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Admirals Travel to Berlin to Try to Keep Thunder Winless

May 1, 2003 - National Football League Europa (NFLE) - Amsterdam Admirals News Release

Improved play against the previously undefeated Frankfurt Galaxy earned the Admirals their first home win and league honors as well. With an impressive showing against a strong defense, quarterback Shaun Hill was awarded the Offensive Player of the Week title for Week 4.

The Admirals venture to Berlin this weekend, hoping to continue their winning ways and also continuing the Thunder’s unsuccessful search for victory. This week’s match-up will pair Amsterdam’s forceful defense that has accumulated a league-leading 13 sacks, against a Berlin offensive line that has allowed a league-high 18 sacks.

Also interesting will be the success of the Amsterdam running game. The Admirals are the highest passing team in the league with 105 completions, but they are playing a team this week that has allowed an average of 230.8 yards per game on the ground. Berlin ranks at the bottom of the league in both rushing defense and overall defense, allowing an average of 439.3 yards total offense per game.

Both teams understand the importance of this week’s contest. Berlin is trying to stop their losing streak before it eats up half of their season. Amsterdam is trying to stay competitive in the tight race for first place in the league.

Quarterback Shaun Hill impressed the league last week, earning him Offensive Player of the Week honors. He also impressed head coach Bart Andrus.

“I think Shaun (Hill) played a good game for us,” Andrus volunteered. “He made the right choices at the right time. Anytime you have a quarterback with two touchdowns and no turnovers, it’s going to be in your favor.

LAST WEEK: DRAMATIC VICTORY AT HOME Last week’s game held important implications for the Admirals and the team showed its character through improved play and more consistency. With a win against the Frankfurt Galaxy, Amsterdam put themselves only a game out of first place, rather than a long three games back, if they had succumbed to the Galaxy. It was not an easy win for them, and it didn’t come until the final minutes.

After falling behind 0-6 in the first quarter, the Admirals started the second quarter with a bang. To start the second quarter, Admirals defensive lineman Jonathan Brown sacked Galaxy quarterback James Brown twice on one possession, forcing Frankfurt to punt. The momentum that the defense had gained carried over to the offense and on a huge 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shaun Hill to wide receiver Justin Skaggs, the Admirals put their first points on the board.

Amsterdam continued to roll when on the ensuing kick-off linebacker Josh Hotchkiss forced a fumble on the return and wide receiver Travis Williams came up with the ball. The offense was forced to punt, but then got the ball back when cornerback Fred Booker got his first interception of the season. The Admirals were unable to capitalize on the turnovers but the defense held strong, keeping the score at halftime 7-6.

The third quarter saw no score for the Admirals, and they let their small lead slip away with a 26-yard Frankfurt field goal. But Amsterdam did not take long to answer back and regain the lead. On the first play of the fourth quarter, National kicker Silvio Diliberto, who ended his streak of successful attempts with a miss earlier in the game, put one through the uprights from 24 yards out, giving the Admirals a 10-9 lead.

In the final quarter, the Galaxy scored a touchdown and the Admirals had to settle with a field goal, so the home team was down by three with just over two and a half minutes to play. The offense moved the ball efficiently, Hill completed six of seven passes, including a 12-yard toss to wide receiver Matthew Hatchette in the end zone to put the Admirals up 20-16 with under a minute to play.

The defense held strong and forced the Galaxy to attempt a 53-yard field goal which sailed wide left with three seconds left in the game, insuring the Admirals victory.

TEAM NOTES

· League-leading tackler S Than Merrill was moved to Injured Reserve status this week. In an effort to bring in depth to the defensive backfield, CB Keon Moore was brought in from the Scottish Claymores. · Continuing the trend of players getting filtered through Amsterdam. LB Pernell Griffin who Amsterdam recently brought in, was picked up by the Frankfurt Galaxy. · Defensive end Jonathan Brown, who currently leads the Admirals with 3.5 sacks, spent the 2000 season with the Thunder, earning co-defensive MVP honors for the year.

PROFILE

FRED BOOKER: JUST GETTING STARTED

CORNERBACK GETS HIS FIRST INTERCEPTION OF YEAR

In last week’s win against Frankfurt, cornerback Fred Booker had his first interception of the season, and only the Admiral’s second pick of the year. Booker is starting to make a name for himself on this Amsterdam defense, but he’ll tell you himself, it hasn’t always been that way.

In last week’s win against Frankfurt, cornerback Fred Booker had his first interception of the season, and only the Admiral’s second pick of the year. Booker is starting to make a name for himself on this Amsterdam defense, but he’ll tell you himself, it hasn’t always been that way.

“When I came into camp it was kind of rough,” admitted Booker. “I didn’t even think the coaches knew my name, much less who I was. But after a few practices I made my mark and started moving up from there.”

Booker entered camp as a free agent and was a last minute addition to the roster. He joined the Admirals from the Arena Football League, trying to help himself get into the NFL. Booker is pleased with how he’s moved up this season, but he is not finished with his work. He has more goals at hand.

“Now my goal is to be one of the top corners in this league,” Booker revealed. “I want to try to break the record for interceptions.”

He is on his way with his first one and according to the man himself; the first one is always the most difficult.

“It was more like a sigh of relief,” Booker said. “You’re trying to get that burn off your shoulder. Once you get that first one, they start coming, but it’s always hard to get that first one.”

On the play right before his pick, teammate Jordan Younger, the only other Admiral to get an interception this season, reminded Booker that it was his time to get one. Booker felt that the timing was ironic, and he was happy to show Younger that he was right.

Every defensive back wants to get as many interceptions as he can, but Booker explained what goes through his mind when he sees the ball coming towards him.

“It’s so fast,” he explained. “When you see it in the air, your instinct is to go for it, but most of the time you don’t get it. I was in great position so I was able to pick it off.”

Although he would have liked to score with it, Booker realized that he didn’t have the proper blocking in front of him and took the ball to the sidelines. He acknowledges that defensive players are not as equipped to handle the ball as their offensive counterparts.

“I just wanted to make sure that retained possession of the ball,” Booker recalled. “Being a defensive guy, you don’t practice tucking the ball away much so you could easily lose it and that’s worse than not picking it off at all.”

Now, Booker and the rest of the Admirals travel to Berlin to face a Thunder team that has yet to feel victory this year. Booker is not worried about the team getting overconfident. He realizes that in this case, records can be deceiving.

“I think a team that’s winless is more dangerous than a team that’s won all its games,” said Booker. “When a team wins all its games, they can get complacent and its easy to sneak up on them and get a win. But when a team is 0-4, the whole week they’re doing everything they can to overcome that. Nobody wants to be a loser. I know that if we were 0-4 everybody would be trying to rally to get something started.”

This Sunday is a chance for Booker and the rest of the Admirals to show the world that they do not need a winless record to get fired up to play.

INJURY REPORT

OUT: TE Taman Bryant (knee) (IR), QB David Rivers (knee) (IR), S Than Merrill (knee) (IR)

DOUBTFUL:

QUESTIONABLE:

PROBABLE: DT Maurice Anderson (wrist)

TELEVISION

Sunday’s contest will be broadcast in the United States on DirectTV live at 10 am EST. In the broadcast booth with play-by-play announcer ARI WOLFE is former San Francisco 49ers and current Oakland Raiders defensive lineman DANA STUBBLEFIELD.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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