IPFL week five preview

by IPFL Press Release
May 12, 2001 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)

WEEK FIVE IPFL PREVIEW

IPFL Press Release

The first round of rematches highlight week five in the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL). For starters, Trenton (0-4) and Tennessee (3-0) will tangle for second time this season at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. One hour later (7:30 p.m. CST), Omaha (3-0) and St. Louis (1-2) will square off in their second bout, only this time around the game will be played on the Renegades' home field at the Family Arena.

Saturday's opening game will pit a well-rested Tennessee squad, fresh off a bye week, against a hungry Trenton team, which is coming off back-to-back heartbreaking setbacks (14-13 to St. Louis and 51-41 to Omaha). In the inaugural meeting between the two teams back in week one, the ThunderCats outscored the visiting Lightning 28-7 in the second half en route to a 52-25 win.

Among the league statistics, the two teams are ranked at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Tennessee leads the IPFL in all four major defensive categories: scoring defense (surrendering a league-low 27.3 points per game); total defense (124.7 yards per game); pass defense (79.7 ypg); and rushing defense (45.0 ypg). Trenton on the other hand, is ranked last in all four major offensive categories: scoring offense (averaging a league-low 22.8 points per game); total offense (137.8 yards per game); pass offense (91.3 ypg); and rushing offense (46.5 ypg).

Despite the disparity, Tennessee isn't anticipating an easy confrontation with the winless Lightning.

"We have to bring our 'A' game to the table against a team that has its back against the wall," said Tennessee Head Coach George Lemon. "In spite of its record, Trenton isn't a bad team. The Lightning have proven they can play with anybody."

Individually, Tennessee is led by a trio of league leaders. On offense, wide receiver Brent Bardellini (5-10, 185) has a league-best average of 5.67 receptions per game. In the first game against Trenton, Bardellini burned the Lightning defense for eight receptions and a pair of touchdowns. Pacing the ThunderCats' defensive unit are lineman James Beavers (6-0, 265) and defensive back Scotty Stewart (6-1, 195). Beavers leads the IPFL in both sacks (7.5) and tackles for a loss (12), while Stewart is tied for the interception lead with two.

Trenton's main scoring threat to date has been wide receiver/ kick returner James DeMaise (5-9, 185). Although he has found the end zone just twice, the versatile DeMaise leads the IPFL in both all purpose yards (600) and kickoff return yards (395). Lineman LeRoi Jones (6-2, 255), the league's second-leading tackler with 25 stops (16 unassisted and nine assisted), spearheads the Trenton defense.

"You're looking at a much more experienced team," Lemon said of Trenton. "Not only are they a lot more seasoned this time around, but they also know what to expect. They're familiar with us, and they're familiar with coming into Knoxville."

If Saturday's game between Omaha and St. Louis is anything like the first encounter, the Family Arena scoreboard will be turning like a pinball machine. Back in week one the two teams combined for the highest-scoring season-opening game in the IPFL history, as Omaha established a franchise single-game record for points scored in a 61-44 home win over the Renegades.

The opportunity to exact some revenge for that earlier loss is important to St. Louis, which is coming off its first win of the season following last week's one-point victory at Trenton.

"The players and coaches were all glad to finally get that first victory," St. Louis Head Coach Demetrious Johnson said. "Any time you win, it's always a high morale boost, but now we've got to put last week's game behind us and focus on Omaha."

The Renegades' focus on defense will be to slow down the explosive Omaha offense. In the first meeting the Omaha offense amassed 22 first downs, 343 yards of total offense and 37:29 in time of possession. Leading the way for the Beef was the passing combination of quarterback Troy Travis (6-3, 240) and wide receiver Quincy Kenoly (5-11, 160). Against the Renegades Travis completed 18 of 26 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns, while Kenoly had nine receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

The tandem of Travis and Kenoly is a major reason why the Beef lead the IPFL in all four major offensive categories. Omaha is ranked first in: scoring offense (scoring a league-high average of 56.0 points per game); total offense (273.3 yards per game); pass offense (166.7 ypg); and rushing offense (106.7 ypg). The Beef offense, which has committed just two turnovers, is also the main reason why Omaha leads the league in turnover margin (+3.33 per game).

Among the individual league leaders, Travis leads the IPFL in: pass rating (149.3); completion percentage (66.7); passing yards (506); passing touchdowns (10); passing yards per game (168.7); fewest interceptions thrown (0); total offense yards (554); and total offense per game (184.7 ypg). Kenoly leads the league in both receiving yards (247) and receiving yards per game (82.3).

The IPFL's top two scorers are Omaha running backs Clinton Childs (6-2, 235) and Calvin Jones (6-1, 210). Childs leads the league in both scoring (42 points) and rushing (180 yards), while Jones, last week's IPFL Special Teams Player of the Week, tops the league in average per carry (6.5) and kickoff return average (30.3).

"We're a pretty balanced offensive team, and that's tough to defend in the IPFL," Omaha Head Coach Sandy Buda said. "Our running backs, Clinton Childs and Calvin Jones, have done a good job of forcing opposing defenses to stop the run, which has opened up some passing lanes for Troy Travis."

"They're very consistent, and they don't make a lot of mistakes," Johnson said of Omaha's league-leading offensive attack. "They just play smash-mouth football and come at yah."

One Renegade who had a smash-mouth performance in the first game between these two Midwest rivals was cornerback Cory Bennett (5-7, 175), who had a game-high total of 16 tackles (nine unassisted and seven assisted). Among the league leaders, Bennett leads the IPFL in tackles (29) and is tied for the lead in interceptions (two).

Through week four, each team has had one major pitfall. Turnovers are the Renegades' Achilles heel, as the St. Louis offense has committed 10 turnovers.

"The key for us is to not beat ourselves," said Johnson. "We just can't afford to make silly mistakes and turn the ball over."

As for the Beef, the absence of three injured starters (Lamar O'Neal, T.J. Martin and Deondre Jones) has tormented the Omaha defense, which has surrendered a league-high average of 37.3 points per game.

"Our defense has improved despite losing three starters, but they'll need to continue to improve this week," Buda said. "St. Louis will be a much tougher team the second time around."

• Discuss this story on the Indoor Professional Football League message board...

Indoor Professional Football League Stories from May 12, 2001


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.


Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew