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Game Preview: Steelhawks and Firebirds Take Flight

April 12, 2017 - National Arena League (NAL) - Lehigh Valley Steelhawks News Release

Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, in the midst of a four game home stand, have a short week before taking on the Georgia Firebirds, Saturday, April 15th on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center. The two teams square off at 7:00pm. The game will be viewable locally on Service Electric/TV2 Sports and will be streamed via YouTube.

Lehigh Valley (3-1) is coming off a tough two weeks, playing two of the top four teams in the league; narrowly defeating the Columbus Lions on a game winning touchdown pass with two seconds on the clock this past Sunday. Georgia (1-3) is coming to town with deceiving record as they have shared those same opponents and played competitive games with each. They got their first win on the year last week over the winless Corpus Christi Rage. After having some early injuries and personnel changes, the Firebirds will be another tough opponent for the Steelhawks.

The Steelhawks come in to the game with a very efficient offense, ranking just behind Jacksonville in pass efficiency (108.6) and total offense per play average (6.5). The 'Hawks offense is led by QB Warren Smith Jr., who leads the league in total offense (920 total yards), offensive touchdowns (24 total- 21 passing, 3 rushing), and completion percentage (64%). Smith Jr. has a crew of receivers he can go to; he has thrown touchdowns to eight different players, and tallied seven touchdown passes (tied for a franchise record) in the Steelhawks victory over Columbus. WR Brandon Renford (22 catches for 277 yds, 8 tds) has had a hot two weeks, grabbing six touchdowns, including the game winner last week. Warren Oliver Jr. (286 yds on 23 catches, 5 tds) and Darius Prince (280 yds on 25 catches, 6 tds) are just as dangerous route runners, ranking 7th and 8th in the league respectively (Renford is 9th).

On the other side of the ball, the Steelhawks defense has continually made big plays when it counted to help get the 'Hawks W's. DB Dom Joseph came up with the big play last week with an interception in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter that led to a Lehigh Valley touchdown, making it a two possession game. DB Eddie Davis III also added his seventh interception on the season last week.

While Georgia has been struggling to get the end result, they have some weapons on their team that have been developing a rhythm. WR Terrence Ebagua, a 6'7 monster leads the league in receptions with 28 for 368 yards. WR John Harris is also a threat, as he's caught more touchdowns (8). QB Percy Turner has passed for 789 yards, on 57% completion rate. The Firebirds lead the league in redzone efficiency, scoring 10 of the 12 times they've gotten there. Turner has three rushing touchdowns on the year, and with a net of only 22 yards, he looks to be threat on the quarterback keeper in the redzone behind an offensive line that has only given up six sacks.

Defensively, the Firebirds are led by LB Lavar Ledbetter, who has 10 tackles on the year. DL Shaquille Prath was effective in getting into the Rage's backfield last week, recording two sacks and three tackles for a loss.

Following this game the Steelhawks have a bye week, but return to Embassy Bank Field in the PPL Center to finish the final two games of a four game home stand. The next home game will be on Saturday April 29th, 7:00pm kickoff against the Corpus Christi Rage.

2017 flex season ticket and individual game packages to watch the Steelhawks play inside the PPL Center are on sale now. Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks. For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news. Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100. The Steelhawks play all of their home games on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center.

Stay up to date with the Steelhawks by visiting the team website at www.LVSteelhawks.com or following them on Facebook: Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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