April 27, 2010 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Utah Blaze
Bossier- Shreveport Battle Wings vs. Utah Blaze
Week Five - Friday, April 30, 2010
7 p.m. (MT), E Center (9,888)
THE QUICK FACTS:
Game: Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings (2-1) at Utah Blaze (0-2)
Date: Friday, April 30, 2010
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (MT)
Site: The E Center ( 9,888)
Officials: Referee: Steve Strimling; Umpire: Scott Campbell; Head Linesman: John Jenkins; Line Judge: Bart Longson; Back Judge: Clay Reynard
Radio: Utah's flagship station 1280 THE ZONE will broadcast the game live with John Lund (play-by-play) and Hans Olsen (color commentary).
Coaches: Utah, Ernesto Purnsley (16th AFL season; 0-3 regular season, 0-3 overall). Bossier-Shreveport, Jon Norris (6th AFL season; 2-1 regular season, 2-1 overall).
OVERVIEW: After last week's tough loss, the Blaze (0-3) look to capture their first victory of the 2010 season at home against the Battle Wings this week. The Blaze were handed their third consecutive loss of the season against the Chicago Rush on Friday, April 23 with a score of 40-63. The Battle Wings, fresh off their bye week, are sporting a (2-1) record this season.
THE SERIES: This regular season match up marks the first meeting between the two teams.. This marks the first meeting between Blaze head coach ERNESTO PURNSLEY and Battle Wings head Coach JON NORRIS.
NFL Network: Coverage of the AFL on the NFL Network will air on Friday, April 30 when the Iowa Barnstormers visit the Orlando Predators with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. (MT).
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Blaze hit the road next week to take on the Milwaukee Irons on Friday, May 14, in a nationally televised game on the NFL Network. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (MT). The following week, the Blaze continue on the road to visit the Spokane Shock in their second meeting of the season on Saturday, May 22.
RUSH HAND BLAZE THIRD LOSS, 63-40
Chicago remains undefeated
CHICAGO - The Utah Blaze (0-3) failed to pick up their first win of 2010 as they were outscored 63-40 by the Chicago Rush (4-0) in front of 7,459 fans at the Allstate on Friday night.
"This was a tough loss for us offensively and defensively," said Blaze head coach Ernesto Purnsley. "We have some work to do next week to get on track and attain that first win."
Offensive Player of the Game honors went to Chicago QB Russ Michna (6-2, 220, Western Illinois) who finished the night 22-of-31 for a career-high 330 yards and six touchdowns. Chicago LB Clifton Smith (6-2, 250, Syracuse) was named Ironman of the Game after he recorded 2.0 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal. Defensive player of the game honors went to Chicago DB Nygel Rogers (6-1, 165, Appalachian State) after he recorded 10.0 total tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
The Blaze tallied the first score of the evening with a pass from QB Brett Elliott (6-2, 210, Linfield) to WR Aaron Boone (6-3, 213, Kentucky). Newly signed K Ben Scott's (6-3, 195, John Hopkins) PAT was successful, yet it was the only time the Blaze would hold the lead. Chicago quickly responded with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Michna to WR Samie Parker (5-11, 180, Oregon). Chicago pulled ahead in the first quarter and continued to dominate throughout the second outscoring the Blaze 14-7.
The team's entered the locker room at halftime with the Rush ahead, 28-14.
The Blaze capitalized on a favorable on-side kick entering the third quarter, placing them on the Rush's 5-yard line, where Elliott was able to successfully connect to Boone on the first down. However, the Blaze's attempts were unsuccessful as the Rush continued to pull ahead.
Down 43-20 entering the final quarter of play, Michna sealed Chicago's victory with a 4-yard rush touchdown in the final minutes of play.
Elliott ended the night 31-of-44 passing for 316 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. WR Chris Francies (6-2, 205, UTEP) led all receivers with 12 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, DB Antonio Malone (6-1, 195, Toledo) led the team with 8.0 total tackles.
Utah - Ernesto Purnsley, 1st season
0-3 (.000) reg. season; 0-3 (.000) overall
0-0 career vs. Bossier- Shreveport
Purnsley enters his first season as a head coach and 16th season as a veteran AFL League assistant coach. He previously coached with the Chicago Rush and spent five years as the defensive coordinator for the Colorado Crush, who eliminated the Blaze's playoff hopes in 2008. Prior to his time in Colorado, he had two stints with the Albany/Indiana Firebirds. Purnsley spent five seasons (2004-2008) as the defensive coordinator with the Colorado Crush, who won ArenaBowl XIX in 2005. During his tenure, his defense established team records for sacks, interceptions and scoring defense.
Purnsley began his career in the AFL in 1997 when he was hired as the special teams and fullback/linebackers coach for the Albany Firebirds. After two seasons (1997-98) with Albany, he spent two years at Murray State before returning to the Firebirds
Bossier- Shreveport - Jon Norris, 1st season
2-1 (.667) reg. season; 2-1 (.667) overall
0-0 career vs. Utah
In his two year tenure with the BattleWings of the af2, Jon Norris has guided the team to a 20-12 regular season record. In just his first season he steered the Wings to their first playoff berth in team history. The 2008 season saw even more improvement with the team being crowned Southwest Division Champions along with hosting two playoff games.
A true pioneer of Arena Football, Norris was a player for the inaugural season champion Denver Dynamite in 1987. Norris has great credibility within the Arena Football community with his 15 years of experience as a player and coach in both the AFL and af2. He came to the BattleWings from the Austin Wranglers of the AFL where he served as the Defensive Coordinator and Line Coach. He made a demonstrative difference in Austin in 2005 when the offensive line gave up only 4 sacks which led the AFL.
Prior to the Wranglers, Norris spent 3 seasons with the Dallas Desperados in the AFL where he served as line coach and special teams coach. His line racked up some impressive stats and in 2003 Norris coached AFL Lineman of the Year Tom Briggs. Norris moved to Dallas after a stint as assistant head coach and offensive and defensive line coach for the Oklahoma Wranglers. Prior to Oklahoma, Norris served as head coach for the Tulsa Talons and led them to the af2 playoffs in their inaugural season with an offense that averaged 52.7 points per game and a defense that led the league with 33 interceptions.
Coach Norris was born in Wales, United Kingdom, and raised in Stratford CT. He went on to receive his Bachelor's degree from America International College and a Master's degree from Adams State. He is the father of two boys, Tyler (19) who attends the University of Texas and Clayton (14). He is active in many charitable organizations throughout Louisiana and Texas and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the American Football Coaches Association.
BLAZE WR/DB ANTONIO MALONE and DB/JACK PATRICK BODY both played collegiately at Toledo. This week versus Chicago, they will face off against two former Toledo teammates, DL MICHAEL ALSTON and WR/DB KENNY HIGGINS.
NOT ALONE - The Blaze are off to a rough start this season with a 0-3 record, but they aren't the only team without a victory. Currently, Orlando, Dallas and Cleveland are carrying a zero in the win column. The current record is nothing to get too worried about. In 2008, the Blaze went 0-9 before clinching their first win, and even went on to the first round of playoffs.
If the Blaze defeat the Battle Wings it would...
*Give Utah a 1-0 record all-time versus the Battle Wings.
*Give Utah a 1-2 home game record for the 2010 season.
*Give Utah a 1-3 overall record for 2010.
*WR AARON BOONE needs one reception to reach 250 career.
*DB TOURE CARTER needs 24.0 total tackles to reach 100 career.
*OL/DL VAKA MANUPUNA needs 20.0 total tackles to reach 50 career.
BATTLE WINGS PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB RAYMOND PHILYAW - Philyaw enters his first season with the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings and his tenth season in the Arena Football League. Prior to joining the Battle Wings, he spent time with the Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL. In 2009, his 9.03 career TD-to-INT ratio was the highest in AFL history, and he held the AFL record for most passes attempted without being intercepted (299 - July 5, 2002, at San Jose-May 4, 2003, vs. Georgia). His 131.79 rating in 2001 is the third most in AFL single-season history, and his career completion percentage of 63.9 is the fourth highest in league history among players with 1,500 pass attempts.
Philyaw had the best season of his career in 2007 with the Kansas City Brigade. He played in all 16 games and put up career bests in passing yards (4338), touchdowns (85), attempts (538), completions (371), and completions percentage (69.0).
So far this season, Philyaw has completed 77-of-111 passes for 979 yards and 26 touchdowns with one interception.
WR/DB WILLIS MARSHALL - Marshall enters his tenth season in the Arena Football League, and first year with the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWIngs. In 2008, Marshall spent time with the Cleveland Gladiators and Georgia Force of the Arena Football League where he recorded 6 catches for 666 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 17 times for 41 yards and five touchdowns. Marshall began his career with the Grand Rapids Rampage of the AFL in 2001, where he spent three seasons. He also played for the Colorado Crush and Dallas Desperados.
So far this season, Marshall has recorded 15 receptions for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, he has tallied 9.0 total tackles and one pass breakup. He also has returned five kick offs for 53 yards.