Defending the Mustangs and Holding the Line
MILWAUKEE (June 19, 2012) - The Milwaukee Mustangs look to get revenge on the Arizona Rattlers this week when they come to the BMO Harris Bradley Center after losing in the final seconds of their Week 2 matchup. Line protection for quarterback Gino Guidugli and stellar defensive plays have kept Milwaukee in close games all season long and each will be counted on during the final five games of the season.
Former Arizona State Sun Devil Luis Vasquez has been a nightmare for offensive linemen this season. Vasquez has recorded 18.5 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and six sacks during the 2012 season, but also is tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries with four.
In Week 13, Vasquez was named Riddell Defensive Player of the Week for his standout performance against the San Jose SaberCats. He recovered two fumbles and nearly intercepted a pass in the contest. Vasquez recovered a fumble off of the netting on the opening kickoff, which provided Milwaukee with an early lead. He also recovered a second SaberCats fumble and scampering 43 yards for another score.
"It feels good to see our team's hard work pay off," said Vasquez, who joined the Mustangs late in the 2011 season. "Everybody made big plays and those gave me the opportunities to make mine."
STAR ON AND OFF THE FIELD
Defensive back Ryan McFoy has been one of the most consistent players in the Mustangs' secondary all season. He leads the team with 72.5 tackles and leads Mustangs defensive backs with two interceptions and nine pass breakups. McFoy has also forced and recovered a fumble this season.
As great a player McFoy has been on the field, he has played an equally large role off the turf. In Week 14, McFoy was named the AFL's Community MVP of the Week for his participation in the "Autism Speaks Walk" at Soldier Field in Chicago, as well as Strong Links, a mentoring center that provides teens with an opportunity for growth and discovery.
"These aren't necessarily troubled youths but children that just need guidance," McFoy said of Strong Links. "It's fun hanging out with the kids and being a role model for them because a lot of youths today don't have positive male role models in their life. I am passionate about being a part of these kids' lives. I don't try to lecture them, I just try to be like a big brother, give them advice and guide them in the same way I was guided growing up."
"FALL"ING ON QUARTERBACKS
Defensive lineman Dwayne Lefall has made an excellent bookend defensive end to Vasquez this season. Lefall has posted 15.5 tackles, 7.0 for a loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and a team-high 6.5 sacks.
Lefall's best game came against the Pittsburgh Power in Week 3 when he posted two sacks and forced a fumble. He is on pace to exceed the 7.5 sacks he recorded during the 2011 season for Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Mustangs' offensive line has performed admirably all season and kept Gino Guidugli healthy and upright. The Mustangs have been excellent in pass protection, allowing only 16 sacks through 13 games - tied for fifth-least in the AFL. Milwaukee has been equally productive on the ground, averaging 15.5 yards rushing yards per game and scoring 27 rushing touchdowns to rank third in the league.
Much of the Mustangs' line success can be attributed to Raymond McNeil and Michael Diaz. Diaz has started every game in the trenches for Milwaukee in 2012, while McNeil has battled through a nagging hip injury to provide stability at the center position. Adam Tadisch had also been a key cog on the line before going down with a hip injury of his own halfway through the season. Thomas Claiborne has helped keep the line in check in Tadisch's absence.
Watch these Mustangs' standouts when they take on the Rattlers at 7 p.m. (CST) Friday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. You can tune into 540 ESPN ( ESPNWisconsin.com ) for the live play-by-play with Bill Johnson and watch the live broadcast on Time Warner Cable Sports32.
The 2012 Milwaukee Mustangs are thrilled to honor and represent the Arena Football League as they celebrate their Silver 25th Anniversary this season. Tickets and sponsorships on sale now! For more information, visit mkemustangs.com or call 414-224-4000. Don't forget to follow the Milwaukee Mustangs on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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