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af2 week two Sunday matchups

April 5, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PIONEERS (0-1) AT DAYTONA BEACH THUNDERBIRDS (0-1)

SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2008 - Ocean Center (8,000) 3:00 P.M. ET

The Pioneers hit the road for the second straight week for a Sunday afternoon affair against the first-year ThunderBirds in Daytona Beach, Fla. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is coming into Week 2 after a 48-41 loss in the team's season opener last Friday at Quad City. The Pioneers were a bit inconsistent on offense as first-year af2 quarterback ROD RUTHERFORD was adjusting to his first Arena Football experience. His final numbers included two touchdowns runs and four touchdown passes. He completed 22-of-38 passes for 267 yards. Rutherford's overall effort could've also been traced to Quad City's harassing defense which forced seven sacks and one interception. When he had time to throw, Rutherford's favorite target was WR Coco Blaylock, who led the offense with two touchdowns on nine catches and 89 yards. Barry Drakeford had a team-high four total tackles and TUTU FERGUSON recorded an interception for the Pioneers defense. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Week 1 loss dropped the Pioneers from No. 2 to No. 11 in this week's af2 coaches poll. The ThunderBirds are hoping for a better effort this week in their af2 home opener than what they showed at Lexington last Saturday. Daytona Beach struggled on offense all night and succumbed to the Horsemen, 48-12. The ThunderBirds used two quarterbacks in the contest, SCOTT JEFFERIES and rookie STEVEN MOFFETT. Both signal callers had trouble in their first outing of the season, combining to complete just 18-of-48 passes. Jefferies threw the only touchdown of the evening for Daytona Beach to WR CHRIS COACH. FB JAMES JACKSON, who finished with 19 yards rushing on six carries, scored the ThunderBirds first af2 touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter. ADBIYI OJUTIKU led Daytona Beach in tackles with 4.0 while DB GEORGE WILLIAMS had 3.0 tackles and two pass breakups. The ThunderBirds will need to be more productive on offense if they hope to keep things close with the Pioneers.

PIONEERS THUNDERBIRDS SERIES LEADER First time these teams are meeting

LAST MEETING No previous meeting

LAST FIVE GAMES 3-2 0-1

LAST GAME Lost 48-41 at Quad City on 3/28/08 Lost 48-12 at Lexington on 3/29/08

2007/08 LEADERS PIONEERS THUNDERBIRDS PASSING Rutherford: 22-38-1; 267; 4 TDs Jeffries: 9-27-0; 93; 1 TD

RECEIVING Blaylock: 9-89; 2 TDs Rutledge: 6-69; 0 TD

RUSHING Rutherford: 8-22; 2 TDs Jackson: 6-19; 1 TD

TACKLES Drakeford: 4.0 Ojutiku: 4.0

SACKS None None

INTERCEPTIONS Ferguson: 1 None

KICKING Kamphoefner: 3-5 PAT; 0-1 FG 3 PTs Adams: 0-1 PAT; 0-1 FG 0 PTs

TEAM OFFENSE 41.0 PPG; 250.0 YPG 12.0 PPG; 190.0 YPG

TEAM DEFENSE 48.0 PPG; 232.0 YPG 48.0 PPG; 157.0 YPG

FLORIDA FIRECATS (0-0) AT TEXAS COPPERHEADS (0-1)

SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2008 - Berry Center (8,231) 4:00 P.M. ET

Florida opens its 2008 season Sunday afternoon with a road show against the Texas Copperheads in Houston, Tx.

The Firecats have been the model of consistent success for the past seven years. Last year the veteran squad led by Head Coach Kevin Bouis won their fourth straight South Division title with an 11-win regular season. Division rival South Georgia, however, was Florida's Achilles heel, defeating the Firecats three times, including a 59-50 triumph in the first round of the ArenaCup playoffs. This year the team again looks defined by a core group of veterans. Familiar faces that have returned to the Firecats in 2008 are QB Chris Wallace, WR Chris McKinney and WR/DB Brent Burnside, the only af2 player to compete in the league all eight seasons. Wallace is coming off another excellent year in which he completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 4,257 yards and 85 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. McKinney caught 95 Wallace passes for 1,067 yards and 19 scores. McKinney also recorded five rushing scores, one kick return TD and a fumble return TD to finish second on the squad in scoring with 156 points. Burnside (19.5 tackles, 5 INTs, 24 catches, 6 TDs) was a strong two-way contributor. One glaring omission from this year's team is WR Magic Benton. Benton, the league's all-time leading scorer and receiver, looks to be unofficially retired at this point in time. His presence will be missed. Newcomers that should make an instant impact for Florida will be DBs Carlos Campbell and Greg Golden. Campbell comes to the Firecats from division rival Tennessee Valley where he led the Vipers with eight interceptions in 2007. Golden was also snared from a division rival. Last year with South Georgia, he recorded 36.5 tackles and four interceptions. With a solid mix of veterans and talented young players, the Firecats (No. 4 in the latest league coaches poll) could be the class of the South for a fifth consecutive season. The Copperheads enter Week 2 for their second straight home game on the heels of a humbling, 66-40, loss last Sunday to Rio Grande Valley. Texas rookie QB Rudy Carlton made his af2 debut completing 25-of-46 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns. Carlton was intercepted three times; one was returned for a Rio Grande Valley touchdown. WR Shaun Rochon emerged as Carlton's early season go-to receiver with 13 catches for 139 yards and three scores. JAMES TODD was the team's lone playmaker on defense with 6.0 tackles, one interception, one pass breakup and one forced fumble. The Copperheads will need an inspired effort on defense to stay close with the savvy Firecats.

FIRECATS COPPERHEADS SERIES LEADER Florida leads 1-0

LAST MEETING Florida won at Texas, 54-12 on 4/6/07

LAST FIVE GAMES 2-3 0-5

LAST GAME Lost 50-59 vs. South Georgia on 8/4/07 Lost 66-40 vs. Rio Grande on 3/30/08

LEADERS 2007 FIRECATS COPPERHEADS PASSING Wallace: 348-534-7; 4257; 85 TDs Carlton: 25-46-3; 286; 5 TDs

RECEIVING Benton: 117-1658; 29 TDs Rochon: 13-141; 3 TDs

RUSHING House: 63-244; 12 TDs Kennebrew: 3-19; 0 TDs

TACKLES Brown: 132.5 Todd: 6.0

SACKS Peterson: 10.0 None

INTERCEPTIONS Brown: 14 Todd: 1

KICKING Peattie: 32-38 PAT; 0-0 FG 32 PTs Gatto: 4-5 PAT; 0-2 FG; 4 PTs

TEAM OFFENSE 49.9 PPG; 287.9 YPG 40.0 PPG; 285.0 YPG

TEAM DEFENSE 37.0 PPG; 224.1 YPG 66.0 PPG; 307.0 YPG

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