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af2 week five Saturday night matchup

April 28, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Freedom Hall (15,646) 7:00 P.M. ET
After opening the 2006 season with back-to-back losses, the Louisville Fire hope to pick up their second win in a row at Freedom Hall Saturday night against the Green Bay Blizzard. The Fire are led by rookie QB BRETT DIETZ, who boasts a 110.1 passer efficiency rating, completing 68 percent of his passes. Dietz's favorite target, OS ROB MAGER, is averaging 125.7 receiving yards per game. The Fire dominated Birmingham last Friday, winning 62-40, setting three team records along the way. Dietz, who had struggled in a Week 3 loss to Manchester, scorched the Steeldogs by completing 23-of-27 passes for 281 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. His completion percentage of 85.2 set a new Fire single-game high. Dietz also broke the team record for the highest pass efficiency rating with a 158.3 performance. The Schutt Offensive Player of the Game award winner also scored a rushing touchdown. Mager caught a game-high 15 passes for a team-record 208 yards. Four of his receptions went for touchdowns. The Fire offense was red hot throughout the game, scoring touchdowns on nine out of 10 possessions. Their defense also played a big part in the win. Louisville's defense stepped up with four stops (two stops, one missed FG, one fumble) and four sacks. DEWAYNE LEFALL earned ADT Defensive Player honors with 1.5 tackles and a sack on the day. The Blizzard were not as fortunate last week. Green Bay lost their second straight home game, 44-32, against Oklahoma City. The Blizzard led at halftime, but faltered in the second half. Green Bay's veteran QB RONNIE GORDON anchored the Blizzard offense, throwing for 230 yards and four touchdowns (one rushing TD). OS RANDALL LANE, who caught nine passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, also stood out on offense. DONTRELL JACKSON (team-high 5.5 tackles) and WHITNEY BELL (1.0 sack, U.S. Army Ironman of the Game) led the defense. Gordon (106.1 passer efficiency rating, 11 TD passes, 3 rushing TDs), Lane (321 yards receiving, 8 TDs), and WR/LB ROBERT GARTH (240 yards receiving, 5 TDs) lead a well-balance offense. The Blizzard's biggest strength is their defense, which allows only 36.5 points per game (3rd in af2). They also rank among the best in the league in turnovers forced (3rd - 12) and turnover margin (+6). They'll look to continue their trend of applying pressure and forcing mistakes in an effort to win their third straight road game.

SERIES LEADER Series tied 3-3
LAST MEETING Green Bay won 56-49 at Louisville on 6/18/2005
LAST GAME Lost vs. OKC 32-44 on 4/21/2006 Won vs. BIR 62-40 on 4/21/2006
PASSING Gordon: 68-34-1; 466; 11 TDs Dietz: 100-68-2; 712; 12 TDs
RECEIVING Lane: 27-321; 8 TDs Mager: 30-377; 7 TDs
RUSHING Tyson: 5-24; 1 TDs Power: 10-20; 3 TDs
TACKLES Crocker: 19.5 Chandler: 18.5
SACKS Huyser: 1.5 Conner: 2
INTERCEPTIONS Kwaku: 2 Chandler: 2, Siykala: 2
KICKING Tydlacka: 10-13 PAT; 1-3 FG 13 PTS Hendrix: 16-18 PAT; 3-4 FG 25 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 42.2; 229.0 44.3 PPG; 247.0
TEAM DEFENSE 36.5; 224.0 41.3 PPG; 261.3

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Pepsi Arena (13,901) 7:00 P.M. ET
The Albany Conquest will try to avoid a third straight loss when the winless Quad City Steamwheelers pay a visit to the Pepsi Arena on Saturday. This is the first time in team history that the Steamwheelers have started a season 0-3. All three of those losses have come at home. Last week the expansion Stockton Lightning defeated Quad City for their first win in team history, 60-46. The game was marred by penalties (22 total for a combined 164 yards) and the ejection of Lightning head coach Richard Davis early in the third quarter. Stockton's defense keyed the Lightning win by forcing three Quad City turnovers (2 fumbles, 1 INT) and one missed field goal. One fumble stopped a Quad City drive deep in Stockton territory near the end of the first half. That preserved the Lightning's lead at the half, 20-13. Stockton scored on its first drive to start the third quarter to increase the lead to 26-13. The Lightning offense was sparkling in the second half, scoring six times to maintain their lead. Quad City QB TIM HICKS completed 24-for-33 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. WR/DB TIM DODGE led the Steamwheelers with eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. SIDNEY LEWIS paced the Steamwheelers defense with eight tackles and one fumble recovery. FB/LB JEFF MACREA earned ADT Defensive Player of the Game honors with two rushing touchdowns to go along with two tackles. Quad City's slow start has been due to too many turnovers (9) and a troubled defense that has allowed 59.0 points per game. A win this week won't be easy against Albany, a team that is fighting to stay above .500. The Conquest's most recent result was a, 59-45, road loss at Manchester. The Wolves defense held the Conquest scoreless on five different drives. Conquest QB RYAN VENA completed 28-of-47 for 298 yards and five touchdowns and two interceptions. WR/LB MANWELL TALBERT led the Albany receiving corps with 11 receptions for 107 yards and four touchdowns. ROB GREEN led the defense with 2.5 tackles and an interception. The loss was twice as painful for Albany in that GREEN and OS CHRIS BREWER (15 catches, 227 yards, 3 TDs) both suffered injuries during the game and will not play this week. Vena, one of the best af2 quarterbacks in league history, leads the league in total offense (1,206 yards - 1,181 passing, 25 rushing) and passing yards (1,181) and ranks among the af2's best in total offensive touchdowns (23 - 16 passing, 7 rushing) and rushing touchdowns (2nd - 7). This year, however, he has forced a few too many throws, which has resulted in a league-high nine interceptions. Talbert has been the team's most consistent receiver. He currently ranks second in the af2 in receptions with 30 and is among the league leaders in receiving yards (343). Defensively, the Conquest are much improved. They lead the league in takeaways with 15 and in interceptions with eight. Rookie DS SHAWN MURRAY is tied for league-high honors with four interceptions.

SERIES LEADER Quad City leads 1-0
LAST MEETING Quad City won 62-50 on 6/18/2005
LAST GAME Lost vs. STO 46-60 on 4/22/2006 Lost at MAN 45-59 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Hicks: 108-72-4; 816; 12 TDs Vena: 154-93-9; 1181; 16 TDs
RECEIVING Dodge: 21-227; 4 TDs Talbert: 30-343; 5 TDs
RUSHING Macrea: 3-12; 2 TD Vena: 20-25; 7 TDs
TACKLES Lewis: 17 McBride: 16
SACKS Lobendahn: 0.5, Wilson: 0.5 Parris: 2, Ward: 2
INTERCEPTIONS Horne: 1 Murray: 4
KICKING Naehu: 6-14 PAT; 0-3 FG 6 PTS Cirrincione: 22-26; 1-3 FG 25 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 41.3 PPG; 270.0 48.8 PPG; 305.2
TEAM DEFENSE 59.0 PPG; 246.3 44.8 PPG; 232.5

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Verizon Wireless Arena (9,650) 7:30 P.M. ET
Two familiar foes square off this week when the undefeated Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers visit the one-loss Manchester Wolves. The Pioneers stayed perfect with a 36-33 win over South Georgia last Friday. This week they moved up to No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. Veteran Pioneers DS MATT FORBES played a critical part in the W-B/Scranton defensive effort for the second consecutive week. His recovery of a missed field goal in the end zone gave the Pioneers a 36-23 fourth quarter lead. They withstood a late South Georgia rally to hold on for the win. The game was an intense affair that got heated at one point during the third quarter. Following a South Georgia score and missed extra point, flags were thrown and a scuffle began near the Pioneers bench. The scuffle quickly escalated until the officials and coaching staffs restored order. Six players in all, three from each team, were ejected as a result of the altercation. The Pioneers lost three of their lineman, TYRE YOUNG, DAVID BARNARD and ROB MCMACKIN, which left KEITH GLOVER and JAMES DAVIS to play every remaining snap of the game. Rookie QB MIKE GRANIERI was honored as the Schutt Offensive Player of the Game (19-of-37, 196 yards passing, 2 TDs). JAMIE HATTLEY was awarded the ADT Defensive Player of the Game with six tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception. DOUG HARDING was named U.S. Army Ironman of the Game (2.5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble). This year the Pioneers have relied on a strong defense to go with an efficient offense. W-B/Scranton ranks fifth in the league in scoring defense, allowing less than 40 points per game (39.3). The team is comprised of a strong mixture of veterans and talented rookies. One rookie who has made his mark so far in 2006 is WR/DB YAACOV YISRAEL. Yisrael's playmaking ability has been evident in the early going. He currently leads the team in receiving (17 catches, 232 yards) and in tackles (22.5). Another rookie making a name for himself has been Granieri, who this week is returning to the state where he played his college football. The former University of New Hampshire signal caller has been a nice surprise for Pioneers Head Coach RICH INGOLD, throwing for 721 yards and 13 touchdowns with four interceptions. Manchester began the season with a sub-par home effort against Green Bay, but since then the team's effort has improved dramatically. In the Wolves recent home win against Albany, OS STEVE GONZALEZ was nearly unstoppable, hauling in 11 passes for 96 yards and five touchdowns. Gonzalez also collected 127 yards on five kick returns, including his first kickoff return for a touchdown this season, a 56-yard second quarter score. Manchester's defense was also stingy in the win, holding the Conquest scoreless on five different drives. DS WILLIAM HAITH made 12 tackles, one shy of his franchise record. The Wolves defense also recorded its first three sacks of the season. QB KYLE ROWLEY, starting for the second straight game, completed 19-of-23 passes for 150 yards and six touchdowns. The Wolves will need another efficient effort out of Rowley to stay with W-B/Scranton. Manchester's defense should keep things close. The Wolves are currently ranked No. 7 in the Coaches Poll.

SERIES LEADER W-B/Scranton leads 6-5
LAST MEETING Manchester won 63-36 on 7/8/2005
LAST GAME Won vs. SGW 36-33 on 4/21/2006 Won vs. MAN 59-45 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Granieri: 107-60-4; 721; 13 TDs Rowley: 67-43-4; 349; 10 TDs
RECEIVING Yisrael: 17-232; 1 TDs Gonzalez: 24-255; 8 TDs
RUSHING Jefferson: 17-32; 3 TDs Kimner: 8-25; 3 TD
TACKLES Yisrael: 22.5 Haith: 22.5
SACKS Harding: 2 Kimener: 1, Forney: 1
INTERCEPTIONS Forbes: 3 Sebastien: 3
KICKING Davis: 15-18 PAT; 1-5 FG 18 PTS Russell: 7-11 PAT; 0-2 FG 7 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 45.3 PPG; 245.0 44.0 PPG; 212.0
TEAM DEFENSE 39.3 PPG; 248.0 42.3 PPG; 240.0

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Albany Civic Center (8,034) 7:30 P.M. ET
The Steeldogs look to hit the .500 mark against a wounded but dangerous South Georgia squad that is searching for its first win of 2006. Birmingham struggled last week in a 62-40 road loss to the Louisville Fire. Louisville rookie QB Brett Dietz shredded the Birmingham defense by throwing for 281 yards and six touchdowns on 23-of-27 passes. His completion percentage of 85.2 set a new Fire single-game high. Dietz also broke the team record for the highest pass efficiency rating with a 158.3 performance. Louisville's defense also stepped up with four stops (two stops, one missed fg, one fumble) and four sacks. Steeldogs rookie QB RYAN HAWK performed well despite the outcome, throwing for a game-high 355 yards and five touchdowns. OS KERRY WRIGHT continued his strong early season as well, catching six passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. Birmingham FB/LB TERRELL BROWDEN earned US Army Ironman of the Game honors with a solid overall showing that included 4.5 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, and one rushing touchdown. Head Coach RON SELESKY has built a young but talented team that Steeldogs fans can cheer about. They nearly beat Rio Grande Valley at home two weeks ago, losing in overtime by just one point, 44-43. Overall, Birmingham will continue to rely on their combination of Hawk and Wright to make plays. Hawk has thrown 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Wright has been one of the most dangerous all-around offensive weapons this year. He currently ranks second in the league in scoring with 60 points on 10 total touchdowns (9 receiving, 1 kick return). He also ranks third in yards per catch (19.0) and fourth in receiving yards (380). DAVID DANIEL (3.0 tackles for loss) and BOBBY KEYES (14.0 tackles, 2 INTs) provide the playmaking skills on defense. South Georgia seems primed for a win, but it won't come without a fight. Last week they proved they are willing to do that if need be. The Wildcats lost a tough, 36-33, decision to the W-B/Scranton Pioneers. South Georgia rallied late in the fourth quarter but ran out of time. The game was an intense affair that got heated at one point during the third quarter. Following a South Georgia score and missed extra point, flags were thrown and a scuffle began near the Pioneers bench. The scuffle quickly escalated until the officials and coaching staffs restored order. Six players in all, three from each team, were ejected as a result of the altercation. The Wildcats had the ball in their possession with only 53 seconds left on their own 6-yard line. After South Georgia picked up a first down with 16 seconds to go, rookie QB DONDRIAL PINKINS spiked the ball to stop the clock, but a 10-second runoff due to a penalty left the Wildcats with just six seconds left. Pinkins' final heave hit the scoreboard and fell to the ground to end the game. South Georgia's best offensive weapon is OS CHRIS MCKINNEY. McKinney leads the team in scoring (36 points) and receiving (23 catches, 229 yards, 4 TDs). DS BLAKE SAUNDERS leads the team in interceptions with two.

SERIES LEADER South Georgia leads 2-1
LAST MEETING Birmingham won 23-20 at South Georgia on 7/16/2005
LAST GAME Lost at WBS 33-36 on 4/21/2006 Lost at LOU 62-40 on 4/21/2006
PASSING Hawk: 108-54-2; 774; 13 TDs Baker: 47-25-3; 228; 2 TDs
RECEIVING Wright: 20-380; 9 TDs McKinney: 23-229; 4 TDs
RUSHING Browden: 10-46; 2 TDs Pinkins: 14-36; 1 TDs
TACKLES Harris: 17.5 McCoy: 24.5
SACKS 3 tied with 1 Null: 2
INTERCEPTIONS Keyes: 2 Saunders: 2
KICKING Walls: 7-12 PAT; 1-5 FG 10 PTS Burnett: 5-7 PAT; 2-3 FG 11 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 41.3 PPG; 281.3 35.7 PPG; 151.3
TEAM DEFENSE 47.3 PPG; 283.3 46.7 PPG; 225.0

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - CenturyTel Center (12,500) 8:00 P.M. ET
The Florida Firecats enter this week's game at Bossier-Shreveport with a lot of confidence. Last week the Firecats scored an impressive, 60-55, come-from-behind win against the defending ArenaCup champion Memphis Xplorers. Florida was down at one point in the contest, 26-0, before rallying for the victory. Schutt Offensive Player of the Game honors went to OS MAGIC BENTON, who caught five touchdowns to lead the Firecats. The teams traded touchdowns down the stretch until Florida WR/LB ETHENIC SANDS came up with an interception of a Brian Jones pass in the endzone with 1:59 remaining in the game. WR/DB BRENT BURNSIDE scored the game-winner for the Firecats on a 23-yard reception with just 18 seconds to play. Benton leads the league in scoring with 70 points (11 TDs, 2 2-pt conversions). The veteran also leads the league in receiving touchdowns (11) and receiving yards per game (131.7) and ranks third in total receiving yards (395). Veteran QB CHRIS WALLACE has also started the season strong, throwing 20 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He's also averaging 303.0 passing yards per game. FB/LB CLENTON CROSSLEY ranks second in the af2 in rushing yards with 73. While Florida's offense has been surging, the Firecats defense has been a little sluggish. They currently rank near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, allowing 57.7 points per game. Their opponent, Bossier-Shreveport, has struggled in the early season. Their low point came last week as the Tulsa Talons defeated the Battle Wings, 72-3. BRIAN HAZELWOOD kicked a 24-yard field goal with 8:39 left to provide the Battle Wings 3-point total, which tied for the second lowest total in an af2 game. Tulsa's defense seemed to be everywhere. They tied a franchise record with five interceptions and sacked Bossier-Shreveport QB J.J. RATERINK eight times, tying the fifth-highest game total in league history. WR/DB TERRELL SUTTON had a game-high 10 catches for the Battle Wings. He also recorded 4.0 tackles and two pass breakups on defense. Despite Bossier-Shreveport's recent result, the Firecats will not look past the Battle Wings. That's because last season the Firecats were upset by Bossier-Shreveport in their only meeting, 28-22, in Week 7. The loss was significant for Florida because their team only lost twice during the 2005 regular season to finish with the league's best record at 14-2. The Firecats also won the South Division title before eventually falling in the American Conference Championship game to the Louisville Fire. Bossier-Shreveport, in comparison, went on to win only one more time in 2005, finishing 3-13.

SERIES LEADER Series tied 1-1
LAST MEETING Bossier won 28-22 on 5/14/2005
LAST GAME Won vs. MEM 60-55 on 4/22/2006 Lost at TUL 3-72 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Wallace: 114-74-2; 909; 20 TDs Raterink: 113-62-9; 549; 6 TDs
RECEIVING Benton: 28-395; 11 TDs Sutton: 19-170; 1 TDs
RUSHING Crossley: 11-73; 1 TDs Raterink: 6-8; 1 TDs
TACKLES Sorrell: 19 Patterson: 16
SACKS Fisher: 3 Green: 1, Reed: 1
INTERCEPTIONS 3 tied with 1 Johnson: 1
KICKING Kornblue: 9-16 PAT; 0-2 FG 9 PTS Hazelwood: 8-910PAT; 3-10 FG 18 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 53.0 PPG; 329.0 24.0 PPG; 159.7
TEAM DEFENSE 57.7 PPG; 294.0 63.3 PPG; 346.3

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Ford Center (17,884) 8:00 P.M. ET
In what has quickly become an intense af2 rivalry, the winless Amarillo Dusters travel to Oklahoma City to take on the unbeaten Yard Dawgz. The Dusters played their best game of the young season last week in a narrow, 66-62, loss to the Spokane Shock. Spokane turned two Amarillo turnovers into 14 points and that proved to be the difference. Amarilllo QB STEVE PANELLA played his best game so far, completing 16-of-27 passes for 194 yards and five touchdowns and no interceptions. He was under constant pressure, however, and was sacked four times. Dusters FB/LB MICHAEL BROUSSARD was named U.S. Army Ironman of the Game for his strong two-way play, which included four tackles on defense and two rushing touchdowns on offense. Amarillo (0-3) did enjoy an early 14-0 lead and held a 35-33 advantage at halftime. This week the Dusters defense will need to step up and make some stops to stay competitive. So far they've had trouble in that department, yielding over 61 points per game to their opposition (61.7). It won't be an easy task either, as the Yard Dawgz have a potent offense. On the bright side, Panella has thrown 11 touchdowns this year without an interception and the Amarillo rushing attack ranks tied for fifth in the league in touchdowns with seven. Oklahoma City returns home this week after picking up a solid road win against Green Bay, 44-32. With the win, the Yard Dawgz (3-0) improved their ranking in the Coaches Poll to No. 2 overall. After falling behind early, Oklahoma City rallied when it counted. Trailing 18-13 at the half, the Yard Dawgz looked like a new team coming out of the half and outscored Green Bay 21-6 in the third quarter. Oklahoma City's three scores came on two touchdowns from WR/DB JARRAIL JACKSON and one from WR/DB AL HUNT. Jackson finished the night with five receptions for 59 yards and three touchdowns. Hunt had a solid all-around showing which included four receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown on offense, and three tackles and three pass breakups on defense. WR/DB ANTHONY DINGLE led all receivers with 10 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Veteran QB CRAIG STRICKLAND played another strong game, throwing for 248 yards and six touchdowns. In three games, Strickland has thrown 21 touchdowns without an interception. He simply just doesn't make many mistakes. Oklahoma City's offense averages 55.0 points per game, while their defense allows just 42.0 ppg. OLIVER FLETCHER leads the squad in tackles with 21 and is tied for the team lead in interceptions with one. Two weeks ago these same two teams met in Amarillo with the Yard Dawgz claiming a 61-44 victory. Last time these two teams played in Oklahoma City was in the first round of the 2005 ArenaCup playoffs. Amarillo won that game in a mild upset, 59-56.

SERIES LEADER Oklahoma City leads 3-1
LAST MEETING Oklahoma City won 61-44 at Amarillo on 4/15/2006
LAST GAME Lost vs. SPO 62-66 on 4/22/2006 Won at GBB 44-32 on 4/21/2006
PASSING Panella: 112-54-0; 672; 11 TDs Strickland: 90-61-0; 824; 21 TDs
RECEIVING Richey: 15-209; 3 TD Dingle: 18-208; 3 TDsHunt: 17-326; 6 TDs
RUSHING McGinnis: 6-42; 2 TDs Hunt: 2-9; 0 TD
TACKLES Mingo: 13 Fletcher: 21
SACKS NA Tolbert: 1
INTERCEPTIONS Mingo: 1, Rouanzoin: 1 Fletcher: 1, Holland: 1
KICKING Felton: 15-16 PAT; 1-3 FG 18 PTS Haglund: 19-23 PAT; 2-4 FG 25 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 42.0 PPG; 242.7 55.0 PPG; 274.3
TEAM DEFENSE 61.7 PPG; 309.0 42.0 PPG; 298.3

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Tulsa Convention Center (7,111) 8:00 P.M. ET
After an early lopsided loss at Central Valley, the Rio Grande Valley Dorados have won three games in a row. They face a familiar foe in Tulsa. Three weeks ago these same Midwest Division teams met in Texas. Rio Grande Valley defeated the Talons in convincing fashion, 75-40, thanks to an impressive second half in which the Dorados outscored Tulsa 34-6. Rio's most recent result was another impressive victory. Last Saturday night the Dorados knocked off the previously undefeated Arkansas Twisters, 57-55, at home at Dodge Arena. Rio Grande Valley's CURTIS JETER blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by David Carlton with two seconds remaining in regulation to clinch the victory. Dorados WR/DB and Schutt Offensive Player of the Game DWIGHT COUNTER caught the winning touchdown with 57 seconds remaining. He finished with 12 catches for 148 yards and three scores. Rio Grande Valley FB/LB PIERRE THOMAS rushed for a touchdown and made two tackles in his U.S. Army Ironman of the Game effort. The ADT Defensive Player of the Game was DS BRENT WITHERS, who had two interceptions and four tackles. Rio Grande Valley signal caller JOSH KELLETT threw for 345 yards and six touchdowns. WR/DB MEL LONG was also a big factor for the Dorados with seven receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Kellett ranks third in the league in touchdown passes (22) and total offensive touchdowns (24). Counter is Kellett's main target and ranks among the league leaders in receiving with 34 catches for 406 yards and seven touchdowns. Rio Grande Valley's offense scores a lot (52.5 ppg), but its defense allows a lot of scores (50.8 ppg). If the Dorados defense plays well, they always have a great chance to win. Tulsa looks to be a different team than the one that was shut down in the second half against Rio Grande Valley on April 8. Last week the Talons were very impressive, dominant even, in their 72-3 home victory over the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings. Tulsa's win was the most lopsided in franchise history. The Battle Wings' three points scored tied for the second lowest total in an af2 game. Tulsa's defense was crippling. The Talons tied a franchise record by intercepting five passes and sacked Bossier-Shreveport QB J.J. Raterink eight times, tying the fifth-highest game total in league history. CHAZ MURPHY had a team-high 2.5 sacks. Talons QB MARK RADLINSKI was almost flawless in his third start at quarterback, completing 14-of-18 passes for 233 yards and five TDs. He also ran 21 yards for a first-quarter score. WR/DB STEPHEN BATTLE had four catches for 114 yards and three touchdowns to earn Schutt Offensive Player of the Game honors. Tulsa totaled 379 yards of offense, the second-highest total in franchise history. The Talons lead the league in turnover margin at +7. They've forced 10 turnovers (5 fumbles, 5 INTs) and given up only three (1 fumble, 2 INTs) in their three games. This should be an entertaining game.

SERIES LEADER Tulsa leads 4-3
LAST MEETING RIO GRANDE won 75-40 vs. Tulsa on 4/8/2006
LAST GAME Won vs. ARK 57-55 on 4/22/2006 Won vs. BSB 72-3 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Kellett: 169-99-5; 1123; 22 TDs Radlinski: 91-59-2; 725; 15 TDs
RECEIVING Counter: 34-406; 7 TDs McGee: 18-175; 3 TDs
RUSHING Brody: 4-18; 0 TDs Radlinski: 6-18; 2 TDs
TACKLES Withers: 27.5 Sadler: 17.5
SACKS Jeter: 1, Agee: 1 Murphy: 4.5
INTERCEPTIONS Withers: 2 Cannings: 2, Wimberly: 2
KICKING Bell: 22-29 PAT; 2-5 FG 28 PTS Phillips: 18-23 PAT; 0-4 FG 18 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 52.5 PPG; 277.0 52.7 PPG; 291.0
TEAM DEFENSE 50.8 PPG; 218.0 34.0 PPG; 184.0

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - ALLTEL Arena (16,058) 8:00 P.M. ET
The Tennessee Valley Vipers travel to Arkansas this Saturday to take on an old foe that they may call a friend in the Twisters. That's because in seven all-time meetings from 2000-04, the Vipers have defeated Arkansas all seven times. With a new year comes a new challenge, however, and this Twister team is much improved over years past. Tennessee Valley has struggled a bit in their re-entry to the af2 after a year off. The Vipers most recent result was a close encounter at home against the Macon Knights. Macon spoiled a stellar night by Viper WR/DB TERRENCE JEFFERSON with a 58-55 last-minute win. Jefferson (U.S. Army Ironman of the Game) scored on two 57-yard kickoff returns, two pass receptions (6 and 18 yards) and a 1-yard run. Macon offset Jefferson's heroics with the tandem of FB/LB Derrick Lloyd (10 carries, 44 yards, 4 TDs) and WR/DB James Hickenbotham (12 catches, 177 yards, 3 TDs). Tennessee Valley led at one point in the first half, 28-10, and held an 11-point halftime edge (35-24). The Knights, however, outscored the home team 20-7 in the third period to enter the fourth quarter with their first lead, 44-42. The final period of play was back-and-forth all the way up until Hickenbotham's 18-yard game-winning touchdown catch with just 15 seconds left in the game. Jamaal Garman intercepted Tennessee Valley QB ROGER LINN in the final seconds to preserve the win. Viper Head Coach CHRIS WILLIAMS decided to make a chance this week and has re-assigned Linn in favor of rookie RYAN SCHNEIDER. Schneider, who started the season on injured reserve, has thrown just eight passes so far in 2006. He'll try and jump-start a slumping Tennessee Valley offense that has averaged just 39.8 points per game. Their opponent this week, the Arkansas Twisters, are coming off their first loss of 2006. Last week the Twisters had a potential game-winning field goal blocked in the final seconds to help the Rio Grande Valley Dorados hold on at home, 57-55. QB WALTER CHURCH paced the Arkansas offense with 288 yards passing and eight touchdowns with two interceptions. It was the third time in four games in which Church tossed eight touchdowns. He leads the af2 in touchdown passes with 30. WR/DB JON SCHOONOVER led the Twisters receiving corps against Rio Grande Valley with six catches for 100 yards and four touchdowns. Arkansas' offense is very strong, as evidenced by their 59.0 points per game average which ranks tied for first in the league. Church has a ton of weapons to throw to, including Schoonover and other veterans such as WR/DB LENNIE JOHNSON and WR/DB KEVIN WILLIAMS. Both Johnson and Williams are two of the all-time greats in the af2. Each rank among the league's all-time best in scoring and touchdowns. The Twister defense may be just as hard to handle. This year they are tied for the league lead in sacks with 13 and rank in the top 10 in scoring defense, allowing just 42.5 points per game.

SERIES LEADER Tennessee Valley leads 7-0
LAST MEETING Tennessee Valley won 36-23 on 6/5/2004
LAST GAME Lost at MAC 55-58 on 4/22/2006 Lost at RGV 55-57 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Linn: 122-71-5; 743; 9 TDs Church: 123-83-6; 1099; 30
RECEIVING Day: 21-216; 2 TD Williams: 23-314; 6 TDs
RUSHING Turner: 3-15; 2 TD Alford: 4-31; 1 TD
TACKLES Robinson: 17.5 Mitchell-Hughey: 20.5
SACKS Gibbs: 3 McClain: 5.5
INTERCEPTIONS Robinson: 2 Watson: 5
KICKING Lee: 15-22 PAT; 0-8 FG 15 PTS Carlton: 12-15 PAT; 0-4 FG 12 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 39.8 PPG; 197.5 5.0 PPG; 286.5
TEAM DEFENSE 52.8 PPG; 282.8 42.5 PPG; 297.2

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2006 - Stockton Arena (10,117) 10:30 P.M. ET
After three straight road games to kickoff their franchise's existence, the Stockton Lighting come home to face the Bakersfield Blitz in the first-ever Arena Football game in the city of Stockton. Last Saturday as the Blitz were enjoying their bye week, the Lightning were taking care of business in Moline, Ill., defeating the Quad City Steamwheelers, 60-46, to earn their first win in franchise history. The Blitz sit at 2-1 with their only defeat being a heartbreaking, 49-45, loss to Spokane in Week 2. The quarterback battle is a competition between two former Tulsa Talons signal callers. Bakersfield quarterback MICHAEL WALL played seven games for the Talons in 2004, throwing 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions before being traded to Memphis midseason. Stockton quarterback JOSH BLANKENSHIP suited up for Tulsa last season, setting a team record for touchdown passes in a season with 89. Now this former Talon looks to grab the first home victory in Stockton history. While Stockton may be an expansion team, Blankenship isn't the only key contributor with af2 experience. Both GEORGE WILLIAMS and KENYATTE MORGAN have been on AFL rosters and have six combined seasons of af2 experience. Williams leads the team with seven touchdown catches while Morgan and PHIL GOODMAN are tied for second with three. On defense, JEROME DENNIS leads the team in tackles, recording 10.5 last week against Quad City along with an interception. Blankenship threw seven touchdown passes in the win over the Steamwheelers. The Bakersfield receiving corps is comprised of veterans as well. Blitz mainstay RENNA REYNOLDS leads the team with eight touchdown catches while two-way threats DERONN FINLEY and ERIC MAHANKE have both racked up 150 receiving yards. On defense, Finley leads the team in tackles with 14.5 and is tied for the team lead in interceptions with two. While an additional rival nearby is always welcome news for Bakersfield, the Blitz should also be pleased to know that like fellow new addition Spokane, the Lightning have full endzones at Stockton Arena. The extra room should give both quarterbacks the fade routes near the goalline.

LAST GAME Won at CVC 38-28 on 4/15/2006 Won at QCS 55-48 on 4/22/2006
PASSING Wall: 97-59-2; 669; 14 TDs Blankenship: 130-70-3; 798; 18 TDs
RECEIVING Reynolds: 20-277; 8 TDs Williams: 25-358; 7 TDs
RUSHING Onaindia: 11-54; 2 TDs Bowers: 6-22; 1 TD
TACKLES Finley: 14.5 Dennis: 19
SACKS Turner: 2 Griffin: 1, Bolden: 1
INTERCEPTIONS Finley: 2, Wallace: 2 Dennis: 1, Newson: 1
KICKING Barrett: 14-21 PAT; 1-5 FG 17 PTS Groshelle: 9-13 PAT; 1-3 FG 12 PTS
TEAM OFFENSE 47.7 PPG; 249.3 50.0 PPG; 266.0
TEAM DEFENSE 43.7 PPG; 253.3 49.0 PPG; 225.0

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