June 1, 2007 - American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) - Erie Explosion
The Pittsburgh RiverRats were rewarded for making the playoffs in its inaugural season by placing five players on the North Squad for the AIFA\'s All-Star game to be played in Florence, SC on Friday, June 22. The RiverRats players receiving All-Star recognition include QB David Dinkins, WR Beau Gibbs, WR Marko Thomas, DL Phil Tillman, and LB T.J. Carden. The North and South squads were selected by ballot of the league\'s coaches with each coach prohibited from voting for a member of his own team. Of the 40 members of the North Squad, including 30 active and 10 in reserve, the division champion Reading Express led with 12 players selected, followed by Canton with 9, and Pittsburgh with 5.
QB David Dinkins (6\'2"-230, Morehead State) was recognized as one the most electrifying players in the AIFA. Dinkins led the RiverRats offense with 54 touchdowns this season in a variety of ways including 45 passing, 8 rushing, and 3 receiving. He was the leading rusher among quarterbacks in the league in yards and touchdowns. Dinkins led the Pittsburgh offense in its "perfect game" against Erie when it scored touchdowns on every one of its possessions and set the league record with 86 points scored.
WR Beau Gibbs (6\'4"-239, Northern Iowa) made an immediate significant impact upon joining the RiverRats during the sixth game of the season. In just 8 games. Gibbs caught 41 passes for 625 yards and 16 touchdowns. An impressive combination of size, deceptive speed, and soft hands, made Gibbs one of the more difficult matchups for defensive backs throughout the league.
WR Marko Thomas (5\'11-200, Geneva) was the most consistent and durable receiver for the RiverRats all season. Thomas played in all 14 games, catching at least one touchdown pass in all but 2. For the season, he caught 50 passes for 582 yards and 15 touchdowns, and served as the reliable possession receiver the RiverRats could rely on for a first down when it needed one.
DL Phil Tillman (6\'1"-315, Pitt) joined the RiverRats during the sixth game of the season, and immediately helped the Pittsburgh defense by dominating offensive linemen throughout the league. Eventually, teams were forced double-team Tillman, freeing up other RiverRats front-seven defenders to make plays. Tillman led Pittsburgh in sacks and was second in tackles for losses.
LB T.J. Carden (6\'2"-240, California PA) was the unquestioned leading playmaker on the RiverRats defense. Despite not joining Pittsburgh until the third season of the game, Carden finished sixth in the league in tackles, and tied for the league lead in fumbles forced, including two returned for touchdowns. He led the RiverRats in total tackles and tackles for losses, and also recorded two interceptions from his linebacker spot.
The Pittsburgh RiverRats will travel to Reading on Saturday, June 9, to take on the Express in the first round of the AIFA playoffs. For more information, please visit www.pittsburghriverrats.com.