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 www.harrisburgstampede.com .
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 www.facebook.com/harrisburgstampede.
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 www.ticketmaster.com 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.