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af2 Saturday Night Matchups

July 3, 2003 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

RICHMOND SPEED (5-7) AT NORFOLK NIGHTHAWKS (6-6)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - NORFOLK SCOPE ARENA (8,965) 7:00 P.M. ET

The Nighthawks hope to put the brakes on the Speed as they host Richmond for the teams' second meeting this season. The teams met back in Week 5 of the season in which the Speed handled Norfolk 39-33. Richmond quarterback ROY JOHNSON put on a wonderful performance, throwing 21-for-27 for 210 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 32 yards and two touchdowns as well. He connected with offensive specialist DAMON THOMPSON for all three of those touchdowns, and Thompson received fourteen passes for 152 yards. Norfolk also looked strong offensively due to the play of quarterback AARON SPARROW, who threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another. Both teams fought hard defensively, as Speed defensive specialist DENNIS DASHANE recorded seven tackles and Norfolk's CHRIS STAHL recorded six. Both teams are 1-4 in their last five games and hope to bounce back from their tough losses last week. Richmond matches up pretty evenly with the Nighthawks on offense, but Norfolk is tenth in the league in defensive points per game. This game is crucial to both teams as it is a battle in the competitive American Atlantic Division. This is the final meeting of the regular season between these teams.

BOSSIER CITY BATTLE WINGS (3-10) AT MOHEGAN WOLVES (8-4)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - MOHEGAN SUN ARENA (7,700) 7:30 P.M. ET

The Mohegan Wolves host the Bossier City Battle Wings for the teams' first and only meeting this season. Both teams hope to bounce back from their tough losses last week, with the Battle Wings coming up short at home and the Wolves having their four-game winning streak snapped in Albany. Mohegan has been very strong on defense with their 36.8 average defensive points per game, which makes them first in the league, but Bossier City's defensive specialist CHRIS SAMSON leads the af2 in tackles with 75.0. Mohegan has been sparked by the play of LAJOHN JONES, who is fourth in the league in rushing and averages 13.9 yards per carry. The Wolves have been quite strong while playing at home, while Bossier City has yet to win a road game this season. The Battle Wings hope to win to catch up to the Memphis Xplorers in the National Central Division, while Mohegan is determined to intensify their battle with the Albany Conquest as they sit just two games behind them in the American Northeast Division.

COLUMBUS WARDOGS (3-9) AT MACON KNIGHTS (7-5)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - MACON COLISEUM (7,182) 7:30 P.M. ET

The Columbus Wardogs travel to Macon to take on the Knights for the teams' second meeting this season. In their previous meeting on May 10th, Macon came to Columbus and conquered them by a score of 49-17. The Knights' offensive specialist JACQUES RUMPH put on an impressive performance, catching seven passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Macon's DENARIO SMALLS surely came to play on defense as he recorded six solo tackles, an interception, and three pass deflections. However, Columbus' DENNIS SKAINS answered right back on defense by recording six solo tackles of his own. Macon has been quite strong at home this season, losing only one of their games while the Wardogs have yet to win a road game this season. This game is crucial to both teams as it is a battle in the competitive American South Division. The Knights hope to break a tie for second place with the Florida Firecats and stay in position for a Wild Card, while the Wardogs look to play the role of spoiler against their in-state rivals. Macon has been very strong offensively, as it ranks in the top ten in both offensive points and yards per game. However, Columbus is strong as it ranks third in the league in defensive yards per game. This is the final meeting of the regular season between these teams.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PIONEERS (5-7) AT ALBANY CONQUEST (10-2)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - PEPSI ARENA (13,901) 7:30 P.M. ET

The Pioneers travel to Albany with the hope of stopping the Conquest for the teams' second meeting this season. Albany traveled to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton back in Week 6 of the season, and the Conquest earned a victory as they defeated the Pioneers 68-49. Albany quarterback RYAN VENA put on a strong performance as he went 28-for-32 for 285 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for another. He connected with three different receivers on his eight touchdown passes. Conquest defensive specialist JOHN STUART stopped the Pioneers as he recorded 6.5 tackles, 0.5 tackles for a loss, and one pass deflection. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton quarterback CHRIS BODEN also battled throughout the game as he threw for 251 yards and 5 touchdowns. Both teams are 4-1 in their last five games and are coming off impressive victories last week. Albany has yet to lose at home this season, but the Pioneers have won their last two games. This game is a battle in the American Northeast Division, with the Conquest on top and the Pioneers just games back of the Mohegan Wolves, looking to sneak into the final Wild Card spot. The teams will meet again next week for the final time this regular season as the Conquest travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

FLORIDA FIRECATS (7-5) AT CAPE FEAR WILDCATS (8-4)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - CUMBERLAND COUNTY CROWN COLISEUM (8,920) 7:30 P.M. ET

It will be a battle between the Cats as the Firecats travel to Cape Fear to take on the Wildcats for the teams' second meeting this season. The Wildcats made a trip to Florida on May 31st in which they handled the Firecats by a score of 45-31. Cape Fear's WILMONT PERRY put on an impressive performance in that game as he rushed for 53 yards and four touchdowns. Florida's quarterback KEN MASTROLE truly did put up a strong fight as he completed 17-of-28 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. Firecats' defensive specialist ROY STABLER threatened Cape Fear's offense throughout the game as he recorded 8.0 tackles, half a tackle for a loss, and forced a fumble. This proves to be a competitive offensive-defensive battle as Cape Fear is explosive on offense but the Firecats are just as capable on defense. Cape Fear has lost its last two games but is quite strong at home, but they cannot consider it a true advantage as the Firecats have lost only one road game this season. Florida hopes to break a tie for second place with the Macon Knights in the American South Division, while Cape Fear fights to stay at the top of the American Atlantic. This is the final meeting of the regular season between these teams.

GREENSBORO PROWLERS (5-7) AT CHARLESTON SWAMP FOXES (6-6)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 - NORTH CHARLESTON COLISEUM (10,150) 7:30 P.M. ET

Charleston hosts the Greensboro Prowlers as the teams meet for the second time this season. The Swamp Foxes traveled to Greensboro on May 30th in which they ended up just short, as Greensboro was victorious with a 60-53 win. Offensive MVP of the Game BOBBY SIPPIO put on an outstanding performance as he caught two touchdown passes and returned four kickoffs for 118 yards and one touchdown. Sippio also added 2.5 tackles. Swamp Fox quarterback JOHN TURMAN put on a strong offensive performance as he threw for 268 yards and five touchdowns to four different receivers. Both teams are hoping to carry their momentum earned from their thrilling victories last week, and they are pretty evenly matched on offense. This game is an important battle in the American Atlantic Division. The Swamp Foxes are looking to break a tie with the Norfolk Nighthawks for second place as the Prowlers are looking to do the same for third place with the Richmond Speed. This is the final meeting of the regular season between these teams, and it proves to be extremely vital as the American Atlantic Division standings and Wild Card picture can change dramatically.

BIRMINGHAM STEELDOGS (6-6) AT ARKANSAS TWISTERS (7-5)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -ALLTEL ARENA (16,058) 8:00 P.M. ET

The Birmingham Steeldogs travel to Arkansas to take on the Twisters for the first of two meetings this season. Both teams are 3-2 in their last five games, but the Twisters are coming off a thrilling 45-29 victory versus Tulsa last week. On the other hand, the Steeldogs hope to bounce back from their crushing two-point loss to the Tennessee Valley Vipers last week. The Steeldogs must look out for defensive specialist KAHLIL CARTER, who ranks among the best in the af2 with his nine interceptions this season. However, Birmingham has found a star in WILLIAM MAYES who has recorded 7.0 sacks this season. This game is crucial to both teams as Birmingham looks to stay in the Wild Card chase and Arkansas reaches for Tulsa atop the Central Division. The Twisters are just a few games back of the Tulsa Talons in the National Central Division, while Birmingham is in a tight battle with Macon and Florida in the American South. The teams will face off again in the final week of the regular season.

LOUISVILLE FIRE (3-10) AT PEORIA PIRATES (4-8)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -PEORIA CIVIC CENTER (9,772) 8:00 P.M. ET

The Peoria Pirates return home to host the Louisville Fire in the second meeting between the clubs this season. Louisville took the first game of the series 54-50 back on April 25. Since then the Fire has gone 1-8 while the Pirates have gone 3-5. Both teams are still mathematically alive in the wildcard chase, but a loss all but ends those hopes. Peoria QB CHARLIE PETERSON will miss this game so TROY EDWARDS will get his first start. WR/DB JACK WALKER continues to lead af2 in scoring, but the race has tightened up. Louisville's ARKEE THOMPSON is af2's all-time leader in interceptions and he has eight picks this season. Peoria can go 4-1 at home with a win, while the Fire hope to end their road woes. In interesting feature to this game is CHARLES SHEFFIELD, who this week was let go by Peoria and picked by Louisville. Sheffield has been with the Pirates for the past season and a half, but now faces them on the opposite side of the ball. This is the final meeting between these two teams this season.

TENNESSEE VALLEY VIPERS (12-0) AT MEMPHIS XPLORERS (5-7)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -DESOTO CIVIC CENTER (8,444) 8:00 P.M. ET

The Vipers look to stay undefeated as they travel to DeSoto County to face the Xplorers. Memphis has won four of its last six, including the last two straight, as they try to stay in the Wild Card hunt. The Xplorers basically control their own destiny with regard to the postseason, because if they win out the rest of the regular season, they are in. Bakersfield could also finish the season 9-7, but the Xplorers hold the tie-breaker in that instance. Tennessee Valley, on the other hand, is playing for perfection. They already clinched a playoff berth and the South Division title. They have also guaranteed a first-round bye in the playoffs. All that is left is the chase for history. QB MATT SAUK will probably eclipse 70 touchdowns this week and he is already over 3,000 yards passing. QB ROD ROBINSON will get the nod for Memphis, as he looks to crack 50 touchdowns for the season. Tennessee Valley and Memphis both boast tough defenses, as they rank three and five, respectively, in points allowed this season. The Vipers' WES STEPHENS has tallied 9.5 sacks this season. Memphis is 3-3 at home this season, but dropped its last home game to Birmingham two weeks ago. This is the first and only meeting between these teams this season.

QUAD CITY STEAMWHEELERS (10-2) AT GREEN BAY BLIZZARD (2-10)
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -THE RESCH CENTER (8,327) 8:30 P.M. ET

An intriguing matchup unfolds in Green Bay this week as the streaking Steamwheelers face the suddenly explosive Blizzard for the second time this season. Quad City has won 10 straight games and clinched the Midwest title. Green Bay is playing for pride at this point, and what better satisfaction than to knock off the division champs. Green Bay handled division foe Louisville 68-34 last week, and played well with the Steamwheelers on May 16. In that game, a 64-55 decision in favor of Quad City, the Blizzard to go away until the final few minutes when Quad City added two late scores to seal the win. QB TONY ZIMMERMAN is still on pace to break the all-time for touchdown passes in a season. He needs 86 total, or he needs to average 4.5 a game for the rest of the season. WR/DB TIM DODGE can become the third Steamwheeler to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards this season, if he gets 122 more yards. Green Bay QB RAMON ROBINSON is looking to break the 2,000-yard passing plateau this week. He has found a valuable offensive weapon in ROBERT GARTH, who has 15 TDs in 10 games. If Green Bay wins, they would be the only team from the Midwest Division to have beaten the Steamwheelers this season. Quad City only has one Midwest foe remaining this season when they face Peoria in the final week of the regular season.

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