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Austin Wranglers game notes

February 15, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release


The Austin Wranglers-Grand Rapids game will be broadcast on AFLNet. AFLNet offers fans the most comprehensive online coverage of the Arena Football League. AFLNet membership allows access to Live Broadcast Video Streaming of AFL games, weekly highlights and recaps for each AFL Game, including the Game of the Week and archived games. Watch AFL games, meet the players, and get behind-the-scenes interviews with players and coaches and audio streaming of This Week in the AFL.

Austin Wranglers football games can be heard on AM 1300 The Zone. The Austin Wranglers-Grand Rapids Rampage coverage will be provided by veteran radio sportscaster Kent Koen calling play-by-play and Austin Wranglers General Manager and former NFL player Glyn Milburn handling the color announcing. Head Coach Skip Foster will analyze the game and take phone calls on The Zone 1300 AM with Bucky Godbolt Monday night, 7-8 p.m. The player’s perspective can be heard with Aaron Humphrey on “Hump Day” with Bucky and Erin at 6:40 a.m. every Wednesday morning on the Buck on Sports on AM 1300 The Zone.


Week Date Opponent Time/Results
1 Sunday, Jan. 30 PHILADELPHIA SOUL L 35-66
2 Sunday, Feb. 6 @ Tampa Bay Storm L 45-62
3 Friday, Feb 11 LOS ANGELES AVENGERS L 55-64
4 Saturday , Feb. 19 @ Grand Rapids 6:30 p.m.
5 Friday, Feb. 25 GEORGIA FORCE 7:30 p.m.
6 Friday, March 4 @ Las Vegas 9:00 p.m.
7 Sunday, March 13 DALLAS DESPERADOS 3:00 p.m.
8 Saturday, March 19 NEW YORK DRAGONS 7:30 p.m.
9 Friday March 25 @ Orlando Predators 6:30 p.m.
10 Friday, April 1 NEW ORLEANS VOODOO 7:30 p.m.
11 Friday, April 8 @ Georgia Force 6:30 p.m.
12 Sunday, April 17 TAMPA BAY STORM 12:00 p.m.
13 Friday, April 22 @ Arizona Rattlers 9:00 p.m.
14 Saturday, April 30 @ Columbus Destroyers 6:00 p.m.
15 Saturday, May 7 ORLANDO PREDATORS 7:30 p.m.
16 Saturday, May 14 @ New Orleans Voodoo 7:30 p.m.
17 BYE

All game times and locations are subject to change

Wranglers Defensive Stops

Stops on 4th down 1
Stops in Red Zone 1
Interceptions 4
Fumble Recoveries 3
Field Goals 6
End of Half Stops 3
Safeties 0
Total Stops on the Season 19
Average Stops/Game 6.33


AUSTIN— Wranglers quarterback John Fitzgerald, in his first start, was nearly equally impressive throwing five touchdowns and yielding one pick. Austin led 24-23 going into the half, but a series of turnovers on special teams ultimately led to another Wrangler defeat 64-51. LA QB John Kaleo finished 17-27 with five touchdowns and no interceptions. In a matter of minutes into the third quarter, Los Angeles put a quick 17 points on the board. Avenger OL/DL Bernard Riley snagged a ball in mid-air off a tricky bounce that gave Los Angeles a comfortable three possession margin. They never looked back. Los Angeles hosts San Jose next Sunday while the Austin Wranglers continue to search for their first win on the year as they travel to Grand Rapids for next Saturday’s game.


GRAND RAPIDS—The Austin Wranglers snapped their first-ever two-game losing streak and left Grand Rapids with a much-needed win over the Rampage, 40-27. The Wranglers offense only scored 40 points and posted 263 yards in their victory, but the defense dominated holding Grand Rapids to only 12 first downs and 27 points, with only one touchdown scored in the second half. Kicker Tony Dodson took the field with three seconds left in the half to score a 44-yard field goal and extend the Wranglers lead going into intermission, 26-20. In the first drive of the second half the Wranglers offense stalled, but the defense stepped with OL/DL Ramon Richardson forcing a fumble that was recovered by WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini. A 46-yard field goal attempt by Tony Dodson was blocked, but the Wranglers defense locked down and held the Rampage to a field goal attempt that sailed wide left. After a scoreless third quarter, the Wranglers offense heated up, scoring two touchdowns in the final period and successfully burned the clock when the defense forced the Rampage to turn the ball over on downs and the Wranglers took over with a minute and a half remaining.

2005 Stat Comparison
Games Played 3 2
First Downs 58 38
Total Yards Gained 920 599
Average/Game 306.7 299.5
Net Rushing Yards 56 139
Average/Game 18 69.5
Net Passing Yards 864 460
Average/Game 288 460
Kickoff Returns 18 9
Average Yards/Return 15.1 23.3
Time of Possession 31:25 32.55
Touchdowns 19 12
Points Scored 131 94


· 40.0 total sacks
· 175.5 total tackles
· 78 receptions
· 819 receiving yards
· 415 receptions
· 92 receiving touchdowns
· 7,032 all-purpose yards
· 21 interceptions
· 324 tackles
· 40 games played
· 86 yards rushing
· 7,439 yards passing
· 121 passing touchdowns
· 620 pass completions
· 21 receiving touchdowns
· 1,188 receiving yards
· 80 receptions
· 1,665 all-purpose yards
· 3.0 total sacks
· 5.0 total tackles for loss
· 4 forced fumbles
· 19.5 total tackles

· 4.0 total sacks
· 6.0 total tackles for loss
· 5 forced fumbles
· 23 total tackles
· 125.5 tackles
· 4 interceptions
· 25 breakups
· 549.5 total tackles
· 467 solo tackles
· 81 breakups



OL/DL Tom Briggs
As the anchor to the line, Briggs has been a consistent threat to quarterbacks every week. In three weeks of play, he has accumulated 7.5 tackles, one fumble recovery and one sack for a loss of five yards, his 40th of his career. He is ranked in the AFL’s top ten for sacks in the season and continues to be a test for offensive lines throughout the league.

QB John Fitzgerald
In his debut as starting quarterback, Fitzgerald posted the Wranglers best passing game so far this season. His 26 completions on 40 attempts from 366 yards with a long pass of 36 yards and five touchdowns were the most for a Wrangler this season. His 366 yards ranks third in the league in single game passing yards and his passer rating ranks in the top ten. In Week Two, he completed 23 of 28 passes for 234 yards and six touchdowns.

OS David Hill
In his first start for the Wranglers, Hill made an amazing impact on offense. His seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns led the team in all-purpose yards. This performance put him in the top ten in the league for most receiving yards in a game and posted three Wranglers single-game bests for 2005.


QB Michael Bishop
The second game of his second season Bishop shattered AFL records and became the first player to ever rush for more than 100 yards in a single game. On six rush attempts, he ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He added 20 completions on 39 passing attempts for 258 yards and four touchdowns.

DS Cecil Doggette
This AFL veteran in his 11th season is leading the Rampage in tackles this season with nine total tackles, eight solo, and three passes defensed. Prior to this season, Doggette has 102 AFL games under his belt and has accumulated 471 total tackles, 399 solos, 138 passes defensed, 28 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries.

Derin Graham
In his fourth AFL season, Derin Graham is making a huge impact on the Rampage special teams. In only two games, he has returned two kick offs for touchdowns. In Week One against Arizona, he had four kickoff returns for 138 yards, a long of 56 yards, and two touchdowns. His career kickoff numbers include 22 returns for 510 yards and two touchdowns.

ADT Defensive US Army
Offensive Player of the Game Player of the Game Ironman of the Game
Wranglers vs. Philadelphia OS Steve Smith (PHI) WR/DB Arkee Thompson (PHI) WR/LB Sean Scott (PHI)
Wranglers @ Tampa Bay WR/DB Clif Dell (TBS) DS Jonathan Ordway (TBS) WR/LB Lawrence Samuels (TBS)
Wranglers vs. Los Angeles QB John Kaleo (LAA) FB/LB Michale Spicer (LAA) K Remy Hamilton (LAA)


Head Coach Skip Foster is entering his second AFL season with the Austin Wranglers. Foster, deemed the second most winning coach in arenafootball2 history with a 44-10 record including an ArenaCup Championship, will again act as the Wranglers offensive coordinator in addition to carrying the head coaching duties. After finishing the team’s 2004 debut season with a commendable 8-8 record, Foster has built a 2005 team that will take the Wranglers to an ArenaBowl championship. In the team’s inaugural season performance, Foster’s offense scored 104 touchdowns, an average of 47.8 points per game, led the AFL in total offense for five weeks and remained one of the League’s top three total offenses for a total of fifteen weeks in 2004. The Wranglers offensive unit gained more than 300 yards in five different performances and had two 200+ receiving-yard games for AFL All-Rookie Tacoma Fontaine. Quarterback John Kaleo posted career-highs in attempts with 565 and completions with 352. Kaleo passed for more than 4,000 yards for his second consecutive season bringing his career total to 26,077 passing yards. Fontaine and veteran WR/DB Charlie Davidson led the Wranglers receivers combining for 1,959 of the teams 4,045 yards receiving and 37 of the team’s 82 receiving touchdowns. Prior to joining the Wranglers, Foster served as the head coach for the 2003 af2-Champion Tulsa Talons. Foster led the team to a 13-3 regular season record while accumulating 3,995 yards in total offense, 3,679 yards passing and 316 yards rushing. This offensive effort also concluded with Tulsa outscoring their opponents 823-690 in regular season play. The Talons totaled 745 yards in offense and outscored their postseason opponents 179-130 on their way to winning the 2003 ArenaCup. Foster made history in Tulsa as he became the only af2 coach to go undefeated at home over three consecutive regular seasons. Foster compiled a record of 82-39-2 at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas before moving to arena football. Foster coached the Red Ravens to six conference championships during his 12 seasons as the head coach. In 1990, Foster led Coffeyville to a national championship and an undefeated season. He was selected as Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Coach of the Year in both 1990 and 1991. After serving as an assistant to his father, Dick Foster, for four seasons at Coffeyville, Skip took over the head coaching duties where Dick won a national championship in 1983. They are the only father/son pair in the National Junior College Athletic Association to win a national championship at the same school. Skip played football for his father from 1979-1980 at Coffeyville.


Sparky McEwen became the Grand Rapids Rampage’s fourth head coach in team history on August 13, 2004. He was the Rampage’s offensive coordinator during the team’s best three years on the field (2001-03), which included winning ArenaBowl XV in his first season. During those three years, the Rampage’s offense scored more points and gained more yards and points than any other team in the AFL. For 2004, McEwen was the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for the Okalahoma City Yard Dawgz of arenafootball2. The Yard Dawgz (10-6) finished with the af2’s second-best scoring team (56.8 points per game), the third-best offensive unit (276.8 yards per game) and third-ranked passing offense (260.8 yards per game) in the 25-team league. His starting quarterback, Craig Strickland, led the af2 in passing touchdowns (84) and finished fifth in passing yards. All told, McEwen’s offenses have scored more points and averaged more total offensive yards in the past four seasons than any other offensive coordinator in the AFL/af2. McEwen was a quarterback on the Rampage’s inaugural 1998 season. He appeared in five games and had a 2-1 record as starting quarterback with 477 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and six rushing scores. McEwen was the starting quarterback for Ferris State University in Big Rapids from 1987-90. During his eight years as head coach of his high school alma mater (Creston), McEwen posted a 43-30 record, including a 42-10 record over the last five seasons. Creston won back-to-back City League titles in 2000 & 2001 and posted the teams first winning season since 1978 in 1999. The team posted winning seasons the last four years and made the state playoffs in each of those seasons. In all, he helped nearly 50 players receive collegiate football scholarships. Following his playing days, McEwen started scouting for the NFL, XFL and the Big Ten Conference for the Rampage. He and his wife, Janelle, have three children: Charles ("Little Sparky"), A.J. and Ja'nae.

Keep on Moving
The Wranglers had their first lead going into the half with a 24-23 lead. The Wranglers three touchdowns were the most scored by the Wranglers in the first half so far this season. The Wranglers offense moved the ball effectively in the middle of the field, accumulating 374 yards of offense. The offensive unit also generated third-down conversions on six of 10 attempts and one fourth-down conversion in two attempts. The Wranglers also scored three out of four times when they entered the red zone.

Making an Impact
The Wranglers passing offense is second in the AFL after Week Three. Veteran AFL quarterback John Fitzgerald in his first Wranglers start accumulated 366 yards passing and led the offense to 51 points, the most the Wranglers have put on the board so far this season. Fitzgerald has found success in connecting with several reserve receivers:

- Reserve WR/DB Kevin Nickerson had his third consecutive game with at least one touchdown. Nickerson is tied for the AFL’s 12th leading scorer and one of two rookies ranked in the top 12. Nickerson has caught a total of 12 passes so far this season; six have been touchdowns.

- Reserve WR/LB Ira Gooch made two touchdown receptions against Los Angeles on his way to a 108-yard receiving game.

- OS David Hill started his first game as a Wrangler after spending the first two games of the season on injured reserve. His first performance included seven receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Ground Protection
The Wranglers must be ready for the Grand Rapids’ rushing game. QB Michael Bishop set an all-time AFL record in their last outing, rushing for 100 yards. In just two games, Grand Rapids has managed to maintain the second-most rushing yards in the league with 139 yards. The Wranglers have held their opponents to an average of 23.3 rushing yards per game with a 3.0 average rush.

Opening up the Game.
Over the past three weeks, the Wranglers have accumulated the third-best passing offense in the AFL, averaging 288 yards per game with an overall completion percentage of 61.6 for a total of 864 yards and 15 passing touchdowns. Against Los Angeles, Wranglers QB John Fitzgerald opened up the Wranglers passing game finally adding the dunk to the short passes the Wranglers have shown for the first two games. Fitzgerald completed 11 of his 26 completions for more than 10 yards; five passes were over 30 yards, four of those were for touchdowns.

Finding Opportunities
The Grand Rapids Rampage have allowed three sacks on QB Michael Bishop so far this season. With the deepest pass-rush threat in the AFL, the Wranglers defensive ends should have a big game against the inconsistent protection offered by the Rampage line.

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