Austin Wranglers game notes
Austin Wranglers (2-0) at
Kansas City Brigade (0-2)
Date: Sunday, February 12, 2006
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. (CT)
Site: Kemper Arena (16,200)
Officials: Referee: David Cutaia; Umpire: Doug Wilson; Head Linesman: Kavin McGrath; Line Judge: Darrel Leftwich; Back Judge: Rich Wilborn;
Supervisor: Bob Mantooth
Series Record: This will mark the first time these two teams have faced each other (0-0).
Skip Foster, AW - 3rd season (16-18)
Kevin Porter, KCB - 1st season (0-2)
Radio: KVET, AM 1300, The ZONE with Kent Koen and Glyn Milburn (Tape Delayed)
The Austin Wranglers will be televised on FSN Southwest for five games in 2006. Fans can check out other AFL action around the League Sundays on NBC.
All 16 Wranglers games can be heard on KVET (1300, The Zone) with Erin Hogan, Bucky Godbolt and Kevin Dunn at home and Kent Koen with Glyn Milburn on the road.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE CELEBRATES 20 SEASONS
All throughout the 2006 season, the AFL will highlight the 20 greatest players, highlights, moments and games in League history. The 20th season concludes in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year when ArenaBowl XX is played at The Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday, June 11. Follow the 20th season action on arenafootball.com and for ArenaBowl XX info, ArenaBowl.com.
THIS WEEK IN WRANGLERS FOOTBALL
The Wranglers have begun the 2006 season with two spectacular wins over the Las Vegas Gladiators at home and the Arizona Rattlers on the road, in the first game of a five-game road trip. The Rattlers couldn't stop the Wranglers rushing attack, which scored five rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive week. Looking to Sunday's game against the Kansas City Brigade, the Wranglers have never faced the expansion franchise, but they do know many of the players well. Several of the New Orleans VooDoo players were allocated to Kansas City including standouts like Andy Kelly, B.J Cohen and Chris Pointer. With the Wranglers at 2-0 and the Brigade at 0-2, Sunday's game should prove to be an intense battle as it is the Wranglers first game against a Southern Division opponent.
WRANGLERS TIES TO KANSAS CITY
Several of the Austin Wranglers players and coaches have distinct ties to the Kansas City area including the states of Kansas and Missouri.
-Head Coach Skip Foster: Attended Missouri Western State College...Served as an assistant to his father Dick Foster for four seasons at Coffeyville Junior College...Took over coaching duties from father at Coffeyville...Both won national championships.
-Michael Foster, Secondary Coach, Special Teams, Director of Pro Scouting: Played football at the University of Kansas from 1973-74 and graduated from there...Began coaching career at Archbishop O'Hara in Kansas City from 1977-80...Served as an assistant coach at Coffeyville with cousin Skip Foster...Also coached at Central Missouri State and Southwest Missouri State.
-Kevin Nickerson: Attended Central Missouri State...Hometown is Kansas City and attended Central High School.
-Henry Bryant: Attended Kansas State U -Angel Rubio: Attended S.W. Missouri State -Ramon Richardson: Hometown of Kansas City
WRANGLERS START 2-0
The 2006 season doesn't mark the first time the Wranglers have begun the season 2-0. Dating back to their inaugural season in 2004, the Wranglers began the season 2-0, beating divisional opponents in Orlando and Tampa Bay. So how did the Wranglers do in their third game, they lost by two points to the Colorado Crush in Denver, 37-35.
OL/DL Tom Briggs has played for 10 years in the Arena Football League. Starting his rookie season with the Anaheim Piranhas and Portland Forest Dragons (which became the Oklahoma Wranglers), Briggs has also played with Dallas Desperados. In 2003 with the Desperados, Briggs was named AFL Lineman of the Year, earned first team All-Arena and All-Ironman Team honors and led the AFL in sacks. Briggs joined the Wranglers for its inaugural season where he was selected to the All-Arena Football League first team. Last season, he anchored an offensive line that only allowed four sacks all season, which was a league best.
DS Damon Mason is the second-most veteran AFL player on the team.
With his remarkable 47 return yards from his two interceptions in the Wranglers season opener, he broke the team's overall interception return yardage mark. In his second game with the Wranglers, he rebroke his interception return yard mark with 59 yards and set a new career game-high with three interceptions in one game. He was named the AFL's Defensive Player of the Week along with earning this honor with ArenaFan and Touchdown Ink. The AFLWA named Mason their Player of the Week as well for his performance. Mason had a record-breaking season in 2005 with the Grand Rapids Rampage and Orlando Predators, having broke the league's all-time tackle mark and became the first player to reach 700 tackles on his career. He has played with the Orlando Predators, Carolina Cobras, and Las Vegas Gladiators (New Jersey Gladiators).
OL/DL Aaron Humphrey is undoubtedly one of the Wranglers stars, but he still bleeds burnt orange. This former University of Texas football player spent his off-season as an assistant conditioning coach for the University of Texas Athletics program. His Longhorn work forced him to miss the first day of Wranglers Training Camp - but for good reason. He was on the sidelines of the Rose Bowl where his alma mater won the national championship.
OS Derrick Lewis had a spectacular first game in his AFL career. Coming from the NFL (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints), Lewis was eager to play in the Arena Football League. Lewis scored the first touchdown in the AFL's 20th anniversary season and the first touchdown of the Austin Wranglers third season. He had five receptions for 69 yards. On a more personal note, Lewis was born and raised in New Orleans and was effected by Hurricane Katrina, losing everything in the storm. His wife and five children were forced to leave New Orleans and move around like many others. Lewis is grateful for his opportunity to continue his football career here, while having work to support his family in this troubling time.
FIRST GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Five rushing touchdowns in the Wranglers first game of 2006 against the Las Vegas Gladiators is a new single-game team record. Quarterback John Fitzgerald rushed into the end zone for two scores, while both fullback/linebackers Dane Krager and Henry Bryant added touchdowns. Wide receiver/defensive back Sedrick Robinson also ran in for one score, only giving the Wranglers two passing scores for the game. The Wranglers plan to utilize their running attack in the primarily passing game this season, behind the legs of these four players.
SECOND GAME HIGHLIGHS
Austin is number one in the AFL in rushing following their five touchdown rushing performance, their second in just two games in the 2006 season. Dane Krager led the team with 22 yards and three touchdowns. John Fitzgerald and Josh White both added rushing scores.
Damon Mason propels Wranglers to a win with a three interception performance. He tied his 2005 mark in just two games with the Wranglers. This marks his fifth interception in two games in a Wranglers uniform. He is one of the keys to the Wranglers stronger defensive performance this season.
Among the Austin Wranglers owners is Glyn Milburn, considered one of the most impressive return men in NFL history. Milburn spent a total of 10 years in the league playing for the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers.
During his tenure in the NFL, Milburn received numerous accolades including Pro Bowl appearances in 1995 and 1999, AFC Special Teams Player of the Year, All Pro Selection and a plaque in the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.
When he retired, Milburn was third on the NFL's all-time kickoff return yardage list with 9,788 yards, behind only Brian Mitchell and Mel Gray. Prior to his NFL career, Milburn was an All-Pac 10 player, playing for Stanford University where he holds the university's career record for punt return touchdowns with four. Graduating with a degree in public policy, Milburn was also an academic All-American at Stanford.
PLAYERS IN THE COMMUNITY
Eastside Story Project: FB/LB Henry Bryant- one of the Wranglers' top fullback/linebackers, spent the summer working with Austin's Eastside Story Project, a youth enrichment program that is part of the Austin Police Department. Eastside Story is designed to motivate Austin-area youth and provide a safe environment where children can go after school to receive guidance and academic assistance.
The program is also designed to create more well-rounded individuals by offering training sessions on themes such as "Family," "Teamwork," and "Leadership," among others, which alternate from month to month.
"It's a good feeling when you see the smiles on the faces of the kids," said Bryant. "I see a lot of myself in them since I came from a similar background." Several of the kids desire to be professional athletes and look to players like Bryant as role models.
Operation Blue Santa: WR/DB Greg Brown, FB/LB Henry Bryant, FB/LB Dane Krager and WR/DB Shawndel Tucker helped deliver toys over the holidays to deserving children through Operation Blue Santa.
AUSTIN WRANGLERS BUILD HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOUSE: To kick off the Wranglers third season and to commemorate the AFL's 20th anniversary, the Austin Wranglers built an Austin Habitat for Humanity Home in December.
Called a "Home for the Holidays," the home was built in just 9 working days, thanks to the hard work of many Austin Wranglers players, coaches, front-office staff and cheerleaders.
It had special meaning for WR/DB P.J. Winston whose home as a child was a Habitat for Humanity home.
AUSTIN WRANGLERS FOUNDATION
The Austin Wranglers have established the Austin Wranglers Foundation to give Wranglers players, coaches and cheerleaders opportunities to provide mentoring, community service and leadership for Central Texas youth and build partnerships throughout the Central Texas community.
The Austin Wranglers Foundation will collaborate with existing non-profit organizations providing support in three main areas:
- physical health (nutrition and fitness),
- education (graduation rates and literacy) and
- helping youth make good life choices (alcohol & drug prevention and community involvement).
Founding members include former NFL player Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, Austin Mayor Will Wynn, Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell, Austin City Council Member Raul Alvarez.
The Wranglers Foundation has already supported Youth InterACTIVE, a non-profit group that provides after-school fitness programs.
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