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Austin Wranglers game notes

May 4, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release


The Austin Wranglers home game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Southwest. All the action will begin at 7:30 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 Friday’s 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 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 L 52-28
8 Saturday, March 19 NEW YORK DRAGONS W 57-47
9 Friday March 25 @ Orlando Predators L 51-21
10 Friday, April 1 NEW ORLEANS VOODOO W 56-55
11 Friday, April 8 @ Georgia Force L 53-56
12 Sunday, April 17 TAMPA BAY STORM L 42-54
13 Friday, April 22 @ Arizona Rattlers L 33-55
14 Saturday, April 30 @ Columbus Destroyers W 58-55
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


The Austin Wranglers will finish their season with a trip to New Orleans to face the VooDoo. The Wranglers shocked the VooDoo in Week 10 of the 2005 season as they defeated the team 56-55.

The Wranglers are scheduled to take on the VooDoo at 7:00 p.m. at the New Orleans Arena.


Columbus, OH – Todd Sievers kicked a 22-yard field goal as time expired to give the Wranglers a 58-55 victory over the Columbus Destroyers on Saturday night. With less than a minute remaining, John Fitzgerald drove the Wrangler offense down the field to set up the kick. Fitzgerald was very impressive on the night, completing 28-of-37 passes for 288 yards and throwing six touchdowns. Wranglers WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini was named “Ironman of the Game” after hauling in 11 catches for 72 yards and 2 TDs. Austin took a 27-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. Columbus kept things interesting in the second half as QB Ryan Vena led the Destroyer offense to multiple scoring drives in the third quarter. Vena finished the night completing 20-of-35 passes for 231 yards and throwing for three scores. He also ran for two scores on the ground. The teams started the final period of play tied 41-41. After two quick scores to start the quarter, Damien Groce ran back a kickoff 56 yards to decrease the Wrangler lead to seven. The Destroyers intercepted Fitzgerald on Austin’s next drive and tied the game when Vena hit Cornelius White for a 5-yard touchdown with 39 seconds to play. Fitzgerald regrouped his offense and drove them down the field to set up Sievers’ winning kick. With the win, the Wranglers improve to 5-9 on the season, while Columbus falls to 1-12.

Mid-Season Review
The Wranglers have managed to improve on key team stats as the season has progressed.
These improvements can be seen when the season is broken down into three four-game segments.

Team Stats First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter
Red Zone 57% 75% 73%
3rd Down Conversion 37% 53% 61%
Scoring Offense 51 47.5 42.66
Total Offense 310.25 291.25 301.83
Take-aways 2.5 1.75 .83
Give-aways 1.8 1.53 1.66
Possession Avg. 32:22 32:35 29.85

Wranglers Defensive Stops

Stops on 4th down 6
Stops in Red Zone 9
Interceptions 12
Fumble Recoveries 9
Field Goals 14
End of Half Stops 9
Safeties 0
Total Stops on the Season 57
Average Stops/Game 4.1

2005 Stat Comparison
Games Played 14 14
First Downs 295 285
Total Yards Gained 4,057 3,980
Average/Game 289.8 284.3
Net Rushing Yards 234 513
Average/Game 16.7 36.6
Net Passing Yards 3,823 3,467
Average/Game 273.1 247.6
Kickoff Returns 73 70
Average Yards/Return 16.7 9.4
Time of Possession 29:38 30:17
Touchdowns 92 104
Points Scored 650 707


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)
Wranglers vs. Dallas WR/DB Bobby Sippio (DAL) DS Jermaine Jones (DAL) WR/DB Will Pettis (DAL)
Wranglers vs. New York QB John Fitzgerald (AUS) DS Kelvin Hunter (AUS) WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini (AUS)
Wranglers @ Orlando QB Joe Hamilton (ORL) DS Kenny McEntyre (ORL) OS Jerrian James (ORL)
Wranglers vs. New Orleans OS Aaron Bailey (NOV) DS Kelvin Hunter (AUS) OS Ira Gooch (AUS)
Wranglers @ Georgia QB Matt Nagy (GEO) WR/DB Willie Gary (GEO) OS Chris Jackson (GEO)
Wranglers vs. Tampa Bay WR/LB Lawrence Samuels (TBS) DS Jonathan Ordway (TBS) WR/DB Lynaris Elpheage (TBS)
Wranglers @ Arizona OS Siaha Burley (ARI) DS Terrance Joseph (ARI) WR/DB Orshawante Bryant (ARI)
Wranglers @ Columbus WR/DB Kevin Nickerson (AUS) DS Cedric Walker (AUS) OS Damien Groce (CMB)

*Denotes Rookie

• 40.0 total sacks
• 184.5 total tackles

• 8 rushing touchdowns
• 2 receiving touchdowns
• 85 rushing yards

• 147 receptions
• 1,382 receiving yards

• 453 receptions
• 102 receiving touchdowns
• 7,453 all-purpose yards
• 21 interceptions
• 341 tackles

• 50 games played
• 10,203 yards passing
• 167 passing touchdowns
• 852 pass completions

• 25 receiving touchdowns
• 1,540 receiving yards
• 103 receptions
• 2,551 all-purpose yards

• 5.5 total sacks
• 7.5 total tackles for loss
• 8 forced fumbles
• 39.5 total tackles

• 17 receiving touchdowns
• 797 receiving yards
• 68 receptions

• 606 total tackles
• 512 solo tackles
• 84 breakups



QB John Fitzgerald
After a tough game in Week 14, Fitzgerald came back strong when the Wranglers visited the Columbus Destroyers. He completed 28 of 37 attempts for 288 yards and six touchdowns. He also recorded his first forced fumble of the season on a much needed defensive play. His completion percentage this season is 65.7% and he averages almost 280 yards a game with 276 completions on 420 attempts for 3,076 yards and 56 touchdowns.

OS Tacoma Fontaine
After two weeks on injured reserve, he came back with a vengeance as he led the team in kickoff returns and all-purpose yards in Columbus. He caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and returned seven kickoffs for 148 yards to give him 222 all-purpose yards in the contest. In eight games for the Wranglers this season, he has accumulated 29 catches for 445 yards and five touchdowns. He leads the team in missed field goal returns with three for 106 yards, kickoff returns with 25 for 523 yards and a touchdown, and all-purpose yards with 1,074.

FB/LB Dane Krager
After spending the beginning of the season on Injured Reserve, this second year player has really stepped up and become a great contributor on both sides of the ball. In eight games this season, he has attempted 17 rushes for 28 yards and two touchdowns on offense and recorded 13.5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception and two fumble recoveries on defense. Last week against Columbus, he led all rushers on seven attempts for 19 yards and two touchdowns, and he recorded 1.5 tackles defensively.


OL/DL E.J. Burt
In his third season with the Predators and in the AFL, he is a terror for offensive lines as he ranks fourth in the league in sacks with eight. He has also accumulated 21.5 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss of 49 yards, five forced fumbles, three pass break ups, three quarterback hurries, and a blocked kick. Last week against the Philadelphia Soul, he accumulated 3.5 tackles and his first blocked kick of the season.

OS Jerrian James
This rookie joined the Predators in Week Five and has made his debut AFL season a success. In the nine games he has played in, he has accumulated 32 catches for 327 yards and seven touchdowns. He leads the team in kick returns with 29 returns for 562 yards and a touchdown and ranks second on the team in all-purpose yards. Last week against Philadelphia, he led the team in receiving yards, kick return yards and all-purpose yards. He caught six passes for 133 yards and a touchdown and returned seven kickoffs for 134 yards to add up to 270 all-purpose yards. He also added two rushes for three yards and two touchdowns.

FB/LB Idris Price
In his second year in the AFL and with the Predators, he has been a threat on both sides of the ball. This season on offense, he leads the team in rushing with 30 attempts for 131 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, he has roped in 19 tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 21 yards, two sacks for a loss of 20 yards, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Last week against the Soul, he rushed four times for 29 yards and a touchdown and recorded three tackles.


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.


One of the most successful players and head coaches in AFL history, Jay Gruden returns for his second stint with the Orlando Predators as Head Coach and Director of Football Operations. Gruden returned to the post last summer, after the tragic death of Fran Papasedero in a June 19, 2003 automobile accident. He began his AFL career in 1991 as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Storm. Over the next six seasons, Gruden led the Storm to a 9-1 record and MVP honors. Gruden left the playing field after the 1996 season, signing a three-year contract to become offensive coordinator of the expansion Nashville Kats. During his first season in that capacity, Nashville won an expansion-record 10 games. Gruden was credited with developing Andy Kelly into one of the top quarterbacks in the League. With the untimely death of his close friend Papasedero, Gruden reluctantly agreed to assume the head coaching duties of the Predators three weeks after the season ended. For his professional career, Gruden has posted some incredible numbers. As a head coach, he owns a 43-23 record and has won a pair of titles. He ranks in the top 10 in career passing stats with more than 20,000 yards, close to 400 touchdowns and four AFL titles. A two-time All-Arena selection and onetime League MVP, Gruden won 15 of 19 post-season starts. He was 84-25 (.770) as a starting quarterback and 10-5 (.667) as an assistant coach. Counting his 43-23 (.651) record as the head coach with the Predators, Gruden takes an all-time AFL record of 137-53 (.721) into the 2004 season. He was the first person in AFL history to win an AFL title as both a player and a coach. During the 2002-03 season, Gruden became the only active player to was a member of the AFL Hall of Fame.


Setting the Scene
The Wranglers will host Orlando for the final game of their 2005 home-home series. Although the Wranglers are no longer playoff eligible, the Predators are playing for the top spot in the Southern Division. The Predators are currently in second place in the division with the Georgia Force leading with a 9-4 record, 5-2 in division.

Orlando’s Struggles
The Predators come to Austin after losing on the road last week to the Philadelphia Soul. Orlando has been plagued with injuries with QB Joe Hamilton and 2004 ADT Defensive Player of the Year Kenny McEntyre on injured reserve for several weeks combined. Both are eligible to be moved to the Predators 24-man roster this week pending their health.

Keep on Moving
The Wranglers offense is still the fifth-most productive offense in the AFL. QB John Fitzgerald has anchored that success and has utilized the receivers on the team to play-up their strengths in order to move the ball downfield. The Wranglers have four receivers in the AFL top 50 reception leaders, receiving yardage leaders, and all-purpose leaders.

WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini is tied for second in the AFL in receptions with 106 for 872 yards this season. Chiaverini is a reliable weapon for QB John Fitzgerald on third-down and is tied for 11th in the League with 12 third-down receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.

The Wranglers offense also is sparked by the return of offense specialist Tacoma Fontaine who came up with several key receptions in the team’s Week 14 performance at Columbus. Fontaine caught a 31-yard pass to set up a Wranglers touchdown and scored on a 23-yard pass from Fitzgerald. Fontaine is 15th in the AFL in all-purpose yards with 1,296 (519 receiving, 777 kick return) with six touchdown receptions and one touchdown on a kickoff return.

Rookie WR/DB Kevin Nickerson has made a huge impact on the Wranglers offensive production this season with 70 catches for 840 yards and 18 touchdowns. Nickerson is tied for 21st in the AFL in scoring (nonkickers) with 19 total touchdowns, one rushing and 18 receiving. He is 25th in the AFL in receiving yardage and yards from scrimmage (847).

Changes in the Backfield
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wranglers will be working with new faces in the secondary. All three starting defensive backs have changed since Week One. With Brent Browner calling the plays in the middle of the field, DS Terrance Wood and defensive backs Charlie Davidson and Kevin Nickerson will be challenged by the Predators receiving corps.

With One Hand in the Dirt
The Wranglers line has been preventing their opponent from collecting a sack since the last time theses two teams met in Orlando during Week Nine. The Wranglers pass protection has been superior allowing the QB John Fitzgerald time to connect with Wranglers receivers downfield. Defensively, the Wranglers line has collected 10 sacks and 14 QB Hurries this season, pressuring the opponent’s line and forcing the opposing quarterback to release the ball.

Fan Fiesta
2005 and 2006 Season Ticket Holders are invited to attend Fan Fiesta this Sunday, May 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. Fan Fiesta is a special on-field event with Austin Wranglers players, coaches, Lady Wranglers, and mascots. Don’t miss the chalk talks, locker room tours, special photo sessions, raffles for game-worn merchandise and much more!

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