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IPFL week eleven preview

by IPFL Press Release
June 15, 2000 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)

WEEK ELEVEN IPFL PREVIEW

IPFL Press Release

June 15, 2000 - The battle for first, featuring Omaha (5-3) at Portland (6-3), highlights week 11 of the 2000 Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) season. The league's top two teams square off Friday in Portland's Memorial Coliseum, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Aside from the showdown for first, week 11 is also comprised of two Saturday games: Mobile (3-5) at Mississippi (4-4) and Louisiana (5-4) at Idaho (3-4). The Mississippi Coast Coliseum is the site of the game in Biloxi, which will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Central Time, and the Bank of America Centre will host the game in Boise, which will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

Friday's clash between Omaha and Portland will be the third meeting in the four-game season series. The previous two games were played in Omaha, where Portland won the first encounter 43-23 and Omaha claimed the second matchup with a 34-30 win last week. Since their initial meeting back in week three, Omaha has won four out of five, including two straight, while Portland has gone three and three.

Among the team statistics, Portland and Omaha are the top two ranked teams in scoring defense and turnover margin. Portland has surrendered a league-low 30.5 points per game (ppg), and Omaha has given up 32.7 ppg. Portland has gained a league-high 24 takeaways and averages + one turnover per game, while Omaha, which has a second-best takeaway total of 22, averages + .62 per game.

Both teams feature strong defensive backfields. Portland defensive backs Jake Capdeville (6-1, 210), Milton Myers (5-11, 150), Antonio Sparrow (6-2, 200) and Hassan Probherbs (5-11, 170) have combined for a total of 194 tackles and 12 interceptions. Individually, Capdeville is tied for the league lead in tackles with 74, and Sparrow is tied for the league lead in interceptions with four. Omaha's leader on defense is Lamar O'Neal (6-2, 195), who is tied for the league lead in both tackles and interceptions. In eight games O'Neal has accounted for four interceptions and 74 tackles (45 unassisted and 29 assisted), including 14 in last week's win over Portland.

In addition to scoring defense and turnover margin, Portland is also ranked first in total offense. The league-leading Prowlers average a league-high 244.3 yards per game (ypg). In the first two games of the season series, Portland averaged 316.5 yards of total offense against an Omaha defense that surrenders a league-high 242.8 ypg.

The thorn in Omaha's side has been Portland quarterback Erik Wilhelm (6-3, 217). In the first two games against the Beef, Wilhelm was a combined 53-77-5 passing for 468 yards and nine touchdowns. Furthermore, his 275 passing yards against Omaha last week established an IPFL single-game record. Among the individual statistics, Wilhelm leads the lead in total offense (1,735 yards), total offense per game (192.8 yards) passing (1,673 yards), pass rating (115.9), completions (189), attempts (294), completion percentage (64.3), passing touchdowns (31) and passing yards per game (185.9).

Wilhelm's leading targets are wide receiver Chad Carlson (6-0, 195), tight end Trent Waibel (6-5, 225) and running back Glenn Vereen (5-11, 195). Together the trio has combined for a total of 117 receptions for 1,083 yards and 21 touchdowns. Individually, Carlson has a league-high 11 receiving touchdowns and is tied for the league lead in receiving yards with 524.

Omaha's offense is centered on quarterback Travis Troy (6-3, 240) and running backs Clinton Childs (6-1, 230) and Calvin Jones (5-11, 210). The trio helped the Beef accumulate 234 yards of total offense in last week's win over the Prowlers. On the season Jones has averaged 4.1 yards per carry, Childs has rushed for 180 yards and Troy has passed for 722 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Saturday's game between archrivals Mobile and Mississippi will be the third meeting in the four-game Interstate 10 season series. Back in week one Mississippi won the first meeting 57-33, while Mobile captured its first-ever victory with a 30-23 win over Mississippi in week four. Mississippi leads the league in scoring offense, averaging a league-high 43.0 ppg, and Mobile leads the league in total defense, surrendering a league-low 143.1 ypg.

Under the direction of quarterback John Fourcade (6-2, 225), the Mississippi Fire Dogs have become the league's hottest team. En route to winning their third straight game, the Fire Dogs have outscored the opposition by a combined total 164-89. The latest victim was Louisiana, which Fourcade torched by passing for 262 yards and seven touchdowns. On the season Fourcade owns the league's second-best totals for total offense (1,393 yards), total offense per game (174.1 yards) passing (1,378 yards), pass rating (95.7), completions (145), attempts (247), completion percentage (58.7), passing touchdowns (28) and passing yards per game (172.2).

Mississippi's receiving corps is anchored by the dynamic duo of Kenny Causey (6-1, 190) and Lamont Woodberry (6-3, 215). Together they have been responsible for a total of 89 receptions for 940 yards and 18 touchdowns. Among the league leaders, Causey ranks first in receptions (45), receiving yards (524), receiving yards per game (66.0), all purpose yards (1,283), all purpose yards per game (160.9), field goal returns (185 yards) and field goal return average (30.8 yards).

Mobile's offense is fueled by running back Antoine Flowers (5-9, 175), who leads the league in scoring with 90 points. Flowers averages a league-high 44.9 rushing yards per game and has scored a league-best 13 rushing touchdowns.

If past holds to form, the key to this matchup will be defense and turnovers. In the first meeting Mississippi's defense scored two touchdowns and Mobile's offense committed four turnovers. The opposite occurred in the second game, as Mobile's defense made two scores and the Mississippi offense had four turnovers.

Mississippi's defense is led by backs Kevin Bouis (6-0, 205) and Quincy Sorrell (5-11, 190). Together they have made a total of 97 tackles. Mobile's defense has had to compensate for the Seagulls' offense, which has surrendered a league-high 24 giveaways. As a result, Mobile is ranked last in turnover margin, giving up a league-high average of one per game. Last week Mobile's defense held Shreveport-Bossier to just six first downs and 74 yards of total offense, and yet turnovers helped the Seagulls lose 27-15.

Louisiana and Idaho will begin their back-to-back two-game season series (next week Idaho travels to Louisiana) in the final game in week 11. Last year the two teams split the season series 1-1.

Both teams will be looking to end losing slides. Louisiana has dropped three in a row, while Idaho has lost two straight since its 41-30 upset win over league front-runner Portland back in week six. The main culprit in both instances has been poor defense. Idaho has given up an average of 48.5 points in its two setbacks, and Louisiana has surrendered an average of 56.6 points in its three-game losing skid.

Linebackers lead both defenses. Idaho's Brian Smith (5-11, 225) and Julian Yearwood (6-2, 250) have combined for a total of 128 tackles. Individually, Smith is tied for the league lead in tackles with 74 (47 unassisted and 27 assisted). Louisiana's Darnell Lee (6-1, 235) has made a team-high 54 tackles (30 unassisted and 24 assisted) for the Rangers' defense.

Louisiana's offense is led by running back Byron Allen (6-0, 205) and wide receivers Jacobe Austin (5-10, 190) and Eric Young (5-11, 190). Allen has averaged 3.9 yards per carry while rushing for a league-high 401 yards. Among the league leaders, Austin averages a league-best 14.8 yards per reception, and Young averages a league-high 26.7 yards per kickoff return.

Quarterback Albert Higgs (6-1, 210) leads Idaho's offensive attack. As a double threat, Higgs has rushed for 134 yards and nine touchdowns and passed for 940 yards and 16 touchdowns. In addition to Higgs, the Stallions' offense is paced by wide receiver Ricky Ross (6-0, 195), who averages 143.8 all purpose yards per game. Last season against Louisiana, Ross established the IPFL single-game record for all-purpose yards with a total of 283 (117 receiving and 166 kick returning).

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