James Pinkney Returns at Quarterback for Wolves in 2009
MANCHESTER, NH--Quarterback James Pinkney, who came off the bench in 2008 and led the Manchester Wolves through a remarkable turnaround and into the playoffs, will be back calling the signals this year on a team that figures to make a deep run into the arenafootball2 league post season.
"Getting James back for this organization is huge," said Head Coach Danton Barto, who returns for his second season with the franchise as well. "He is a player who led us into the playoffs last year as a rookie. I expect him to have a huge year for us."
Pinkney took over for the injured Brian Jones in the fifth week of the season, becoming the Wolves fourth starting quarterback, and completed 220 of 342 passes for 2,877 yards with 59 touchdowns against 12 interceptions as the Wolves went from 1-6 to 9-7 in the regular season. Pinkney completed 24 of 39 throws with four touchdowns and one interception in the first round, come-from-behind playoff upset of the Wildcats in South Georgia despite playing with a season-ending injury.
Not only will be Pinkney return for 2009, but he'll have the services of one of his favorite receivers and a cast of talented, returning veterans and promising rookies around him.
Steven Savoy, one of three wide-outs who each racked up over 1,000 yards in 2008, figures to light up the scoreboard again this season and returning defensive backs Carlton Brown and Al Phillips and linebacker Dwan Wilson are expected to all be impact players on the other side of the line again.
"Carlton led us in interceptions (five) last year. He is still learning the game and I expect him to make huge strides this year," said Barto. "Al is a player who joined us late in the season and was a big part of our success. I believe that Al is going to have a monster year for us. Dwan was having a monster year for us before a foot injury slowed him down. I believe that Dwan will be a 10-plus sack guy from the linebacker position, which is huge."
On offense, Savoy will be joined in the receiving corps by rookie Deyon Williams, who was a playmaker in the competitive Atlantic Coast Conference in his collegiate career.
"Steve had a great year for us but was not 100 per cent during the playoff run," said Barto. If you look at his stats, he would have had 1,500 yards receiving if he hadn't missed any games but for a freak injury at Green Bay (in the second week of the regular season that sidelined him for four games). Deyon is a guy who made a lot of plays for Virginia and has performed at a high level in college."
Other rookies to watch in 2009 include offensive lineman Charles Manu and defensive backs Antwan Stewart and Martel Vanzant. Returning veterans include defensive lineman Larry McSwain, fullback/linebacker Chad Wengert, offensive/defensive lineman Marvin Wright, and defensive specialist Rob Green, who played for the Wolves several seasons ago and is returning to the field after a stint in the af2 coaching ranks.
The Wolves are coming off their most successful season in franchise history after making it all the way to the American Conference Title game. They open training camp on Saturday, March 7th at their official practice facility, the Hampshire Dome in Milford, NH, but first will hold a final open tryout on Saturday, February 21st at the same location.
As the team prepares for the season opener against the East Division champion and arch-rival Pioneers in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, March 27th, there is reason for optimism.
"I am very excited about all of the guys we have signed for this upcoming year," said Barto, who won the coveted ArenaCup as the head coach of the Memphis Xplorers in 2005. "This is one of the best years I have had recruiting players and we have a great group of veterans returning."
The Wolves, who are coming off their most successful season in franchise history after making all the way to the American Conference Title game in 2008, open training camp on Saturday, March 7th at their official practice facility, the Hampshire Dome in Milford, NH. But first they will hold a final open player tryout on Saturday, February 21st at the same location.
Manchester's first game for the af2 10th anniversary season will be against the East Division foe and arch-rival Pioneers in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, March 27th. Their home opener on The Acting Loft Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena is on Saturday, April 18th.
Season tickets, partial season ticket packages, specially priced youth season tickets, individual game tickets, group event tickets, and fundraiser tickets are on sale now by visiting email@example.com or by calling 603-627-9653 (Wolf).
The entire roster signed to date is:
WR/DB Allison Graylin 6'0 185 Belhaven 3/22/85 R
OL/DL Barto Aryan 6'4 280 Tulane 5/25/85 R
WR/DB Brown Carlton 5'10 185 Jackson State 6/15/85 1
WR/DB Gilmore Howard 6'1 195 Norfolk St 10/4/81 R
DS Green Rob 6'1 200 Massachusetts 5/28/78 4
FB/LB Jefferson Paul 6'1 265 Penn St 9/7/82 1
FB/LB King Matt 6'3 258 Maine 7/13/83 R
K Koepplin Chris 6'3 215 Umass 10/11/85 1
OL/DL Manu Charles 6'3 310 Nevada 10/30/84 R
DL McSwain Larry 6'1 250 UAB 10/12/83 1
DB Myers Anthony 5'7 165 Samford 7/16/85 1
OL/DL Owens Jacob 6'5 280 Fairmont St 10/10/84 R
DB Phillips Alfred 5'11 190 Wagner 10/14/85 0
QB Pinkney James 6'3 215 East Carolina 8/17/83 2
WR/DB Savoy Steven 5'11 190 Utah 2/27/82 1
DB Stewart Antwan 6'0 195 Tennessee 11/5/83 R
WR/DB Touchstone Jerome 5'8 171 Appalachian St 11/19/85 R
DB Vanzant Martel 6'0 210 Oklahoma St 8/18/85 R
FB/LB Wengert Chad 6' 240 Robert Morris 7/30/86 1
WR Williams Corey 6'2 200 Washington 10/22/84 R
WR Williams Deyon 6'3 198 Virginia 9/24/85 R
FB/LB Wilson Louis 6'3 243 Alcorn St 4/5/83 2
OL/DL Wright Marvin 6'2 265 New Hampshire 2/18/85 1
WR/DB Young DeQwan 5'7 178 St Joseph's College 11/12/86 R
B. International Training Squad
OL/DL Tash David 6'3 275 Iona (INTL-Grenadines) 3/2/86 1
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- James Pinkney Returns at Quarterback for Wolves in 2009 - Manchester Wolves
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