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Colorado Crush game notes

February 28, 2006 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Colorado Crush News Release

QUICK FACTS:

Colorado Crush (4-1) vs. Grand Rapids (2-3)

Date: March 5, 2006
Kickoff: 12:45 p.m. MT
Site: Pepsi Center (18,093)
Radio: KHOW 630 AM (Marc Stout: play-by-play, Andy Lindahl: analyst)
Coaches: Mike Dailey, Colorado (92-59, 10th Year)
Sparky McEwen, G.R. (6-15, 2nd Year)
Officials: Referee: Riley Johnson
Umpire: Rick Podraza
Head Linesman: Julian Mapp
Line Judge: Paul Engelberts
Back Judge: Bud McCleskey
Series Record: Crush led the all-time series 3-2
@ Colorado 55, G.R. 57 (2/7/03)
Colorado 55, @ G.R. 37 (2/14/04)
@ Colorado 69, G.R. 30 (4/23/04)
@ Colorado 72, G.R. 56 (2/5/05)
Colorado 52, @ G.R. 58 (4/20/05)

THE OPPONENT:

The Grand Rapids Rampage are playing their second of three straight road contests this week against Colorado after falling to the Nashville Kats 31-47 last Saturday.

Grand Rapids began the first two weeks of the season with former Crush backup quarterback Jose Davis under center, before making a change to seven-year AFL veteran Chad Salisbury. Salisbury won his first two starts for the Rampage with home victories over Los Angeles and San Jose, before suffering the loss to Nashville last week.

On defense, Johnnie Harris, the 1998 AFL Defensive Player of the Year and ADT Defensive Player of the Week this season in Week 3, leads the Rampage with 32 tackles and four interceptions on the year.

THE GAME:

The 2005 ArenaBowl Champion Colorado Crush return home to Denver following two straight road contests to host the Grand Rapids Rampage on Sunday, March 5th at 1:00 p.m. in the Pepsi Center. The Crush hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Rampage after each team captured home victories last season.

Colorado is just one of three remaining AFL teams still undefeated at home this season (Austin and Nashville), while Grand Rapids is 0-2 this year on the road.

For most of the season thus far, the Crush's offense has been paving the way for the team's success as the AFL's top scoring unit for five of the first six weeks. QB John Dutton currently ranks in the top five in the league in completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdowns, while OS Damian Harrell ranks second in the AFL in scoring with 16 touchdowns for 96 points.

However, last week in the 48-38 victory over the Philadelphia Soul, the Colorado defense made its statement holding one of the league's top offenses to just 10 points in the second half. The 10 second half points allowed by the Crush were the fewest since Grand Rapids only scored seven points in the final two quarters against Colorado on 4/23/04. On the night against the Soul, the Crush forced two interceptions, made one sack and limited Philadelphia to just three scores in their final eight possessions.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE:

Wed, March 1- Practice at Mile High Greyhound Park
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Thurs, March 2- Practice at Mile High Greyhound Park
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Fri, March 3- Practice at Mile High Greyhound Park
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Sat, March 4- Walk-through

Sun, March 5- Crush vs. Grand Rapids, 1:00 p.m. MT

Mon, March 6- Players Off Day

THE SCHEDULE:

COLORADO CRUSH (4-1)

Date OPPONENT RESULT SCORE
Jan. 29 CHICAGO W 65-56
Feb. 5 at Georgia W 61-59
Feb. 12 LAS VEGAS W 65-55
Feb. 18 at Nashville L 36-58
Feb. 26 at Philadelphia W 48-38
March 5 GRAND RAPIDS
March 10 at Chicago
March 19 at Los Angeles
March 25 COLUMBUS
April 1 NASHVILLE
April 8 at Grand Rapids
April 16 at Kansas City
April 21 UTAH
April 28 ORLANDO
May 6 at San Jose
May 12 ARIZONA

CONNECTIONS:

Grand Rapids QB Jose Davis played for Colorado from 2004-2005 ... Rampage OL/DL Bryant Shaw was a member of the Crush for three seasons (2003-2005)...Crush WR/DB Willis Marshall played his first three seasons in Grand Rapids (2001-03) and won an ArenaBowl title (XV) with the Rampage in 2001.

STATISTICS:

A look at how Colorado and Grand Rapids match-up on both sides of the ball based on 2006 regular season statistics:

Statistical COLORADO GRAND RAPIDS
Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 4th 55.0 12th 47.2
Scoring Defense 12th 53.2 10th 48.8
Total Offense (yds/g) 7th 292.4 17th 230.2
Total Defense (yds/g) 6th 267.2 9th 278.4
Pass Offense 4th 281.6 16th 218.8
Pass Defense 5th 237.0 7th 253.2
Rushing Offense 14th 10.8 13th 11.4
Rushing Defense 17th 30.2 15th 25.2
Kickoff Returns 16th 15.0 3rd 19.2
Turnover Margin 15th -3 T-6th +1
Field Goals 3rd 2-3 6th 7-13
First Downs 3rd 109 18th 72
Opp. First Downs T-7th 92 11th 101

THE CRUSH THIS SEASON ARE:

O H R
Overall Record 4-1 2-0 2-1
Overtime Games 0-0 0-0 0-0
Score first 1-0 0-0 1-0
Opponent scores first 3-1 2-0 1-1
Score 40+ points 4-0 2-0 2-0
Score less than 40 points 0-1 0-0 0-1
Games decided by 10+ pts 2-1 1-0 1-1
Games decided by 7 pts or less 2-0 1-0 1-0
Games decided by 3 pts or less 2-0 1-0 1-0
Lead at halftime 1-0 0-0 1-0
Trail at halftime 2-1 1-0 1-1
Are tied at halftime 1-0 1-0 0-0
Lead after 3rd quarter 3-0 2-0 1-0
Trail after 3rd quarter 0-1 0-0 0-1
Are tied after 3rd quarter 1-0 0-0 1-0
Lead time of possession 3-1 1-0 2-1
Trail time of possession 1-0 1-0 0-0
Positive turnover margin 2-0 1-0 1-0
Negative turnover margin 1-1 0-0 1-1
Even turnover margin 1-0 1-0 0-0
More total yards offense 2-1 0-0 2-1
Less total yards offense 2-0 2-0 0-0
On Fridays 0-0 0-0 0-0
On Saturdays 0-1 0-0 0-1
On Sundays 4-0 2-0 2-0
vs. American Conference 2-1 2-0 0-1
vs. Central Division 1-1 1-0 0-1
vs. Western Division 1-0 1-0 0-0
vs. National Conference 1-0 0-0 1-0
vs. Eastern Division 1-0 0-0 1-0
vs. Southern Division 1-0 0-0 1-0

CRUSH NEXT WEEK:

The Crush head out for their third road game in four weeks when they travel to Chicago to face the Rush on Friday, March 10th at 6:30 p.m. MT. In the season opener this year, Damian Harrell snared four touchdown receptions, including a tiebreaking score with one second left, to help give the Colorado a 65-56 win over Chicago at Pepsi Center. Harrell's score capped a tit-for-tat duel between the Central Division rivals that saw just one defensive stop between the two teams.


HEAD COACHES:

MIKE DAILIEY, Colorado (92-59, 10th Year): Dailey enters his third season in Colorado and tenth as head coach in the AFL, after becoming the Crush's second head coach on June 26, 2003. Dailey joined the Crush following 13 seasons in the Albany/Indiana Firebirds organization, including the final seven as head coach.

One of the most successful and well-respected coaches in AFL history, his teams have made seven postseason appearances and he has won four division titles and two championships.

Last season under Dailey's guidance, the Crush captured their first Central Division title en route to claiming a 51-48 victory in ArenaBowl XIX giving Colorado their first AFL championship in only their third year of existence. With the team's win over Chicago in the American Conference championship game on June 5th, Dailey became the fourth winningest coach in AFL history surpassing Perry Moss.

In his first season in Colorado, Dailey helped guide the Crush to the largest turnaround in AFL history, inheriting a 2-14 team and leading them to an 11-5 record in 2004, tied for the best in the league. He also led the Crush to their first playoff appearance and first win, advancing to the AFL Semifinals.

In 1999, Dailey led the Firebirds to their only ArenaBowl championship and was named AFL Coach of the Year. Before being named head coach of the Firebirds in 1997,
Dailey served as an assistant in Albany for five seasons.

Dailey began his AFL coaching career with the Washington Commandos where he served as offensive/defensive line coach in 1990. He joined the Firebirds organization in the same capacity in 1991.

Prior to the AFL, Dailey worked as an assistant coach at Towson State University and was the offensive coordinator at Montgomery College-Rockville (Md.). Dailey got his start in coaching in 1981 as a 22-year-old assistant at Georgetown Prep High School in Rockville, Md. The move to coaching followed a semi-pro football career in the Washington D.C. area.

All-Time Winningest AFL Coaches
Including Postseason

Rank Name-Team Wins
1. Tim Marcum- Tampa Bay 179
2. Danny White- Utah 143
3. Mike Hohensee- Chicago 98
4. Mike Dailey- Colorado 92
5. Perry Moss- not active 86
6. Darren Arbet- San Jose 83
7. Michael Trigg- not active 80
8. John Gregory- not active 73


SPARKY McEWEN, Grand Rapids (6-15, 2nd Year): McEwen became the Grand Rapids Rampage's fourth head coach in team history on August 13, 2004. He was the Rampage's offensive coordinator during the team's best three years on the field (2001-03), which included winning ArenaBowl XV in his first season. During those three years, the Rampage's offense scored more points and gained more yards and points than any other team in the AFL.

For 2004, McEwen was the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for the Okalahoma City Yard Dawgz of arenafootball2. The Yard Dawgz (10-6) finished with the af2's 2nd-best scoring team (56.8 points/game in 25-team league).

McEwen was a quarterback on the Rampage's inaugural 1998 season. He appeared in 5 games and had a 2-1 record as starting quarterback with 477 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns and 6 rushing scores. McEwen was the starting quarterback for Ferris State University in from 1987-90.

During his eight years as head coach of his high school alma mater (Creston), McEwen posted a 43-30 record, including a 42-10 record over the last five seasons. Creston won back-to-back City League titles in 2000 & 2001 and posted the teams first winning season since 1978 in 1999. The team posted winning seasons the last four years and made the state playoffs in each of those seasons. In all, he helped nearly 50 players receive collegiate football scholarships.


LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MET:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Dennison Robinson intercepted a John Dutton pass with 14 seconds remaining, ending Colorado's potential game-winning drive and dooming the Crush to a third consecutive loss, this one by a 58-52 count at Van Andel Arena.

Robinson's theft ended the Crush's chances at a come-from-behind win that would have allowed the team to snap a two-game losing streak. Instead, the Crush fell to 8-5 and a tie atop the Central Division with the Chicago Rush, which won its Week 14 game and now holds the top slot in the division on the basis of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Colorado.

Colorado had battled back from an 18-point deficit thanks to an efficient offense that scored every time it touched the ball from the middle of the second quarter to the final minute of the game. That offensive consistency allowed the Crush to steadily climb out of a 28-10 second-quarter hole, narrowing the gap to 10 points by late in the second quarter and six points early in the second half.

Colorado's defense continued to encounter difficulty, and its frustrating streak of possessions without a defensive stop that began two weeks earlier at Chicago continued into the second half. But the Crush defense finally ended the skein with one minute left, making a stand thanks to a third-down sack of Grand Rapids quarterback Michael Bishop by Saul Patu. One play later, Grand Rapids missed a field-goal try, setting the table for the potential game-winning drive that eventually fell short.

Offensive specialist Damian Harrell scored three times, marking the sixth time this season that he has scored at least three touchdowns. The game was his 31st touchdown hat trick of his career; 23 of those have come with the Crush. Colorado's John Dutton tossed six touchdown passes in the defeat; he has thrown at least six scores in five of the Crush's last six games.

Grand Rapids won for only the third time in its last 35 games and improved to 2-11 on the season. At 8-5, Colorado is still in control of its playoff destiny and would reach the playoffs with wins in its last three games, regardless of how its American Conference rivals fare.

LAST WEEK:

PHILADELPHIA - The Colorado Crush (4-1) handed Philadelphia (3-2) their first home loss of the season, defeating the Soul falling 48-38 in front of 16,617 fans at the Wachovia Center.

The Soul's defense came out of the gate strong forcing the Crush to turn the ball over on downs on two of their first three possessions. Philadelphia capitalized on both stops and led 21-7 early in the second quarter. Soul Quarterback Tony Graziani was responsible for two of the scores, hitting both offensive specialist Marcus Knight and wide receiver/linebacker J.J. McKelvey for touchdowns. Fullback/linebacker Chad Dukes also rushed in from five yards out.

Colorado would tie the score at 21-21, when quarterback John Dutton found wide receiver/linebacker Willis Marshall from three yards out. The Soul took a 28-21 lead into halftime when wide receiver/defensive back Mike Brown ran it in from 13 yards out with 30 seconds left in the half. Colorado attempted to tie the score in the final seconds before defensive specialist Kevin Gaines intercepted Dutton's pass in the endzone. The pick moved him into fifth place on the all-time League interception list with 38.

The second half would prove to be the difference as Colorado outscored Philadelphia 27 to 10 including 14-3 in the final quarter. Crush offensive specialist Damian Harrell scored three of his four touchdowns in the half and Colorado's defense limited the Soul to only 98 yards of total offense. The Crush's offense was efficient on third and fourth downs going 3-of-4 while the Soul were 4-of-9 on those downs in the half.

The Crush entered Sunday's contest with the No.1 offense in the League, averaging 62 points per game. They beat the Soul by scoring most of their points through the air as Dutton was able to find Offensive Player of the Game Harrell for a game-high 11 receptions for 122 yards and four touchdowns. Dutton led the passing attack by completing 27-of-44 passes for 261 yards and six touchdowns despite one interception.

The Soul were led by Graziani who completed 20-of-35 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns despite two interceptions. He connected with Knight nine times for 75 yards and one touchdown. McKelvey also registered four receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

THINGS TO WATCH:

IT'S NOT OVER TILL IT'S OVER:

Since head coach Mike Dailey has arrived in Colorado in 2004, the Crush have claimed victory in the final minute of the game in six contests. Both of the Crush wins in 2006 have come down to the final 60 seconds of play.

2004
- vs. Las Vegas (2/6)- QB John Dutton tosses two touchdown passes to OS Damian Harrell in the final 12 seconds to give Colorado a stunning 43-42 victory.

- at Detroit (5/23)- QB John Dutton found WR/DB Willis Marshall for a 10-yard touchdown pass with one second on the clock as the Crush won 45-42.

2005
- vs. Nashville (5/13)- K Clay Rush splits the uprights on a 31-yard field goal as time expires to give Colorado a 52-49 win.

- vs. Georgia (6/12)- K Clay Rush connects on a 20-yard field goal as time expires to give the Crush a 56-48 victory in ArenaBowl XIX.

2006
- vs. Chicago (1/29)- QB John Dutton hits OS Damian Harrell for a touchdown with one second remaining as the Crush go on to win 65-56.

- at Georgia (2/5)- QB John Dutton finds OS Damian Harrell for a 13-yard touchdown with 45 seconds left to lift Colorado to a 61-59 victory.

THE STEAK STOPS HERE:

In Week 2, with the Crush's 61-59 victory over Georgia, Colorado snapped the Force's 11-game regular season home winning streak. Georgia's steak was tied for the third longest in AFL history. The Force had also won two playoff games in Philips Arena pushing their mark to 13 straight home games before the lost to Colorado.

Three weeks later, the Crush ended the Philadelphia Soul's perfect mark at home for the 2006 season. The Soul had started the year a perfect 3-0 at the Wachovia Center before Colorado captured a 48-38 victory on 2/26/06.

BUILDING A WINNING TRADITION:

The Crush are the winningest team in the AFL since head coach Mike Dailey's arrival, having tied for the league's best record in 2004 (11-5) and finishing with the American Conference's top seed in 2005 (10-6).

Team 2004 2005 2006 Total
Colorado 11 10 4 25
Chicago 11 9 3 23
Orlando 10 10 3 23
New York 9 10 3 22
Tampa Bay 9 10 3 22
San Jose 11 9 1 21
Los Angeles 9 10 1 20
New Orleans 11 9 0 20

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH:

After finishing their inaugural season 0-8 at home, the Crush are now 17-3 under Mike Dailey (2-0 in the postseason) at the Pepsi Center. Two of the three losses consist of an overtime field goal by Indiana's kicker Clay Rush (now with Colorado) in 2004, and a 51-48 Chicago win in 2005 on a field goal with 3 seconds remaining.

Through five weeks of the 2006 season, Colorado is one of only three teams still undefeated at home (Austin and Nashville).

STEEL CURTAIN:

After allowing 14 sacks in 2003 (12 on Dutton), the Crush pass protection has been stellar under head coach Mike Dailey. The team allowed just four sacks in 2004, and none after Week 6 at San Jose (3/14/04). Colorado did not allow a sack in their final 446 offensive plays of the 2004 regular season (10+ games).

The Crush allowed just six sacks in 2005, which includes an unforced fumble by QB John Dutton that the Crush recovered, on the opening play vs. Los Angele (2/27/05). On the 2005 season, Colorado held 10 opponents sackless.

The Crush have now allowed just seven sacks in their last 29 regular season games (total of 1,394 plays).

TACKLING MACHINE:

After setting an AFL record with 122.0 tackles in 2004, Rashad Floyd smashed his record while recording the second most tackles in the league, 129.5, for the 2005 regular season. Floyd made a league-leading 123 solo tackles. This despite missing almost the entire game vs. Columbus (3/20) and being inactive in the game at Grand Rapids (4/30). Floyd also set an AFL record with 17.5 tackles vs. Los Angeles (2/27), besting the previous record of 17.0 set by L.A.'s Kevin Cobb at Houston (6/23/00). Floyd finished 30.0 tackles ahead of second place in 2004 Indiana's Anthony Derricks (93.0).

AFL Record - Most Tackle in a Season
Player Team Year Total Gms Avg.
Damon Mason Orl/GRR 2005 133.5* 17 7.85
Rashad Floyd Colorado 2005 129.5 15 8.63
Rashad Floyd Colorado 2004 122.0 16 7.63
Cornelius Coe Indiana 2001 121.5 14 8.68
Damon Mason Orlando 2000 108.0 14 7.71
Damon Mason Orlando 1999 103.0 14 7.36
Damon Mason Orlando 2001 101.0 14 7.21
* After being released by Orlando at the midway of the point of the season, Mason joined Grand Rapids for the team's final nine games. Mason missed both teams' bye week, therefore, he played in 17 games. Typically, regular season statistics are based on a 16-game season.

JUST FOR KICKS:

Crush kicker Clay Rush is among the all-time great AFL kickers. A two-time AFL Kicker of the Year, Rush currently ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list by kickers and fifth for field goals made.

AFL All-Time Leading Scorers (Kickers)
Rk Player Years Pres. Tm Points
1. Mike Black 1993-04 n/a 1,240
2. Steve Videtich 1996-pres. Utah 1,298
3. Remy Hamilton 1998-pres. L.A. 1,121
4. Clay Rush 1999-pres. Colorado 957
5. Daron Alcorn 1997-04 n/a 771
6. Kenny Stucker 1994-99, 2003 n/a 754

AFL Most All-Time Field Goals Made
Rk Player Years Pres. Tm FGM
1. Mike Black 1993-04 n/a 175
2. Steve Videtich 1996-pres. Utah 163
3. Remy Hamilton 1998-pres. L.A. 144
4. Kenny Stucker 1994-99, 2003 n/a 118
5. Clay Rush 1999-pres. Colorado 113
6. Daron Alcorn 1997-04 n/a 100

A BROKEN RECORD:

Damian Harrell has caught a touchdown pass in an AFL record 54 straight regular season games, including all 51 games as a member of the Crush. That streak is also the longest active streak of consecutive games scoring a TD. He broke the record for consecutive games with a receiving touchdown on 4/3/05 in the win over Las Vegas. It is also second-longest streak of consecutive games with a TD. Harrell's streak began with the Toronto Phantoms vs. Carolina on 7/4/02.

AFL Consecutive Games with a TD Reception
Year (Week)
Player (team) Stk began Stk ended # Games
Damian Harrell (Tor/Col) 2002 (Wk 12) --- 54
Eddie Brown (Albany) 1997 (Wk 3) 2000 (Wk 1) 41
Eddie Brown (Albany) 1994 (Wk 1) 1996 (Wk 14) 33
Chris Jackson (LA) 2000 (Wk 1) 2002 (Wk 7) 28

AFL Consecutive Games Scoring a Touchdown
Year (Week)
Player (team) Stk began Stk ended # Games
Eddie Brown (Alb/Ind) 1997 (Wk 3) 2002 (Wk 3) 65
Damian Harrell (Tor/Col)2002 (Wk 12) --- 54
Chris Jackson (LA) 2000 (Wk 1) 2003 (Wk 14) 47
Barry Wagner (Orlando) 1992 (Wk 10) 1996 (Wk 11) 43
Eddie Brown (Albany) 1994 (Wk 1) 1996 (Wk 14) 33

MAN OF STEEL:

A true AFL Ironman, Kyle Moore-Brown is in his 12th season in the league and has never missed a game. ArenaBowl XIX marked his AFL record 176th consecutive start. The first 139 all came with the Firebirds organization before he signed with the Crush prior to the 2004 season.

With Grand Rapids OL/DL Otis Moore missing two games in 2005, Moore-Brown now stands alone in the record books with 159 straight regular season games. Each had appeared in every game since 1995, with Moore-Brown having the overall edge with more playoff appearances.

AFL Record for Consecutive Games
Player (current team) Reg. Season Playoffs Total
Kyle Moore-Brown (Colo.)* 163 18 181
Otis Moore (Gra.) 153 1 155
*streak current

CRADLE OF COACHES:

Strangely enough, little Montgomery Junior College in Rockville, Md., is the cradle of AFL coaches. Crush head coach Mike Dailey (offensive coordinator) and Chicago head coach Mike Hohensee (quarterbacks coach) were assistants on the same staff there. Los Angeles head coach Ed Hodgkiss also coached there. Seven future NFL players played at Montgomery as well as Columbus quarterback John Kaleo, who finished his collegiate career at Maryland after leading Montgomery to the national championship game. Sadly, despite all of these successes and an all-time record of 315-154-13, Montgomery JC discontinued the football program in 2002.

Former Montgomery Junior College Coaches
Mike Dailey (current Colorado head coach) Ernesto Purnsley (1997-98, 2000-03)
Mike Hohensee (current Chicago head coach)
Ed Hodgkiss (current Los Angeles head coach)
Brent Winter (current Los Angeles assistant head coach)
Earl Hoffman (former Albany Firebirds quarterback coach)

AND THE AWARD GOES TO:

The Crush have been recognized for some of their achievements this season, both as a team and as players by being honored with the following awards:

AFLWA Schutt Top 12 Team Poll
#1 ranking- Week 1
#1 ranking- Week 2
#1 ranking- Week 3
#1 ranking- Week 4

AFL Offensive Player of the Week
John Dutton- Week 1

Beckett.com Player of the Week
John Dutton- Week 1

AFLWA Player of the Week
Damian Harrell- Week 1

ArenaFan Offensive Player of the Week
Damian Harrell- Week 1

ArenaFan Defensive Player of the Week
Rashad Floyd- Week 3

AFLWA pre-season Offensive Player of the Year
Damian Harrell

AFLWA pre-season Defensive Player of the Year
Rashad Floyd

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