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ArenaBowl XVII Preview

June 16, 2003 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Hawaiian Islanders News Release

HONOLULU – The Arena Football League will come to a conclusion this Sunday as the Arizona Rattlers and the Tampa Bay Storm take the field at the St. Pete Times Forum for ArenaBowl XVII.

Tampa Bay, by virtue of being the higher seed, will be the home team. The Storm upended in-state rival, Orlando, 60-50, last week to seal their spot in ArenaBowlXVII. The Rattlers, the sixth seed, surprised top-seeded San Jose, 66-49, to punch their ticket to Tampa.

Arizona leads the AFL in scoring offense (68.3 ppg) as well as scoring defense (46.0 ppg) during the playoffs. Tampa Bay gives up 49.0 ppg, while scoring 56.0 ppg over the playoffs.

Tampa Bay is led by quarterback John Kaleo. Through two playoff games, Kaleo has completed 57 percent of his passes for 575 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. His counterpart, Sherdrick Bonner, through three games, has completed 63 percent of his passes for 786 yards, 18 touchdowns and just one interception.

His favorite target will be Randy Gatewood, who has 14 receptions for 271 yards with five touchdowns throughout the playoffs. Orahawa Bryant also has 19 receptions for 187 yards and five touchdowns in the postseason for the Rattlers. Freddie Solomon leads the Storm receivers. He has posted 11 receptions for 177 yards and five touchdowns through two playoff games.

Hamin Milligan leads the Rattlers on defense, while Omarr Smith fills that role for Tampa Bay.

The Storm and head coach Tim Marcum will be after their fourth ArenaBowl title, while the Rattlers, under head coach Danny White, will be after their third - their first since ArenaBowl XI in 1997. Arizona lost to San Jose last year in ArenaBowl XVI, 52-14. Tampa Bay's last ArenaBowl appearance was in 1998, when they fell to Orlando, 31-62.

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Sunday morning and will be televised nationwide on NBC (KHNL News 8).

The Hawaiian Islanders (8-3) travel San Diego this Saturday to face the San Diego Riptide (4-7) in a key Western Division game. Kick off is scheduled for 4 p.m. HST and can be heard live on KUMU2 AM 1500 or on the Internet at www.hawaiianislanders.com.

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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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