July 29, 2008 - American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) - Erie Explosion
July 29, 2008 (Baltimore, MD) - Five members of the Erie RiverRats were named to the AIFA Eastern Conference All-Star team for 2008 as voted by the league\'s franchise owners and coaches, and announced today by the league office. The Erie players receiving AIFA All-Star recognition included:
QB Rod Rutherford OL Anthony Peluso PK J.R. Cipra LB Glenroy Watkins LB Roosevelt Benjamin
Of the 25 members of the Eastern Conference squad, the league champion Florence Phantoms had the most selections with eight, followed by Erie with five, Carolina with four, Reading and Baltimore with three apiece, and Canton with two.
Rod Rutherford (6\'2"-230, Pitt) was an instant success upon joining Erie in week six, quickly earning a reputation as one of the league\'s most lethal dual-threat quarterbacks. Rutherford led the Rats to a 7-2 record in his nine regular-season starts, completing 51% of his passes for 1,650 yards and 25 touchdowns, and adding an additional 16 touchdowns rushing. He finished among the league leaders in total offense per game, total touchdowns, rushing yardage, and rushing touchdowns.
Anthony Peluso (6\'1"-285, Edinboro) anchored the offensive line for the RiverRats starting all 15 contests for Erie. The Rats offensive line led by Peluso, an Erie fan favorite, was one of the least-penalized units in the league, and allowed fewer sacks than its opponents.
J.R. Cipra (5\'8"-160, Ohio Northern) was one of the most prolific special teams performers in the league, and provided Erie with the threat of scoring from any field position. Cipra was among the league leaders in just about every kicking category, including PAT percentage (64/71 for 90%), field goals made per game (1.4), field goal percentage (19/46 for 41%), total points scored (140), and kickoffs through the uprights (19 "unos").
Glenroy Watkins (6\'2"-250, Central Florida) was unquestionably the biggest playmaker on the Erie defense. In his first professional season, he finished among the league leaders in several defensive categories including total tackles (46), tackles for loss (13.5), and sacks (11.5). He also forced two fumbles and recorded two safeties.
Roosevelt Benjamin (6\'2"-255, Clarion) was the on-field leader of an Erie defense which finished among the top three in the league in defensive touchdowns scored, fumbles recovered, quarterback sacks, and opponent third down conversions. Benjamin was among the team leaders in tackles with 39.5, including 9 for losses, and added 4.5 sacks. His late-game fumble recovery returned for a touchdown at Canton on March 15 was one of the biggest highlights of the Erie RiverRats 2008 season.