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Columbus Destroyers game notes

February 17, 2004 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Columbus Destroyers News Release

QUICK FACTS:
Columbus Destroyers (1-1) vs
Philadelphia Soul (0-2)
Date: Saturday, February 21, 2004
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Site: Wachovia Spectrum (16,166)
Officials: Referee – Craig Wrolstad; Umpire – Rick Lowe; Head Linesman – Gary Cavaletto; Line Judge – Rusty Baynes; Back Judge – Scott Helverson
Radio: Columbus’ flagship station WAZU-107.1 FM “The Big Wazoo will broadcast the game live with Marty Bannister handling the play-by-play duties and Greg Frey supplying color commentary.
Series Record: Saturday will be the first series meeting between the Destroyers and Soul.
Last Meeting: NA
Series Streaks: NA.
Coaches: Destroyers, Earle Bruce (1-1 in 2004, 14-17 overall). Soul, Michael Trigg (0-2 in 2004, 70-68 overall).


OVERVIEW: In front of a record-setting crowd, the Destroyers took the field for the first time at Nationwide Arena for the team’s inaugural home opener last Friday night, hosting the Carolina Cobras in an Eastern Division matchup. The sellout crowd of 17,171 was sent home disappointed however as Columbus fell just short of victory, giving up a touchdown on the game’s final play to drop a 54-53 decision to Carolina. The 17,171 fans in attendance were the most to attend a Destroyers game in the team’s five-year history, dating back to when the team played out of Buffalo, NY. The Destroyers travel to Philadelphia looking for their second consecutive road victory after opening up the 2004 season with a road win on February 7 at Indiana. A victory over the Soul would give the Destroyers two road wins on the young season, which would already equal the number of road victories the team amassed a year ago. The expansion Soul have opened their 2004 inaugural campaign with two consecutive losses, however both have been closely contested games, with the latest coming at the hands of the Dallas Desperados. The Soul erased a 23-point second half deficit in Dallas Sunday to take a three point lead with one minute remaining in the contest. However, sixty seconds was more than enough time for the Desperados to orchestrate the game-winning score as Dallas edged Philadelphia, 51-47.
Glen
THE SERIES: Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the Destroyers and Soul.



COLUMBUS DESTROYERS
Date Opponent Time (ET) Result/Streak
2/7 At Indiana 7:00 W-54-48/W1
2/13 CAROLINA 7:00 L-53-54/L1
2/21 At Philadelphia 7:30
2/29 DALLAS 3:00
3/5 At Arizona 9:00
3/13 PHILADELPHIA 7:00
3/20 At New York 7:00
4/4 ORLANDO 12:00
4/10 NEW YORK 7:00
4/18 At New Orleans 3:00
4/25 TAMPA BAY 12:00
5/1 At Carolina 7:30
5/9 GEORGIA 3:00
5/14 GRAND RAPIDS 7:00
5/22 At Dallas 8:30
5/29 At Las Vegas 4:00

PHILADELPHIA SOUL
Date Opponent Time (ET) Result/Streak
2/8 NEW ORLEANS 3:00 L-34-42/L1
2/15 at Dallas 4:00 L-47-51/L2
2/21 COLUMBUS 7:30
2/29 at Tampa Bay 3:00
3/7 CHICAGO 12:00
3/13 at Columbus 7:00
3/21 COLORADO 12:00
3/28 at Austin 3:00
4/4 DALLAS 12:00
4/17 at Carolina 7:30
4/24 NEW YORK 7:30
5/2 at Colorado 3:00
5/8 LAS VEGAS 7:30
5/15 CAROLINA 7:30
5/22 at San Jose 10:30
5/30 at New York 4:00

THE IFS…
If Columbus defeats Philadelphia, it would…

 Give Columbus their first-ever win over the Soul franchise.
 Give Columbus back-to-back road wins for the first time since the 2002 season.
 Get Columbus back above the .500 mark
 Give Columbus their first win over an Eastern Divisional rival.
 Give Columbus a 1-1 record against divisional opponents.






LAST WEEK: The Destroyers took the field for the first time at their new home in Nationwide Arena in front of a sellout crowd and franchise-record 17,171 fans in attendance last Friday night in Columbus. The Destroyers erased an early 14-point Carolina Cobras advantage to claim a 16-point second-half lead. However, the Cobras would outscore the Destroyers 20-3 in the final 16 minutes of the contest to improve to 2-0 on the young season. With the loss, the Destroyers fell to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the Eastern Division. Trailing by five with just under one minute remaining in the game, the Cobras drove 40 yards on seven plays, culminating with a six-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Matt Nagy and wide receiver/defensive back Damien Groce with no time remaining on the clock to give the Cobras a 54-53 decision over the Destroyers. Nagy finished the came having completed 26-of-39 passes for 296 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Quarterback Ryan Vena led the Destroyers’ offense, completing 22-of-31 pass attempts for 296 yards and five touchdowns (all season highs) with one costly interception that was returned for a Carolina touchdown. Destroyers wide receiver/linebacker Cornelius White, who was named Offensive Player of the Game, led the team in receiving with 10 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort.

NEXT WEEK: Following Saturday’s game in Philadelphia, the Destroyers return home to take on the Dallas Desperados on Sunday, February 29 at Nationwide Arena for a nationally televised contest set to air on NBC Sports. Next Sunday’s contest will be the first-ever meeting between the Destroyers and Despersdos.

LAST SERIES MEETING: Saturday’s game will be the first between the Destroyers and Soul.

ALL-TIME SERIES SCORES
Date Score
No games to date

THE COACHES:
Columbus – Earle Bruce, 4th season (1st with Destroyers) 1-1 in 2004; 14-17 overall
Earle Bruce returns to the Arena Football League as head coach and general manager for the Columbus Destroyers. Bruce landed his first collegiate head coaching job at the University of Tampa in 1972, where he fashioned a 10-2 record, including a win in the Tangerine Bowl. He took over at Iowa State University from 1973-1978, where he guided the Cyclones to eight wins in each of his last three seasons. Bruce succeeded long-time coach Woody Hayes at Ohio State in 1979 and went on to compile an 81-26-1 record from 1979-1987 in Columbus. He led the Buckeyes to two outright Big Ten titles (1979, 1984) and two co-championships (1981, 1986) and was named the 1980 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Following his tenure in Columbus, Bruce coached at the University of Northern Iowa in 1988 before taking over the Colorado State University program from 1989-92. He led the Rams to their best season in school history, a 9-4 record that included a win in the Freedom Bowl. Bruce began his coaching career in the AFL during the 1993-1994 seasons with the Cleveland Thunderbolts. He spent the 1994-1995 seasons with the St. Louis Stampede, making theirs the best record of an expansion football team at 9 and 4 and taking them to the playoffs. In 2001 Bruce coached the Iowa Barnstormers in the AF2 League.

Philadelphia – Michael Trigg, 11th season (1st with Soul) 0-2 in 2004; 70-68 overall
Michael Trigg is in his 16th year in the Arena Football League, having spent time as a player and coach. Trigg begins his second his second tour of duty at the helm of an expansion franchise in leading the Soul in their inaugural season after six seasons as head coach of the Grand Rapids Rampage. As an expansion franchise, the 1998 Rampage finished the season at 3-11 before tying the second-best single-season turnaround in AFL history by finishing the 1999 season at 7-5 in addition to making the team’s first-ever postseason appearance. During his stint in Grand Rapids, Trigg led the AFL’s smallest market team to an ArenaBowl berth and earned his third ArenaBowl ring in 2001 as the Rampage finished the season with an 11-3 record and claimed a 64-42 victory over the Nashville Kats in ArenaBowl XV. Trigg led the Rampage to five straight playoff appearances, becoming just the fifth coach in AFL history to reach the 70-win plateau in the process, which is good for fourth all-time. Trigg began his coaching career as the offensive coordinator for the AFL’s Dallas Texans from 1991-93. He landed his first head coaching job with the Fort Worth Calvary in 1994 before spending three years as head coach of the Milwaukee Mustangs (1995-97).

Recent Roster Moves (most recently first)
Date Action Player
2/13 Signed to Practice Squad Tony Locke
2/12 Placed on Injured Reserve Ryan Sloth
2/12 Signed to Practice Squad Antwan Jones
2/12 Signed off Practice Squad Jason Collins-Baker
2/12 Signed off Practice Squad Titcus Pettigrew
2/12 Signed off Practice Squad LaKendrick Jones
2/10 Released Alex Houston
2/10 Waived Tony Locke
2/10 Placed on IR Kenny Jackson
2/3 Signed to Practice Squad Titcus Pettigrew
2/3 Signed to Practice Squad LaKendrick Jones
2/3 Signed to Practice Squad Matt D’Orazio
2/3 Signed to Practice Squad Jason Collins-Baker
2/3 Acquired via trade Marcus McKenzie
2/2 Waived Phil Taylor
2/2 Waived Hunter Adams
2/1 Signed Prentice Taylor
1/30 Signed Carey Clayton
1/30 Signed Kenny Jackson

INJURY REPORT: Offensive/defensive lineman Richard McCleaskey remains on injured reserve after suffering an elbow injury midway through this year’s training camp. Following the Destroyers’ season opener in Indiana, offensive/defensive lineman Kenny Jackson and wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Sloth were both placed on IR.

INJURY REPORT
Player Injury Status
Ryan Sloth Knee IR
Kenny Jackson Knee IR
Richard McCleskey Dislocated Elbow IR

MILESTONES:
K Steve Videtich: Two weeks ago, Videtich connected on 6-of-8 PATs in the Destroyers’ win over Indiana. With his fifth PAT of the game, Videtich became only the second player in league history to reach 1,000 points in a career (kicking).

DS JoJo Polk: Polk needs two more total tackle to reach 200 for his career.

WR/LB Cornelius White: Last week White recorded 10 catches for 106 yards and two scores in the Destroyers loss to the Cobras. With his first catch of the game, White surpassed 2,000 receiving yards for his career. His two touchdowns gave him 51 total touchdowns and 50 receiving touchdowns for his career.

OS CoCo Blalock: Last week versus the Cobras, Blalock surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving plateau for his career after gaining 38 yards on three catches. Entering this week’s play, Blalock has 1,023 receiving yards in his three-plus year career.

OL/DL Tony Plantin: Needs 1.5 sacks to reach 10 for his career.

TALE OF THE TAPE: Here’s how the Destroyers and Soul match up after one week of play.

2004 LEAGUE TEAM RANKINGS
Category Columbus Philadelphia
Scoring Offense (Rank) 53.5 (6) 40.5 (17)
Scoring Defense 51.0 (14) 46.5 (8)
Total Offense 251.0 (10) 270.5 (6)
Total Defense 277.5 (15) 256.5 (10)
Touchdowns Scored 15 (T4) 12 (T11)
Pass Offense 230.0 (T8) 236.5 (6)
Pass Defense 239.5 (12) 214.0 (7)
Passing Touchdowns 9 (T7) 8 (T10)
Rushing Offense 21.0 (T10) 34.0 (3)
Rushing Defense 38.0 (15) 42.5 (19)
Rushing Touchdowns 2 (T15) 3 (T6)
Field Goal Percentage 33.3% (T10) 0.0% (T13)
Field Goals Made 1 (T8) 0 (T13)
Interceptions 2 (T5) 1 (T8)
Kickoff Returns 14 (T3) 10 (T12)
Kickoff Return Average 22.7 (T2) 21.1 (5)
Turnover Margin -1 (T12) -1 (T12)
Sacks By 0 (T15) 0 (T15)
Sacks Against 0 (T1) 2 (T10)

SEDRICK THE ENTERTAINER
Through two games this season, Destroyers wide receiver/linebacker-turned return specialist has established himself as one of the top kick returners in the Arena Football League. Last week versus the Cobras, Robinson electrified the home crowd, returning his second kick for a touchdown in as many games. In two games Robinson has returned six kickoffs (T-8 in AFL) for 192 yards (5th in AFL) and two touchdowns (T-1 in AFL). His 57-yard return two weeks ago in Indiana tied the longest kick return in the AFL this season and his average of 32.0 yards per returns is currently tops in the league. Not to mention the fact that Robinson is also the Destroyers second-leading receiver with nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

IT’S ALL ABOUT FIELD POSITION
On a short 50-yard field, starting field position for a team’s offense as well as defense can play a large part in the outcome of any game. During the first two games this season, the Destroyers have won the field position battle as a result of strong special team’s play on both sides of the ball. Columbus currently has the top kickoff coverage in the AFL with their opponent’s drives starting on average at their own 7.3 yard line. On the other side of the ball, Columbus is currently second in the league with each offensive drive staring on average at their own 24.3 yard line.

ON THE OFFENSIVE IN THE EAST
The Destroyers are currently tied for second place in the Eastern Division with a 1-1 overall record in a division that’s not afraid to put points on the board. Through two weeks of play, the Eastern Division has filled the scoring column more than any other division in the Arena Football League, consisting of thee of the top five scoring teams in the league relating to total points scored. Carolina is the top scoring team in the league (121 pts), followed by New York who is third in the league (108 pts) and Columbus, who currently find themselves fifth in the league in scoring, having scored 107 points through two games this season.

POSITIVE TURNOVER RATIO=POSITIVE RESULTS
It’s no secret that teams who win the turnover battle in any sport typically come away with the win. Arena Football is no exception. The top three teams in the AFL in the take-away/give-away ratio boast a perfect 6-0 record with each team entering this week’s play at 2-0 (Carolina/+7; Los Angeles/+4; Chicago/+3). Eight teams currently possess a positive turnover ratio and have a cumulative record of 10 wins and five defeats.

TAKE IT TO THE HOUSE
Destroyers wide receiver/linebacker Sedrick Robinson’s 54-yard touchdown return last Friday was his second on the season and gave Columbus four returns for touchdowns to date (2 kick return, 2 INT return), which is currently tops in the Arena Football League.

HOME…NOT SO SWEET HOME
What ever happened to home field advantage? When analyzing the results through two weeks of play in the Arena Football League, it might be better to put your money on the visiting teams around the league. Of the nine games played in the AFL last week, seven teams playing away from home came away victorious. In eighteen total games played so far this season, the road teams are currently 13-5 heading into week three of the regular season.

WHEN FACING EXPANSION…
Saturday’s contest will be the fifth time that the Destroyers franchise has faced an expansion team in the opposing team’s inaugural season. The Destroyers are currently 2-2 against expansion squads, having defeated the then-expansion Los Angeles Avengers 60-52 on July 14, 2000 before outscoring the Toronto Phantoms 61-58 in their inaugural game on April 14, 2001. The Destroyers have lost their last two meeting with expansion teams, dropping the second meeting with Toronto, 26-61, on July 6, 2001 and then suffering defeat at the hands of the then-expansion Georgia Force in a lopsided 33-54 decision on July 6, 2002.

HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN
Last week the Destroyers welcomed a record setting crowd for the team’s inaugural home opener, hosting the Carolina Cobras last Friday night. The sellout crowd of 17,171 fans in attendance was the most in franchise history, dating back to when the team played out of Buffalo, NY.

JUST FOR KICKS
Entering the 2004 season, kicker Steve Videtich ranked second all-time in field goals attempted (262), field goals made (130) and fourth all-time in field goal percentage (49.6). Two weeks ago, Videtich became surpassed the 1,000 point barrier for his career. Only one other player in league history has duplicated that feat among kickers (Mike Black).

CAREER KICKING
Player Category Stat/Rank
Mike Black Career FGs made 174/1
Steve Videtich Career FGs made 131/2
Kenny Stucker Career Fgs made 118/3
Daron Alcorn Career FGs made 99/4
Remy Hamilton Career FGs made 90/5

BABY RUTH REAL DEAL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
WEEK OPPONENT PLAYER
One Indiana Brett Bech (IND)
Two CAROLINA Cornelius White (CLB)
Three Philadelphia
Four DALLAS
Five Arizona
Six PHILADELPHIA
Seven New York
Eight ORLANDO
Nine NEW YORK
Ten New Orleans
Eleven TAMPA BAY
Twelve Carolina
Thirteen GEORGIA
Fourteen GRAND RAPIDS
Fifteen Dallas
Sixteen Las Vegas

US ARMY IRONMAN OF THE GAME
WEEK OPPONENT PLAYER
One Indiana Sedrick Robinson (CLB)
Two CAROLINA Wilky Bazile (CLB)
Three Philadelphia
Four DALLAS
Five Arizona
Six PHILADELPHIA
Seven New York
Eight ORLANDO
Nine NEW YORK
Ten New Orleans
Eleven TAMPA BAY
Twelve Carolina
Thirteen GEORGIA
Fourteen GRAND RAPIDS
Fifteen Dallas
Sixteen Las Vegas

ADT DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
WEEK OPPONENT PLAYER
One Indiana Anthony Derricks (IND)
Two CAROLINA Damon Mason (CAR)
Three Philadelphia
Four DALLAS
Five Arizona
Six PHILADELPHIA
Seven New York
Eight ORLANDO
Nine NEW YORK
Ten New Orleans
Eleven TAMPA BAY
Twelve Carolina
Thirteen GEORGIA
Fourteen GRAND RAPIDS
Fifteen Dallas
Sixteen Las Vegas

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

COLUMBUS DESTROYERS
QB Ryan Vena: Led the Destroyers to a week-one victory in Indiana after completing 19-of-25 pass attempts for 202 yards and four touchdowns. In af2 last season as a member of the Albany Conquest, Vena was the league leader in passing yards (4,460), total offense (4,634), completions (345), and was second in pass attempts (513), touchdown passes (85) and completion percentage (67.3).

WR/LB Cornelius White:
Led the Destroyers in 2003 with 63 receptions and was second on the team with 760 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Through two games, White is the Destroyers leading receiver, having caught 14 balls (T-9 in AFL) for 154 yards (T-15 in AFL) and four touchdowns (T-7 in AFL.

DS JoJo Polk:
A three-year veteran who last season set the Destroyers record for tackles in a single season (86.5/5th in AFL) in his first season with the team. Two weeks ago, Polk had one interception which he returned four yards for the game-winning touchdown.

PHILADELPHIA SOUL
WR/DB Ricky Ross: A three-year veteran of the Arena Football League, Ross is currently the Soul’s leading receiver, having recorded 14 catches (T-9 in AFL) for 166 yards (11 in AFL) and three touchdowns through two games this season.

OS TYRONNE JONES: In his seventh season in the AFL, Jones has established himself as one of the top offensive weapons in the game. In two games Jones has recorded 13 catches (T-12 in AFL) for 119 yards and leads the Soul with four touchdown receptions (T-7 in AFL). Jones has also returned three kickoffs for 85 yards and a touchdown, giving him five total touchdowns (30 points), which makes him tied for fifth in the AFL in that category.








HOME …………………………………………………………………… 0-1
AWAY …………………………………………………………………… 1-0
FRIDAY ………………………………………………………………… 0-1
SATURDAY …………………………………………………………… 1-0
SUNDAY ………………………………………………………………. 0-0
VS EASTERN ………………………………………………………… 0-1
VS CENTRAL ………………………………………………………… 1-0
VS WESTERN ………………………………………………………. 0-0
VS SOUTHERN ……………………………………………………… 0-0
FEBRUARY ……………………………………………………………. 1-1
MARCH …………………………………………………………………. 0-0
APRIL ……………………………………………………………………. 0-0
MAY ………………………………………………………………………. 0-0
SCORE FIRST ……………………………………………………….. 0-0
OPPONENT SCORE FIRST ……………………………………. 1-1
AHEAD AT HALF……………………………………………………. 0-1
BEHIND AT HALF …………………………………………………. 1-0
TIED AT HALF ……………………………………………………... 0-0
AHEAD AFTER THREE QT …………………………………….. 0-1
BEHIND AFTER THREE QT …………………………………… 1-0
TIED AFTER THREE QT ………………………………………… 0-0
PLUS TURNOVER RATIO ……………………………………… 1-0
EVEN TURNOVER RATIO …………………………………….. 0-0
MINUS TURNOVER RATIO ……………………………………. 0-1
MORE TOTAL OFFENSE ……………………………………….. 0-0
LESS TOTAL OFFENSE …………………………………………. 0-2
OUTCOME 7 POINTS OR LESS …………………………….. 1-1
OUTCOME 3 POINTS OR LESS ………………………………. 0-1
OVERTIME ……………………………………………………………… 0-0
PLAY ON NBC ……………………………………………………….. 0-0
NOT ON NBC ………………………………………………………… 1-1

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