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GLIFL Playoffs Round One Preview

July 7, 2006 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)

The road to Great Lakes Bowl I is winding down with two exciting playoff contests on July 8. Battle Creek travels to Port Huron to try to atone for two blowout losses in their third intrastate meeting, while Rochester plays host to its first ever professional football playoff game against the Lehigh Valley Outlawz. The winners of these games will play on July 22 at the highest remaining seed's home arena in Great Lakes Bowl I.

#4 BATTLE CREEK CRUNCH @ #1 PORT HURON PIRATES

Saturday, July 8, 2006, 7:35 P.M.

McMorran Arena, Port Huron, Michigan

RADIO: www.glifl.com webcast, Nate Adams, play by play (unconfirmed, if webcast occurs, link will be on GLIFL website).

TELEVISION: None.

COACHES: Bob Kubiak, Battle Creek; Brian Hug, Port Huron

RECORDS: Battle Creek (4-6); Port Huron (10-0)

KEY PLAYERS:

Battle Creek: WR/DB Eric Gardner, WR/DB Herb Haygood, QB Tim Kubiak, C/DT Kyle Lackscheide

Port Huron: QB Shane Franzer, DL Ed Bynes, DB Corey Gonzales, RB Rayshawn Askew

WEB SITES:

www.battlecreekcrunch.com - Battle Creek Crunch

www.porthuronpirates.com - Port Huron Pirates

www.glifl.com - Great Lakes Indoor Football League

PREVIOUS MEETINGS: Port Huron (2-0)

LAST MEETING: June 17, 2006: @ Port Huron 69, Battle Creek 7

PRE-GAME NOTES

IT'S HARD TO PINPOINT ONE THING: When you've been beaten 62-22 and 69-7, it's hard to pinpoint one thing that is the cause of the demise. So, we'll pick two. One, the 69-7 game was an aberration. Battle Creek had a number of players injured for that contest, and thus did not play anywhere that closely resembled full strength. Port Huron took advantage of it. Two, Battle Creek really needs to stop the run. Port Huron ran for 168 yards on 36 carries in the two games, including a 127-yard performance by Rayshawn Askew in the 69-7 contest. Giving up nine touchdowns on the ground in two games is not the best way for the Crunch to stay competitive; they must at least slow down the run to have a chance.

OF COURSE, THEY CAN ALSO DO THIS: If they stop the Port Huron run, can they also stop the pass? Shane Franzer had a poor game in their season-opening meeting, throwing two interceptions. Regardless, he still has seven touchdown passes in only 38 pass attempts in the two meetings. Somehow, Battle Creek's defense must step up, because Port Huron only gives up 22 points per game.

BATTLE CREEK WINS WHEN THEY DON'T MAKE MISTAKES: When the Crunch won games, they did not throw interceptions. In the two losses to Port Huron, Tim Kubiak threw seven (Ken Kubiak also threw one). The starting quarterback is 23/57 (40%) for 181 yards and two touchdowns to go with those seven interceptions. The Crunch run game was admittedly near the bottom of the GLIFL throughout the season, but they were even worse against the Port Huron defensive front. The Crunch ran the ball 19 times for 7 yards and a touchdown in the two contests. With Gardner healthy, they must do better than that to have a chance.

GAME PREVIEW: Both sides contend that the Crunch have a legitimate shot at a "third time's a charm" upset. Every team starts 0-0, and it is a best of one game series, but the Crunch must make a lot of changes in the way they've played their first two meetings in order for this one to turn out any differently. Port Huron is heavily favored in this game, but coach Brian Hug refuses to let his team overlook the Crunch. Good idea, because home teams have not fared as well in the playoffs as they do in the regular season throughout indoor football history.

#3 LEHIGH VALLEY OUTLAWZ @ #2 ROCHESTER RAIDERS

Saturday, July 8, 2006, 7:35 P.M.

ESL Sports Centre, Brighton, New York

RADIO: www.glifl.com webcast, Josh Stein and Sean Morley, play by play.

TELEVISION: None.

COACHES: Jim DePaul, Lehigh Valley; Dennis Greco, Rochester

RECORDS: Lehigh Valley (5-5); Rochester (7-3)

KEY PLAYERS:

Lehigh Valley: QB Chad Schwenk, RB/WR Steve Cook, DB Joe Wooten, DB T.K. Ford

Rochester: QB Matt Cottengim, WR Maurice Jackson, RB Reggie Cox, DB Gerald Dias

WEB SITES:

www.lv2006.com - Lehigh Valley Outlawz

www.rochesterraiders.com - Rochester Raiders

www.glifl.com - Great Lakes Indoor Football League

PREVIOUS MEETINGS: Rochester (2-0)

LAST MEETING: June 3, 2006: Rochester 45, @ Lehigh Valley 33

PRE-GAME NOTES

WHEN YOU GIVE UP 90 IN THIS PLACE...Everyone knows that Lehigh Valley does not normally give up 90 points in a game. When a team loses guys during a game to injury, and the rest of the team does not step up, you get 90-45 scores. The second meeting was a lot closer, with the Raiders winning 45-33 at Stabler Arena. Though Reggie Cox ran wild in that game (a then-record 123 yards and two touchdowns), the Outlawz defense held Matt Cottengim to his worst performance of the season (5/16 for 42 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions). Of course, in the 90-point game, Cottengim was 13/17 for 250 yards and eight touchdown passes, while the whole Raiders squad ran for 38 yards. Rochester has more offensive weapons than any other GLIFL team; Lehigh Valley must "pick their poison" and then do the best they can do to slow it down.

LIMIT MISTAKES: In the 45-33 loss at home, Chad Schwenk completed 18 of 37 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. However, he added three interceptions to the output. The Outlawz, who have had a lot of trouble running the ball recently, only ran for 18 yards on 9 carries in that contest. In the last two games, Outlawz RB Steve Cook has -7 rushing yards on 14 carries...an average of half a yard lost per carry. If that doesn't change, Rochester's league-leading 26 interceptions will tee off on Chad Schwenk and the Outlawz pass game.

DESPITE THAT, COOK IS THE OFFENSIVE KEY: He only has 140 yards on 76 carries this year, but Cook does lead the team in receiving with 45 catches for 380 yards and eight scores. If the Outlawz cannot get him open on the screen passes to gain yards and first downs, other opportunities to Dom Stewart and Billy Parker will not be there, and the Outlawz offense will flounder.

GAME PREVIEW: 90-45 will not happen again. Rochester may well win this game, and they are the favorite, but it will not be a blowout. Lehigh Valley is healthier than they have been any time since Week Two, and they are ready for this playoff game. If they can slow down the potent Raiders offense, they can win. Rochester scored 544 points in their 10 games (54.4 points per game), but only 29, 38, and 35 in their three losses. That would give them 63.1 points per game that they won. However, if they make mistakes early and have trouble slowing down the potent Raiders attack, they could give up 63 in the first half again.

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Continental Indoor Football League Stories from July 7, 2006


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