Deja-Vu in Manchester
Wolves' Find Themselves At 5-6 Yet Again
Week 14 is approaching and in as many years the Manchester Wolves, New Hampshire's professional arenafootball2 team, find themselves sitting at 5-6 and with playoff aspirations.
If the playoffs were to start today the American Conference post-season would currently shake up with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers (10-0) holding down the #1 seed, followed by the Quad City Steamwheelers (7-4), Spokane Shock (7-4), Tri-Cities Fever (6-4), Central Valley Coyotes (6-4), Louisville (5-5), Green Bay (5-5) and Wolves (5-6). Mahoning Valley (5-6) would be left out due to the Wolves owning the head-to-head advantage with a 67-49 win over the Thunder back on April 28th.
The Wolves however will travel the toughest road en route to their post-season aspirations as they'll face opponents with a combined 31-21 record down the stretch. Manchester's strength of schedule during this critical stretch will be the toughest compared to everyone else in the American Conference.
"Despite the schedule we've played, I'm pretty disappointed to be 5-6," said Wolves Head Coach Ben Bennett. "We've had the chance to win several games that we have lost. I hope our guys take this off week to heal up and to take a long look at themselves in the mirror."
The mirror has relevance as in 2006 Manchester found themselves with a 5-6 record, but with a late rally finished the regular season at 9-7 which earned the Wolves a first-round matchup against the Pioneers. The Wolves won the contest, 55-47, on Brady Sullivan Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester for their first-ever home playoff victory. If the post-season started today the Wolves would once again find their first-round opponents being the Pioneers, however this time the game would be played in the not so friendly confines of the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
"The only thing that's similar to last year situation is our record, I believe," said six-year veteran defensive back Allistair Sebastien. "Last year we were hitting our stride at this point and this year we're still looking to get some consistency. We need to come out of this bye week with some fire and pull together a nice win streak like we able to in 2006 and I think that's very attainable."
The Wolves first test en route to their playoff aspirations will take place at home on June 30 on Brady Sullivan Field against the Wildcats (8-3), who are led by former Manchester quarterback D. Bryant. Bryant, who played for the Wolves in 2006, has currently thrown for 3,097 yards and 67 touchdowns on a 62.9 completion percentage while also rushing for seven touchdowns in just 11 games for South Georgia.
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