Austin Wranglers game notes
AUSTIN WRANGLERS (2-4) vs. DALLAS DESPERADOS (4-2)
March 13, 2005, 3:00 p.m. CT., Frank Erwin Center
AUSTIN WRANGLERS BROADCASTS
The Austin Wranglers home game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Southwest. All the action will begin at 3:00 p.m. (CT) with play-by-play provided by Fox Sports Net's nightly Southwest Sports Tonight Anchor Kevin Eschenfelder. Color commentary will be provided by Gary Reasons, former head coach of the af2 Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs and a Super Bowl Champion with the New York Giants.
Austin Wranglers football games can be heard on AM 1300 The Zone with hosts from The Buck on Sports, Erin Hogan calling play-by-play and Bucky Godbolt handling the color announcing. Head Coach Skip Foster will analyze Fridays game and take phone calls on The Zone 1300 AM with Bucky Godbolt Monday night, 7-8 p.m. The players 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.
2005 AUSTIN WRANGLERS SCHEDULE
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 W 42-41
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.
GAMES IN ALL CAPS ARE HOME GAMES PLAYED
AT THE FRANK ERWIN CENTER
All game times and locations are subject to change
LAST TIME AGAINST DALLAS
Austin, TXThe mothers of the Austin Wranglers have got to be proud, as their inaugural season looks as if it will land them in the playoffs. Their 48-36 victory over their interstate rival has all but solidified a playoff spot as well as leaving the Dallas Desperados on the outside looking in. In a game filled with penalties and Dallas mishaps, Austin played opportunistic football by capitalizing off the Desperados mistakes. After owning a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, WR/LB Darryl Hammond recovered an arrant kick that bounced off the top upright giving possession back to Austin. Austin never looked back as Wranglers QB John Kaleo connected with WR/DB Charlie Davidson for the two-score lead after two pass interference calls on the Dallas secondary. Former Desperado OL/DL Tom Briggs got a pair of sacks and was awarded the ADT Defensive Player of the Game. Even though Dallas had more total offensive yardage in the contest, their 11 penalties cost them 81 yards and essentially the game. Austin gets to stay at home for another week as they host the Orlando Predators who are also vying for playoff position.
Las Vegas WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini led all receivers, catching 13 passes for 102 yards and three scores to help Austin get the hard fought victory. In his first game back from injury, FB/LB Dane Krager, was named Ironman of the Game after catching three passes for 13 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Krager had one tackle, a fumble recovery, and a big momentum turning interception in the fourth quarter. The Gladiators won the coin toss and scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game when FB/LB Frank Carter burst over the goal line from a yard out. Fitzgerald and the Wranglers answered by connecting for a crucial first down on third and long which set up a 3-yard TD catch by Chiaverini. The Austin defense held Las Vegas on their next drive, stopping their offense on downs and taking over the ball on their own 11-yard line. After stopping the Wranglers on downs, Whelihan hit WR/LB Joe Douglass on an 18-yard strike to put Vegas ahead 14-7 midway though the second quarter. Again, Austin answered back. Chiaverini caught a 25-yard pass from Fitzgerald that set up Kragers first touchdown of the season, a 1-yard scamper. PAT Holder, Scott Dreisbach, mishandled the snap from Aaron Humphrey, leaving the score 14-13. The Wranglers luck bounced back on the ensuing kickoff when Krager recovered the ball to setup Austins offense on the Las Vegas 6 yard line. Unfortunately, the Wrangler offense couldnt capitalize and Tony Dodsons field goal attempt missed wide to the left. Vegas scored again just before the half to go into the locker room up 21-13. Early in the third quarter, Vegas kicker, Mark Lewis, missed a 55-yard field goal attempt. Tacoma Fontaine snatched up the rebound and returned it 42-yards to the Vegas 16. Three plays later, Fitzgerald hit Chiaverini again for his second TD reception of the game. After a Vegas score, Austin answered right back on a 21-yard score of their own when Fitzgerald hit an open Charlie Davidson in the end zone. The third quarter ended with Vegas up 28-27. The Gladiators drove down the field again to start the final fifteen minutes of play, but Whelihans pass attempt into the end zone bounced off the iron and was caught by Krager for an interception. The turnover proved costly as Chiaverini caught his third touchdown of the game to put Austin ahead, 33-28. After both teams traded scores, Whelihan hit Joe Douglass on a 43-yard bomb to put Las Vegas up 41-36 with 2:37 left. Down, but not out, the Wranglers responded with an amazing drive that soaked up the remaining time on the clock before scoring on the games final play to get the victory. On fourth down with :05 on the clock, Wranglers QB, John Fitzgerald, found WR/DB Kevin Nickerson in the end zone for the 14-yard game winner.
Wranglers Defensive Stops
Stops on 4th down 3
Stops in Red Zone 1
Fumble Recoveries 5
Field Goals 7
End of Half Stops 3
Total Stops on the Season 30
Average Stops/Game 5
Wranglers vs. Philadelphia
Philadelphias 2nd Half Stand
Despite a competitive 1st half, the Wranglers were held to only one TD in each 3rd and 4th quarter. The Souls offense went on to take a commanding lead as they scored 21 points in the 4th quarter.
Wranglers @ Tampa Bay
Pesaventos 1st Quarter Injury
After throwing an incomplete pass, Pesavento was hit by Storm LB Nyle Wiren, causing Pesavento to leave the game.
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
Walkers 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
After an impressive 32 yard return by Georgia, Wranglers LB, Ira Gooch stepped in and intercepted Matt Nagys 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.
Wranglers @ Las Vegas
Mark Lewis Failed Extra Point
Despite a Las Vegas TD that put them up 41-36 late in the 4th quarter, Lewis extra point failed and, leaving the door wide open for the Wranglers.
Fitzgeralds game winning TD
The Wranglers capitalized on a missed Gladiator field goal to take the lead 42-41 with no time left on the game clock.
A Closer Look
Kevin Nickerson 8th in league
1 rush, 12 rec; 13 TDs
Darrin Chiaverini 22nd in league
7 rec; 7 TDs
Henry Bryant 33rd in league
5 rush, 1 rec; 6 TDs
Yards Per Catch
Darrin Chiaverini 6th in the league
9.1 yards/catch; 43 rec
Kevin Nickerson 24th in the league
15.2 yards/catch; 30 rec
John Fitzgerald 6th in the league, 116.3
Touchdown Percentage Rating
John Fitzgerald 6th in the league, 15.3%
Wranglers are 2nd in the league with 14 total take-aways and several players are ranked in the AFL for their defensive performances.
Kelvin Hunter tied for 6th; 2 for 20 yards
Ira Gooch tied for 24th; 1 for 21 yards
Darrin Chiaverini tied for 24th; 1 for 9 yards
Charlie Davidson tied for 24th; 1 for 0 yards
Cedric Walker tied for 24th; 1 for 0 yards
Dane Krager tied for 24th; 1 for 0 yards
Angel Rubio tied for 5th; 2
Tom Briggs tied for 19th; 1
Darrin Chiaverini tied for 19th; 1
Kelvin Hunter tied for 19th; 1
Cedric Walker tied for 19th; 1
Tony Dodson tied for 19th; 1
Bryan Henderson tied for 19th; 1
Dane Krager tied for 19th; 1
Aaron Humphrey tied for 2nd; 2
2005 PLAYERS OF THE GAME
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 QB Matt Nagy (GEO) DS Kevin Gaines (GEO) OS Troy Bergeron (GEO)
Wranglers @ Las Vegas WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini (AUS) DS Cedric Walker (AUS) FB/LB Dane Krager (AUS)
2005 AUSTIN WRANGLERS MILESTONES
OL/DL TOM BRIGGS
· 40.0 total sacks
· 177 total tackles
WR/LB DARRIN CHIAVERINI
· 90 receptions
· 967 receiving yards
WR/DB CHARLIE DAVIDSON
· 430 receptions
· 96 receiving touchdowns
· 7,176 all-purpose yards
· 21 interceptions
· 328.5 tackles
QB JOHN FITZGERALD
· 43 games played
· 8,273 yards passing
· 137 passing touchdowns
· 698 pass completions
OS TACOMA FONTAINE
· 22 receiving touchdowns
· 1,337 receiving yards
· 89 receptions
· 2,104 all-purpose yards
OL/DL BRYAN HENDERSON
· 3.0 total sacks
· 5.0 total tackles for loss
· 4 forced fumbles
· 21 total tackles
OL/DL AARON HUMPHREY
· 4.0 total sacks
· 6.0 total tackles for loss
· 6 forced fumbles
· 30.5 total tackles
DS KELVIN HUNTER
· 136.5 tackles
· 4 interceptions
· 27 breakups
WR/DB KEVIN NICKERSON*
· 12 receiving touchdowns
· 457 receiving yards
· 30 receptions
DS CEDRIC WALKER
· 570.5 total tackles
· 486 solo tackles
· 82 breakups
PLAYERS TO WATCH
WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini
Chiaverini had another impressive week against Las Vegas as he hauled in 13 catches for 102 yards and three touchdowns. His 13 catches broke the Wranglers single game record that he previously held with nine. He leads the Wranglers in receptions and is tied for sixth in the league with 43 this season.
OL/DL Aaron Humphrey
Last years All-Rookie honoree is coming up big again for the Wranglers this year. He ranks in the top 20 in the league in sacks and is tied for second in forced fumbles. On the season, he has 12.5 total tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack for a loss of five yards.
FB/LB Dane Krager
In his first game on the Wranglers active roster, Krager made a big impact on the game and received US Army Ironman of the Game honors. Last week against Las Vegas, He had three rush attempts for 13 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, he racked up one tackle, one fumble recovery and an interception that was a turning point in the Wranglers win over the Gladiators.
FB/LB Duke Pettijohn
Pettijohn had a very impressive defensive performance in Dallas Week Seven performance against the New Orleans VooDoo with five solo tackles, including two tackles for a loss of ten yards, a sack for a loss of nine yards, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. Offensively, he leads team in rushing with 24 attempts for 100 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He holds the AFL single game record for the longest rush with 37 yards.
WR/DB Will Pettis
As a rookie last year, Pettis received all-rookie and second team All-Arena honors. He leads the Desperados in interceptions with two and kickoff returns with 30. Last week he caught nine passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. He also returned six kickoffs for 120 yards. Across the League, he ranks fourth in all-purpose yards (898) and is tied for second in fumble recoveries (3) and sixth in interceptions (2).
QB Clint Stoerner
As a rookie, Stoerner leads the league in passer rating (120.5). Last week against New Orleans, he went 19 of 30 for 199 yards and three touchdowns. He threw two interceptions and was sacked two times.
WRANGLERS HEAD COACH
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 teams 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 teams inaugural season performance, Fosters 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 Leagues 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 teams 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.
DALLAS HEAD COACH
Will McClay begins the 2005 AFL season with his feet firmly planted on the ground after being thrust into the role of head coach just three days before the kickoff of the 2004 season. McClay was named Desperados head coach on Feb. 5, 2004 after former head coach Joe Avezzano announced his resignation to return to the NFL. In McClay's second season at the helm of the Desperados, he will be looking to improve upon last season's 6-10 finish and restore Dallas to the successes the team enjoyed in their first two seasons in the league. Before taking on the role of head coach, McClay spearheaded Dallas's defensive attack. He was hired as the team's inaugural defensive coordinator in 2002, and his work helped the club make two playoff appearances and win a division title in its first two years of existence. He remained the team's defensive coordinator after taking over as head coach and, for the first time in club history, enjoyed stability in the defensive backfield. McClay's first two seasons leading Dallas's defensive charge were riddled with injuries and personnel movement, forcing him to piece together new defensive units on a regular basis. With a more stable defensive corps in 2004, the defense witnessed improvements in total yards per game allowed (288.7 in 2003 to 260.1 in 2004) and passing yards per game allowed (267.9 - 2003, 238.4 - 2004) while holding steady in rushing yards per game allowed (21.6 - 2003, 21.8 - 2004). The defense also saw an increase in sacks as they finished third in the league with 19.. In addition to his work with the Desperados, McClay also works in the Dallas Cowboys scouting department grading players on other NFL teams. Prior to joining the Desperados and Cowboys, McClay was the Assistant Director of Pro Scouting for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his one season with the team (2001), he was charged with scouting NFL teams Jacksonville did not play and advance scouting work. Before joining the Jaguars, McClay served as the player personnel director of the XFL's Orlando Rage, as well as a consultant and scout, in the spring of 2001. The Rage finished the season 8-2 before falling in the first round of the playoffs. Prior to moving into the personnel side of professional football, McClay spent 11 seasons in the AFL as a player and coach. He served as defensive coordinator and director of player personnel for the Grand Rapids Rampage in 1998. He added the title of assistant head coach in 1999, when the Rampage improved to an 8-6 record after posting a 3-11 campaign the previous season. In 1997, he was the defensive coordinator and director of player personnel for the Anaheim Piranhas after serving as the defensive coordinator for the Milwaukee Mustangs in 1995 and the Florida Bobcats in 1996. McClay was the secondary and special teams coach of the Detroit Drive in 1993, helping the team reach the ArenaBowl. From 1989-92, he was a wide receiver/defensive back for the Drive, helping lead them to three ArenaBowl titles in four appearances. McClay was a four-year letterman and team captain as a defensive back at Rice (1985-88), starting every game of his collegiate career.
WRANGLERS ROSTER NOTES
The Wranglers are still in playoff contention in the National Southern Division. Austin still has six Southern Division contests left in the season, three at home and thee on the road. Among the division, Austin and Tampa Bay Storm have two division losses; the New Orleans VooDoo has suffered one division loss. The Orlando Predators and Georgia Force are undefeated in division play after Week Seven. As division play gears up late in March, the Wranglers will face four-straight Southern Division opponents as the playoff picture becomes clear.
Keep an eye on the ball
The Austin Wranglers are still second in the AFL in take-aways with 14, generating an average of two turnovers per game. With the one interception and one fumble recovery both by US Army Ironman of the Game FB/LB Dane Krager, the Wranglers have pressured opponents offense and special teams units. A total of five Wranglers players have managed to pick up at least one interception and six Wranglers players have made at least one fumble recovery. OL/DL Aaron Humphrey has worked on the Wranglers line to force two fumbles so far this season, tied for second in the AFL.
Big Receivers In a Crunch
The Wranglers two leading receivers, WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini and WR/DB Kevin Nickerson, are both among the AFLs top 25 WRs and have combined for 73 receptions for 850 yards and 19 touchdowns. Nickerson is 13th in the AFL in receiving yardage with 457 yards after Week Seven. These two receivers have connected with Wranglers QB John Fitzgerald to make big, game-changing plays.
Fitzgerald has the AFLs highest completion percentage (66.7 percent) and is ranked fifth in the AFL among third-down passing leaders with a QB rating of 94.0. Chiaverini is the Wranglers go-to threat on third-down. Chiaverini leads the team and is tied for third in the AFL in third-down receptions. He earns an average of 9.4 yards per third-down receptions and has scored one touchdown on a Wranglers third-down. Nickerson has gained an average of 14.4 yards per third-down reception, coming up with a crunch touchdown of his own.
With most Arena Football players holding several key roles on the field, several prove to be true utility players, valuable in more than one phase of the game. Although he is an offensive specialist, Tacoma Fontaine has proved to be an important special teams contributor for the Wranglers. In addition to his 282 receiving yards, Fontaine has returned 18 kickoffs for 335 yards, a missed field goal for 42 yards. He has the most all-purpose yards on the team (11th in the AFL). WR/DB Kevin Nickerson has also managed to reel in 505 all-purpose yards so far this season for the second most on the Wranglers team with 457 receiving, 43 in returns and five rushing.
The Wranglers special teams have been able to come up with big plays as the season has progressed. Kicker Tony Dodson has made 23 touchbacks on the season and the teams kickoff coverage has been superior. Of Dodsons 53 total kickoffs, 33 have been fielded inside the opponents 10-yard line. The Wranglers coverage team is the best in the AFL, holding opponents to an average start at their own 8.5-yard line. Pressure on returners have been applied by veteran performers OL/DL Tom Briggs and DS Cedric Walker who are tied for 6th in the AFL in combined special teams tackles with 5.5 tackles, each with 5 solo and one assist.
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