield. A few plays later, Morris hit Hughley in the corner of the end zone to give Jacksonville its first lead, 21-14.
The ensuing kickoff led to another break for the Sharks. As he was going to the ground after a good return, Jones lateraled the ball forward straight to Fudge, who made the recovery to set the Sharks up with good field position. Though the drive ended with a missed field goal, the Sharks forced yet another fumble on Orlando's next play, as Tracy Belton stripped the ball from Toliver. Fudge fell on the loose ball with two seconds left in the half, and Marco Capozzoli drilled a 39-yard field goal as time expired to give his team a 24-14 halftime lead. The Sharks scored a touchdown on their first possession of the second half to gain a 30-14 advantage.
Back in the starting lineup, Morris finished the game 23 of 39 for 226 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Shark signal caller made an impact on the ground, carrying the ball 10 times for a game-high 39 yards and two scores.
At receiver, Harvey led his team with nine catches for 101 yards and a score. White and Hughley each caught a touchdown as well, while Josh Philpart totaled three catches for 31 yards in his most significant action since re-joining the team in Week 9. Taylor also caught one pass for 10 yards.
On defense, Fudge was the game's top playmaker, forcing a fumble and recovering two others. Belton, Turner and Marcorelle each forced a fumble as well, while Turner and Terrance Smith logged fumble recoveries. Turner also regained the league's individual sack lead with his eighth takedown of the year, while Marcorelle also recorded a sack for Jacksonville.
For Orlando, Garcia went 20-of-27 for 251 yards and five touchdowns. Toliver led all players with 124 receiving yards, adding a score on his eight catches, while Rodriguez caught eight passes for 97 yards and three scores. Defensively, Jones recorded a game-high 7.5 total tackles (six solo), notched three pass breakups and pulled in the game's only interception. Marcus Everett and Levy Brown also recorded multiple pass breakups in the Orlando secondary.
The Sharks return to action next Saturday night, hosting the Pittsburgh Power for "Shark-A-Ritaville" on Saturday, June 1. Kickoff from Sea Best Field is set for 7:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh dominates Gladiators
After a 16-point lead disappeared, the Cleveland Gladiators (2-7) fell 55-44 to the Pittsburgh Power (3-6) Saturday night at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Gladiators held a 44-28 lead in the fourth quarter, but 27 unanswered Pittsburgh points sent the Gladiators to their second straight loss and gave the Power their first home win in six tries this season. Three different Gladiators receivers- Dominick Goodman, Thyron Lewis, and Jamar Howard- finished the game with five receptions.
The Gladiators and Power traded touchdowns throughout the first half, as Howard and Lewis caught touchdowns in the first half and Terrill Byrd had a rushing touchdown to keep the Gladiators tied 21-21 into the final two minutes of the second quarter. Kenny Stafford's second receiving touchdown of the game secured a halftime lead for the Power, but Aaron Pettrey's 36-yard field goal as time expired kept the Gladiators within four points at the closure of the first half.
Momentum shifted in favor of the Gladiators in the second half, as they scored 20 straight points to take a 44-28 lead; their biggest advantage of the game. Goodman caught a six-yard touchdown, and Joe Phinisee took an interception back 49 yards to give the Gladiators the 16-point lead at late as the 13:18 mark of the fourth quarter.
Pittsburgh came to life in the final frame, as the ensuing kickoff following the Phinisee touchdown was taken 56 yards to the end zone by Pittsburgh's Chris Leflore. Back-to-back touchdown passes from Pittsburgh quarterback Steven Sheffield to Mike Washington put the Power in front 48-44, before a Julian Talley 34-yard touchdown catch with 1:04 remaining put the game out of the Gladiators reach.
Chicago Runs Over VooDoo
The Chicago Rush snap a three game losing streak as they defeat the New Orleans VooDoo by a score of 84-48 in front of a crowd of 7,349 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night. Turnovers and injuries were the story of this game as the VooDoo turned it over six times tonight. The Rush were able to score five touchdowns off of those turnovers.
New Orleans quarterback Kurt Rocco got the game started with a 45-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Donovan Morgan on the game's opening play, but Chicago struck back with a 2-yard run by fullback J.J. Payne. Rocco found receiver Quorey Payne for a 30-yard score, but Chicago answered as quarterback Carson Coffman connected with receiver Rodney Wright to knot the score at 14. Wright led the way for Rush receivers as he caught the ball six times for 75 yards and a touchdown. Quorey Payne had a big night as he had eight receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Chicago exploded for 35 points in the second quarter, as the Rush took advantage of three VooDoo turnovers in the period. Chicago kick returner Reggie Gray also rattled off a 57-yard return for a touchdown. Rocco tossed two touchdowns in the quarter but left the game with an injury and did not return to play the second half. He finished the game 10-17 for 227 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. The VooDoo also lost their center Lorenzo Breland to injury on the same play.
Chicago opened the second half with a quick touchdown to Gray. VooDoo quarterback Bill Stull checked in and threw two touchdowns in the third quarter, one to receiver Courtney Smith and one to Morgan, who led with three scores on the night. He also recorded seven catches for 142 yards. Stull was also intercepted twice, and the VooDoo failed on two onside kick attempts. This allowed Chicago to score six rushing touchdowns tonight, as they had short fields on multiple occasions. J.J. Payne led Chicago rushers with nine carries for 28 yards and a pair of scores.
Coffman exited the game late in the second half and finished 13-18 for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Backup quarterback Luke Drone also tossed a touchdown and rushed for two. Stull finished the game 11-17 for 132 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two interceptions. The only VooDoo turnover was negated by a roughing the passer penalty, and the defense was unable to force a stop.
With the win, Chicago gets their record to .500 to reach 5-5 on the season. The VooDoo drop their eighth straight as they fall to 1-8 at midseason. The two-game home stand continues for New Orleans as they host the Cleveland Gladiators on June 1 at 7:00 P.M.
Barnstormers Snake Bitten in Arizona
The Iowa Barnstormers entered Saturday night's game against the Arizona Rattlers short 4 starters due to a rash of injuries. The team was forced to make numerous roster changes over the past week and the lack of team cohesiveness showed as they fell to the AFL's best team by a score of 70-26. The win was Arizona's sixth straight as they improve to 9-1 on the season, while Iowa falls to 4-6.
Arizona jumped out to a quick 21-6 first quarter lead as QB Nick Davila threw 3 touchdown passes, 2 of them to WR Kerry Reed. Things went from bad to worse on the injury front for Iowa as QB J.J. Raterink left the game with a foot injury on the last play of the first quarter. Rookie QB Brian Reader played the final 3 quarters for Iowa, finishing 14 of 29 for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Barnstormers effort was admirable, but the loss of Raterink was too much to overcome. By the end of the first half, Arizona had increased their lead to 42-13. Davila's play continued to be flawless as he finished the night 19 of 23 for 241 yards and 8 touchdowns. WR Jared Perry led the way for the Rattlers with four receiving touchdowns and DL Marcus Pittman was a force on defense recording 2 sacks.
The Barnstormers return home to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines next Saturday, June 1 when the Tampa Bay Storm comes to town. Kickoff is set for 7:05pm.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Edge Handcuff Outlaws on Road
After dropping two straight home games to take away playoff hopes, the Bloomington Edge bounced back in Sedalia, defeating the Mid-Missouri Outlaws by a score of 46-6 in Saturday night's Champions Professional Indoor Football League action.
Andre Raymond would be the offensive key by scoring his first of five touchdowns on the first Edge drive of the game after Andre Brown found Raymond on an 8-yard touchdown pass to open up the scoring.
It would be the defense making the big plays forcing five Outlaw turnovers (3 fumbles, 2 interceptions), with Marvin Campbell adding a 40-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Campbell was not done scoring however, sacking quarterback Kyle Christians in the end zone for a safety with under two minutes left in the first half. The Edge would go into the half with a 19-0 lead.
Raymond would take over in the second half rushing for four Edge touchdowns, twice in the third quarter from 2 and 3 yards out, while closing out the fourth quarter with rushes for 1 and 4-yard scores.
With those four touchdowns Raymond tied an Edge rushing touchdown in one season record with 18 touchdowns, having one more game to be played. Raymond had previously set the record last season.
The Edge defense held the Outlaws (0-10) scoreless until James Cody caught a Christians tipped pass for a 13-yard touchdown reception, nearly posting their second shutout of the season.
The Edge (5-6) have a Week 11 bye, but will resume action in their final game of the season the following Saturday, June 8th at 7:05 p.m. when they visit Sioux City for a matchup with the Bandits.
Wild Struggle, Drop to Bandits in Sioux City
The Wichita Wild (9-2) fell to the Sioux City Bandits (8-2) on Saturday night in the Tyson Events Center in a final score 46-21. With repeated mistakes on both sides of the ball including a total of four turnovers, the Wild struggled to find the rhythm needed to beat a dynamic Bandits defense.
After beginning the first drive of the game with a dropped pass by Rashad Daniels, the Wild marched down the field. After a tough penalty for a false start and a sack, Wichita came up empty on the opening drive for the first time in several games after a missed 38 yard field goal attempt by kicker Alex Fambrough. Their first attempt at defending the Bandits since 2010 was halted when they were charged with a penalty on third down to give them another shot in Wild territory which was eventually cashed in for a three yard touchdown run from running back Drew Prohaska to leave the Wild trailing 7-0. On a one play scoring drive, Rashad Daniels redeemed himself with a huge 40 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rocky Hinds to tie the game at 7 apiece. The Bandits retained the ball on their second attempt at their own three yard line and would drive all the way down to the Wild five, but would not be able to convert before the quarter ended.
At the beginning of the second quarter the Bandits continued their attempt at a score from the four yard line but two consecutive stops courtesy of defensive lineman James McCartney and defensive back Dan Kontz held Sioux City to just a 29 yard field goal by Bandits kicker Max Martin, leaving the score 10-7. A harsh set of penalties left the Wild at their own two yard line at the start of their next drive, but after the Bandits' newly signed defensive back Pompey Festejo committed a personal foul penalty, Hinds responded with a 19 yard connection to Tim Simmons for a Wild touchdown, giving the Wild their first lead of the game 14-10 over the Bandits. The Bandits attempted a comeback but a huge defensive stand by the Wild defense including Matt Moss and Joe Kassanavoid held them to just a field goal attempt which was missed. A rare fumble by running back Tywon Hubbard and only the second of the year for the team resulted in a Sioux City touchdown to put them back in the lead, 17-14. Another consecutive turnover for the Wild off an interception gave the Bandits another opportunity to score before the end of the half. They would cash in on a naked bootleg from quarterback Scott Jensen to further their lead 24-14. In a chance to score before the end of the half, Fambrough attempted a 38 yard field goal with five seconds left, but missed to leave the Wild trailing by 10 at the half.
Trouble continued for the Wild as the Bandits built on their lead with a 42 yard field goal by Martin on the opening drive to extend their advantage 27-14 and then went on to stop a Wichita drive which ended in another missed field goal by Fambrough. Sioux City continued to drive and Wichita was able to hold them to a 24 yard field goal, leaving them trailing 30-14. The Wild had more trouble with the Bandits defense as Hinds was picked off by Jon Smith for the second time of the night to end the third quarter.
The Bandits cashed in on the turnover with another field goal by Martin from 33 yards out to make the lead 33-14 over the Wild. Wichita broke their 30 minute scoring drought on fourth down and three with a pass from Hinds to wide receiver Jarell Kelley for a 12 yard touchdown to cut the Bandits' lead. Sioux City answered back with a touchdown of their own and an interception return for a touchdown and a 46-21 lead to secure a victory over the Wild.
Wichita will return home for their second bye week followed by their final home game on June 8 against the Mid Missouri Outlaws for Fan Appreciation Night; kick-off set for 7:05 p.m.
Indoor Football League
Big second half boosts Danger to playoffs
A late first half rally and stellar defensive effort in the second half led to a playoff berth for the Nebraska Danger on Friday night.
Trailing 31-17 late in the half, the Danger cut the Wyoming lead to 31-30 at halftime and then steamrolled the Cavalry for a third time this season, getting a 69-42 win at the Heartland Events Center.
The win improved the Danger to 8-4 on the season and clinched an IFL playoff berth for the third-year franchise. Nebraska also won their sixth game in as many tries in Grand Island.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Danger head coach Mike Davis said after the game. "When we started here three years ago, this was the goal. We hope we can keep winning games so that we can play some more home games in the playoffs."
While the Danger seemed a bit rusty in the first half, they took off in the final minute of the first half. Quarterback Jameel Sewell connected with Andre Piper-Jordan for a 30-yard score. Then, after a Darnell Terrell interception, Sewell hit Kayne Farquharson for a 26-yard touchdown.
Sewell continues his assault on the Danger record book. The IFL player-of-the-year candidate accounted for eight more touchdowns (five passing, three rushing) and 252 yards of total offense. Nebraska outscored Wyoming 33-8 in the final quarter, getting a 50-yard touchdown return of a missed field goal by Marcus Barnett and an interception return for a touchdown from Kane Elenburg.
"Our league is a game of momentum, more than anything," Davis said. "Give Wyoming a bunch of credit, because they had it most of the first half. Once we got the momentum on our side in the second half, things really took off for us."
The Danger (8-4) are the first IFL team to reach eight wins on the season and will have next week off before a pivotal road game with the Colorado Ice in Fort Collins on Saturday, June 8th. The Ice lead the Intense Conference with a 7-3 record, but the Danger own a 2-1 advantage in the season series. Colorado is on the road in Tri-Cities on Saturday and will travel to play the Texas Revolution next weekend.
Barnett led the Danger with 68 yards receiving and a touchdown. Piper-Jordan added 53 yards and Farquharson 50 for Nebraska. The Danger defense limited Wyoming quarterback Brendan Crawford to 12-for-34 passing and just 145 yards. Maurice Patterson led the Cavalry with 70 yards receiving and a pair of scores.
Revolution Outlast Blizzard 60-57
In a game that saw a little bit of everything, the Texas Revolution (5-6) outlasted the Green Bay Blizzard (4-7) 60-56.
The Revolution ended the first quarter leading 14-0, and were set to head into the second half with a double digit lead. The combination of a Blizzard rouge and a booming 31 yard field goal, left the Revs with only a 31-25 halftime lead.
Green Bay opened the second half with a field goal and took their lone lead of the game, 35-34 on a rushing touchdown midway through the 3rd quarter.
The Revolution quickly responded by scoring 10 straight points. Although Texas held the lead for the remainder of the game, it never felt comfortable as Green Bay stayed within striking distance.
A late defensive stand by the Revolution was the defining stop of the second half. The Revs forced the Blizzard to turn the ball over on downs after starting 1st and goal.
The Revolution offense was led by Quarterback Marcus Jackson (18-32, 309 yards, 7 TDs, 0 Int) and Jordan Jolly (10 rec, 162 yards, 3 TDs). Phillip Barnett and Keith Smith added a touchdown apiece in the air, Mack Ogletree rushed for one score, and Kenny Veal caught two touchdowns.
The Revolution defense executed their game plan of getting after quarterback Spencer Ohm quickly and often. A.J. Nicholson added constant pressure and recorded two sacks. James Frazier and Brian Ellis also sacked Ohm once apiece.
The Revolution will host the Colorado Ice next Saturday June 1st. This is the only matchup this season between the two teams. The June 1st game will also be Tim Brown night, where the 17-year NFL veteran will bring his 1987 Heisman trophy to the Allen Event Center and the first 1,000 fans will receive a Tim Brown bobblehead.
Legends Football League
Breeze Move to 2-0 Despite Offensive Mistakes
It didn’t look quite as easy this time around for the Breeze as they took on the Baltimore Charm this Saturday night in Jacksonville. As game time grew closer and the crowd began to pack into the Veterans Memorial Arena, many questions loomed about whether or not Jacksonville was worthy of their number one power ranking. After all, they hadn’t played in almost two months, and their only other win was against an expansion team that had never played a snap of LFL Football. Tonight, despite moments of disparity from the Breeze offense, Baltimore was simply unable to capitalize on the many chances they were given to pull off the upset.
On the first drive of the game, the Breeze moved the ball easily through the air and on the ground. When Shelltrice Turner walked into the end zone just three minutes into the game, it appeared as though Jacksonville would be able to score at will against this Charm defense.
However, as the Charm offense took over and fans got their first look this year at the much talked about Angela Rypien, the Jacksonville crowd was stunned by a bomb touchdown pass to her tight end Morgan Spencer. The Charm weren’t going to fall over easy. They trailed by just one point half way through the first.
At this point, KK Matheny’s woes hadn’t quite surfaced. She was able to move the ball well and connected with her go-to receiver Bryn Renda with just 5 seconds left in the quarter. The Breeze were up 14-6 at the end of one.
Baltimore was unable to put anything together on the ensuing drive, while Jacksonville was running on the powerful legs of running back Saige Steinmetz. She was running downhill all night and powered into the end zone for her first score of the game, giving her team a comfortable 21-6.
Tonight’s game wouldn’t come without adversity for Jacksonville. The first pitfall was losing their stud free safety to injury near the end of the second quarter. Lauran Ziegler was taken down awkwardly on an end-around play while running the ball on offense. She suffered a severe ankle sprain that would take her out of the game.
Meanwhile, Angela Rypien fell victim to the bad decisions of young quarterbacks. She threw her first pick of the night to Adrian Purnell with three minutes remaining in the half and then another pick to Purnell with just 30 seconds remaining. Any momentum the Charm had assembled was turned back over to the home team.
The Breeze went into the locker room with a fifteen-point lead, while the Charm needed to settle down and start making things more difficult for Jacksonville.
Baltimore came out resurgent in the second half. They began it with a kickoff returned touchdown courtesy of Tiana “TC” Mesta. The Breeze had to catch their breath and respond quickly as they saw their lead cut down to just nine points.
Then, right when it looked like the Breeze offense would pull away, KK Matheny threw her first pick of the season. Baltimore was right back in the red zone. These were the sorts of opportunities the Charm would see all night long. Unfortunately, they couldn’t punch it in. No matter… as the Breeze took over, it wasn’t long before KK would throw her second pick. As Baltimore took over near the end of the quarter, it looked like they may just climb back into this one.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Angela Rypien, who looked surprisingly confident in the pocket tonight, turned fully back into a young mistake-riddled quarterback. She threw directly into traffic, resulting in her third pick of the night as Jacksonville’s Bryn Renda came up with the ball.
Jacksonville marched down the field, snatching up first down after first down. With four minutes remaining in the game, they punched it in with another rushing touchdown from eventual game MVP Saige Steinmetz. Saige was the true star tonight as Baltimore simply couldn’t bring her down without the use of two or three girls.
In a last bid for a late comeback, the Charm once again fell victim to their own mistakes as they fumbled the ball at the line of scrimmage, handing the ball back over to the home team. Jacksonville was up 27-12 and were looking at a nice 2-0 start to 2013.
Angela Rypien and the new Charm coaching staff need to head back to Baltimore and figure out a way to score when given opportunities. An inability for an offense to score in the red zone paired with a quarterback who makes ill-advised throws will only lead to more losses. In all actually, this game was Baltimore’s for the taking. Had they been able to take advantage of just one of the myriad of opportunities Jacksonville gave them, the biggest upset of the night would have taken place tonight.
Instead, Jacksonville is still sitting atop the LFL at 2-0, with two convincing wins to begin their season. The defense forces turnovers, the offense is flush with talent, and the coaching staff always seems to knows exactly which adjustments need to be made in order to move the ball offensively. The Breeze will look to continue their winning streak next week as they take on another weak looking expansion team in Omaha. Jacksonville emerges victorious tonight as they win 27-12 over the Charm!
Professional Indoor Football League
Knoxville loses to Steelhawks
The Nighthawks could not get the offense going and Lehigh Valley jumped out to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Lehigh Valley quarterback Adam Bednarik found Tom Gilson and Toriel Gibson for touchdown passes. Steelhawks' Elliot White also found the end zone on a 3 yard run. The Nighthawks only score of the first quarter came on a 25 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Porter to Kelvin Bolden.
The Nighthawks started off the second quarter with a quick strike from Porter to Joseph Rico bringing Knoxville to within a seven point deficit. The score was 21-14 at this point of the game. Bednarik found Gilson again for a 16 touchdown pass, but Nighthawks quarterback Ryan Porter found Charles Gilbert on a 45 yard bomb. That kept the score at 27-21 with just over five minutes to go in the half. Lehigh Valley was too strong as they scored two more times and defensively held Knoxville on one of its possessions. Knoxville would continue to fight back and scored with 19 seconds left in the half with a Porter to Deandre Brown 32 yard touchdown pass. The score at half time was 40-28 in favor of Lehigh Valley.
In the third quarter both team traded touchdowns. Bednarik threw another touchdown pass to Gibson to get things going. Nighthawks' backup quarterback Luke Collis found Joseph Rico for a 28 yard strike. Bednarik proceed to counter with an 8 yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Collins. The Nighthawks came right back as Collis quickly responded with another strike to Rico for forty yards. The score at the end of three quarters had Lehigh up 54-42 and Knoxville was within striking distance.
In the fourth quarter it was all Lehigh Valley. Bednarik found Gilson for another 27 yard touchdown pass. This put Lehigh Valley up 61-42 with 13:28 left in the game. The Steelhawk defense stiffened up and intercepted Collis on the next possession. Lehigh Valley moved the ball down the field and scored one last time on a 5 yard run from Toriel Gibson. The score ended in favor of Lehigh Valley with the 67-42 victory. It was the Steelhawks fourth win in a row.
The Nighthawks will have an off week coming up. The final two home games of the season will be June 7 and June 15.
Raiders Defeat Lions in OT
The Raiders overcame five turnovers and a last second field goal attempt to survive their matchup against the Columbus Lions with a 48-42 win in overtime. Playing in overtime for the second straight week, the Raiders used a RoShawn Marshall interception on the first play of the Lions' OT possession to set up the game winning touchdown on a 20 yard pass from Warren Smith to Hakeem Moore.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Raiders had to score a touchdown in the last minute to tie the game. Smith needed just two plays to travel 40 yards and when he hooked up with Moore from 13 yards out and T.C. Stevens added the extra point, the game was tied at 42 with 19 seconds left.
That proved to be just enough time for Columbus to try to win in regulation, as a long pass from Marcus Jones (who entered the game late after Lee Chapple was hurt) to Gerald Gales set them up inside the Raiders' 10. The Raider defense made a game saving play on a Jones run at the one yard line, and Josh Smith lined up for a 16 yard field goal with one second left. He pushed it wide left, and overtime began.
Neither offense was able to sustain much momentum. The Raiders opened the second half with consecutive touchdowns, then went scoreless until the game-tying drive. Their drought included an interception, a fumble, a turnover on downs, and a blocked field goal. Not to be outdone, the Lions' offense committed three second half turnovers and missed two field goals.
In a play that typified the nature of the game, Marshall made an interception in the end zone but fumbled as he tried to return it, and Gerald Gales recovered for a touchdown.
The Lions' defense made the plays they needed to, picking off Smith three times in the first half - returning one for a touchdown - and getting a fumble return for a touchdown from Ryan Babb. Though their offense stalled at times, they had chances to come away with points. But Josh Smith, making his return to Richmond after kicking for the Raiders in 2011, missed four of six extra points and four of five field goals.
Herb Jones had his third straight 100-yard receiving game, and Hakeem Moore had his second straight outing over 150 yards. He had three touchdowns, including the game tying and game winning scores. Marshall had three interceptions, none more spectacular than the one in overtime, which was a one-handed grab as he ran into the wall, keeping his arm between the ball and the padding to set up the winning touchdown.The Raiders will embark on a two game road trip to Albany and Alabama, and return home June 15.