Austin Wranglers game notes
Friday, March 31, 2006 - 6 p.m.
AUSTIN WRANGLERS NEWS AND NOTES
Austin Wranglers (6-3) at
Philadelphia Soul (5-4)
Date: Friday, March 31, 2006
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. (CST)
Site: Wachovia Center (13,692)
Officials: Referee: Bill Athan; Umpire: Matt Jordan; Head Linesman: Tim Podraza; Line Judge: Tom Symonette; Back Judge: Greg Wilson; Supervisor: Buddy Ward
Series Record: The series is tied at 1-1 with the Soul winning in the last meeting
Coaches (record reflects regular season and playoffs):
Skip Foster, AW - 3rd season (20-21)
Bret Munsey, PS - 1st season (5-4)
Radio: KVET, AM 1300, The ZONE with Kent Koen (Play-by-Play) and Glyn Milburn (Analyst)
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 or on OLN.
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
AFL's 20th season is more than halfway over as the League enters week ten. If the playoffs were to begin right now, the four teams what would have bye weeks would be the Dallas Desperados and Austin Wranglers of the National Conference and the Nashville Kats and Arizona Rattlers of the American Conference. There is plenty of football left to be played in this 20th season.
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.
WRANGLERS FALL VICTIM TO PREDATORS, 47-37
In a game marred by 23 penalties, Orlando made bigger plays and fewer mistakes as Austin fell 47-37 at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday night. Orlando QB Joe Hamilton's 28-yard touchdown pass to OS Jimmy Fryzel converted a back-breaking third-and-long and put the Predators up 10 points with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter. The Predators also added a late rushing touchdown. With the Predator victory already secured, Austin QB John Fitzgerald hurled a wild Hail Mary pass that bounced off the net and two Orlando defenders before landing in OS Derrick Lewis' hands. Orlando OS Jimmy Fryzel pulled down six catches for 72 yards and earned Offensive Player of the Game honors. Austin DS Donvetis Franklin was named Defensive Player of the Game after making seven tackles and returning a fumble for a touchdown. Fitzgerald completed 24-of-30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns for the Wranglers (6-3). Fitzgerald also threw two interceptions in the Predators end zone to kill Wranglers drives. Trailing by two points late in the game, the Wranglers took the ball inside the red zone before Fitzgerald misfired and was intercepted by DS Kenny McEntyre. Hamilton seized the advantage and hit Fryzel for the clinching score on the ensuing Predator drive. Predators WR/DB Jerrian James was named the game's Ironman after making 4.5 tackles and catching six passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
SERIES HISTORY - TIED AT 1-1
With both prior meetings occurring in Austin, the Soul and Wranglers are tied with one game a piece. In the last meeting, the Soul dominated the Wranglers 65-35, as QB Tony Graziani lit up Austin for eight touchdown passes.
WRANGLERS THROUGH MID-SEASON
The Wranglers are starting to earn some respect around the AFL as they earned three Mid-Season awards along with having three players selected to the All-AFL team through the mid-year.
Defensive Player of the Midseason: DS Damon Mason
Rookie of the Midseason: OS Derrick Lewis
Most Surprising Team: Austin Wranglers
Mid-Season All-AFL Team
Defensive Specialist-Damon Mason
Kick Return Specialist-Sedrick Robinson
The Mid-Season awards were dominated by the state of Texas as half of the players selected were from the Dallas Desperados and Austin Wranglers.
Also, the Wranglers and the Desperados combined for seven of the eight awards given to teams through the mid-season.
Peter Schwartz, a columnist for arenafootball.com, selected Wranglers Head Coach Skip Foster as the Mid-Season Coach of the Year.
WEEK NINE TOP PERFORMANCES
Here's a look at the best performances of week nine:
Robinson: Had two receptions for 17 yards and seven kick returns for 93 yards.
Nickerson: Tallied eight receptions for 73 yards and added one rushing touchdown off four carries for 19 yards.
Lewis: Scored two touchdowns off eight catches for 88 yards, including a Hail Mary catch off the nets as time expired.
Harper: Made 5.5 tackles and forced a fumble on defense.
Franklin: Had seven tackles and returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.
Marshall: Had 3.5 tackles while running for 16 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
AFL THIRD YEAR HEAD COACHES
COACHES BEGINNING THIRD SEASON
WITH SAME TEAM
Wranglers Head Coach Skip Foster joins the head men in Colorado and Dallas, all in their third season as head coach with their current team. Mike Dailey and the Crush went on to an ArenaBowl XIX victory, while both Foster and McClay are both looking for their first playoff bid with their respective teams.
Take a look at their records:
(Arena Bowl XIX Champions)
*All three of these coaches teams currently lead their respective divisions*
WRANGLERS PLAYER MILESTONES
Amongst the Wranglers veterans and newer AFL players, there are several players with career milestones within reach. Take a look...
OL/DL TOM BRIGGS
41.0 total sacks
191 total tackles
FB/LB HENRY BRYANT
9 rushing touchdowns
2 receiving touchdowns
126 rushing yards
WR/LB DARRIN CHIAVERINI
1,569 receiving yards
QB JOHN FITZGERALD
61 games played
12,749 yards passing
209 passing touchdowns
1,093 pass completions
DS DONVETIS FRANKLIN
386.5 total tackles
81 pass breakups
OL/DL AARON HUMPHREY
8.0 total sacks
8.5 total tackles for loss
8 forced fumbles
55.0 total tackles
FB/LB DANE KRAGER
15 rushing touchdowns
342 rushing yards
1 receiving touchdown
WR/DB KEVIN NICKERSON
33 receiving touchdowns
1,548 receiving yards
DS DAMON MASON
778 total tackles
127 games played
WR/DB SEDRICK ROBINSON
58 receiving touchdowns
3,723 receiving yards
20 rushing touchdowns
21 kick return touchdowns
HOW THE WRANGLERS WERE BUILT...
The Wranglers are led by a strong core of 15 returning players from last year's team. To further bolster the roster, especially on defense, Austin actively pursued free agents and trades during the off-season and added 11 new players.
#93 Tom Briggs, OL/DL - 11th year, 41.0 career sacks
#37 Greg Brown, WR/DB - former UT Longhorn
#6 Brent Browner, DS - third season with Austin
#33 Henry Bryant, FB/LB - led the Wranglers in rushing in 2005
#11 Darrin Chiaverini, WR/LB - led the Wranglers in receptions in '05
#16 John Fitzgerald, QB - 6th season and has led team to 6-3 start in 2006, adding eight rushing scores
#49 Aaron Humphrey, OL/DL - 2.5 sacks in 2006
#40 Dane Krager, FB/LB - 131 yards and ranks 1st in '06
#53 Marcus McKenzie, OL/DL - veteran center
#28 Kevin Nickerson, WR/DB - led Wranglers in receiving yards in rookie season with 1,028
#91 Ramon Richardson, OL/DL - has two forced fumbles, a sack and two touchdown catches
#68 Angel Rubio, OL/DL - 23-yard reception vs. KC
#3 Todd Sievers, K - 8/16 in field goals, 54/62 PAT
#56 Eric Thomas, OL/DL - starting center
#9 P.J. Winston, WR/DB - in his second Austin season
#73 Donovan Arp, OL/DL - played in 11 games in 2005 for Philadelphia
#4 Donvetis Franklin, DS - back-to-back defensive player of the game in 2006, 2nd in tackles for Columbus in 2005
#7 Deveron Harper, DS - 1st year, from NFL
#90 Larrell Johnson, OL/DL - traded by Dallas for Roc Haith
#87 Derrick Lewis, OS - 1st year, from NFL
#99 De'Angelo Lloyd, OL/DL - signed after being released by New York
#10 Torrance Marshall, FB/LB - scored his first AFL touchdown and made a game-saving pass breakup against Georgia in week six
#2 Damon Mason, DS - leads the League with eight interceptions in 2006, leading tackler in AFL history
#5 Chance Mock, QB - scored 1st AFL TD in Week 8
#25 Sedrick Robinson, WR/DB - veteran two-way player and kick return specialist
#8 Sir Mawn Wilson, WR/LB - 7th season and has Super Bowl ring with Denver Broncos
THE LAST TIMES:PHILADELPHIA vs. AUSTIN
1/30/05 - Philadelphia 65, AUSTIN 35
The Austin Wranglers will do a little soul searching after an opening game loss. Philadelphia Soul quarterback Tony Graziani, a former Atlanta Falcon, threw eight touchdown passes on the day while throwing three interceptions in route to a 66-35 victory. The game started ugly for the Wranglers as they squandered sixteen quick points to the Soul without having run an offensive play. "Down early like that, it's a tough time tryin' to come back," said WR/LB Darrin Chiaverini. Soul WR/DB Steve Smith caught 5 touchdown tosses. Wrangler QB Bobby Pesavento had an encouraging day in his first start finishing 27-43 with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In the third quarter, the Wranglers had made it a game by intercepting Graziani 3 times on 3 consecutive possessions. In the end, it was Austin's inability to capitalize that made all the difference.
3/28/04 - AUSTIN 65, Philadelphia 60
It was only fitting that a shootout took place in the state of Texas. Behind seven touchdown passes from quarterback John Kaleo, Austin moved to 5-2 on the season after outlasting the Philadelphia Soul, 65-60. Last week's AFL Baby Ruth Big Deal Offensive Player of the Week OS Tacoma Fontaine had another stellar performance as he and Kaleo hooked up for four of the Wranglers nine touchdowns. Soul QB Todd Hammel threw six touchdowns along with two interceptions. One of those errant throws was picked off and taken in for six points by defensive player of the game and former Baltimore Raven DS DeRon Jenkins. Philadelphia's miscues were their downfall as Austin seized the opportunities in scoring touchdowns on each of the Souls three turnovers. Austin looks to extend its winning streak to three as it makes the trip to take on the Los Angeles Avengers while Philadelphia plays host to the Dallas Desperados.
SOUL AND WRANGLERS CONNECTIONS
Wranglers OL/DL Donovan Arp played the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Soul often used at a FB/LB. With the Soul in 2005, he was second on the team with four sacks. Soul Head Coach Bret Munsey was an assistant with the Predators, so he is very familiar with Foster and the Wranglers.
PHILADELPHIA - PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB TONY GRAZIANI
The five-year veteran is the only quarterback in AFL history to throw 90 or more touchdown passes in three consecutive seasons. For his exploits, Graziani is the highest-paid player in Arena Football. The former Oregon star completed 26-of-48 passes for 363 yards and five touchdowns in a last-second victory over Dallas on Saturday.
OS STEVE SMITH
After leading the Soul in receiving last season, Smith signed with Kansas City in the offseason, only to be traded to the Soul last week. He had eight catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back in a Soul uniform on Saturday. Smith has 632 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this season with Kansas City and Philadelphia. He had five receptions for 67 yards against Austin in week eight.
WR/DB MIKE BROWN
In his third AFL season out of Charleston Southern, Brown has been Graziani's favorite target, pulling down 45 passes for 556 yards and eight touchdowns. Brown had one of his best games of the season last week, with nine receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, he has made 27 tackles and two interceptions.
WR/DB SEAN SCOTT
The Philadelphia native has made the most out of time with the Soul after making the inaugural team in an open tryout three years ago. Scott leads the Soul with 13 touchdowns this season. He ranks fourth in the AFL and tops on the team with 82 rushing yards. Scott has 39 receptions for 464 yards and eight touchdowns. He also has 21 tackles and two interceptions at defensive back.
DS EDDIE MOTEN
The Dallas native leads the Soul with 55 tackles and five interceptions this season. Philadelphia has a League-high 15 interceptions through nine games. Moten has 70 return yards and a touchdown off his forced turnovers. Moten also has broken up 11 passes. He starred at Texas A&M-Kingsville and is the first player from the af2 Rio Grande franchise to make the AFL.
Bret Munsey is in his first year as a head coach in the AFL. He is the third head coach of the Philadelphia Soul in their three-year history. Munsey served on the Orlando Predators staff for three years under Jay Gruden. He began his coaching career with the Augusta Stallions of af2 in 2000 as the defensive coordinator. Munsey had his first head coaching job with the Tennessee Valley Vipers of af2 and led the team to a 15-3 record and was named the "af2 Coach of the Year." Before his role with the Predators, Munsey served as the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Cobras. After joining the Predators in 2003 as the team's offensive coordinator and wide receivers/defensive backs coach he was promoted to assistant head coach in August of 2003.Before going into coaching, Munsey played for the Predators, spending most of his five seasons (1991-1995) on the team's practice squad.
Head Coach Skip Foster is entering his third AFL season with the Austin Wranglers. In the Wranglers second season (6-10), the offense scored 109 touchdowns, with 18 different players recording points on the year. Five of his receivers combined for 11 games in which they had 100 or more receiving yards. In the team's inaugural season performance (8-8), 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. Prior to joining the Wranglers, Foster served as the head coach for the 2003 af2-Champion Tulsa Talons. Foster compiled a record of 82-39-2 at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas before moving to Arena Football.
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