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by IPFL Press Release
April 26, 2001 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)
WEEK THREE IPFL PREVIEW
IPFL Press Release
Week three in the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) features a battle between two undefeated teams. The Boise Stallions (1-0) travel to Knoxville for a Friday night encounter with the Tennessee ThunderCats (2-0). Kickoff at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. Elsewhere, Trenton (0-2) will hold its home opener on Saturday, as the Lightning welcome the undefeated Omaha Beef (1-0). The Lightning's inaugural home game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. EST at the Sovereign Bank Arena.
Defense has been the name of the game for the ThunderCats and Stallions. Through week two, both teams rank among the top two in every major defensive team statistic. Boise leads the IPFL in scoring defense, surrendering a league-low total of 12.0 points per game (followed by Tennessee at 26.5 ppg), while Tennessee is tops in total defense, giving up a league-low average of 98.0 yards per game (followed by Boise at 129.0 ypg). In addition to total defense, the ThunderCats also lead the IPFL in pass defense (56.0 ypg), rush defense (42.0 ypg) and sacks (11). As for Boise, the Stallions rank second in pass defense (77.0 ypg), rush defense (52.0 ypg) and sacks (seven).
"Their defense plays a lot like ours," said Tennessee Head Coach George Lemon. "They like to be aggressive and attack. They like to keep the pressure on, and they're constantly in your face."
Individually, defensive lineman James Beavers (6-0, 265) and defensive back Scotty Stewart (6-1, 195) pace the ThunderCats' defense. Beavers leads the IPFL in both tackles for a loss (7.0) and sacks (4.5), while Stewart has come up with a league-best total of two interceptions.
Boise will counter with its one-two defensive punch of linebacker Brian Smith (5-10, 230) and defensive lineman Cliff Robinson (6-4, 251). Smith owns the single-game, single-season and all-time IPFL tackle records, while Robinson is the reigning IPFL Defensive Player of the Week. In last week's 29-12 win over Trenton, Robinson registered seven tackles, including three for a loss, two sacks, one safety and one forced fumble.
Despite the defensive domination, Lemon feels both offenses are likely to be in full gear Friday night. "What you have is two defenses that take a risk, and what usually happens in that case is a high-scoring game," he said.
One offensive player who will definitely have the throttle open is Tennessee wide receiver Brent Bardellini (5-10, 185). Aside from leading the league in scoring, Bardellini has a league-high receiving total of 15 receptions for 182 yards and four touchdowns. Last week he was named the IPFL Offensive Player of the Week for making seven receptions that netted 97 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee's 34-28 win at St. Louis.
"Brent is a guy you have to be aware of at all times," said Boise Head Coach Ed Jenkins. "I think we've designed some defensive schemes to systematically keep him in check, but it's just a matter of us coming out and executing."
Momentum is one element both teams want to maintain. For the first time in franchise history the Stallions are undefeated and coming off a victory in both their season opener and home opener. Tennessee, on the other hand, is looking to build on last week's come-from-behind road win in front 7,116 fans at the Family Arena. "That game pulled the team together even more," said Lemon. "Our goal was to come home 2-0, and we dug down deep in the fourth quarter to pull that game out."
"They're chomping at the bit because they have a chance to do something special," Jenkins said of his players. "They have a chance to go 2-0, which is something no Stallions team has ever done."
On paper, Trenton appears to have its hands full in its inaugural home game. The Lightning's offense is ranked last in every major offensive team statistic, while this week's opponent, the Omaha Beef, is ranked first.
Omaha leads the IPFL in scoring offense (averaging a league-high 61.0 points per game), total offense (averaging a league-best 343.0 yards per game), pass offense (256.0 ypg) and rushing offense (87.0 ypg). In addition, the Beef also lead the league in pass protection (0.0 sacks surrendered) and turnover margin, averaging an IPFL-best +3.0 turnovers per game.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Trenton, which is ranked last in scoring offense (18.5 ppg), total offense (109.5 ypg), pass offense (61.5 ypg) and rushing offense (48.0 ypg). Making matters worse, the Lightning's offense has yielded a league-high total of 16 sacks through the first two games.
Faced with a similar situation a year ago, Omaha head coach Sandy Buda hopes lightning won't strike twice. Last year Omaha was coming off a season-opening victory at home when it went on the road to play the last-place team, Shreveport, in the Bombers' home opener. The result was a 44-39 loss for Omaha.
"You can't take anything for granted in the IPFL," said Buda. "Every week is another new week in this league. So we'll be ready to play against a Trenton team that'll be fired up to play in its inaugural game at home."
Omaha's offense is led by the passing combination of quarterback Troy Travis (6-3, 240) and wide receiver Quincy Kenoly (5-11, 160) and the running back tandem of Calvin Jones (6-1, 210) and Clinton Childs (6-2, 235). Travis leads the IPFL in pass rating (151.4), passing yards (216.0 ypg) and total offense (223.0 ypg). His favorite target, Kenoly, leads the league in receptions per game (9.0), receiving yards per game (153.0) and yards per catch (17.0).
In the Beef backfield, Childs averages a league-best 61.0 rushing yards per game, while Jones averages a league-high 7.3 yards per carry. Another formidable scoring threat for the Beef is 2000 IPFL all-star place kicker Craig Forman (6-2, 230). To date Forman has been the league's most accurate kicker, connecting on two of three field goal attempts and all eight PATs.
One of Forman's tasks will be to keep the ball out of the hands of Trenton kick return specialist James DeMaise (5-9, 185). The diminutive DeMaise leads the IPFL in kickoff return yards (205), missed field goal return yards (48) and all purpose yards (277).
"Offensively we played extremely well in the first game of the season, but we've still got some areas we have to improve on," Buda said. "We have some things we have work on with our defense and kickoff coverage."
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Indoor Professional Football League Stories from April 26, 2001
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