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Fire Prepare to Burn Down the Barn

March 26, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Louisville Fire News Release

Louisville, KY-On Saturday, March 29 the Louisville Fire will kick off the 2008 season against the Iowa Barnstormers at 7:05 PM. The Fire are going into the season with a young team, 11 rookies. However, there are key returnees on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

"The Barnstormers have an experienced coaching staff led by John Gregory," replied Head Coach Tommy Johnson when asked about the match-up with the Barnstormers. "He has AFL experience so his team will be well prepared and be efficient on offense. The player we have to keep an eye on is Tim Dodge. He is an af2 veteran and he knows how to score touchdowns."

Dodge has spent time with the Quad City Steamwheelers from 2003-06. In 2006 he had 37 touchdowns and completed three passes for touchdowns. In college, Dodge was a two sport athlete in football and track.

The Fire return the entire offensive line from last season, Thomas Coleman, Tim Long, and Joe Washington. This is the same line that lead the arenafootball2 league in rushing averaging 34.2 yards a game. The offensive line did not give up a sack in the last five games of the season. "As the offensive line unit we are prepared to present a sack free performance that will carry out through the entire season," stated Coleman.

In addition to the returning linemen the Fire are also welcoming Lonnell Dewalt back for the season. Last year Dewalt had 442 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Anthony Payton, Offensive Coordinator, knows that going into this game the offense will be important, especially playing an expansion team with an experienced coach. "We will be ready for everything. Since Iowa is an expansion team we are not sure what type of defense they will run against us. But we will stick to what we are good at and run a balanced attack.

The defense has some returnees of there own. Matt Forbes returns to help solidify a solid secondary (ranked eighth against the pass last season). Other returnees are Jerome Jones and Keller Speaks. Last season Jones had 60.5 tackles for the season and Speaks recorded 2.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles in seven games. During the 2008 season the Fire ranked ninth in total defense allowing 248.1 yards a game and 12th in sacks with 18. The Fire defense received an addition from the offensive side of the ball as Demetrius Forney will be able to return to his natural position as nose on the defensive line. "As the defense we are the heart of the team," answered Jones when asked about the defensive unit for the upcoming season. "We plan to play at an intense level, like never seen before."

Saturday will be the first time that many of the Fire players will get a chance to play arena football; however, all of them have seen action in big games. Two players Antoine Horton and Dominic Ross played at the University of Cincinnati. Brandon Register, another rookie, spent time with the Washington Redskins after playing college ball at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

GAME FACTS - Louisville Fire (0-0) vs. Iowa Barnstormers (0-0) Date: Saturday, March 29 Time: 7:05 Site: Brown-Forman Field in Freedom Hall Online Broadcast: Game will be streamed online at www.louisvillefirefootball.com Radio: The Ticket (1450 AM) with Zack McCrite (play-by-play) and Michael Vanover (analyst) Series History: Iowa leads 2-0 all-time (1-0 in Louisville, 1-0 in Des Moines) Last Meeting: Iowa 57, Louisville 43 (July 14, 2001 - Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky.)

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