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Georgia Force game notes

May 24, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Georgia Force News Release


Georgia Force (0-0) vs. Tampa Bay Storm (0-0)

Date: May 29, 2005
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
Site: Philips Arena (18,200)
Television: NBC (Bill Weber: play-by-play, Mike Pawlawski: analyst, Fred Kalil: sidelines).
Radio: WQXI 790 AM The Zone (David Hubbard: play-by-play, Chuck Oliver: analyst, Brandon Leak: sidelines).
Coaches: Doug Plank, Georgia (11-5, 1st Year).
Tim Marcum, Tampa Bay (177-67,
17th Year).
Series Record: Never faced in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay leads all-time regular season series 6-2.


Tampa Bay enters their 15th consecutive playoff appearance earning their Wild Card berth with a 78-53 victory over Columbus last Sunday. The win was just the Storms’ second road victory on the season and
as the National Conference’s fourth seed, Tampa Bay will find itself on the road throughout the AFL postseason. A playoff tested team, the Storm are only two seasons removed from their last championship in 2003.

The Storm are led by quarterback Shane Stafford and WR/LB Lawrence Samuels. Stafford threw for 4,500+ yards and 83 touchdowns on the season, while Samuels had 123 receptions for 1,411 yards and 19 scores.


The 2005 Southern Division champion and top seed in the National Conference Georgia Force open the “Drive to ArenaBowl XIX Las Vegas” playoffs by hosting a Divisional Round game against the fourth seeded Tampa Bay Storm on Sunday, May 29th at 3:30 p.m. in Philips Arena.

The contest will be the first-ever playoff game of any professional sport to be played in the six-year history of Philips Arena and the first-ever postseason home game in Force history. This season Philips Arena proved to be one of the toughest venues for opposing teams, as Georgia became one of only two teams (Tampa Bay) in AFL history to finish the regular season with a perfect 8-0 home record since the League moved to a 16-game schedule.

Georgia returns to the postseason for just the second time in club history and carry a 1-1 all-time record in playoff action. In 2003, the Force won their Wild Card match-up against Dallas before falling to San Jose in the Quarterfinal Round.



Jan. 30 NEW ORLEANS W 46-44
Feb. 4 @ Los Angeles L 41-46
Feb. 12 ARIZONA W 61-47
Feb. 20 @ Las Vegas W 38-13
Feb. 25 @ Austin W 66-63
March 6 COLUMBUS W 55-48
March 12 @ New York L 51-53
March 19 ORLANDO W 49-47
March 26 @ New Orleans W 43-40
April 2 @ Tampa Bay L 38-48
April 8 AUSTIN W 56-53
April 15 GRAND RAPIDS W 62-41
April 22 @ Orlando L 49-52
May 8 TAMPA BAY W 52-40
May 14 DALLAS W 63-56
May 21 @ San Jose L 48-54


If the Force win their Divisional Round game against Tampa Bay, Georgia would advance to the National Conference Championship game on Saturday, June 4th at 3:00 pm ET. The Force would face the winner of the Orlando at New York game.


A look how Georgia and Tampa Bay match-up on both sides of the ball based on 2005 regular season statistics:

Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Scoring Offense 9th 51.1 7th 52.2
Scoring Defense 2nd 46.6 5th 48.7
Total Offense (yds/g) 7th 282.5 5th 293.7
Total Defense (yds/g) 12th 294.0 7th 273.1
Pass Offense 7th 264.8 4th 279.9
Pass Defense 13th 275.9 7th 255.4
Rushing Offense 9th 17.7 14th 13.8
Rushing Defense 6th 18.1 4th 17.7
Pass Rating 3rd 120.0 13th 109.4
Pass Def. Rating 7th 107.8 5th 104.6
Kickoff Returns 9th 17.4 17th 15.6
MFG Returns 8th 17.4 11th 14.5
Interceptions (int-yds) 14th 12-79 9th 15-180
Turnover Margin 11th -2 7th +4
Field Goals 5th 7-14 3rd 17-30
PAT Kicking 10th 97-112 2nd 97-106
Sacks By (sks-yds) 9th 15-80 12th 13-83
Sacks Against (sks-yds) 8th 13-91 7th 12-78
First Downs 5th 334 4th 343
Opp. First Downs 12th 333 3rd 307
Penalties (yds/gm) 13th 57.1 6th 51.0
Opp. Penalties (yds/gm) 1st 66.1 14th 49.8
Red Zone Offense 13th 57-73 5th 81-96
Red Zone Defense 3rd 60-78 2nd 53-69
Time of Possession 14th 28:29 1st 32:02


8-0 at home
3-5 on the road

1-0 vs. Central Division
2-1 vs. Eastern Division
6-2 vs. Southern Division
2-2 vs. Western Division

3-2 on Fridays
4-3 on Saturday
4-0 on Sundays

1-0 in January
3-1 in February
3-1 in March
2-2 in April
2-1 in May

6-5 in televised games

10-1 when leading at the half
0-0 when tied at the half
1-4 when trailing at the half

11-0 when leading after 3 quarters
0-1 when tied after 3 quarters
0-4 when trailing after 3 quarters

2-0 outcome 7 points or less
5-3 outcome 3 points or less
0-0 overtime games

5-1 when the Force scores first
6-4 when opponent scores first

6-3 when the Force win the coin toss
5-2 when opponent wins the coin toss


Georgia’s Director of Corporate Partnerships Jorge Cimadevilla was a kicker for the Storm in 1995-1996 and won two Arena Football Championships with Tampa Bay…Storm Head Coach Tim Marcum was a defensive assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons during the 1994 season.



This season, the Force have shown toughness for winning the close game. Of their 11 wins on the year, seven of those contests have been decided by 7 points or less with five of those games being decided by 3 points or less.

Also in 4 of the 5 losses on the season, the Force have lost by just an average of just 4 points.

1/30 vs. New Orleans W 46-44
2/25 at Austin W 66-63
3/6 vs. Columbus W 55-48
3/19 vs. Orlando W 49-47
3/26 at New Orleans W 43-40
4/8 vs. Austin W 56-53
5/14 vs. Dallas W 63-56

2/4 at Los Angeles L 41-46
3/12 at New York L 51-53
4/22 at Orlando L 49-47
5/21 at San Jose L 48-54


Georgia closed out the regular season ranked 2nd in the AFL in points allowed per game (46.6) and 3rd in red zone defense only allowing opponents to score on just 60-of-78 tries on the season inside in the 10 yard line.


The Force and Las Vegas Gladiators combined for 34 penalties in their game on February 20th to set a new AFL record. The previous mark for most penalties in a contest was 21, which had been done twice (once by the Georgia on 4/20/02 vs. Orlando). That next week, Georgia and Austin combined for 30 penalties in their game on February 25th for the second most penalties in League history.

The Force finished the regular season as the fifth most penalized team in the League averaging 54.4 yards per game in penalties while Georgia opponents are ranked first in the AFL in most penalty yards per game with a 66.1 average.


Since the League extended its regular-season schedule from 14 games to 16 games prior to the start of the 2003 season, no team had gone undefeated at home. This year, both Georgia and Tampa Bay, managed to go undefeated at home setting a new AFL record.


Georgia 8-0 3-5 11-5
Tampa Bay 8-0 2-6 10-6


Before this year, Georgia had never finished the regular season with a winning home record. In 2005, the Force went a perfect 8-0 at home.

Currently, the Force are riding a team-record 10 game winning streak at home dating back to last season. The 10-game home winning streak is tied for 3rd all-time in AFL history (19- Orlando).

2002 3-4 Philips Arena
2003 3-5 Arena at Gwinnett Center
2004 3-5 Arena at Gwinnett Center
2005 8-0 Philips Arena


The Force established a new record for home attendance in each of their first four home games in 2005.

March 19 Orlando 14,226
March 6 Columbus 14,104
Feb. 12 Arizona 13,297
Jan. 30 New Orleans 11,328

Before this season, the previous record for a Force home crowd was 11,200, which happened twice with home opener sell-outs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in 2003 and 2004.


It is pretty amazing to look how much Chris Jackson has done in just five seasons. Here is a look at what he has done in his 77 career AFL games.

75 games with at least one TD
74 games with at least one receiving TD
53 games with at least 2 TDs
33 games with at least 3 receiving TDs
16 games with at least 4 receiving TDs
7 games with at least 5 receiving TDs
2 games with at least 6 receiving TDs
1 game with at least 7 receiving TDs
40 100-yard receiving games
21 games with 10+ receptions

* Only player to win the AFL Rookie of the Year, then later capture AFL Offensive Player of the Year.

* 8th all-time in AFL history in receiving touchdowns entering 2005 season.

* 11th all-time in AFL history in scoring entering 2005 season.

* 1,200+ receiving yards in 5 of 6 seasons (includes 2005).


Since entering the game in the second quarter at Austin on February 25th when starting quarterback Jim Kubiak went down with a season-ending knee injury, Matt Nagy has stepped and led the Force to a 7-4 record and helped guide Georgia to their first Southern Division championship.

As a starter this year, Nagy has thrown at least four touchdowns in 10 games (didn’t play in the second half at San Jose) and set a career high with nine touchdown tosses vs. Dallas (5/14).

Against the Wranglers, Nagy truly went from holding a clip broad to stepping into the game and completing his first 10 passes. The Force would go on to win on a last second 49-yard field goal by Nelson Garner.


The Force have been recognized for some of their achievements this season, both as a team and as players by being honored with the following awards:

AFL Rookie of the Month (February)
OS Troy Bergeron

AFL ADT Defensive Player of the Month (March)
DS Kevin Gaines

AFL ADT Defensive Player of the Week
DS Kevin Gaines- Week 3

AFL U.S. Army Ironman of the Week
WR/LB Chris Jackson- Week 11

AFL Offensive Player of the Week
WR/LB Chris Jackson- Week 15

AFLWA Top 8 Team Poll
# 1 ranking- Week 9
# 1 ranking- Week 10
# 1 ranking- Week 13
# 1 ranking- Week 15
# 1 ranking- Week 16
# 1 ranking- Week 17

AFLWA Player of the Week
WR/LB Derek Lee- Week 7
WR/LB Chris Jackson- Week 16


When the Georgia Force clinched the 2005 Southern Division championship and the top seed in the National Conference, not only were they setting a first in team history for the club, but also for their home venue.

By winning the division title, the Force secured a first round home playoff game to be played on May 29th and a potential second round match-up at home on June 4th. In the six-year history of Philips Arena, no team in any professional sport has played a playoff game within the venue or posted a winning regular season record.


In the regular season finale at San Jose (5/21), both Troy Bergeron and Derek Lee etched their names into the AFL record books for rookie receiving marks.

Lee set a new rookie single-season mark for receptions finishing the year with 113 (105 by Mike Baker- St. Louis, 1996).

Bergeron set a new League single-season record with 1,370 receiving yards (1,335 by Oronde Gadsden- Portland, 1998).


Georgia’s rookie tandem of WR/LB Derek Lee and OS Troy Bergeron have been tearing up the AFL. “Thunder and Lightning” finished the 2005 regular season with more receiving touchdowns then any other pair of receivers in the AFL. The following is the top five duos in touchdown receptions:


1. Troy Bergeron & Derek Lee Georgia 64
2. Siaha Burley & Randy Gatewood Arizona 63
3. Marcus Nash & Joe Douglas Las Vegas 61
4. Rashied Davis & James Roe San Jose 60
5. Aaron Bailey & Thabiti Davis New Orleans 56


Here is a break-down on where some of the Georgia Force players rank in the AFL in various categories:


OS- Troy Bergeron
All-Purpose Yards 5th
Receiving Yards 10th
Receiving TDs 7th
Kickoff Returns 5th
KO Return Yards 6th
MFG Returns 2nd
MFG Return Yards 3rd

DS- Kevin Gaines
Interceptions T-3rd
Tackles 18th

DS- Willie Gary
Tackles 6th

K- Nelson Garner
Scoring (Kickers) 10th
Field Goal % 9th
PATs Made 10th

WR/LB Chris Jackson
Scoring 6th
All-Purpose Yards 8th
MFG Returns 8th
MFG Return Yards 9th
KO Return TDs T-4th

WR/LB- Derek Lee
Scoring 7th Receptions 9th
Receiving TDs 5th

QB- Matt Nagy
Passer Rating 3rd
Passing avg./game 10th
Pass Comp. Pct. 4th

FB/LB- Robert Thomas
Rushing 10th

OL/DL- Gillis Wilson
Sacks 6th


DOUG PLANK, Georgia (11-5, 1st Year): On July 30, 2004, Doug Plank was announced as the new head coach of the Georgia Force becoming the fourth head coach in the team’s history. Plank comes to the Force having served as the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Rattlers from 2002-2004, which included three consecutive ArenaBowl championship game births.

Following a 3-5 start in 2004, the Rattlers turned their season around to finish with a league-tying best 11-5 record and secure the top seed in the AFL playoffs. In 2002, Plank helped guide the Rattlers defense to a number one regular season ranking in rushing defense and scoring defense. In his three years with the Rattlers, he coached four First Team All-Arena selections, two Second Team All-Arena players and four All-Ironman Team choices, including 2003 AFL Ironman of the Year Randy Gatewood.

A former member of The Ohio State University football team, Plank played in three consecutive Rose Bowls, 1973, 1974, and 1975. While at Ohio State, he played for legendary coach Woody Hayes.

Plank brings with him a wealth of football experience that includes an impressive career in the NFL. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 12th round of the 1975 NFL Entry Draft and started at safety for eight seasons. The “46 Defense” created by Buddy Ryan was named for Plank's jersey number and aggressive style of play. Plank was also the first Bears rookie to ever lead the team in tackles.

Following his playing career, Plank became a franchisee for the Burger King Corporation owning and operating 17 restaurants in three different states.

Plank's professional history also includes experience as a member of the Rattlers broadcast team. Prior to becoming defensive coordinator, he spent five years as the Rattlers' radio analyst and two seasons as their television color analyst.

His broadcasting experience also includes stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State University Football, Fox Sports Net, Westwood One and Sports USA Radio Network.

TIM MARCUM, Tampa Bay (177-67 overall, 17th Year): Tim Marcum is a Charter member of the Arena Football Hall of Fame and is the League’s all-time winningest coach. He is the only coach in AFL history to win 100 or more games.

Marcum is in his 11th season with the Storm. He led Tampa to back-to-back ArenaBowl titles (1995 & ’96) and captured his third AFL championship with the Storm in 2003. Marcum led the Storm to a league-record 17 game winning streak (July 1, 1995 - June 29, 1996).

Marcum led Detroit Drive to five ArenaBowl appearances in five seasons (1988-89, 1991-93), winning three times. He coached AFL’s first-ever champion, Denver Dynamite (1987). Marcum is a two-time Arena League Coach of the Year (1987, 1998). He spent 1994 season as defensive assistant for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Marcum was the assistant head coach of WLAF’s New York/New Jersey Knights in 1991, linebackers coach on Steve Spurrier’s University of Florida staff in 1990, linebackers coach (1984) and defensive coordinator (1985) for USFL’s San Antonio Gunslingers.


ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Force (10-4) claimed the 2005 Southern Division Championship with a 52-40 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm (8-6). The Force become the first team in the AFL this season to clinch a playoff berth and are the first club to reach double-digit wins on the year.

The win ups the Force’s home record to a perfect 7-0 on the year and increases their home winning streak to nine games dating back to last season.

Georgia WR/LB Chris Jackson finished with a game-high 12 reception for 130 yards and three touchdowns, including a seven-yard score with 30 seconds left in the game to seal the victory. Jackson, named U.S. Army Ironman of the Game, added a 56-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and also rushed for a score. For Tampa Bay, QB Shane Stafford threw for a game-high 337 yards on 22-of-42 passing with 6 touchdowns, but tossed 2 interceptions, both picked by Force DS Ricky Packer.

The game was tied 6-6 following the first quarter of play as each team scored on touchdown passes and missed PAT attempts. The Georgia defense made the contest’s first stop as Parker intercepted a Stafford pass in the end zone. The Force capitalized on the turnover when FB/LB Robert Thomas rushed in from one yard out to give Georgia a 13-6 lead. Tampa Bay closed the scoring gap when OS Demetris Bendross hauled in his second touchdown of the half, but a second missed PAT attempt by the Storm left the score a 13-12. The Force pushed their lead to eight points, 20-12, on a QB Matt Nagy to Jackson five-yard strike on fourth-down. With seven seconds remaining before the half, Tampa Bay K Matt George connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt as Georgia took a 20-15 after two quarters of play.

The Force built their largest lead of the game at 32-15 with 14 straight points to start the third quarter. Georgia OS Troy Bergeron caught his second touchdown and Jackson pulled in his second score of the game on a four and two-yard passes respectively. Between the two Force drives, Parker grabbed his second interception of the game from Stafford. The Storm closed the quarter with a 34-yard touchdown strike to WR/LB Lawrence Samuels and a successful on-side kick recovery on the ensuing kickoff.

Each team traded three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, starting with Samuels’ second scoring catch from Stafford from 6-yards out. Jackson scored three touchdowns in the final quarter on two touchdown receptions and his kickoff return for a score. The Storm tacked on a final touchdown as the clock expired on a two-yard strike to WR/DB Clif Dell, but still fell to even the season's series at 1-1.

Score 1 2 3 4 Final
Tampa Bay 6 9 6 19 40
Georgia 6 14 12 20 52


TB- Shane Stafford, 22-42-337-6-2
GA- Matt Nagy, 24-37-269-5

TB- Lawrence Samuels, 6-93-2
GA- Chris Jackson, 12-130-3

TB- Shane Stafford, 2-5
GA- Robert Thomas, 5-36-1

Offensive Player of the Game: Troy Bergeron, Georgia
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Ricky Parker, Georgia
U.S. Army Ironman of the Game: Chris Jackson, Georgia


SAN JOSE, CA – The San Jose SaberCats (9-7) earned a playoff berth and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 54-48 win over the Georgia Force (11-5) in the regular season finale for both teams. Despite the lost, Georgia is ensured to finish with the AFL’s best regular season record following losses by both Colorado and Los Angeles earlier in the night.

Quarterback Mark Grieb led San Jose with five touchdown tosses on 21-of-32 passing for 235 yards. Grieb was able to close his year by setting a new League record for single-season passing yards with 4,803 (4,762 by Jim Kubiak- Dallas, 2003). For Georgia, WR/LB Derek Lee finished with 10 catches for 114 yards and a game-high four touchdowns. Lee also established a new AFL record on the night breaking the rookie receptions mark with 113 on the season (105 by Mike Baker- St. Louis, 1996). The Force’s other rookie receiver set a new League single-season record with 1,370 receiving yards (1,335 by Oronde Gadsden- Portland, 1998).

San Jose was clicking on all cylinders in the first two quarters, as the SaberCats scored touchdowns on the half’s first and final plays. The game opened with San Jose’s Rashied Davis taking the opening kickoff 56-yards for a score. The SaberCats built a 21-0 lead before Georgia was final able to get on the board with 5:31 remaining in the half as Lee hauled in a 26-yard touchdown from Matt Nagy. On the ensuing kickoff, the Force attempted an on-side kick that was returned 14 yards for a second special teams’ touchdown by San Jose, this time by Clevan Thomas and a 28-6 SaberCats advantage. Following a Georgia touchdown reception by Chris Jackson, San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb added two straight scoring passes to Davis, the second set up by a successful on-side kick by the SaberCats, as they took a 40-13 lead into the break.

The Force began the second half with back-up quarterback Glen Gauntt under center and in the third quarter Georgia was able to chip a little at the San Jose lead. Gauntt completed touchdown passes to Lee and Bergeron of 24 and 26-yards respectively and the Force defense was able to create their first stop of the contest to outscore the SaberCats 14-7 in the quarter. The fourth quarter was much of the same as Georgia held San Jose to just seven points in the final period, while outscoring them a total of 35-14 in the second half. Gauntt continued his hot-hand with two more touchdown strikes to Lee in the four quarter and capping his night with a one-yard rush for a score to trim the final score to six points.

Score 1 2 3 4 Final
Georgia 0 13 14 21 48
San Jose 14 26 7 7 54


GA- Glen Gauntt, 15-18-177-4
SJ- Mark Grieb, 21-32-235-5

GA- Derek Lee, 10-114-4
SJ- James Roe, 12-121-3

GA- Robert Thomas, 1-2
SJ- Kevin Buck- 2-5, Joey Dozier- 2-5

Offensive Player of the Game: Mark Grieb, San Jose
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Barry Wagner, San Jose
U.S. Army Ironman of the Game: James Roe, San Jose


Offensive Player of the Game

1 GA Troy Bergeron
2 LA Remy Hamilton
3 GA Troy Bergeron
4 GA Jim Kubiak
5 GA Matt Nagy
6 GA Troy Bergeron
7 GA Derek Lee
8 GA Derek Lee
9 GA Troy Bergeron
10 TB Shane Stafford
11 GA Matt Nagy
12 GA Matt Nagy
13 GA Chris Jackson
15 GA Troy Bergeron
16 GA Matt Nagy
17 SJ Mark Grieb

ADT Defensive Player of the Game

1 GA Dialleo Burks
2 LA Antuan Simmons
3 GA Gillis Wilson
4 GA Kevin Gaines
5 GA Kevin Gaines
6 GA Gillis Wilson
7 NY Chris Angel
8 GA Kevin Gaines
9 GA Kevin Gaines
10 TB Mike Sutton
11 GA Willie Gary
12 GA Nate Coggins
13 ORL E.J. Burt
15 GA Ricky Parker
16 GA Derek Lee
17 SJ Barry Wagner

U.S. Army Ironman of the Game

1 GA Robert Thomas
2 LA Brian Sump
3 GA Ricky Parker
4 GA Derek Lee
5 GA Troy Bergeron
6 GA Chris Demaree
7 NY Corey Johnson
8 GA Ricky Parker
9 GA Derek Lee
10 TB Lynarise Elpheage
11 GA Chris Jackson
12 GA Derek Lee
13 ORL Cory Fleming
15 GA Chris Jackson
16 GA Chris Jackson
17 SJ James Roe


Sunday, May 29
San Jose at Colorado, 3:30 pm
Chicago at Los Angeles, 3:30 pm
Orlando at New York, 3:30 pm
Tampa Bay at Georgia, 3:30 pm

AFL ON TV (all times are ET):

Sunday, May 29
San Jose at Colorado, 3:30 pm
Chicago at Los Angeles, 3:30 pm
Orlando at New York, 3:30 pm
Tampa Bay at Georgia, 3:30 pm

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