2008 Arenacup: Quick Hitters
August 21, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE IN ARENACUP: After a neutral site played host to the last three ArenaCups, this year the league decided to move the championship game back to the venue of the participating team with the best overall record. In the af2's first five seasons when the highest seed hosted the league's championship event, the home team was a perfect 5-0. This year's hosts, the Spokane Shock, hope to run the home team's total ArenaCup record to 6-0. The Shock are 10-1 overall at Spokane Arena in 2008 (7-1 regular season, 3-0 playoffs). A closer look at the results of the first five ArenaCups is detailed below.
ArenaCup history (2000-2004, 2008)
Year Result Site
2000 QUAD CITY 68, Tenn. Valley 59 Moline, Ill.
2001 QUAD CITY 55, Richmond 51 Moline, Ill.
2002 PEORIA 65, Florida 47 Peoria, Ill.
2003 TULSA 58, Macon 40 Tulsa, Okla.
2004 FLORIDA 39, Peoria 26 Estero, Fla.
2008 ???? Spokane, Wash.
FIRST TIMERS: The 2008 ArenaCup Championship features two teams that will be making their second appearances in the af2 title game. Spokane and Tennessee Valley, however, are led by two coaches that have never been to an ArenaCup in a head coaching capacity. Shock Head Coach ADAM SHACKLEFORD has one appearance in an ArenaCup final as an assistant coach/offensive coordinator with the Louisville Fire in 2005. That year the Fire lost to Memphis, 63-41. Vipers Head Coach DEAN COKINOS is making his first ArenaCup appearance in any capacity.
af2TV & NiFTyTV ANNOUNCE "ONLINE VIEWERS OF THE YEAR": The arenafootball2 league (af2) and Network Foundation Technologies (NFT) are pleased to announce that LARRY WEST (Louisville, Ky.) and MICA DAVIS (Tigard, Ore.) have been named the "Online Viewers of the Year." West and Davis, as "Click, Connect & View Your Way to ArenaCup9" Sweepstakes Grand Prize winners, will receive an exciting prize package which includes ArenaCup9 VIP game tickets and tickets to all events such as the Awards Party, Schutt President's Tailgate and Postgame Party. West is a dedicated fan of the Louisville Fire while Davis is a proud backer of the Stockton Lightning. The winners also receive full travel accommodations, which includes roundtrip airfare for themselves and a guest, transportation to and from Spokane Airport and a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane, Wash. af2TV & NiFTyTV created the "Click, Connect & View Your Way to ArenaCup9" Sweepstakes in late May. The special promotion was designed to reward fans 21-and-older who downloaded the af2TV player and completed the necessary information form on their way to enjoying af2 games on their computers.
WATCH 2008 ARENACUP on NiFTyTV - MONDAY, AUGUST 25: Thanks to the power of NFT's patented online broadcasting technology, fans across the globe will be able to bring all the action of Monday night's ArenaCup between Spokane and Tennessee Valley right to their home computer or laptop AT NO CHARGE. The af2 title game, which will be played on Monday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m. PT (10:00 p.m. ET) in Spokane, Wash., will be available on af2.com. Interested viewers should follow the advertisement to af2TV, download the FREE player and register your information.
NIX NEARED PLAYOFF RECEIVING YARD MARK: Tennessee Valley WR ALONZO NIX enjoyed one of the best individual receiving efforts in af2 playoff history last Saturday as the Vipers defeated Manchester, 45-35, in the American Conference Championship. The rookie receiver from Tennessee-Chattanooga was a force in the win with 10 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns. His 197 yards receiving ranks as the second-highest single game total in postseason history. Through three playoff games, Nix is the Vipers' leading receiver with 33 catches for 411 yards and five TDs. He ranked second on the team during the regular season in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,105) and receiving TDs (23).
SPOKANE NEAR SINGLE-SEASON WIN MARK: If the Shock claim victory in the ArenaCup final against Tennessee Valley on Monday, Spokane will tie the 2000 Quad City Steamwheelers for most wins in a single af2 season (including playoffs) with 19 overall.
FAVORITES MOVE ON: For the second straight season, both home teams (Tennessee Valley and Spokane) won to advance to the ArenaCup. From 2000-06 at least one home team lost in the conference finals.
af2 ALUM MARQUIS FLOYD SIGNS WITH SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: MARQUIS FLOYD, who was a standout defensive back in the af2 for the Tennessee Valley Vipers (2004) and Rio Grande Valley Dorados (2005), signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks last week and is now in their training camp vying for one of the defensive back slots on the final roster. Floyd (6-2, 192, West Georgia) has played the last three years with the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. He earned first-team All-Arena honors after placing second in the AFL with a team-high 10 interceptions. He added 15 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and 79.0 tackles while starting all 16 regular season games and leading the SaberCats to their second straight ArenaBowl championship appearance. Floyd moved up to the AFL in 2006 after a stellar sophomore campaign in the af2 in 2005 with Rio Grande Valley. That season he captured league Ironman of the Year honors after recording a team-best 101 receptions for 1,452 yards and 29 TDs with 23 rush yards and four TDs on 20 carries. He also ranked fourth in the af2 with nine interceptions and added 47.0 tackles (42 solo), 11 PBUs and two forced fumbles.
CHAVEZ NAMED IRONMAN OF THE YEAR: Manchester Wolves' WR/LB BRADLY CHAVEZ has been named the JLS Ironman of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and members of the media. Chavez, in his third af2 season and first with Manchester, captured the award that is the essence of Arena Football. The veteran led the team in receptions (86), receiving touchdowns (28), total touchdowns (33) and scoring (202) and finished third on the squad in receiving yards (1,147). Chavez averaged 13.3 yards per reception for the Wolves in 2008. He also tied for second on the club in rushing touchdowns with three. The Alabama-Birmingham alum was a big behind Manchester's 9-7 regular season and appearance in the American Conference title game. The 6-2, 205-pound standout also lined up at the Jack Linebacker position for the Wolves in 2008. On defense, Chavez led the team in fumble recoveries with three (one return TD) and finished second in tackles with 38 (34 solo, 8 asst). He also placed second on the squad in forced fumbles (3), tied for second in interceptions (2; 1 return TD) and ranked third in tackles for loss (5). Chavez, who was the only Wolves player to play in all 16 regular season contests, also recorded one sack, one safety and four pass breakups. His contributions even carried over to the kicking game as Chavez was Manchester's full-time holder on all extra point attempts. Chavez was named JLS Ironman of the Week on two occasions during the 2008 season (WK10, WK14) and was recently named to the American Conference All-af2 First Team. His most impressive outing of the season came in the Wolves' 70-63 upset victory at home against East Division rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Week 10. Chavez was a factor on both sides of the ball and made two big plays in the final minute of the game to clinch the win for Manchester. Chavez caught five passes for 86 yards on offense, including a 23-yard touchdown grab with 56 seconds to play to tie the game at 63-63. On the Pioneers' ensuing possession, Chavez intercepted a RYAN VENA pass and returned it 38 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 39 seconds left in the contest. He also added four solo tackles to his defensive totals. Chavez continued his strong two-way play in the postseason as well, catching 22 passes for 181 yards and five TDs on offense in three games played. He also recorded 7.5 total tackles and one interception on defense.
ROWLEY NAMED OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas Twisters' QB KYLE ROWLEY has been named the Schutt Offensive Player of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and media members. Rowley becomes the second league award winner from the Twisters in 2008, joining WR CHRIS DENNEY who was named the Cutters Playmaker of the Year. Rowley, a 6-0, 205-pound player out of Brown, had an outstanding season and was a primary factor in Arkansas' 11-5 regular season record and fourth playoff berth in team history. Rowley, who started all 16 games for the Twisters, finished the regular season by completing 379-of-557 passes (68.0%) for 4,393 yards and 89 touchdowns. He finished the year second in the af2 in touchdown passes, completion percentage and passing yards. Rowley, in his first season with Arkansas (fifth overall), led the league in passer rating (125.2) and finished third in total offensive touchdowns (98) and rushing touchdowns (16). Finally, Rowley was third during the regular season in passing attempts with 557 and second in passing yards per game at 274.6. Rowley took home the Schutt Offensive Player of the Week Award one time during the 2008 season, which was in Week 17. In that game, Rowley set a Twisters team record by throwing for 402 yards. He also tossed nine touchdown passes without an interception. Last week, Rowley was chosen as the National Conference All-af2 First Team quarterback, joining Denney on this year's First Team. For his career, the veteran af2 signal caller ranks among the league's all-time leaders in completion percentage (3rd - 66.7) and completions (10th - 1,138).
SYKES NAMED ADT DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Green Bay Blizzard DL JOE SYKES has been named the ADT Defensive Player of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and members of the media. This is his second league award as he was also honored recently as the Russell Athletic Lineman of the Year. Sykes made an immediate impact for the Blizzard in 2008. The rookie from Southern University was a big reason behind Green Bay's Midwest Division title and best regular season finish ever at 11-5. The 6-4, 275-pounder led the af2 in tackles for loss (22) and sacks (19.5) during the regular season. Sykes also finished first in the league in forced fumbles (8) and tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries (5). On top of that, he ranked fourth on the team with 49 total tackles (39 solo, 20 asst). He was recently named to the American Conference All-af2 First Team. Sykes keyed a menacing Blizzard defense in 2008 that led the league in sacks (55), total defense (200.2 yards per game), pass defense (178.7 yards per game), touchdowns allowed (75) and fumble return touchdowns (9). Green Bay's sack mark ranks as the second-highest single-season total in league history. Green Bay also finished tied for first overall in fumble recoveries with 25 and second in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 38.1 points per contest. Sykes continued his stellar play in the playoffs as well. He had his best overall outing of 2008 in Green Bay's dominating, 65-37, first round home win against Lexington. Sykes led a record-setting Blizzard performance with 5.5 total tackles (5 solo, 1 asst) and an af2 postseason-record five sacks. His sack total shattered the old mark of 3.5 set by former Bossier-Shreveport lineman ELEX REED in 2007. As a team, Green Bay also set a new playoff record with 10 sacks against the Horsemen, doubling the old mark of five set in 2001 by the Carolina Rhinos. Sykes, who also forced two fumbles in the victory, earned ADT Defensive Player of the Week honors for his effort. The Blizzard saw their ArenaCup hopes come to a close at home last Saturday with a 55-54 last-second loss to Manchester in the American Conference Semifinals. Despite the decision, Sykes again led Green Bay with 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He joins an impressive list of past Defensive Player of the Year winners that includes Levi Brown (Florida - 2007), Alex Wallace (Bakersfield - 2006), Dahnel Singfield (Memphis - 2005), Traco Rachel (Laredo - 2004), Kahlil Carter (Arkansas - 2003), Kelly Snell (Tennessee Valley - 2002), Earnest Certain (Tallahassee - 2001) and Cornelius Coe (Quad City - 2000).
BLANCHARD, NIX, FOLIAKI, BUGG EARN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND HONORS: Tennessee Valley wide receiver/defensive back TRAVIS BLANCHARD, Tennessee Valley wide receiver ALONZO NIX and Spokane linebacker LEE FOLIAKI have been named the JLS Ironman, Schutt Offensive Player and ADT Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for the Conference Championship Round of the 2008 af2 Playoffs. In addition to these three awards, the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for the Conference Championship Round goes to Spokane wide receiver PATRICK BUGG.
Blanchard (5-11, 185, Mississippi) had an impressive all-around effort for Tennessee Valley in the team's 45-35 home win on Saturday against Manchester in the American Conference Championship. The third-year player from Mississippi was a factor all over field as Tennessee Valley earned its first trip to the ArenaCup since 2000. On offense, Blanchard had two rushing touchdowns on seven carries and finished with 20 total yards rushing. On the defensive side, he recorded five total tackles (4 solo, 2 asst), one fumble recovery and three pass breakups. Blanchard also accumulated 26 yards on two kickoff returns. This is his second af2 Ironman of the Week honor in as many weeks and his third of the season. He was also recognized for his strong overall efforts earlier this season in Week 8. Blanchard, who recently earned a spot on the af2's All-Ironman Team, led the Vipers with 13 rushing TDs during the regular season and also accumulated 37.5 total tackles and three interceptions on defense. Nix (6-1, 185, UT-Chattanooga) had a stellar individual effort for Tennessee Valley in the team's 45-35 home win Saturday against Manchester in the American Conference Championship. The rookie receiver from Tennessee-Chattanooga was a difference maker in the victory with 10 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns. His 197 yards receiving ranks as the second-highest single game total in postseason history. This is the first time that Nix has received an af2 weekly honor in his career. Through three playoff games, Nix is the Vipers' leading receiver with 33 catches for 411 yards and five TDs. He ranked second on the team during the regular season in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,105) and receiving TDs (23). Foliaki (6-3, 245, Texas A&M) was a difference maker on defense for Spokane in the Shock's 79-49 victory Saturday night against Amarillo in the National Conference Championship. The rookie linebacker from Texas A&M made his presence felt with four total tackles (2 solo, 4 asst), two interceptions and one forced fumble. This is the first af2 weekly league honor of Foliaki's career. The Shock's designated international player had a strong campaign for Spokane in 2008, finishing the regular season third on the team in total tackles (59) and tied for third in tackles for loss (8). He also led Spokane in fumble recoveries with four. Bugg (6-5, 215, Eastern Kentucky) earned the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for his diving, 26-yard touchdown grab with 3:29 to play in the first quarter of Spokane's 79-49 home win against Amarillo on Saturday in the National Conference Championship. The victory enabled the Shock to advance to their second ArenaCup final in the team's three-year history. Bugg finished the night with two catches for 39 yards and also had a 26-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. During the regular season, the rookie from Eastern Kentucky finished third on the Shock in touchdown receptions (15) and fourth in receptions (34) and receiving yards (475).
SPOKANE TIES SCORING RECORD: The Spokane Shock tied the af2 postseason record for most points scored in a game with 83 in the team's 83-63 home victory on August 9 against Central Valley in a National Conference Semifinal affair. The Shock tied the mark first set by Memphis in 2006. The Xplorers scored 83 points in an 83-61 first round home triumph against Louisville on August 5, 2006.
2008 af2 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE & RESULTS: Sixteen teams qualified for the playoffs, eight from each conference (American and National). The eight qualifying teams in each conference consist of the three division champions and five Wild Cards, determined by best overall record. Seeding in each conference is based on overall record, with the top three seeds in each conference reserved for the division champions, regardless of record. In the First Round (August 1-3), the first three seeds in each conference are the three division winners. The next five teams are seeded by next best five overall records. Teams ranked 1-4 earn home playoff games with 1 hosting 8, 2 hosting 7, 3 hosting 6 and 4 hosting 5. In the Second Round (August 8-10), the winner of the 1-8 game plays the winner of the 4-5 game. The winner of the 2-7 game plays the winner of the 3-6 game. The home team is decided by the team with the higher seed. The winners of the Second Round will meet for the Conference Championships on the weekend of August 15-17. The team with the better overall record hosts the Conference Championship game. The winners of the Conference Championships face off in the 2008 ArenaCup on the weekend of August 22-24 at the venue of the participating team with the best overall record.
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