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Columbus Destroyers game notes

February 8, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Columbus Destroyers News Release

QUICK FACTS:
Columbus Destroyers (0-1) at
Dallas Desperados (1-1)
Date: Sunday, February 13, 2005
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Site: American Airlines Center (15,919)
Officials: Pat Garvey, Referee; Paul King, Umpire; Bill Ward, Head Linesman; Wayne Mackie, Line Judge; Dino Paganelli, Back Judge
Radio: Columbus’ flagship station WAZU-107.1 FM “The Big Wazoo” will broadcast the game live with Rob Blackman and Greg Frey.
Television: NBC Sports, WCMH Channel 4 in Columbus (Bill Weber and Mike Pawlaski )
Series Record: Since Dallas’ inception in 2002, the two franchises have met twice prior to Sunday’s game. Columbus and Dallas have split the all-time series at one win a piece with both games taking place last season. The Desperados won 51-35 in Columbus on February 20, 2004 before dropping a 68-56 decision to the Destroyers in Dallas on May 22.
Series Streaks: Both teams lost on their home turf last season. A Destroyers win Sunday would be the team’s second consecutive win over Dallas.
Coaches: Columbus, Chris Spielman, 1st season (0-1 in 2005, 0-1 overall). Dallas, Will McClay, 2nd season (1-1 in 2005, 7-11 overall).

OVERVIEW: The Destroyers enter week three of the 2005 season fresh of an early bye week looking to rebound from a week one loss to the Nashville Kats in the club’s home opener on January 28. The Nashville loss also spoiled the debut of head coach Chris Spielman, who is in his first year as a head coach at any level after serving as the Destroyers Director of Football Operations in 2004. Sunday’s game marks the first divisional contest for Columbus with both the Destroyers and Desperados playing out of the AFL’s Eastern Division. The Destroyers are currently entering a stretch where three out of their next four games will be played on the road, including trips to Dallas, Grand Rapids and Georgia. Dallas returns home after suffering their first loss of the season to the New York Dragons Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Desperados fell to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in the Eastern Division.

COLUMBUS DESTROYERS (0-1)
Date Opponent Time Result Record
1/28 NASHVILLE 7:00 L (47-38) 0-1
2/13 @Dallas 3:00 - -
2/19 CHICAGO 7:00 - -
2/27 @Grand Rapids 3:00 - -
3/06 @Georgia 12:00 - -
3/12 LAS VEGAS 7:00 - -
3/20 @Colorado 3:00 - -
3/26 NEW YORK 7:00 - -
4/03 PHILADELPHIA 12:00 - -
4/08 @Arizona 10:00 - -
4/16 @New Orleans 8:00 - -
4/22 DALLAS 7:00 - -
4/30 AUSTIN 7:00 - -
5/07 @New York 7:00 - -
5/15 @Philadelphia 1:00 - -
5/22 TAMPA BAY 3:00 - -

*All Eastern Time

DALLAS DESPERADOS (1-1)
Date Opponent Time Result Record
1/30 CHICAGO 3:00 W (66-65)ot 1-0
2/06 @New York 1:00 L (55-45) 1-1
2/13 COLUMBUS 3:00 - -
2/17 ORLANDO 8:30 - -
2/27 @Philadelphia 3:00 - -
3/05 NEW ORLEANS 8:30 - -
3/13 @Austin 3:00 - -
3/18 @Los Angeles 10:30 - -
3/25 COLORADO 8:30 - -
4/08 NASHVILLE 8:30 - -
4/15 @San Jose 10:30 - -
4/22 @Columbus 7:00 - -
4/29 NEW YORK 8:30 - -
5/07 @Las Vegas 10:30 - -
5/14 @Georgia 7:00 - -
5/22 PHILADELPHIA 3:00 - -

A COLUMBUS WIN OVER DALLAS WOULD…

· Give the Destroyers their first win of the season.
· Give the Destroyers their second consecutive win over the Desperados
· Give the Destroyers their first divisional win
· Give Chris Spielman his first-ever win as a head coach
· Prevent the Destroyers from falling to 0-2 on the young season

LAST SERIES MEETING

Destroyers 68, Desperados 56 (5/22/04)
On the strength of 26 fourth quarter points and a late interception by wide receiver/linebacker Titcus Pettigrew, the Destroyers captured their second consecutive victory and sixth overall with a 68-56 decision over the host Desperados at the American Airlines Center on May 22 of last season. The 68 points scored by the Destroyers was a season high and marked the highest offensive output as a team since the Buffalo Destroyers posted 79 points in a win over New Jersey on June 25, 2000. Quarterback Ryan Vena led Columbus to victory, completing 15-of-22 pass attempts for 245 yards and a season-high eight touchdowns. Offensive specialist Sedrick Robinson led all receivers with seven catches for 125 yards and four touchdowns. He also returned five kicks for 153 yards and registered his fifth return for a touchdown, giving him a total of five touchdowns and 280 all-purpose yards in the game. Robinson’s 30 points scored tied a franchise record and his fifth return for touchdown set a franchise record for a single season. Trailing 62-56 with less than a minute remaining, Dallas had the ball at the Columbus three yard-line and was on the verge of capturing the go-ahead score. However, in an attempt to throw the ball away on a busted play, Dallas quarterback Scott Dreisbach threw the ball off the rebound which ricocheted into the hands of Pettigrew to seal the win for the Destroyers. A late interception from defensive specialist Del Lee proved to be the pivotal play. Lee picked off a deep Dreisbach pass attempt and returned the ball 30 yards to the Dallas 18 yard-line. Sedrick Robinson then gave the Destroyers the lead for good following his fourth score of the game on an 18-yard touchdown play to make the score 62-56 with 1:37 remaining prior to Pettigrew’s game-sealing interception.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS VS DALLAS
Date Score
February 29, 2004 DALLAS 51, COLUMBUS 35
May 22, 2004 COLUMBUS 68, DALLASA 56

POTENTIAL SHOOTOUT IN DALLAS
If history repeats itself, Sunday’s game could come down to whoever has the ball last in an old fashioned shootout. The last time these two teams met 124 combined points were scored in a Destroyers victory on May 22, 2004. This season, Columbus and Dallas suit up arguably the top two receiving corps in the AFL. Columbus has 1,000-yard receivers Sedrick Robinson and Cornelius White to go along with the additions of Damien Groce, Lenzie Jackson and the franchise’s all-time leading receiver, Bobby Olive. Dallas’ three-headed monster of a receiving corps includes Will Pettis, Bobby Sippio and Jason Shelley, all whom had over the 1,000 yards receiving and over 20 receiving touchdowns a season ago. The three Dallas receivers combined for 273 catches for 3,598 yards and 75 touchdowns in 2004. Dallas enters this weekend’s matchup ranked 15th out of the 17 teams in the AFL in scoring defense, giving up 60 points per game thus far. However, to balance that out, Dallas also boasts the third best scoring offense in the league at 55.5 points per game.

HOME FIELD DISADVANTAGE?
The Destroyers and Desperados have met twice prior to Sunday’s game with both teams losing on their home field. Dallas has lost three out of their last four home games while the Destroyers have won two out of their last three games played on the road dating back to last season.

DALLAS SEEING YELLOW
Dallas enters Sunday’s contest as the most penalized team, yards-wise, in the Arena Football League. In two games, Dallas has been penalized 15 times for 142 yards. In one game played, the Destroyers have only penalized four times for 25 yards.

SPECIAL FACTOR
The Destroyers finished as one of the top special teams performers in 2004 and appear prime to do the same this season. Sporting former AFL Kicker of the Year Steve Videtich and return specialist Sedrick Robinson, it’s to wonder head coach Chris Spielman hopes to focus on special teams play more than any other team in the league. Entering week three, the Destroyers are 5th in the AFL in kick return average (20.3) and Videtich has yet to miss an extra point (5-5) or field goal (1-1), albeit in only one game. In addition, Coach Spielman has not been quiet about his itch to go for onside kicks early and often. The Destroyers attempted an onside kick on the opening kickoff against Nashville, which they recovered prior to a one-play scoring drive. On the season, the Destroyers have attempted two onsides kicks, recovering one.

RETURN TO SENDER
Sunday’s game between Columbus and Dallas features two of the premier kick returners and overall playmakers in the AFL. Last season for Columbus, wide receiver/defensive back Sedrick Robinson returned 72 kicks (2nd in AFL) for 1,580 yards (2nd in AFL) and five touchdowns (T-1st in AFL). Not to be outdone, Dallas will suit up the top return man in the AFL from a season ago in wide receiver/defensive back Will Pettis on Sunday. Pettis finished the 2004 season as the AFL’s leader in kick returns (88), kick return yards (1,750) and second in returns for a touchdown with four. Nobody should be surprised of at least one kick is taken to the house Sunday. In addition Pettis and Robinson finished one-two in all-purpose yards last season throughout the entire AFL. Pettis finished with 3,017 all-purpose yards (1st in AFL) while Robinson followed with a total of 2,711 all-purpose yardage (2nd in AFL).
DESTROYERS SELL OUT AGAIN
The Destroyers sold out four of eight home games during their inaugural season, eventually averaging over 16,000 fans in attendance per home game in 2004. The club picked up where they left off during the team’s season opener versus Nashville on January 28, recording yet another sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena (17,171).

GROCE PACES DESTROYERS
On the offensive side of the ball, OS Damien Groce was considered one of the top free agent acquisitions for the Destroyers this offseason. Groce made an immediate impact in his Destroyers debut, leading the team with seven catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns two weeks ago versus Nashville. Groce’s seven catches was one off his career high (8 done twice with Carolina last season). Groce, who was on pace to record over 1,000 yards receiving before suffering an injury late in the 2004 season, could be on his way to his first 1,000 yard receiving year of his career. With the addition of Groce, the Destroyers could potentially have three 1,000-yard receivers with both Sedrick Robinson (1,063) and Cornelius White (1,152) accomplishing the feat last season.

DESTROYERS TACKLE HUNGER
When the Columbus Destroyers kicked off the 2005 AFL season, the team also kicked off a new community initiative in conjunction with the Mid-Ohio FoodBank to “Tackle Hunger” in Central Ohio. Beginning with the home opener and continuing throughout the 2005 season, fans are asked to bring non-perishable food items to each home game at Nationwide Arena for donation to the Mid-Ohio FoodBank. In turn, fans will receive one raffle ticket per donated food item for a chance to win a team-autographed, authentic AFL football. One winner will be announced during the fourth quarter of each game. In addition to the eight-game collection drive, members of the Columbus Destroyers plan to further support the “Tackle Hunger” initiative with visits to the Mid-Ohio FoodBank to help pack boxes for distribution to local food pantries. Players and team personnel will also lend a hand at Faith Mission to serve meals and spend time with residents during several trips scheduled throughout the season.

TALE OF THE TAPE: Here’s how the Destroyers and Desperados match up after two weeks of play.

2005 LEAGUE TEAM RANKINGS
Category (RANK) Columbus Dallas
Scoring Offense 38.0 (17) 55.5 (3)
Scoring Defense 47.0 (T-9) 60.0 (15)
Total Offense 243.0 (T-13) 339.0 (1)
Total Defense 309.0 (15) 265.5 (8)
Touchdowns Scored 5 15
Pass Offense 236.0 (11) 308.8 (2)
Pass Defense 227.0 (5) 237.0 (8)
Rushing Offense 7.0 (16) 31.0 (4)
Rushing Defense 82.0 (17) 28.5 (12)
Field Goal Percentage 100.0 (T-1) 50.0 (T-6)
Kickoff Return Average 20.3 (5) 14.3 (14)
3rd Down Efficiency 4-8 (T-8) 9-16 (5)
4th Down Efficiency 1-2 (T-6) 2-2 (T-1)

DESTROYERS ANNOUNCE TEAM CAPTAINS
The Destroyers named four Team Captains for the 2005 season prior to the season opener. As voted on by their teammates, this year’s captains include wide receiver/defensive back Sedrick Robinson, wide receiver/linebacker Cornelius White, defensive specialist JoJo Polk and lineman Curtis Eason. Robinson, who was last year’s team MVP, returns for his second season with the Destroyers after having a career-year in 2004. He finished with career highs in receptions, receiving yards, kick return yards, kick return touchdowns and all-purpose yards before being named to the AFL’s 2004 U.S. Army All-Ironman team. White is in his third season with the Destroyers, having led the team in receiving for the past two seasons. In 2004, White led Columbus with 78 catches for 1,152 yards and 23 touchdowns, all which were career highs. Polk led the Destroyers in tackles for the second consecutive season in 2004 with 69 total tackles. He also led the team in pass deflections (11), forced fumbles (2), fumble recoveries (2) and shared the team-lead with three interceptions. Eason is the lone newcomer of the group, entering his first season with the Destroyers after spending the past two seasons with the Detroit Fury. In 2004, Eason had a career-year, leading all Fury linemen with 28 total tackles, which was also a personal best.

WHEN COLUMBUS HAS THE BALL…
Look for quarterback Chad Salisbury to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Columbus has tremendous depth at the receiver position with a group of athletes capable of taking the ball to the house with virtually every pass reception. Salisbury’s primary targets will likely be returners Sedrick Robinson and Cornelius White, both whom surpassed 1,000 yards receiving last season. However, newcomers Damien Groce, Lenzie Jackson and Bobby Olive are also capable receivers, giving the Destroyers offense a multitude of weapons.

WHEN DALLAS HAS THE BALL…
Look for rookie quarterback Clint Stoerner to possibly be a little tentative after a sub-par performance a week ago versus New York. The rookie QB had a tremendous effort in week one, throwing for six touchdowns in his AFL debut, but came back to earth against a stingy Dragons defense last Sunday. Stoerner will likely seek either Sippio, Pettis or Shelley through the air all day and without question attempt to challenge the Destroyers secondary. Dallas’ receivers will try to use their size against a Destroyers defensive secondary who’s tallest player is 6-1.


NEXT WEEK
Following Sunday’s game in Dallas, the Destroyers return home to take on the Chicago Rush at Nationwide Arena on Saturday, February 19.

2004 REVIEW
The Destroyers began their first season in Columbus with a bang, besting the Indiana Firebirds on February 7 at Conseco Fieldhouse to earn the franchise’s first-ever victory. The emotions of the victory in week one carried over into week two when the club welcomed the Carolina Cobras for Columbus’ home opener at Nationwide Arena. However, the Destroyers fell on the game’s final play in the first of what would be six consecutive losses. Following the bye week, the Destroyers found a rhythm, stringing consecutive home victories together over the Orlando Predators and New York Dragons. The club gained momentum towards the end of the season, wining three out of their last five games including a 31-point win over the Grand Rapids Rampage, which was the largest margin of victory in franchise history. The Destroyers finished the 2004 season setting multiple single-season franchise records on the offensive side of the ball. Last season’s offensive records include total points scored (791), touchdowns scored (108), touchdown passes (68), total offensive yards (4,038) and total rushing yards (413). The Destroyers would finish their inaugural season with a 6-10 mark, welcoming over 16,000 fans in attendance per home game in the process, which was second to only the Philadelphia Soul throughout the Arena Football League.

DESTROYERS 2ND IN AFL ATTENDANCE IN 2004
The Destroyers were met with tremendous fan support, finishing their inaugural season second in the Arena Football League in attendance behind only Philadelphia. The Destroyers welcomed 130,288 fans into Nationwide Arena for eight home games last season with an average of 16,286 fans in attendance per game. Columbus recorded four sellouts in 2004, including sellouts in their first three home games of the season.

COLUMBUS DESTROYERS 2005 RECORD WHEN…
HOME 0-1
AWAY 0-0
FRIDAY 0-1
SATURDAY 0-0
SUNDAY 0-0
VS EASTERN 0-0
VS CENTRAL 0-1
VS WESTERN 0-0
VS SOUTHERN 0-0
JANUARY 0-1
FEBRUARY 0-0
MARCH 0-0
APRIL 0-0
MAY 0-0
SCORE FIRST 0-1
OPPONENT SCORE FIRST 0-0
AHEAD AT HALF 0-0
BEHIND AT HALF 0-1
TIED AT HALF 0-0
AHEAD AFTER 3RD QTR 0-0
BEHIND AFTER 3RD QTR 0-1
TIED AFTER 3RD QTR 0-0
PLUS TURNOVER RATIO 0-0
EVEN TURNOVER RATIO 0-0
MINUS TURNOVER RATIO 0-1
MORE TOTAL OFFENSE 0-0
LESS TOTAL OFFENSE 0-1
OUTCOME 7 POINTS OR LESS 0-0
OUTCOME 3 POINTS OR LESS 0-0
OVERTIME 0-0
PLAY ON NBC 0-0
NOT ON NBC 0-1

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