Claymores Head to Spain for Crucial Game

May 28, 2003 - National Football League Europa (NFLE) - Scottish Claymores News Release

The Scottish Claymores (4-4) will travel to Catalonia this week to play their second of two straight road games, where they will face the F.C. Barcelona Dragons (5-3) Saturday evening at the Mini Estadi. The Claymores are trying to stay hot after winning in Amsterdam last week for their second straight victory and keep their World Bowl aspirations alive. The Dragons come into this week’s game smarting after being thrashed by the Frankfurt Galaxy at home last week 47-13. The Claymores are 2-2 away from Scotland this year, and the Dragons are 2-2 at home in 2003. This will mark the 18th regular season meeting in the history of the teams, with Barcelona leading the series 11-6. The Dragons hold a 7-1 edge in games played in Spain and took the first meeting between the teams this year 17-10 in week five in Glasgow. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on a tape delay in the United States on FOX Sports Net at 1:00 PM EDT. FOX Sports broadcaster Rich Waltz will handle the U.S. play-by-play, and he will be joined in the broadcast booth by analyst Sean Jones.

CLAYMORES INJURY REPORT

S Bobby Jackson (hamstring) is listed as probable for Saturday’s game. LB Stuart Hare has been placed on injured reserve with a broken left fibula.

THE HEAD COACHES

Gene Dahlquist is on the Claymores’ sideline for his third season, and currently carries a record of 13-15 (.464) as an NFLE head coach. The 60-year-old head coach brings 30 years college coaching experience to the Claymores and, before moving to NFL Europe, he most recently held the position as offensive passing game coordinator at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 2000. Prior to joining John Robinson’s staff at UNLV, Dahlquist served as offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach at the University of Texas from 1992-1997 where he helped direct the Longhorns to three Big XII Conference titles and three bowl appearances. From 1988-91, he was again the offensive coordinator at the University of Illinois, and steered the Fighting Illini offense to one Big Ten Championship and four Bowl appearances under head coach John Mackovic, helping to develop future NFL #1 pick, quarterback Jeff George. Prior to his stint at Illinois, he worked with close friend and former Claymores head coach Jim Criner for 10 years. The two coaches worked together at Iowa State University from 1983-86 and at Boise State University from 1977-82, where Dahlquist served as the offensive coordinator. Together, Dahlquist and Criner helped drive Boise State to five Big Sky Conference titles and one NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship. Prior to coaching at Boise State, Dahlquist was the offensive coordinator at the University of Oregon from 1974-76 and quarterbacks coach at the University of Utah from 1971-73. He kicked off his coaching career as quarterbacks coach at Idaho State University from 1968-70. Dahlquist received his Master’s Degree in Education from Idaho State University in 1974, graduating from the University of Arizona with his bachelor's degree in 1965, where he played college football as a quarterback and punter. Following his collegiate career, Dahlquist played professional football from 1965-66 as a quarterback and punter in the Continental Football League in the United States with the Norfolk Neptunes. Dahlquist, a native of Mount Prospect, Illinois, he and his wife Toni currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jack Bicknell is in his 42nd year of coaching and has won more NFL Europe League regular season games (59) than any other coach in history. He is the only head coach to have been with the same team throughout the history of the league. He has compiled a career regular season mark of 59-49 (.546) and has led the Dragons to four World Bowl appearances. In 1991, his and the league’s first season, he led the Dragons to an 8-2 record and a berth in the first World Bowl. In 1997, his Dragons won the first half of the season and went on to win World Bowl ’97 in Barcelona. In 1999, the Dragons boasted a league-best 7-3 mark before losing to the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World Bowl. He again led the Dragons to the World Bowl with an 8-2 record in 2001. Bicknell served as head coach at Boston College for 10 seasons (1981-90). His Eagles posted a 59-55-1 record during his tenure and he lead BC to a 10-2 mark in 1984, as his quarterback Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy as America’s outstanding collegiate player. Their 45-28 Cotton Bowl victory over Houston marked the first time in Boston College history that they had participated in three consecutive post-season bowl games. He was elected head coach for 1985’s Hula and Japan Bowls, as well as the 1990 East-West Shrine Game. In January of this year, Bicknell served as the head coach of the USA team in the Rotary Gridiron Classic, an annual college all-star game in Orlando, Florida. Prior to his time at BC, he was the head coach at the University of Maine from 1976-80. Born February 20, 1938 and nicknamed “Cowboy Jack” because of his love of country music and horse riding, he and his wife, Lois, have three children, Jack Jr., Wendy, and Bob, and five grandchildren. Both of his sons played for him at Boston College, and are now in the coaching business themselves. Jack Jr. is the head coach at Louisiana Tech and Bob is the offensive coordinator for the NFLE’s Berlin Thunder.

QUOTES FROM THE COACH

Catching up with Claymores’ Head Coach Gene Dahlquist for some of his latest thoughts:

(on this week’s game): “We feel like we're capable of going on the road and winning another game. Last year we beat Barcelona in Barcelona for the first time so we know it can be done and we're determined to play our best.”

(on the league situation): “We're doing everything we can to concentrate on beating the Dragons by eight points or more because that's the situation over which we have control. We do not have any control over the other two games being played in the league this weekend, so we are only focusing on Barcelona. Two weeks ago we knew what our job was - to win four in a row - and we're half way there.”

(on the team’s recent success): “It has come as no surprise to me we've played better under pressure because we are a very competitive football team who will perform well in those circumstances. The difference in recent weeks is that there have been no big plays made against our defense - the opposition have earned everything they've got from us. Special teams have been solid and consistent and, offensively, we've continued to move the football and score points.”

(on coming back from 2-4): “I never felt we could never come back; I always felt we had the ability to do well. We failed to make some big plays in close games but we've moved on from that, maintained a positive attitude and improved as a team. I think our players have done a great job of presenting themselves well to their parent clubs while at the same time maintaining a team-oriented attitude.”

SCOTTISH CLAYMORES QUOTES

SCOTTISH CLAYMORES (31) AT AMSTERDAM ADMIRALS (20)

MAY 24, 2003 – AMSTERDAM ARENA, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Head Coach Gene Dahlquist: “We played very well in what was a hard fought football game. Give a lot of credit to the Admirals for hanging in there and coming back at us in the second half, but also give credit to or team. When it was so tight at the end we scored that last touchdown and it took a heck of an effort from the players up front. We've been struggling at times this season and lost three very close football games, so now it's great to win a close game for a change and also to make it two wins in a row. This was a meaningful victory for us as it means the World Bowl dream is still alive.”

“I've barely had time to look at the stats but Craig completed over 60 per cent of his passes for three touchdowns and over 300 yards with no interceptions. He raised the bar for himself out there tonight.”

Quarterback Craig Nall: “This was another good performance by our whole team when we had to get it done. We have no room for error and we know it, we’ve got to go out and win the rest of our games if we want to win the World Bowl. I feel we played well on offense tonight and the line gave us a chance to throw and run the ball equally well. I have to give them credit along with the receivers who made some great catches tonight.”

Fullback Mike Malan: “It's a huge win obviously, it's the first time all season we've been able to out up two victories in a row and, at 4-4 for the season, we're still very much in the World Bowl frame. It gives much more meaning to the next two weeks but we can only concentrate on one at a time and hopefully we can win in Barcelona.”

“We mess around and try to blow games at the end, don't we? They did come back and that was a little scary, but I'm glad we held on.”

“Those were my first two touchdowns of the season - the coaches have been saying I should get into the end zone more and everyone has been shocked I haven't scored more. The first touchdown was nice, I made the move and was able to make the long run into the end zone after connecting with Craig's pass. The second came on a play in which I'm not even supposed to be an option for Craig. My role is to block a linebacker but Craig was forced to scramble and thankfully picked me out. I scored over 40 touchdowns in college, but it was nice to get off the mark in the NFL Europe League.”

SCOTTISH CLAYMORES GAME NOTES: Claymores captains for game eight were QB Craig Nall, RB Ken Simonton, LB Yubrenal Isabelle and S Bobby Jackson… The roof was closed on the Amsterdam ArenA with the indoor temperature at game time 59° F, (15° C), with cloudy skies and a forecast for scattered showers… The Admirals won the coin toss and elected to receive… DT Michael Landry tackled RB Tellis Redmon in the backfield for a loss on the first play from scrimmage… Landry tipped a QB Shaun Hill pass later in the drive… Landry then sacked Hill for a 10-yard loss… Simonton fair caught a Jeff Crowell punt at the 11 to give the Claymores their first possession… Nall fumbled on the first play of the drive, but TE Rod Trafford recovered it… Simonton broke a few tackles en route to a 23-yard gain… FB Mike Malan broke through the middle for 10 yards on a draw play… WR John Minardi made a nice one-handed grab of a Nall pass for 13 yards and a first down… RB Maurice Hicks ran up the middle for 16 yards… Nall hit Malan over the middle and he broke a tackle and ran for a 34-yard touchdown, Malan’s first score of the year… Rob Hart kicked the PAT and the Claymores were on top 7-0 with 5:44 to play in the first quarter… The drive took eight plays and covered 89 yards, taking 4:48 off the clock… The Claymores defense, aided by some Admirals penalties, held Amsterdam to three-and-out and got the ball back on the 26… Nall found TE Rashod Kent for a 14-yard gain on the drive’s first play… Simonton ran for 15 yards on a draw up the middle… WR Anthony Bright was on the receiving end of a strike from Nall for 19 yards down to the 26… The first quarter ended with the Claymores on top 7-0… Nall threw a screen pass to WR Edell Shepherd for a 30-yard gain down to the one-yard line… Simonton took a toss around the right end into the end zone for a one-yard score to push the lead to 14-0 just 20 seconds into the second quarter… After Hill moved the Admirals down the field, the Claymores defense stiffened at their own 21-yard line… Joe O’Donnell’s 39-yard field goal split the uprights to cut the Claymores’ lead to 14-3 with 8:51 to go in the first half… Nall hit Shepherd for a 29-yard gain down the left sideline to the Amsterdam 31… Nall and Shepherd hooked up again, this time for 12 yards on a slant… Nall found WR Scott McCready for his first catch of the night, a 13-yard gain to the 10… Nall picked up a first down with a sneak on third-and-one… Malan caught his second TD pass of the day, this one a three-yarder from Nall on third-and-goal… The Claymores led 21-3 with 2:03 to play before halftime… Hill led the Admirals down the field with some short passes, and capped off the scoring drive with a 12-yard pass to WR Justin Skaggs… K Silvio Diliberto’s PAT made the score 21-10 with 1:18 remaining in the half… LB Stuart Hare left the field with a broken left fibula on the kickoff return… Nall hit Minardi twice to move into Amsterdam territory, the second coming as Minardi withstood a big hit in between two defenders… Kent caught his second pass of the half and ran over two Admirals down to the 12… The drive was snuffed out at the 10, bringing on Hart for a 28-yard FG, which he nailed to push the lead to 24-10 with :07 left on the first half clock… The half ended with the Claymores on top 24-10… Nall finished the half having completed 14 of 18 passes for 219 yards with two TD tosses and no INTs… Simonton returned the opening kickoff of the second half 38 yards to the 48-yard line… Nall found Trafford for a 16-yard gain to the Amsterdam 35… Hicks carried the ball twice on successive plays for 15 yards… The drive was halted at the 23, bringing out K Brian Holmes for a 40-yard FG try… The snap hit holder Shane Stafford as he had looked back at Holmes, turning the ball over to Amsterdam… Announced attendance for the game was 11,259… Landry sacked Hill for a loss of nine, his second sack of the day, bringing his season total to 5.5, best among NFLE defensive tackles… Nall again hit Trafford for a 12-yard gain… Bright made a diving stab of a Nall pass, picking up 18 yards to the Amsterdam 31… Nall found Minardi for a first down, but in his struggle to gain extra yards, Minardi fumbled the ball inside the Amsterdam 20… The turnover was the Claymores’ first since the third quarter two weeks ago at Frankfurt, an eight-quarter span… CB Deveron Harper picked off Hill deep in Claymores’ ground, his second interception in as many weeks… The third quarter expired with the Claymores on top 24-10… P Kevin Stemke came on for his first punt of the night 22 seconds into the fourth quarter… Hill hit WR Matthew Hatchette twice on 20-plus yard passes to move the Admirals down the field… Hill found TE Ryan Collins for a one-yard TD pass and Diliberto’s extra point made it a one-score game at 24-17 with 11:07 to play… The Claymores went three-and-out on the following possession… Hill led another drive down the field spreading the ball to five different receivers… The Claymores defense held inside the red zone, and Silvio Diliberto’s 26-yard field goal cut the lead to 24-20… Simonton’s 11-yard run gave the Claymores their first first down of the fourth quarter… Trafford made a great catch in heavy traffic for 24 yards down to the Admirals’ 17… Simonton ran for nine yards, leading up to the two-minute warning… Nall hit Trafford on a rollout pass for a five-yard touchdown stretching the lead to 31-20 with 1:39 left on the clock… Hill and Redmon combined for a 19-yard rush with Hill carrying the ball nine yards, then pitching the ball to Redmon for 10 more… CB Dyshod Carter sealed the game with an interception on a tipped pass with :42 left in the game… The Claymores knelt on the ball, and ran out the clock for a 31-20 win, and their first two-game winning streak of the season.

2003 SCOTTISH CLAYMORES GAME EIGHT

Scottish Claymores 31 at Amsterdam Admirals 20 May 24, 2003
Amsterdam ArenA

Amsterdam - (Indoors) - The Scottish Claymores and Amsterdam Admirals locked up in a high-flying offensive shootout Saturday night at the Amsterdam ArenA. The game saw Claymores’ QB Craig Nall and Amsterdam signal-caller Shaun Hill each throw for more than 300 yards, the first such performances in the NFL Europe League this season. Nall completed 71% of his passes and threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, including two to fullback Mike Malan to lead the Scottish side to a 31-20 victory. The Claymores picked up where they left off last Sunday in the first quarter. The offense moved down the field 89 with efficiency in eight plays. Fullback Mike Malan came out of the backfield to take a Craig Nall pass 34 yards for his first touchdown of the season. Rob Hart’s PAT put the Claymores on top 7-0 with 5:44 left in the opening quarter. The offense cashed in early in the second period, scoring another touchdown just two plays in. Nall threw a screen pass to Edell Shepherd, and the speedy receiver followed his blockers down to the one-yard line for a 30-yard gain. Simonton took a toss around the right end and scooted into the end zone for his league-leading ninth touchdown, to put the Claymores ahead 14-0 just 20 seconds into the second quarter. The Admirals mustered a scoring drive to end the Claymores’ five-quarter shutout streak. Hill led Amsterdam down the field, but some untimely drops ended their play for the end zone, and they were forced to settle for a 39-yard Joe O’Donnell field goal, cutting the score to 14-3 with 8:51 to play in the opening half. Nall then completed five-of-five pass attempts on a scoring drive for 61 yards, including a three-yard toss to Malan for his second TD of the day. Hill engineered an answering drive for Amsterdam, leading them through Scottish territory with some efficient intermediate passes. The drive was capped with a 12-yard toss to Justin Skaggs in the end zone to cut the Claymore lead to 21-10 with 1:18 to go before halftime. Hart’s 28-yard field goal sent the team into the locker room with the Claymores on top 24-10. The teams traded turnovers and some defensive play aided to a scoreless third. John Minardi fumbled away an opportunity for the Claymores, but Deveron Harper picked off Hill for his second interception in as many weeks to keep the Admirals from rallying. Michael Landry sacked Hill for the second time on the night in the third quarter, running his team-high sack total to 5.5 on the year. Hill took the Admirals down the field to open the fourth quarter, hitting league-leading receiver Matthew Hatchette twice for big gains, and capped the drive by finding tight end Ryan Collins for a one-yard touchdown toss. After a three-and-out by the Claymores offense, Hill led a potential game-tying drive down the field, but the Claymores defense held inside the red zone, and Silvio Diliberto’s 26-yard field goal cut the lead to 24-20 with 4:40 to play. Nall brought the Claymores back down the field to put the game out of reach. Tight end Rod Trafford grabbed two passes, a tremendous 24-yard catch with a hand in his face and a five-yarder in the end zone to make the score 31-20 with less than two minutes to play. Dyshod Carter’s interception of Hill with 42 seconds to play iced the game and the Claymores emerged victorious 31-20.

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