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Chris Royal Named Spalding Rookie Of The Year

August 17, 2007 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

CHICAGO - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers' DB CHRIS ROYAL has been named the 2007 Spalding Rookie of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and media members.

Royal, a 5'10", 205-pound product from Marshall, had a tremendous rookie campaign for the Pioneers, positioning himself at the top of several key statistical categories.

Royal tied for the league lead in interceptions with 14, finished second in pass breakups with 43 and came in third in the af2 in tackles with 117 (111 UA, 12 A). Royal also led the league in interception return yards (185) and tied for the top spot in interception return TDs (3). The playmaking first-year defender also recorded three tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 16 games played. Royal recorded a season-high 12 tackles on May 25 against the Albany Conquest. The most interceptions Royal grabbed in a game occurred on July 21 when the rookie had three against the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings in a 50-28 victory.

Royal has continued to play well in the 2007 ArenaCup playoffs as the Pioneers have knocked off the Tri-Cities Fever and the Central Valley Coyotes in successive weeks. In his team's two wins thus far, Royal has racked up 18 tackles, three pass breakups and one interception.

Royal is the second Pioneers' player to take home a yearly award in 2007. K DAVID DAVIS was named Havoc Kicker of the Year on Tuesday. On Monday, along with Royal and Davis, three more Pioneers were named to the American Conference All-af2 First Team.

The winner of the 2006 Spalding Rookie of the Year, former Louisville Fire QB BRETT DIETZ, now with the Tampa Bay Storm, went on to become a co-winner of the AFL Rookie of the Year Award this year along with Kansas City Brigade WR CHARLES FREDERICK, another former af2 standout who helped lead the Spokane Shock to the 2006 ArenaCup title.

The 2007 ArenaCup playoffs continue this weekend with the American and National Conference Championship games on Saturday, August 18. In the American Conference Championship, the Green Bay Blizzard will travel to take on Chris Royal and the East Division Champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers at 7:00 EST. The National Conference Championship will feature the Central Division Champion Tulsa Talons playing host to the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings at 8:00 EST. The winner of each Conference Championship will meet at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La. on Saturday, August 25 for ArenaCup8.

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