Los Angeles Avengers game notes
Game: Los Angeles Avengers at San Jose SaberCats
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2005
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Site: San Jose, Calif.
Arena: HP Pavilion (14,401)
Television: FSN West
Radio: XTRA Sports AM 570 (Larry Kahn, Troy West)
Spanish Radio: KWKW AM 1330 (Edu Villamar, Mario Amaya)
Series Record: San Jose leads, 8-3
Last Meeting: Los Angeles 71, San Jose 69 Feb. 20, 2005, STAPLES Center
Officials: Pat Garvey (R), Paul King (U), Bill Ward (HL), Wayne Mackie (LJ), David Cutaia (BJ)
Los Angeles -- Ed Hodgkiss (fourth season, 36-23)
San Jose -- Darren Arbet (seventh season, 72-29)
2005 AVENGERS: Gunning for their fourth consecutive trip to the AFL Playoffs, the Avengers (8-5) face one of their archrivals in Week 15 as they travel north to face the defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats (8-5). If the Avengers are able to win their next two games, they will capture the Western Division title and host a first-round playoff game. To do so, L.A. will have to start out by doing something that it has never been able to do -- leave San Joses HP Pavilion with a victory. Any other combination of two victories within the final three games of the regular season would likely earn the Avengers one of the American Conferences four postseason berths, but at this time, it is not assured. Last week, the Avengers beat Arizona, 59-56, registering a crucial victory that put them at the top of their division and conference. Saturdays game will be L.A.s second on the road since the tragic death of Al Lucas on April 10. The 26-year-old passed away from a presumed spinal cord injury sustained while making a tackle on a kickoff return. Los Angeles has stayed in the playoff picture this season with a balanced effort in all three phases of the game. Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss directs a dangerous offense, averaging 52.2 points per game. Veteran QB John Kaleo, who earned an ArenaBowl championship ring in 2003 with Tampa Bay, has thrown for 62 touchdowns, against only eight interceptions, and has provided the kind of leadership that only comes with your 12th year in the league. Leading the way for the receivers are WR/DB Kevin Ingram, OS Tony Locke and WR/LB Greg Hopkins. Ingram leads the team with 76 catches for 877 yards and 19 touchdowns. Locke, who joined the active roster in Week 4, has accumulated 67 receptions for 944 yards and 19 scores. FB/LB Lonnie Ford leads the team in rushing with nine TDs and 138 yards. With defensive coordinator Mike Wilpolt overseeing a unit led by OL/DL Silas Demary, and defensive specialists Damen Wheeler and Antuan Simmons, the Avengers have been more difficult to score against than in the past. Demary has been simply unstoppable as of late and leads the league with 11.5 sacks. Last but certainly not least, the Avengers have a world-class kicker in Remy Hamilton. He has kicked 28-of-35 field goals in 2005 and is on pace to break several AFL records.
LOS ANGELES AVENGERS (8-5)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 30 @ Las Vegas Loss 46-37
Feb. 4 Georgia Win 46-41
Feb. 11 @ Austin Win 64-51
Feb. 20 San Jose Win 71-69
Feb. 27 @ Colorado Loss 58-40
Mar. 6 @ Arizona Win 33-29
Mar. 18 Dallas Loss 72-50
Mar. 26 Tampa Bay Win 59-28
April 3 @ Orlando Loss 55-54 OT
April 10 New York Win 66-35
April 17 @ Nashville Loss 51-48
April 23 Chicago Win 52-49
April 30 Arizona Win 59-56
Rest of Season Opponent Time (PST) Television
May 7 @ San Jose 7:30 FSN West
May 14 Las Vegas 7:30 FSN West
May 21 @ Grand Rapids 4:30 FSN West 2
SAN JOSE SABERCATS (8-5)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 30 @ Tampa Bay Loss 63-33
Feb. 5 Las Vegas Win 66-31
Feb. 13 @ New Orleans Loss 62-61
Feb. 20 Los Angeles Loss 71-69
Mar. 6 @ Orlando Win 57-38
Mar. 11 Philadelphia Win 52-26
Mar. 18 Grand Rapids Win 72-48
Mar. 28 @ Las Vegas Win 81-75
April 3 Arizona Win 48-27
April 10 @ Chicago Loss 55-39
April 15 Dallas Win 83-71
April 22 @ Colorado Win 89-41
April 29 Nashville Loss 57-55
AL LUCAS TRUST FUND: Persons interested in contributing should make checks payable and send their donations to: Al Lucas Trust Fund, c/o Arena Football League Players Association, 2021 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.
AVENGER HEAD COACH: One of the brightest offensive masterminds in the AFL, Ed Hodgkiss is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Avengers. In his three previous seasons, he compiled a record of 28-18 and advanced to the AFL Playoffs each year. In his first two seasons at the helm, he directed the Avengers to a 19-11 record. No head coach in league history has won more games in his first two seasons than Hodgkiss. Last season, the Avengers went 9-7 and led the AFL in scoring, averaging 56.5 points per game. Under Hodgkiss direction, three major team records were broken in 2004 as QB Tony Graziani threw 99 touchdown passes and OS Chris Jackson caught 125 passes for 1,803 yards. In 2003, the Avengers won a franchise-best 11 games and earned a first-round playoff bye. Hodgkiss, who was the runner-up for the 2003 AFL Coach of the Year award, oversaw the leagues most efficient offense, which scored 122 touchdowns (most in the AFL) on only 619 total plays (least in the AFL). Particularly lethal through the air, the 2003 Avengers averaged a league-leading 13.8 yards per reception and Jackson tied an AFL record with 46 TD receptions, earning him the leagues Offensive Player of the Year award. Hodgkiss became the head coach of the Avengers on Oct. 5, 2001, and signed a five-year contract extension shortly after a 2002 season that saw him adroitly pilot the team to an 8-6 mark and into the postseason for the first time in franchise history. In his first season as a head coach at any level, he instantly established the Avenger offense as one of the most feared in the AFL, scoring an average of 52.2 points per game. In addition, WR/LB Greg Hopkins took home the AFLs Ironman of the Year award that goes to the leagues top two-way player. Prior to joining the Avengers, Hodgkiss was the Indiana Firebirds offensive coordinator for three seasons (1999-2001).
TOPS IN TURNOVERS AGAIN: The Avengers currently lead the AFL in turnover margin at +18 (Nashville is way back in second at +8). Los Angeles has 32 takeaways (19 INTs and 13 fumble recoveries). The Avengers have turned over the ball only 14 times this season (fewest in the AFL). L.A. has committed only seven turnovers in its eight victories this season (one fumble vs. Georgia, no turnovers at Austin, one interception vs. San Jose, no turnovers at Arizona, two INTs vs. Tampa Bay, no turnovers vs. New York, two turnovers vs. Chicago, one fumble vs. Arizona). In 16 games last season, the Avengers turned the ball over just 11 times (the fewest in the AFL) and played eight turnover-free games (however, L.A. was only 5-3 in those contests). The Avengers tied the Chicago Rush for an AFL-best turnover margin of +15 last season.
NEXT GAME: The Avengers will return home to face another Western Division rival as they host the Las Vegas Gladiators on Saturday, May 14, at STAPLES Center. That contest will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) and will be televised on FSN West 2.
SACK MAN: Avenger lineman Silas Demary set a team record with four sacks versus New York on April 10. A week later in Nashville, he got one sack to break the Avenger career mark. Demary has had 10.5 sacks in his last five games. In addition, to his single-game record, he also now owns the Avenger single-season (11.5) and career (14.5) records for sacks. Demary has his sights set on the all-time AFL single-season sack record of 13, which was set by Craig Walls of the Pittsburgh Gladiators in 1987.
SEEKING SACKS: One of the AFLs oldest records is within the long reach of Avenger lineman Silas Demary, who is two quarterback sacks shy of becoming the leagues all-time single-season sack leader. He is currently tied for fifth on the leagues all-time chart with former Avenger teammate Carlos Fowler.
All-Time AFL Leaders Sacks in a Single Season
1. Craig Walls (Pittsburgh, 1987) 13.0
2. Joe March (Denver, 1991) 12.5
3. Craig Walls (Pittsburgh, 1988) 12.0
3. Sam Hernandez (San Jose, 2000) 12.0
5. Silas Demary (Los Angeles, 2005) 11.5
5. Carlos Fowler (Texas, 1997) 11.5
SERIES INFO: The SaberCats lead the series between the AFLs only California teams, 8-3. All three of L.A.s victories have come at STAPLES Center (47-44 in 2001, 73-72 in 2003, and 71-69 earlier this season).
JUST ONCE: In the Ed Hodgkiss Era, which now spans 59 regular-season games, the Avengers have been under .500 for only one week ... following this years season-opening loss at Las Vegas. No other team in at least its fourth AFL season comes anywhere near Los Angeles in this regard. San Jose is the closest, spending just six weeks under .500 since the start of the 2002 season.
L.A. STORY: At 8-5, the Avengers are one game better than they were last season after 13 games (7-6 in 2004). The Avengers had their most successful season in 2003, winning 11 games. After combining for eight victories in the franchises first two seasons, L.A. had its first winning season in 2002, under the direction of head coach Ed Hodgkiss. Building upon each season from 2000 to 2003, the Avengers became the only team in AFL history to post four consecutive years of improvement. Last year, L.A. slipped to 9-7.
Avenger HistorySeason (head coach) Record
2000 (Stan Brock) 3-11
2001 (Stan Brock/Robert Lyles) 5-9
2002 (Ed Hodgkiss) 8-6 (playoffs 0-1)
2003 (Ed Hodgkiss) 11-5 (playoffs 0-1)
2004 (Ed Hodgkiss) 9-7 (playoffs 0-1)
2005 (Ed Hodgkiss) 8-5
TAKING CARE OF THE FOOTBALL: Avenger quarterback John Kaleo has thrown only eight interceptions this season, while attempting 451 passes (one per 56.4 attempts). He has not thrown a pick in seven of the 13 games this season. Kaleo has thrown only one interception in his last 169 attempts.
QUICK-STRIKE OFFENSE: Forty-two of L.A.s 86 offensive touchdowns this season have been scored on drives of three plays or less. In fact, nine of them are one-play drives. Over the course of the last three seasons, 180-of-327 Avenger TDs were of the quick-strike variety (52 on a single play).
Avenger Touchdown Drives (2003-05)
Total TDDrives Quick Strikes (percent) 1 Play Score
2003 124 81 (65 %) 25
2004 117 57 (49 %) 18
2005 86 42 (49 %) 9
Total 327 180 (55 %) 52
SECRET IS SCORING 60: Dating back to last season, the Avengers are 8-0 when they score 60 or more points. The team did not score more than 55 points in all seven of its losses in 2004 and the five defeats this season.
FIRST-QUARTER BLUES: In 13 games this season, the Avengers have scored only 92 points in the first quarter (average of 7.1 points), while opponents have countered with 143. The second quarter is when the Avengers shine most, scoring a total of 213 points (average of 16.4 points). L.A. also does well in the third quarter, racking up 196 (average of 15.1 points). But, things slow down in the fourth quarter when the Avengers have been outscored, 222-172.
AHEAD AT HALFTIME: The Avengers have held the lead at halftime in only five of their 13 games this season -- 37-21 vs. San Jose on Feb. 20; 17-7 vs. Tampa Bay on March 26; 32-14 vs. New York on April 3; 38-21 vs. Chicago on April 23; and 24-20 vs. Arizona on April 30. The Avengers went on to win all five of those games. Through the first seven games of the season, the Avengers took a lead into the intermission just once. And, in the game against San Jose, L.A. started slowly, scoring just three points in the first quarter. However, the Avengers exploded for 34 points in the second quarter on their way to a 71-69 win. The Avengers have held the lead at halftime in three of their last four games.
ROAD WARRIOR: In his last 20 games away from STAPLES Center, WR/DB Kevin Ingram has caught 90 passes for 1,061 yards and 28 TDs. Despite playing alongside a constellation of AFL stars for much of his career, Ingrams contributions have not gone unnoticed, winning the U.S. Army Ironman of the Game award in seven road games over the course of the last two years.
YOUNG GUNS: Seventeen of the 31 players who have suited up for the Avengers this year (Luis Almanzar, Richard Seals, Jerome Stevens, Tony Wragge, Bernard Riley, Antuan Simmons, Jermaine Smith, Traco Rachal, Michale Spicer, Brian Sump, Lance Young, Asi Faoa, Rob Turner, John Schlecht, Khori Ivy, Ryan Van Dyke and Eddie Galles) have experienced their first taste of the AFL this season.
WINNING RECORD: For the first time in Avenger history, the franchise can boast of a winning record. In their sixth season of play in the AFL, the Avengers currently have an all-time regular-season record of 44-43. The Avengers had four previous opportunities to move the franchise above .500 earlier this season, but lost each time.
TOP BOSSES: L.A.s Ed Hodgkiss is ranked sixth on the AFLs all-time winning percentage chart (regular season only, minimum 50 games, * active coaches).
All-Time AFL Top Winning Percentages
Head Coaches Record Winning %
1. Perry Moss 75-28-1 .726
2. Tim Marcum * 149-58 .720
3. Darren Arbet * 72-29 .713
4. Danny White 121-55 .688
5. Jay Gruden * 54-32 .628
6. Ed Hodgkiss * 36-23 .610
7. Mike Dailey * 77-52 .597
8. Pat Sperduto * 32-22-1 .591
9. John Gregory 67-51 .578
10. Todd Shell * 50-45 .526
KEEPING IT CLOSE: Only seven of the 23 losses that Ed Hodgkiss has suffered as the head coach of the Avengers have been by more than seven points.
IRONMAN INGRAM: In his last 39 games, WR/DB Kevin Ingram has been selected as the U.S. Army Ironman of the Game 13 times. L.A. won each of those games, which includes four victories this season -- at Arizona (March 6), vs. Tampa Bay (March 26), vs. New York (April 3), and vs. Arizona (April 30).
WHEELER CONTINUES TO ROLL: Avenger DS Damen Wheeler, who returned to the lineup at Colorado on Feb. 27, after a four-week stay on the IR list (hamstring), has come up with 11 INTs in his last 21 games, dating back to the tail end of the 2003 season.
THIRD-QUARTER KARMA: The final result of an Avenger game can often be predicted before the start of the fourth quarter. L.A. is 38-9 all-time when leading or tied after three quarters of play. Furthermore, in the Ed Hodgkiss Era, the Avengers are 23-10 when they score two or more TDs in the third quarter.
DS DEBUTS: Although L.A. has used four defensive specialists in three different combos this season, the production has been there and quick to arrive. Three of the four Avenger DSs have come up with interceptions in their 2005 debuts. Rookie Antuan Simmons picked off two passes at Las Vegas in the season opener. In his first AFL game, Traco Rachal intercepted a pass at Austin in Week 3. And in the loss at Colorado on Feb. 27, veteran Damen Wheeler, fresh off a stay on the injured reserve list, picked off a John Dutton pass in the end zone to spark an Avenger comeback attempt. In 16 games last season, the Avengers lined up with eight different pairs of starting defensive specialists. Eight players started at one of the DS positions in 2004 and only Wheeler and Kevin Ingram, who is normally a WR/DB, remain with the club today.
KICKING UP A STORM: Avenger kicker Remy Hamilton leads the AFL in field goals (28), field-goal percentage (.800) and kicking points (159). The 2005 season has been nothing short of amazing for him. Hamilton is 28-for-35 (.800) on field goals this season and opened the year by hitting his first 11 three-pointers. Dating back to the end of last season, Hamilton converted on 12 consecutive field goal attempts, which is an all-time AFL record. Hamilton kicked a career-high five field goals to help the Avengers beat Austin, 64-51, on Feb. 11. He scored a total of 22 points versus the Wranglers, came up with a key fumble recovery and was selected as the U.S. Army Ironman of the Game, becoming the first kicker in AFL history to earn that honor. In Week 2, he kicked four field goals and scored 16 points in a 46-41 victory over Georgia and was named the Offensive Player of the Game. He is 5-of-9 from beyond 40 yards (41, 41, 43, 48, 50). Hamiltons seven misses have been from 28, 29, 31, 47, 48, 50 and 56 yards out. He has made 11 of his last 15 field goal attempts, with the misses coming from 56, 50, 48 and 47 yards out.
RECORD SETTING SEASON: Avenger Remy Hamilton is on pace to set a new AFL record for field goal percentage in a single season. Last year, Jay Taylor of the Orlando Predators set the mark at .720 (18-of-25), before moving on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hamilton is currently at .800 (28-of-35) and also on pace to break the AFL record for field goals in a single season, which was set by Daron Alcorn, who kicked 32 in 1999 for the Portland Forest Dragons. Hamilton currently ranks at No. 3 on the AFLs all-time scoring by kickers and field goals made charts. He is one of three players in league history to boot over 130 field goals.
All-Time AFL Leaders Field Goals Percentage in a Single Season
1. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles, 2005) .800
2. Jay Taylor (Orlando, 2004) .720
3. Steve McLaughlin (Nashville, 2001) .639
4. Daron Alcorn (Portland, 1999) .593
All-Time AFL Leaders Field Goals Made in a Single Season
1. Daron Alcorn (Portland, 1999) 32
2. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles, 2005) 28
3. Daron Alcorn (Portland, 1997) 27
4. Brian Gowins (Grand Rapids, 2000) 25
All-Time AFL Leaders Scoring By Kickers
1. Mike Black (1993-2004) 1,253
2. Steve Videtich (Columbus) 1,188
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 1,037
4. Steve McLaughlin (1998-2004) 781
All-Time AFL Leaders Field Goals Made in a Career
1. Mike Black (1993-2004) 178
2. Steve Videtich (Columbus) 158
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 132
4. Kenny Stucker (1994-99) 118
IN COMPARISON: To further illustrate the amazing season Remy Hamilton has been having, the following is a list of 14 NFL kickers, who attempted 16 or more field goals last season and did not have a better percentage than Hamiltons current .800 (28-of-35) -- Mike Vanderjagt (Colts, .800), Nate Kaeding (Chargers, .800), Jeff Wilkins (Rams, .792), Steve Christie (Giants, .786), Jay Feely (Falcons, .783), Josh Scobee (Jaguars, .774), Gary Anderson (Titans, .773), Billy Cundiff (Cowboys, .769), Neil Rackers (Cardinals, .759), Olindo Mare (Dolphins, .750), Lawrence Tynes (Chiefs, .739), Kris Brown (Texans, .708), Paul Edinger (Bears, .625) and Martin Gramatica (Buccaneers, .579). Please note that the uprights in the AFL are nine-feet apart and the crossbar is 15-feet high. In the NFL, the uprights are 18.5 feet apart and the cross bar is 10-feet high.
NEW ASSISTANT COACH: A coach with a wealth of knowledge and a winning history, Kendall Blackburn is in his first season with the Los Angeles Avengers. He was hired last month and coaches the fullback/linebacker position.
Before joining the Avengers, Blackburn coached the tight ends and tackles at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, N.M.) for eight seasons (1997-2004). In 1998, the Aggies were ranked fifth in the nation in rushing. The following season, New Mexico State ended up sixth in that same category.
Blackburn began his coaching career in 1985, serving as the offensive coordinator at Servite High School (Anaheim, Calif.) for four seasons. In 1990, he moved on to become the offensive coordinator at Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.), which went 10-1 that season and won the league championship. After that, Blackburn became the defensive line coach at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) and spent five seasons there, winning the USA Today national championship in 1995.
He started his collegiate coaching career at William Penn College (Oskaloosa, Iowa), tutoring the offensive line during the 1989 season. Blackburn also was the defensive line and special teams coach for two seasons (1995-96) at Cal State Northridge. In 1996, the Matadors led the Big Sky Conference in rushing defense. Blackburns collegiate coaching career also includes being a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.) and a brief stint at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
He received his degree in physical education and minored in history at William Penn College in 1989. Blackburn played college football at Taft (Calif.) College and Long Beach (Calif.) State.
He was born on Aug. 28, 1960, in Philadelphia, Pa. Blackburn attended Moorestown (N.J.) High School, where he was a member of the football and wrestling teams.
HOPPING UP THE CHARTS: Avenger WR/LB Greg Hopkins is in the fifth spot on the leagues all-time receiving yards chart. He has gained 9,245 receiving yards in his 10-year career. Hopkins is one of only six players in AFL history to have 9,000 or more receiving yards.
All-Time AFL Leaders Receiving Yards
1. Barry Wagner (San Jose) 13,053
2. Eddie Brown (1994-2003) 12,730
3. Gary Compton (1992-2004) 10,247
4. Cory Fleming (Orlando) 9,481
5. Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles) 9,245
6. George LaFrance (1988-2000) 9,004
7. Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 8,600
8. Calvin Schexnayder (San Jose) 8,377
9. Darryl Hammond (Nashville) 8,324
10. Stevie Thomas (1991-2001) 7,906
MILLENNIUM MEN: WR/LB Greg Hopkins ranks among the most productive pass catchers in the AFL since the dawning of the new millennium. Only former teammate Chris Jackson and Colorados Damian Harrell have had more receptions than Hopkins since the start of the 2000 season. The following chart lists the AFLs top receivers over the course of the last six seasons:
AFLs Top Pass Receivers (2000-05)
Catches Receiving Yards
2000-04 2005 Total
Chris Jackson(Force) 480 6,795(157 TDs) 79 1,014 559 7,809(177 TDs)
Damian Harrell(Crush) 457 6,724(138 TDs) 93 1,183 550 7,907(171 TDs)
Greg Hopkins(Avengers) 466 5,633(116 TDs) 64 - 680 530 6,313(124 TDs)
Mike Horacek(Dragons) 399 5,248(121 TDs) 70 - 945 469 6,193(143 TDs)
THE INTERCEPTION KING: In addition to being the AFLs 2002 Ironman of the Year, WR/LB Greg Hopkins is the leagues all-time leader in interception returns for touchdowns. Hopkins returned his 10th pick for a score in the 71-69 victory over San Jose on Feb. 20, to break a tie with Orlando defensive specialist Kenny The Glove McEntyre at the top of the AFLs career chart. On the record-breaking play, Hopkins jumped and grabbed a pass from SaberCat quarterback Mark Grieb and returned it three yards for the touchdown that gave the Avengers their first lead of the game at 16-14.
All-Time AFL Leaders INT Returns for TDs (regular season)
Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles Avengers) 10
Kenny McEntyre (Orlando Predators) 9
Darryl Hammond (Nashville Kats) 8
Mark Ricks (1996-2004) 7
Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 7
RUSHING RECORDS: In L.A.s game at Orlando on April 3, FB/LB Lonnie Ford scored three rushing touchdowns to set a new Avenger single-game record (nine players had scored two rushing touchdowns in a game a total of 13 times, including Ford, who did the trick twice). He also broke another team record at Orlando, becoming the franchises all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns. Ford now has 16 rushing scores in three seasons, breaking the mark of 12 set by FB/LB Chad Dukes in 2002. He also has broken Dukes team record for career rushing yards with 277. The Avengers have rushed for 12 touchdowns in their last six games.
AMONG THE GAMES GREATS: Avenger quarterback John Kaleo rates alongside the best passers in AFL history. After throwing for 197 yards and five touchdowns in the season opener, he moved into fifth-place on the leagues all-time chart for passing yards. Kaleo also ranks at No. 5 in completions and touchdowns. If he can throw 13 more touchdown passes this season, Kaleo would become the fifth player in AFL history to reach the 500 mark.
All-Time AFL Leaders Passing Yards
1. Andy Kelly (New Orleans) 35,865
2. Aaron Garcia (New York) 33,837
3. Sherdrick Bonner (Arizona) 32,267
4. Clint Dolezel (Las Vegas) 31,554
5. John Kaleo (Los Angeles) 29,403
All-Time AFL Leaders Passing Completions
1. Andy Kelly (New Orleans) 3,244
2. Clint Dolezel (Las Vegas) 2,664
3. Aaron Garcia (New York) 2,634
4. Sherdrick Bonner (Arizona) 2,590
5. John Kaleo (Los Angeles) 2,440
All-Time AFL Leaders Passing Touchdowns
1. Aaron Garcia (New York) 704
2. Andy Kelly (New Orleans) 697
3. Sherdrick Bonner (Arizona) 643
4. Clint Dolezel (Las Vegas) 634
5. John Kaleo (Los Angeles) 487
Since Start of 2004 Season Passing Touchdowns
1. Tony Graziani (L.A./Philadelphia) 169
2. Aaron Garcia (New York) 160
3. Clint Dolezel (Las Vegas) 152
4. Andy Kelly (Detroit/New Orleans) 150
5. John Kaleo (Tampa Bay/L.A.) 142
FIRST TIME IN 50: When John Kaleo took L.A.s first offensive snap from center in the season opener at Las Vegas, it marked the first time in 50 games (since July 22, 2001), that somebody other than Tony Graziani was the Avenger starting quarterback. Since Wally Richardson started during a 62-40 loss at Oklahoma in the 2001 regular-season finale, Graziani had started 49 consecutive contests for the Avengers, including three playoff games.
PREVIOUS MEETING WITH SAN JOSE:
AVENGERS EDGE SABERCATS, 71-69
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 20, 2005) -- Newly activated offensive specialist Tony Locke and veteran wide receiver/linebacker Greg Hopkins helped power the Avengers to a 71-69 victory over the defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats at STAPLES Center in front of a crowd of 13,088.
In victory, Los Angeles improved to 3-1 and is alone atop the Western Division. San Jose, which has won two of the past three ArenaBowls, fell to 1-3.
Locke, who was signed from the Avengers practice squad to the active roster this week, grabbed three touchdowns in the first half of the victory. The win is only L.A.s third in 11 meetings with the SaberCats. He finished with seven catches for 118 yards on his way to Offensive Player of the Game honors.
While Lockes L.A. debut was spectacular, the play of the other Avenger offensive specialist, Jerome Riley, was also important. Riley finished with five catches for 105 yards and three scores, including Los Angeles last touchdown with just over two minutes remaining.
But on the defensive side of the ball, the Avengers hampered the SaberCat offense, picking off three Mark Grieb passes and recovering a fumble. Two of the interceptions were by Hopkins, including one that he returned for a touchdown to tie an all-time AFL career record for interception returns for touchdowns (10). Hopkins was named both the ADT Defensive Player of the Game and the U.S. Army Ironman of the Game for his efforts.
Grieb finished 31-of-46 for 399 yards and seven touchdowns, but the three interceptions were critical.
Lost within the Avenger victory was a milestone set by the SaberCat WR/DB Barry Wagner, who now has caught more passes than anyone in AFL history. Wagner, who now has 951 receptions in his illustrious career, broke the mark previously held by Touchdown Eddie Brown.
Early on it looked like the Avengers were going to roll over and let San Jose walk all over them. L.A. gave up 55-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and later found itself in a 14-3 hole.
But the Avenger offense caught fire at the beginning of the second quarter, scoring 34 points before half. Quarterback John Kaleo finished 22-of-38 with 327 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
L.A. took its first lead when Hopkins snared Griebs pass near the goal line and returned it for his record-tying touchdown (with Orlandos Kenny The Glove McEntyre) to put the Avengers ahead, 16-14.
Remy Hamiltons third field goal of the game with 34 seconds remaining put the Avengers up 71-62. Hamilton is now 13-of-14 on the season.
The SaberCats refused to go down without a fight however. With 18 seconds left, Grieb found Wagner for a nine-yard score to make it 71-69.
San Joses ensuing onside kick attempt went into the stands, allowing the Avengers to run out the clock.
SAN JOSE (1-3) 14 7 14 34 -- 69
LOS ANGELES (3-1) 3 34 14 20 -- 71
ARENABOWL CHAMPIONS: Four Avenger players -- including the late Al Lucas -- and a pair of coaches have experienced championship seasons in the AFL. Lucas and QB John Kaleo earned ArenaBowl championship rings with the Tampa Bay Storm in 2003. As a rookie with the Orlando Predators in 2000, OL/DL Fred Ray hoisted the ArenaBowl trophy. WR/LB Greg Hopkins was with the Albany Firebirds when they won the AFL title in 1999; along with Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss, who was the Firebird offensive coordinator at the time, and L.A. defensive coordinator Mike Wilpolt, who was the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator.
RECENT ROSTER MOVES:
Date Action Player
4/29 Signed from practice squad WR/LB Eddie Galles
4/29 Activated from injured reserve WR/DB Brian Sump
4/29 Placed on injured reserve WR/DB-DS Traco Rachal
4/27 Signed OL/DL Ken Kocher
4/27 Signed to practice squad OL/DL Furnell Hankton
4/27 Placed on injured reserve WR/LB Khori IvyQB Ryan Van Dyke
4/22 Activated from injured reserve QB Brian Mann
4/16 Activated from injured reserve OL/DL Luis Almanzar
4/9 Signed to practice squad WR/LB Eddie Galles
4/1 Waived WR/LB-OS Jerome Riley
4/1 Activated from injured reserve QB Ryan Van DykeWR/LB-OS Jerome Riley
4/1 Signed from practice squad OL/DL Jerome Stevens
4/1 Placed on injured reserve QB Brian MannOL/DL John Schlecht
DRAMATIC FINISH ENDS WITH AVENGER VICTORY
LOS ANGELES (April 30, 2005) -- There was a playoff atmosphere at STAPLES Center, and with a postseason berth possibly on the line with four seconds remaining, Avenger quarterback John Kaleo found WR/DB Kevin Ingram in the middle of the field for a game-winning 16-yard touchdown.
Trailing 56-52 with 11 seconds left on the clock, Kaleo made the call for Ingram to run the post-corner route.
I saw the defender fall down on the post and Kaleo hit me with the ball and I was able to take it in for the touchdown, Ingram said. This is big. This is a big win for us.
After Arizona WR/DB Randy Gatewood gave the Rattlers the lead late in the game, the Avengers, with their never-say-die attitude, never lost hope.
We were very confident when we got the ball back with about 30 seconds left, said Avenger offensive specialist Tony Locke, who scored four touchdowns. With the guys like K.I., Hopkins and myself, we knew we could score.
The 59-56 victory was the first by L.A. in seven tries against Arizona at STAPLES Center. The Avengers used a familiar formula to beat Arizona: force turnovers on defense, score at least 50 points on offense, and find a way to eek out a victory.
The win improves L.A.s record to 8-5 and put the team into a tie for first-place in the Western Division with San Jose, with the showdown between the teams just a week away. Arizona fell to 4-9.
In Week 6 at Phoenix, the Avengers had to scrap by the Rattlers, 33-29. Saturday night was no different as L.A. had to overcome offensive specialist Siaha Burleys four touchdowns three in the first half and fight off a ferocious second half comeback.
Leading the way on defense for the Avengers was OL/DL Silas Demary, who finished the game with 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He now has a league-leading 11.5 sacks on the season.
Kaleo finished 18-of-26 for 211 yards and six touchdowns. More importantly he threw no interceptions for the seventh time this season.
Locke finished with 10 catches and 166 yards to go along with his four touchdowns, and now has 19 touchdowns on the season. His partner in crime, Ingram, had two touchdowns.
Rattler quarterback Sherdrick Bonner had an outstanding game in a losing cause, finishing 29-of-44 for 364 yards with six touchdowns and the one interception.
Demary and the Avenger defense picked up right where they left off last week and set the tone early. After forcing a fourth down, Demary sacked Bonner, forcing him to fumble the football, which was recovered by OL/DL Luis Almanzar at the Rattler 2-yard line.
The L.A. offense took advantage on its very first play, as WR/LB Greg Hopkins took the handoff from Kaleo and muscled his way across the goal line to give the Avengers a 7-0 lead.
Arizona responded on its next possession when Bonner found Burley for a seven-yard touchdown.
L.A. settled for a 28-yard Remy Hamilton field goal to regain the lead at the end of the first quarter. Hamilton is now 28-of-35 on field goals this season after he missed a 56-yarder right before halftime.
The Avengers went on to extend their lead to 38-20, midway through the third quarter, after FB/LB Lonnie Ford crashed over the goal line from a yard out to scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the year.
But the Rattlers came storming back. After Bonner scored on a one-yard run, former Avenger lineman Vince Amey sacked Kaleo in his own end zone for a safety, trimming L.A.s lead to 38-29. Then, after fielding the ensuing kickoff, Bonner then found Jerald Brown for a 33-yard touchdown, making it 38-36.
Lockes third touchdown of the game gave L.A. some breathing room early in the fourth quarter, but not for long since Bonner found Gatewood for a 16-yard touchdown soon afterward. A missed extra point kept the Avenger lead at 45-42.
The Avenger offense then uncharacteristically turned the ball over to Arizona, which the Rattlers converted into a two-yard touchdown run by Burley, which gave Arizona its first lead since it led, 14-10, early in the second quarter.
Lockes fourth touchdown put L.A, back on top with just over five minutes remaining. However, with 38 seconds left, Bonner found Gatewood again to make it 56-52 in favor of the visitors.
ARIZONA (4-9) 7 13 16 20 -- 56
LOS ANGELES (8-5) 10 14 14 21 -- 59
THE AVENGERS ARE
· 6-1 at STAPLES Center
· 2-4 on the road
· 6-1 when they score more than 50 points
· 3-0 when they score 60 or more points
· 1-0 when they score 70 or more points
· 7-4 when they allow less than 60 points
· 5-1 when they allow less than 50 points
· 3-0 when they allow less than 40 points
· 5-2 when they score first
· 8-1 when they commit fewer turnovers
· 0-1 when they commit more turnovers
· 4-2 when a player scores three or more touchdowns
· 4-1 when they score two or more TDs on the ground
· 5-4 when John Kaleo throws for at least 5 TDs
· 8-4 when John Kaleo passes for 200+ yards
· 2-1 when John Kaleo passes for 300+ yards
· 5-2 when John Kaleo doesnt throw an INT
· 4-2 when Kevin Ingram scores two or more TDs
· 6-4 when Kevin Ingram catches 6 or more passes
· 1-3 when Greg Hopkins scores two or more TDs
· 2-3 when Greg Hopkins catches six or more passes
· 1-0 when Josh Jeffries scores at least one TD
· 1-0 when a lineman catches a TD pass
· 6-2 when Remy Hamilton scores at least 11 points
· 0-1 when Antuan Simmons makes at least one INT
· 2-4 when they commit fewer penalties
· 3-4 when they record at least one sack
· 1-1 when they pitch a shutout in a quarter
· 5-2 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points
· 5-0 when leading at halftime
· 2-4 when trailing at halftime
· 1-1 when tied at halftime
L.A. IN O.T.: The Avengers have an all-time record of 3-5 in overtime games. Los Angeles is 3-1 when playing the extra period on the road and a winless 0-4 within the usually friendly confines of STAPLES Center. In three of the eight overtime games, the Avenger opponent has been the Arizona Rattlers (L.A. is 1-2 in those contests). In all three overtime victories, Los Angeles won by six points and held the opponent scoreless (twice getting the ball on downs and once benefiting from a missed field goal). The Avengers have played in at least one overtime game in each of their six seasons of play in the AFL (once in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005, and twice in 2001 and 2003).
Avengers in OvertimeCategory Record
At home 0-4
On the road 3-1
When getting the ball first 1-3
When getting the ball second 2-2
When scoring a touchdown 3-3
When scoring first 3-2
When scoring second 0-1
When a field goal is attempted 0-2
When missing a PAT kick 1-2
When getting a two-point conversion 0-0
When allowing a two-point conversion 0-1
IN THE ZONE OUT EAST: Los Angeles has won eight of its last 11 games in the Eastern Time Zone. The Avengers will close the 2005 regular season in the Eastern Time Zone when they face the Grand Rapids Rampage on Saturday, May 21.
AVENGERS 2004 RESULTS (9-7, 0-1)
Date Opponent Result Score
Feb. 8 @ Arizona Win 51-32
Feb. 14 @ Las Vegas Win 62-55
Feb. 22 San Jose Loss 61-55
Mar. 1 Georgia Loss 53-52 OT
Mar. 14 @ Grand Rapids Win 48-33
Mar. 21 @ Dallas Win 60-44
Mar. 26 @ San Jose Loss 55-52
April 3 Austin Win 81-70
April 10 Colorado Loss 57-55
April 16 Detroit Win 62-55
April 25 @ Chicago Win 71-35
May 1 Arizona Loss 42-38
May 9 @ Tampa Bay Loss 63-55
May 16 @ New York Win 58-53
May 22 Las Vegas Win 54-51
May 30 Orlando Loss 52-50
June 6 @ Arizona (Playoffs) Loss 59-42
TIGHT LOSSES: L.A.s seven regular-season losses last year were by a combined total of 26 points.
THIS WEEK IN THE AFL (all times Pacific):
FRIDAY, MAY 6
Chicago at Arizona, 7 p.m. (FSN Arizona, FSN Chicago, INHD)
SATURDAY, MAY 7
Columbus at New York, 4 p.m.
Orlando at Austin, 5:30 p.m. (FSN Southwest, Sun Sports TV)
Grand Rapids at Nashville, 5:30 p.m. (FSN Detroit)
Dallas at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. (FSN Southwest, INHD)
Los Angeles at San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (FSN West)
SUNDAY, MAY 8
Colorado at New Orleans, 10 a.m. (KNBC Channel 4)
Tampa Bay at Georgia, 10 a.m.
NIFTY NICKNAMES: Several Avengers played college football at schools with interesting nicknames Kevin Ingram, West Chester (Pa.) University Golden Rams; Brian Mann, Dartmouth College Big Green; Sean McNamara, Pittsburg (Kan.) State University Gorillas and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen; Michale Spicer, Western Carolina University Catamounts; Brian Sump, Colorado School of Mines Orediggers and Rob Turner, Central Michigan University Chippewas.
NEW TEAM RECORDS SET THIS SEASON:
Pass Completions (Game)
John Kaleo, 31 at Colorado (Feb. 27, 2005)
Rushing Yards (Career)
Lonnie Ford, 277 (2003-05)
Rushing Touchdowns (Game)
Lonnie Ford, 3 at Orlando (April 3, 2005)
Rushing Touchdowns (Career)
Lonnie Ford, 16 (2003-05)
Silas Demary, 4 vs. New York (April 10, 2005)
Silas Demary, 11.5 (2005)
Silas Demary, 14.5 (2004-05)
Field Goals (Game)
Remy Hamilton, 5 at Austin (Feb. 11, 2005)
Field Goals (Season)
Remy Hamilton, 28 (2005)
Field Goals (Career)
Remy Hamilton, 72 (2002-05)
Field Goals (Consecutive Made)
Remy Hamilton, 12 (2004-05)
Field Goals (Consecutive Made in Single Season)
Remy Hamilton, 11 (2005)
U.S. ARMY IRONMAN OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the two-way player who best demonstrated the ideals of the AFLs style of ironman football.
Week Opp. Ironman of the Game
1 @ Las Vegas WR/DB Dameon Porter (L.V.)5 catches, 37 yards, 1 interception
2 Georgia WR/DB Brian Sump (L.A.)1 INT, 7 tackles, 4 receptions
3 @ Austin K Remy Hamilton (L.A.)5 field goals, fumble recovery
4 San Jose WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)5 catches, 49 yards, 2 INTs, 1 TD
5 @ Colo. WR/LB Kevin McKenzie (Colo.)2 catches, 1 INT return for TD
6 @Ariz. WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)6 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
7 Dallas WR/LB Bobby Sippio (Dallas)3 catches, 1 net recovery TD
8 Tampa Bay WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)8 catches, 150 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
9 @ Orlando WR/LB Cory Fleming (Orlando)159 rec. yards, 4 TDs, 2.5 tackles
10 New York WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)9 catches, 91 yards, 1 TD, 4 stops
11 @Nash. WR/DB Jarrick Hillery (Nashville)2 kickoff returns for TDs, 2 tackles
12 Chicago WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)4 catches, 1 net recovery TD
13 Arizona WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)2 TD catches, 1 INT, 5.5 tackles
ADT DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the player who was the most valuable to his teams defensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Defensive Player of the Game
1 @ Las Vegas DS Antuan Simmons (L.A.)2 interceptions, 4 solo tackles
2 Georgia DS Antuan Simmons (L.A.)Fumble recovery for TD, 6 tackles
3 @ Austin DS Traco Rachal (L.A.)8 tackles, 1 interception
4 San Jose WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)2 INTs, 1 returned for TD, 3 stops
5 @Colo. DS Rashad Floyd (Colo.)17.5 tackles (new AFL record)
6 @Ariz. DS Damen Wheeler (L.A.)8 tackles, 1 pass breakup
7 Dallas DS Jermaine Jones (Dallas)3.5 tackles, 1 INT return for TD
8 Tampa Bay WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)4.5 tackles, 1 fumble rec., 1 INT
9 @ Orlando WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)4 tackles, 2 interceptions
10 New York OL/DL Silas Demary (L.A.)4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, safety
11 @Nash. OL/DL Silas Demary (L.A.)1 sack, 1.5 for losses, 2.5 tackles
12 Chicago DS Damen Wheeler (L.A.)2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 2.5 stops
13 Arizona OL/DL Silas Demary (L.A.)1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the player who was the most valuable to his teams offensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Offensive Player of the Game
1 @ Las Vegas OS Marcus Nash (L.V.)7 catches, 116 yards, 1 touchdown
2 Georgia K Remy Hamilton (L.A.)4 field goals, 16 points, 1 tackle
3 @ Austin QB John Kaleo (L.A.)17-of-27, 240 yards, 5 TD passes
4 SanJose OS Tony Locke (L.A.)7 catches, 118 yards, 3 TDs
5 @Colo. OS Damian Harrell (Colo.)10 catches, 135 yards, 5 TDs
6 @Ariz. WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)8 catches, 109 receiving yards
7 Dallas QB Clint Stoerner (Dallas)18-of-30 for 143 yards, 4 TDs
8 Tampa Bay FB/LB Lonnie Ford (L.A.)2 rushing TDs, 1 TD reception
9 @ Orlando OS Jimmy Fryzel (Orlando)9 catches, 151 yards, 2 TDs
10 New York OS Tony Locke (L.A.)8 receptions, 109 yards, 3 TDs
11 @Nash. WR/DB T.T. Toliver (Nashville)6 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs
12 Chicago OS Tony Locke (L.A.)4 receptions, 75 yards, 2 TDs
13 Arizona OS Tony Locke (L.A.)10 receptions, 166 yards, 4 TDs
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