Firebirds Finish Regular Season In Milwaukee
Albany can reach the af2 playoffs for the first time since the 2003 season with a road win over the Iron and a Florida Firecats loss. The Firecats face a win-and-in contest on Saturday night against the 10-5 Kentucky Horsemen. Florida is on a two-game skid, but has split its two meetings this season with the Horsemen. Milwaukee needs a win over the Firebirds and losses by Florida and Peoria to enter tie-breaking procedures. Milwaukee and Florida have not faced-off this season and have even records against common opponents, so the tie-breaker will be determined by strength of schedule, which will not fully be determined until the final weekend of action is complete.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Stephen Wasil has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight of his last nine starts and he ranks third in the league in passing yards per game (293.2). Despite only playing in 10 games this season, Wasil's 3,350 yards of total offence ranks 10th in the league. Last week the second year pro bolstered his stats with 324 yards and six touchdowns through the air, along with a season high 34 rushing yards on five carries.
WR/LB Alvin Ray Jackson passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a game-high 157 yards. Jackson also hauled in two touchdowns in the contest, expanding his team scoring lead to 10 with a total of 27 touchdowns on the season (Christian Wise has 17). The two-way veteran is one of two Firebirds to have started in every game this season (Reggie Paramoure is the other).
WR Johnnie Butler returned from the IR to play in just his third game of the season. The big rookie took seven passes for 73 yards with a game-high four touchdowns. In nine quarters of action this season, Butler has recorded 17 catches for 234 yards with nine touchdowns.
WR/DB Kenneth Williams, DL/LB Rob Wright and WR/LB Alvin Ray Jackson led Albany's defense with five tackles apiece last week against the Pioneers. Williams has now led the team in tackles seven times this year in only 10 games played. He leads all Firebirds with 59 tackles and his 5.9 tackles per game rank ninth in the league during the 2009 season. Wright started just his third game of the season at defensive end and in seven total appearances this year the rookie has 19.5 tackles including half of the game winning safety in Week 8 vs. Manchester.
Milwaukee's 47 sacks allowed are worst in the af2 and heading into the final game of the regular season the Firebirds sack title remains up for grabs. DE Reggie Paramoure is currently in the lead with 5.5, but DE David Tash and DE Anton Lindsay are close behind Paramoure with five each.
Week 18 Schedule:
All games are broadcast LIVE on af2TV free streaming video at www.albanyfirebirds.com
Friday, July 24th - 8:05 pm - Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI
vs. Milwaukee Iron (5-10)
- The 2009 season marks Milwaukee's first year competing in the af2 and this will be their second all-time meeting with Albany. The Iron won the first match-up 66-63 on May 30, 2009 in Albany.
- Leading Passers: QB - Todd Hammel - (151-247-10, 1,851yds, 32TD)
- Leading Rusher: FB - Tyre Young - (58att-235yds-8TD)
- Leading Receivers: Scott Burnoski - (91rec-1,150yds-17TD), Antoine Burns - (90rec-1,085yds-17TD), Bryan Pray - (46rec-642yds-12TD)
- Firecats vs. Horsemen: The Firebirds will be watching Florida host Kentucky on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The Firecats won their first match-up of the year against the Horsemen 68-62 in Week 3 in Florida, but Kentucky won the next contest 83-48 in Week 8. The Horsemen enter their final game of the regular season riding a five game winning-streak, while the Firecats have lost their last two games. Kentucky is quarterbacked by former New York Giant back-up Jared Lorenzen, a.k.a.. "The Hefty Lefty."
- Week 17 Transactions: Albany has placed DB EJ Whitley on reassignment and has transferred WR Christian Wise from the injured reserve to team suspension. Last week the Firebirds signed DB Joe Phinisee, who is expected to make his first start of the season this weekend.
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