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Austin Wranglers game notes

March 1, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

March 4, 2005, 9:00 p.m. CT., Thomas & Mack Center (16,606)


This week’s Austin Wranglers game will be streamed live on AFLNet. AFLNet is a premium feature accessed on the AFL’s official website, AFLNet offers fans the most comprehensive online coverage of the AFL. Members can access 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.

The Austin Wranglers-Las Vegas Gladiator football game can be heard on AM 1300 The Zone on Saturday, March 5 at 11 a.m CT. Austin Wranglers road 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 Friday’s game and take phone calls on The Zone 1300 AM with Bucky Godbolt on Tuesday, March 8, 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 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 W 73-61
5 Friday, Feb. 25 GEORGIA FORCE L 63-66
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 2
Stops in Red Zone 1
Interceptions 6
Fumble Recoveries 4
Field Goals 7
End of Half Stops 3
Safeties 0
Total Stops on the Season 25
Average Stops/Game 5


AUSTIN—The Austin Wranglers fell to the Georgia Force, 66-63, after the teams traded scores for the first three quarters of play. Wranglers QB John Fitzgerald completed 22-34 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns with one costly interception. The Georgia Force lost starting quarterback Jim Kubiak (10-12, 119 yards, 1 TD) after he went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter. Matt Nagy backed him up with a 257-yard performance on 19 completions of 25 attempts and one interception. After Georgia took the ball down the field on their first drive, the Wranglers answered with a 33- yard pass from Fitzgerald to WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini. The Wranglers wrapped up the first quarter with a 1-yard rush by FB/LB Henry Bryant, but trailed going into the second quarter, 14-13. Austin kept the score tight after WR/DB Kevin Nickerson ate up the field on a quick slant that turned into a 45-yard Wranglers touchdown. After another Georgia score, Nickerson reeled in his second touchdown of the night. The Wranglers 2-point conversion attempt resulted in an illegal defense called on the Georgia Force. On the repeat down, Fitzgerald ran the ball in on the left corner of the end zone tying the game with one minute left in the first half. Georgia fired the final touchdown of the half leaving the score 35-28 at intermission. To begin the second half, the Wranglers held on to the ball for a 8-play, 5:16 drive that was littered with short passes to WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini who came up with an 8-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35. Once again Georgia found a way to score with Nagy completing a 12-yard pass to WR/LB Derek Lee for his third touchdown of the game. Chiaverini picked up a crucial first down on third-and-21 to set up Nickerson’s third touchdown of the night, a five yard run that tied the game at 42. Georgia’s next drive ended in a 42-yard cross-route to OS Troy Bergeron but the extra point was missed and the door was open for Austin to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Bryant rushed for his second touchdown on the night and Tony Dodson connected on the PAT, after the Force was penalized for a personal foul on a botched Wranglers snap, which gave the Wranglers the lead 49-48. The Wranglers made the first defensive stop of the game with less than seven minutes left in the game when WR/LB Ira Gooch intercepted a Nagy pass after it rebounded off the nets. Fitzgerald led the team on a quick 2-play drive capped off with WR/DB Charlie Davidson’s first touchdown of the season. The Wranglers took the lead with 6:03 left to go in the game until Georgia came up with their own interception on Austin’s next drive and converted for a touchdown. Fitzgerald led the Wranglers down the field and Bryant rushed for his third touchdown of the game, tying the score at 63 with 11 seconds remaining. The Force ran two plays before Kicker Nelson Garner connected on a 49-yard field goal for the win.

Big Plays

Wranglers vs. Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s 2nd Half Stand
Despite a competitive 1st half, the Wranglers were held to only one TD in each 3rd and 4th quarter. The Soul’s offense went on to take a commanding lead as they scored 21 points in the 4th quarter.

Wranglers @ Tampa Bay
Pesavento’s 1st Quarter Injury
After throwing an incomplete pass, Pesavento was hit by Storm LB Nyle Wiren, causing Pesavento to leave the game.
Fitzgerald’s Interception
On the Wranglers first drive of the 2nd quarter, QB John Fitzgerald was intercepted by Storm DS Jonathan Ordway. The interception was returned 49 yards for a Storm touchdown.

Wranglers vs. Los Angeles
Special Teams End Zone Bounce
Following a Storm kickoff to the Wranglers end zone, the ball took an unfortunate bounce off of the uprights and landed on the two-yard line and landed in the arms of Bernard Riley as he ran it in for a Storm TD.

Wranglers @ Grand Rapids
Walker’s End Zone Interception
Cedric Walkers 3rd quarter end zone interception helped to build momentum for the Wranglers going into the 4th quarter. The Wranglers went on to out score the Rampage 25-20 in the 4th to earn their first win of the season.

Wranglers vs. Georgia
Gooch’s Interception
After an impressive 32 yard return by Georgia, Wranglers LB, Ira Gooch stepped in and intercepted Matt Nagy’s pass on the Austin 4- yard line. Gooch would return the ball 21 yards to set up a Wranglers touchdown to put them on top 56-48 in the 4th quarter.
Nelson Garner Field Goal
Georgia Kicker Nelson Garner capped off the Force win with a 49-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game.

A Closer Look

Leading Scorers
Kevin Nickerson 7th in league
1 carry, 11 rec, 12 TDs
Henry Bryant 25th in league
5 carries, 1 rec, 6 TDs
Yards Per Catch
Kevin Nickerson 13th in the league
16.3 yards per catch
Darrin Chiaverini 27th in the league
9.7 yards per catch
Passer Rating
John Fitzgerald 3rd in the league, 118.0

Touchdown Percentage Rating
John Fitzgerald 3rd in the league, 16.2%

Wranglers are 2nd in the league with 12 total take-aways and several players are ranked in the AFL for their defensive performances.

Interceptions Made
Kelvin Hunter – tied for 6th; 2 for 20 yards
Darrin Chiaverini -- tied 21st; 1 for 9 yards
Charlie Davidson – tied for 21st; 1 for 0 yards
Ira Gooch – tied for 21st; 1 for 21 yards
Cedric Walker – tied for 21st; 1 for 0 yards

Fumble Recoveries
Angel Rubio – tied for 5th; 2
Tom Briggs – tied for 17th; 1
Darrin Chiaverini– tied for 17th; 1
Kelvin Hunter– tied for 17th; 1
Cedric Walker– tied for 17th; 1
Tony Dodson – tied for 17th; 1
Bryan Henderson – tied for 17th; 1

Forced Fumbles
Aaron Humphrey – tied for 2nd; 2

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 Michael Spicer (LAA) K Remy Hamilton (LAA)
Wranglers @ Grand Rapids QB Michael Bishop (GRR) DS Cedric Walker (AUS) WR/DB Kevin Nickerson (AUS)
Wranglers vs. Georgia Matt Nagy (GEO) Kevin Gaines (GEO) Troy Bergeron (GEO)


• 40.0 total sacks
• 177 total tackles

• 90 receptions
• 967 receiving yards

• 417 receptions
• 93 receiving touchdowns
• 7,074 all-purpose yards
• 21 interceptions
• 328.5 tackles

• 42 games played
• 89 yards rushing
• 8,009 yards passing
• 132 passing touchdowns
• 657 pass completions

• 22 receiving touchdowns
• 1,318 receiving yards
• 87 receptions
• 1,912 all-purpose yards

• 3.0 total sacks
• 5.0 total tackles for loss
• 4 forced fumbles
• 21 total tackles

• 4.0 total sacks
• 6.0 total tackles for loss
• 6 forced fumbles
• 28.5 total tackles

• 131.5 tackles
• 4 interceptions
• 27 breakups

• 11 receiving touchdowns
• 390 receiving yards
• 24 receptions

• 564 total tackles
• 480 solo tackles
• 82 breakups



WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini
In his second AFL season, Chiaverini is establishing himself as a dominant two-way player. Last week, he led the Wranglers in receiving and all-purpose yards with nine catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. In the third quarter against Georgia, he caught a 30-yard pass on third-and-21 that gave the Wranglers a much needed first down. He ranks in the top 20 in the league in receptions and top 30 in reception yardage and yards from scrimmage.

QB John Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald has stepped into the starting position and has led the Wranglers offense to the third-most productive unit in the AFL. He ranks third among quarterbacks in the League and holds the AFL single game high for longest pass (49 yards). Last week against Georgia, he completed 22 of 34 attempts for 300 yards and five touchdowns in his second game of the season with at least 300 yards passing. His efforts on the field have led the Wranglers to a third place ranking in total yards per game, passing yards per game, and passing yards per play.

WR/LB Ira Gooch
Gooch, an offensive specialist by trade, has established himself as a defensive threat for the Wranglers. He has made big plays that have been turning points for the Wranglers this season. Last week against Georgia, he intercepted a pass off the net and returned it 21 yards, the longest interception return for the Wranglers this season. He has also made many contributions on offense, changing the pace of the game; he has caught 10 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns in only three contests.


WR/LB Coco Blalock
Blalock had an all around solid game against Nashville and received Army Ironman of the Game honors. Offensively, he caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown and returned three kickoffs for 38 yards as he led the team in all-purpose yards. He also added 3.5 tackles on defense. He ranks 12th in the league in all-purpose yards and in the top 50 in scoring, rushing and receiving.

FB/LB Frank Carter
Carter is a threat to any quarterback in the AFL. He has a commanding lead in the league in sacks this season with seven. He also currently holds this seasons’ AFL single game high for most sacks with three. Last week against Nashville he accumulated two sacks for a loss of 13 yards as well as 4.5 tackles, four solo.

OS Marcus Nash
Already this season, Nash has three games with at least 100 yards receiving. Among the AFL rankings, he is fourth in receiving yards and yards from scrimmage, eighth in the league in receptions, and he is tied for 25th in scoring. Last week against Nashville, he led the Gladiators in receptions and receiving yards as he caught eight passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns.


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.


Ron James enters his first season as the head coach of the Gladiators. He spent the previous three seasons as assistant head coach/offensive defensive line/special teams coach. James previously served as line coach for the Houston Thunder Bears and Director of Player Personnel from 1999-2001. He is entering his seventh season in the Arena Football League. Prior to his time in the AFL, James served as the Assistant Football coach, offensive line coach and Admissions Support Officer at Army in 1998 and 1999. Army captured two Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) rushing titles during his stint, averaging more than 257 yards per game.

James spent five seasons at Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he served as associate head coach for the final four years. James began his stay at Kentucky Wesleyan in 1993 as offensive coordinator in addition he managed the offensive line. In 1994, James was promoted to associate head coach at Kentucky Wesleyan and added defensive coordinator/secondary coach to his repertoire. James coached a combined fourteen years at the collegiate level. In 1992-93, he served as defensive coordinator/secondary coach at Hartwick College. From 1989-1991, James was defensive coordinator/linebacker coach at St. Lawrence University. He began his coaching career in 1986 as a linebacker coach at Siena College (New York) and served as head coach of the junior varsity team. James was a four-year starter at offensive tackle at Siena College. An N.C.F.A All-America First Team and two-time First-Team All-Conference selection, James also saw action at defensive tackle. He earned a BA from Siena and a MPA from Rockefeller College, which is a subsidiary of the State University of New York at Albany. Born on April 28, 1964, James is a native of Albany, New York, James is married to wife, Lynn and son Brady live in Henderson, NV. He is a member of the National Association of Strength and Conditioning Coaches and a member of the American Football Coaches Association.


The New-Style Shootout
The Wranglers and the Georgia Force swapped scores throughout last week’s game with only two defensive stops the entire game. Between the two teams there were 18 touchdowns and one field goal that combined for 129 points scored. The key to the game was managing the clock and having the ball on the game’s final possession. With the score tied at 63, the Force took over on the final possession of the game with only 11 seconds left on the board. With two seconds on the clock, Georgia Kicker Nelson Garner connected on a 49-yard field goal.

Overall scope
The Wranglers are now 1-4 for the season, 0-2 in Southern Division play. The Southern Division is the home of three of the four 4-1 teams in the AFL after Week Five. With the new 2005 playoff structure, playoff qualifiers will be division winners and teams with the second-best division record. The Southern Division is also the only 5-team division in the AFL, increasing the challenge for the Wranglers. However, the Wranglers still have eight division contests ahead of them and have the opportunity to improve their odds of getting in the playoffs if they are able to use their improvement to win against Southern Division opponents.

The Wranglers have been penalized 51 times for 288 yards so far this season and have lost an average of 57.6 yards per game to penalties. The Las Vegas Gladiators have lost the most yards to penalties than any other team in the AFL. On 58 flags against them, 399 yards have been taken away from the Gladiators. In their Week Four contest against the Georgia Force, Las Vegas and Georgia combined for 34 penalties in one game, an AFL record. The Wranglers and Georgia combined for 30 penalties in their Week Five contest which also broke the previous AFL record of 21.

Week Opponent AUS Penalties/Yards Opp. Penalties/Yards Wranglers 1st Opp 1st
1 vs. PHI 9-44 7-55 1 1
2 @ TBS 13-81 10-69 4 3
3 vs. LAA 7-40 8-37 0 3
4 @ GRR 11-64 9-42 2 6
5 vs. GEO 10-63 20-83 8 3

Showing Improvement
The Wranglers offense has improved its productivity as the season has progressed. The team’s success on third-down has continued to grow with the Wranglers offense posting a season-high 80 percent third-down efficiency in Week Five against the Georgia Force. The Wranglers Red Zone scoring has also picked up and for the first time this season, the Wranglers offense made it in the end zone each time they were inside the 10-yard line.

Third Fourth Red
Week Opponent Down Down Zone
Week 1 vs. PHI 1-7 2-5 3-6
Week 2 @ TB 1-8 0-0 2-4
Week 3 vs. LA 6-10 1-2 3-4
Week 4 @ GR 3-6 0-0 5-6
Week 5 vs. GEO 4-5 1-1 6-6
Total 15-35 4-8 19-26

Defensive Play
The Wranglers defense made one stop in Week Five when WR/LB Ira Gooch picked off Force reserve quarterback Matt Nagy when his long pass rebounded off the nets. With Gooch’s interception, the Wranglers defense is now tied for fifth in the AFL in passes interception percentage with 3.3 percent.

The Wranglers maintained their success on third down in Week Five by not allowing the Force to convert. The Wranglers third-down defense is ranked second in the League, only allowing a third-down conversion 8-23 times so far this season.

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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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