March 2, 2005 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - RiverCity Rage
The RiverCity Rage has released its 2005 Pre-season roster. The group is equally divided between indoor football veterans and rookies with 17 of each hopeful of making the final 22-man roster for the season opener, which will be played on March 26 in The Family Arena in St. Charles.
Among the top returning veterans is Scott Pingel, 6'1"-186 lbs, WR, a 3 year indoor veteran and 2 time All Conference player (2003-Pacific, 2004-Atlantic) from Westminster College where he won the Melberger Award, one of NCAA III footballs highest honors. After a being invited to training camp with the Buffalo Bills, Pingel went on to success in the German Football League establishing new receiving records there before landing in St. Charles during the 2003 season. Pingel led the NIFL in receiving yards in 2004 with a NIFL record 1415 yards on a NIFL record 118 catches while finding the end zone 26 times. Pingel is joined in the Rage receiving corps by, what Rage Head Football Coach Mike Wyatt refers to as, the "world's largest wide receiver" in Moses Regular, a 6'5", 284 pounder. Regular hauled in 534 catches for 616 yards and 14 TDs in 2003. The Missouri Valley College product was converted to a tight end in the NFL-Europe and has been in NFL camps with three NFL teams.
Chase Denton, a 6'5"-355 lbs. offensive lineman returns for 2005 after having been selected to Atlantic North Division All Star team in 2004. The former 2 time All Southland Conference performer from Sam Houston State is joined by returning veteran Gabe Dunkmann at center. Dunkmann, a product of Western Illinois where he was an All Gateway Conference and All American performer. Coach Wyatt lauds Dunkmann and Denton with much of the credit for the three NIFL team records set by the Believers (Rage) offense in 2004. Those included: Most Yards in Total Offense at 4, 277 yards: Most First Downs with 261 and Most Non-Kick Scoring with 716 points.
Veteran Dartmouth offensive lineman Robert Reeves, 6'6"-320 lbs. will join the Rage after having spent parts of the 2004 season with the Myrtle Beach Stingrays and the Tri Cities Diesel of the NIFL. Reeves was an Honorable Mention All Ivy League performer prior to signing to play in the NIFL.
The Rage will likely fall under the field generalship of veteran quarterback, Clay Groefsema, 6'3"-201 lbs. The former All Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performer as a collegian at the University of Redlands spent the 2004 season as an understudy to Justin Peery. Playing behind Peery, Atlantic Conference MVP, would be much akin to being Marc Bulger playing behind a Kurt Warner. The Rage brain trust is hopeful that Groefsema's fortunes will pan out the same way that Bulger's have.
"This isn't Clay's first rodeo. He has had a season of practicing indoors 3 times a week and though he didn't get a lot of playing time last year, he will do just fine. Most will remember that Justin Peery wasn't even on the radar screen last season at the start of the year and went on to lead the league in passing and total offense," stated Coach Wyatt.
In the backfield, Don Brown, RB, 5'10"-190 lbs. is the lone returning veteran. The former two-time NAIA All American from Benedictine College in Kansas spent much of last season backing up Ricky Brown who opted to return to play in Europe for 2005.
Defensively, the Rage returns veteran defensive back Rob Findley, 6'1"-196 lbs, an Atlantic North Division All Star in 2004. The former 6'11" high jumper from William Penn is joined by Clarence (CJ) Jones, 6'-205 lbs., the University of Missouri Tiger that was a 2nd team All Big 12 selection during his collegiate career. Former University of New Mexico star Brandon Gregory, DB, 5'10"-178 lb., returns for his second season in indoor football to be joined by Koray Gilbert, DB, 6'-209 lb. who is coming off an injury that prevented him from playing in 2004 with the Rage. The former Concordia star was an All Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference performer as a collegian and had led his La Crosse Night Train in interceptions in 2003 before joining the Rage.
Andy Peterson, LB/SS, 6'1"-194 lbs., the former Defensive Player of the Year in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference from Marantha Baptist is back for his second season with the Rage. He is joined by former University of South Carolina star Lenny Williams, 6'4"-232 lbs. LB/DE/WR who is versatile enough to play any of three positions for the Rage.
In the trenches, the Rage returns two veterans in the defensive line. Jay Carmack, 6'3"-290 lbs., DL, a former Western Illinois star returns as one of the Rage's most experienced veterans having played for 5 seasons in indoor football including stints with the Columbus Wardogs and the Peoria Pirates, as well as the Rage. He joined by Mario Ivy, 6'3"-315 lbs, DL, who played in the Sugar Bowl for the fighting Illini before transferring to Southern Illinois-Carbondale to wrap-up his college career.
Former University of Washington star, Derrell Daniels, 6'1"-224 lbs., LB will return for his second season with the Rage. The second team All Pac 10 linebacker will look to improve on his rookie campaign.
Top newcomers for the Rage in 2004 on the offensive side of the ball include Hurtis Chinn, WR, 5'10"-192 lbs., speedster from Western New Mexico University. Chinn has been clocked by NFL scouts at sub 4.4 speed in the forty and hopes to bring his quickness to play in the indoor game. He is joined by a pair of athletes from the University of Missouri in wide receivers, Marcus Hail, 6'2"-200 lbs., and Ochuko Ekpere, 6'1"-188 lbs. The trio will look to find a spot as the third receiver to compliment Pingel and Regular.
Marcel Duft, a German National, 5'9"-177 lbs. will also look to make his presence felt, as well. Duft led the German Football League in receiving in 2003 with 70 receptions for 1537 yards and 14 TDs. He also can handle the kicking chores, as well.
In the backfield, the Rage will look to Rod Malone, RB, 6'2"-205 lbs, who was a Cactus Bowl Selection (NCAA II All Star Game) from North Dakota State where he led his team in rushing with 1251 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring 17 touchdowns while being named as lst team All North Central Conference.
In the offensive line, the Rage will look to former NCAA II Mid-Majors All American from Quincy University, Barry Bruegemann, 6'5"-286 lbs. to help fill in a vacancy when former Mizzou lineman Howard Brown opted not to play.
Defensively, the Rage will look to newcomer James Green, DL, 6'1"-291 lbs., from the University of Southern Mississippi and a sack leader in 2004 for the Lubbock Lone Stars in the Intense Football League recording 10 sacks in 10 games. Green will be joined by Bruce Blue, DL, 6'1"-264 lbs, a product of Western New Mexico University where he was his team's defensive MVP while recording 25 tackles for losses to rank 2nd in nation in that statistical category.
Seth Womack, DL, 6'4"-300 lbs., a three time All Upper Midwest Athletic Conference selection from Westminster College will look to get into the mix, as well.
Linebacker, John Cousins, 6'2'-221 lbs. from the University of Southern California, will look to get playing time in the middle of the Rage defense while competing with Otis Turner, a 6'1'-237 pounder who was the leading tackler at Southeast Missouri State for the past two seasons.
Gary Bolden, DB, 6'-211 lbs, from MacMurray College will look to get in the mix in the secondary for the Rage. He was a versatile athlete playing both wide receiver and defensive back at MacMurray who Scott Pingel ranks as one of the toughest defensive backs he has faced in his career.
The kicking duties will fall to Jerry Lakin, 6'-225 lbs. semi-pro All American for the Belleville Justice who was a former pro soccer player who will compete with Wade Hampton, 5'11"-223 lbs. a former kicker at Lindenwood University who also shared kicking duties with Lakin on the Justice.
The Rage roster will be trimmed to 22 on game day when they open the season on March 26 to face the Fayetteville Guard in the season opener for both teams. The game will be held in the Family Arena in St. Charles and tickets are currently on sale. Further information can be had at ragefootball.com.