Los Angeles Avengers game notes
THE QUICK FACTS:
Game: Los Angeles Avengers at Grand Rapids Rampage
Date: Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006
Kickoff: 11 a.m. (Pacific)
Site: Van Andel Arena (10,594) -- Grand Rapids, Mich.
Radio: XTRA Sports AM 570 (Isaac Lowenkron, Troy West -- pregame show starts at 10:30 a.m. [Pacific])
Internet Radio: www.xtrasportsradio.com
Series Record: Avengers lead 3-2
Last Meeting: Grand Rapids 71, Avengers 65 (May 21, 2005)
Officials: Steve Pamon (R), Wes Fritz (U), Neil Brunner (HL), R.G. Detillier (LJ), Tony Lombardo (BJ)
Los Angeles -- Ed Hodgkiss (fifth season, 39-25)
Grand Rapids -- Sparky McEwen (second season, 4-14)
THE AVENGERS: The defending Western Division champion Avengers, who opened their seventh season in the 20-year-old Arena Football League with a 40-31 victory over the Arizona Rattlers on Jan. 29, but lost in Week 2 at Philadelphia (47-33), return to the road this weekend to face the Grand Rapids Rampage on Sunday, Feb. 12. Led by WR/DB Kevin Ingram, OL/DL Silas Demary and DS Damen Wheeler, the Los Angeles defense has performed well this season, allowing just 87 points in two games this season. Offensively, the Avengers are still looking to catch their rhythm. Quarterback Brian Mann has started both games for Los Angeles and is 34-of-70 for 463 yards and seven touchdowns (with one interception) this season. The Avengers' other quarterback, Ryan Van Dyke, played in the season-opening victory over Arizona and was 6-of-10 for 56 yards (with one interception). Mann will start at Grand Rapids, but Van Dyke also will likely see some action. Ingram has led the way for L.A.'s receivers, catching 15 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns. He has been voted the "Ironman of the Game" in each of the Avengers' two games this season. Rookie offensive specialist Kareem Kelly is second on the team with 11 catches for 104 yards and one score. Remy Hamilton, who set several league records last season, has picked up right where he left off in 2005, hitting six of his seven field goal attempts and earned "Offensive Player of the Game" honors in the victory over Arizona. Last year, the Avengers effectively utilized a balanced effort rooted in all three phases of the game. Los Angeles featured a lethal offense in 2005, leading the AFL in scoring percentage (74.4 percent) and posting an average of 53.8 points per game. But the Avengers were also effective on defense and special teams. One player who contributes in all three phases is WR/LB Greg Hopkins, who recently was named to the AFL's prestigious "20 Greatest Players" list. He is in his 11th season in the league and is likely to become only the fifth player in history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards in a career. In addition to Ingram, who won the AFL's "Ironman of the Year" award, two other Avengers had incredible seasons in 2005. Demary was simply unstoppable, finishing with 13.5 record-breaking quarterback sacks on his way to being selected as the league's "Defensive Player of the Year" and "Lineman of the Year." Hamilton kicked 29-of-39 field goals, led the team in scoring with 185 points and earned AFL "Kicker of the Year" honors.
4 Rampage try to tie their series versus Avengers, who have become frequent visitors to Grand Rapids
... more on Page 2
4 Silas Demary continues to pressure the passer
... more on Page 2
4 Brian Mann back in Grand Rapids where he got his first extended amount of playing time last season
... more on Page 3
4 Tony Locke and seven other Avengers on the injured reserve list are eligible to return for game vs. Rampage
... alphabetical roster on Page 12
LOS ANGELES AVENGERS
2006 SCHEDULE (1-0)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 29 Arizona Win 40-31
Feb. 5 @ Philadelphia Loss 47-33
Rest of season Opponent Time(PT) Television
Feb. 12 @ Grand Rapids 11 a.m.
Feb. 18 Chicago 7:30 FSN West 2
Feb. 25 Utah 7:30 FSN West
Mar. 5 @ Orlando 9 a.m. NBC
Mar. 12 @ San Jose 3 p.m. NBC
Mar. 19 Colorado 3:30
Mar. 24 @ Arizona 6 p.m. FSN West 2
April 2 @ Las Vegas 3 p.m. FSN West 2
April 9 @ Kansas City 10 a.m. NBC
April 15 @ Utah 6 p.m.
April 22 New York 7:30 FSN West 2
April 29 San Jose 7:30
May 6 Nashville 7:30
May 13 Las Vegas 7:30
AVENGER HEAD COACH: One of the brightest offensive masterminds in the AFL, Ed Hodgkiss is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Avengers. In his four previous seasons, he compiled a record of 38-24 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 captured their first Western Division championship and compiled a 10-6 record. Under Hodgkiss' direction, Los Angeles led the league in offensive scoring percentage (74.4 percent) and turnover margin (+17). He finished second in the balloting for AFL "Coach of the Year" honors. In 2004, the Avengers went 9-7 and led the AFL in scoring, averaging 56.5 points per game. 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 league's most efficient offense, which scored 122 touchdowns (most in the AFL) on only 619 total plays (least in the AFL). 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. Prior to joining the Avengers, Hodgkiss was the Indiana Firebirds' offensive coordinator for three seasons (1999-2001) and was part of an ArenaBowl championship in 1999.
PLAYING FOR HIGH STAKES: Twice in the previous three seasons, the Avengers came one regular-season victory shy of earning the AFL's No. 1 overall seed. Last season, Los Angeles had already wrapped up its first Western Division championship when it traveled to Grand Rapids. The Avengers led by a touchdown at halftime, but eventually lost to the Rampage, 71-65, while resting several key starters in the second half. In other key games on that final regular-season weekend, New York beat Colorado and San Jose beat Georgia, which meant L.A. would have been the No. 1 overall seed if it had beaten Grand Rapids (by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over Georgia). Two years earlier, the Avengers closed the 2003 regular season with a monumental showdown at San Jose. Both teams entered that contest at 11-4, and the Western Division championship and overall No. 1 seed in the playoffs would go to the winner. The SaberCats won, 47-43, and earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
TOPS IN TURNOVERS IN 2005 AND 2004: The Avengers led the AFL in turnover margin in 2005 with an amazing +17 (two teams finished way back in second at +8). Last season, Los Angeles had a league-leading 37 takeaways (22 INTs and 15 fumble recoveries). The Avengers turned over the ball only 20 times (fewest in the AFL). L.A. committed only 11 turnovers in its 10 regular-season victories last season. In 2004, the Avengers turned the ball over just 11 times (fewest in the AFL) and tied the Chicago Rush for an AFL-best turnover margin of +15. After just two games this season, the Avengers are -1 in turnover margin.
THE SERIES: The Avengers have won three of the five meetings between the two teams. Since losing the franchise's first regular season game to Grand Rapids on April 15, 2000, the Avengers beat the Rampage three times in a row. Last season, Grand Rapids closed its 2005 campaign with a 71-65 upset of Los Angeles, denying the Avengers the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Sunday's game will mark the fifth time in their seven years of existence that the Avengers will play a game at Van Andel Arena.
All-Time Grand Rapids vs. Los Angeles Series
Score Date Site
Grand Rapids 51, Avengers 31 4-15-00 G.R.
Avengers 68, Grand Rapids 61 6-15-02 G.R.
Avengers 61, Grand Rapids 51 3-23-03 STAPLES
Avengers 48, Grand Rapids 33 3-14-04 G.R.
Grand Rapids 71, Avengers 65 5-21-05 G.R.
DOMINANT ON DEFENSE: Avenger lineman Silas Demary hasn't registered a sack yet this season, but he is still applying constant pressure on the quarterback. In the season-opening victory over Arizona, he was in the face of Rattler QB Sherdrick Bonner all afternoon and got credit for three "quarterback hurries." Last weekend, Demary got to Philadelphia Soul quarterback Tony Graziani (a former teammate with the Avengers) early in the first quarter, knocking him to the turf and out of the game with a dislocated index finger on his throwing hand. Demary, the 2005 AFL "Defensive Player of the Year" and "Lineman of the Year" award winner, broke what was the oldest record in AFL history with 13.5 quarterback sacks last season. Craig Walls of the Pittsburgh Gladiators established the record with 13 sacks in 1987. Demary played in 15 games for the Avengers in 2005 (he missed the Dallas game on March 18 [L.A.'s only loss at home last year] while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee), but he recorded 12.5 of his sacks in the last eight regular-season games. He broke the record on May 21, 2005, by bringing down Grand Rapids quarterback Michael Bishop for a three-yard loss on the Rampage's first offensive play of the game. Demary also set a single-game Avenger record with four sacks versus New York on April 10 (three in the first quarter alone).
SACK MASTER: Never before in the history of the Arena Football League has there been a defensive performance by a lineman like the one Silas Demary gave last season. As Week 10 began, he had only one sack, but then exploded for 12.5 to end up breaking one of the most elusive and incredible records in the game.
All-Time AFL Leaders -Sacks in a Single Season
1. Silas Demary (Los Angeles, 2005) 13.5
2. Craig Walls (Pittsburgh, 1987) 13.0
3. Joe March (Denver, 1991) 12.5
JUST ONCE: In the "Ed Hodgkiss Era," which now spans 64 regular-season games, the Avengers have been under .500 for only one week ... following last year's 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 seven weeks under .500 since the start of the 2002 season.
L.A. STORY: At 10-6 last season, the Avengers nearly tied the franchise's all-time best record. The Avengers had their most successful season in 2003, winning 11 games. After combining for eight victories in the franchise's 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.
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) 10-6 (playoffs 0-1)
2006 (Ed Hodgkiss) 1-1
TOP BOSSES: L.A.'s Ed Hodgkiss is ranked sixth on the AFL's 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 * 151-59 .719
3. Darren Arbet * 73-33 .689
4. Danny White * 122-56 .685
5. Jay Gruden * 56-34 .622
6. Ed Hodgkiss * 39-25 .609
7. Mike Dailey * 81-53 .604
8. Pat Sperduto * 35-24-1 .592
9. John Gregory 67-51 .568
10. Todd Shell 53-45 .541
KEEPING IT CLOSE: Only eight of the 25 losses that Ed Hodgkiss has suffered as the head coach of the Avengers have been by more than seven points.
SLOW STARTERS: In the season-opening victory over Arizona, the Avengers followed a familiar pattern, starting off the game slowly with 16 points in the first half, picking it up in the third quarter with 21 points and closing out the game with just a field goal in the fourth quarter. In last weekend's loss at Philadelphia, L.A. managed just 13 points in the first half. In 16 regular-season games last season, the Avengers scored only 133 points in the first quarter (average of 8.3 points), while opponents countered with 171. The second quarter was when the Avengers shined brightest, scoring a total of 258 points (average of 16.1 points). L.A. also did well in the third quarter, racking up 252 (average of 15.8 points). But, things slowed down in the fourth quarter, when the Avengers were outscored, 275-212.
... WHEN THEY DID GET AHEAD: The Avengers have held the lead at halftime in only seven of their last 19 games, and went on to win six of those games (the only loss was in the 2005 regular-season finale at Grand Rapids).
... AND AFTER THREE QUARTERS: The Avengers are 41-10 all-time when leading or tied after three quarters of play.
ANOTHER NEW QB: For the second consecutive season, the Avengers opened the year with a new starting quarterback. This time, Brian Mann got the nod in the opener, taking over for John Kaleo, who signed a free agent contract with Columbus in the offseason after his one-year stint in L.A. Mann was 10-of-27 for 193 yards and three touchdowns in his debut as an AFL starter versus the Arizona Rattlers. Second-year man Ryan Van Dyke also saw some action in the second quarter versus Arizona. He was 6-of-10 for 56 yards and tossed one interception. Mann took all the snaps in the Week 2 loss at Philadelphia. He was 24-of-43 for 270 yards and four touchdowns (with one interception). Prior to Kaleo, the Avenger starter for three seasons (2002-04) was Tony Graziani (now in his second season with the Philadelphia Soul).
BACK IN GRAND RAPIDS: Avenger QB Brian Mann got his first extended amount of playing time in the 2005 regular-season finale at Grand Rapids. L.A. had locked up the Western Division title the week before and played starting quarterback John Kaleo only in the first half. Mann came in after halftime and completed 12-of-22 for 169 yards and three touchdowns.
HOPPING UP THE CHARTS: Avenger WR/LB Greg Hopkins is in the fifth spot on the league's all-time receiving yards chart. He has gained 9,562 receiving yards in his 11-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) 13,090
2. Eddie Brown (1994-2003) 12,730
3. Gary Compton (1992-2004) 10,247
4. Cory Fleming (Nashville) 9,743
5. Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles) 9,562
6. George LaFrance (1988-2000) 9,004
7. Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 8,600
8. Darryl Hammond (Nashville) 8,513
9. Calvin Schexnayder (1994-2005) 8,377
10. Stevie Thomas (1991-2001) 7,906
THE INTERCEPTION KING: In addition to being the AFL's 2002 "Ironman of the Year," WR/LB Greg Hopkins is the league's 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, 2005 to break a tie with Orlando defensive specialist Kenny "The Glove" McEntyre at the top of the AFL's career chart (Nashville's Darryl Hammond returned an INT 49 yards for a touchdown this season, in Week 2, to tie McEntyre with nine). 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) 9
Mark Ricks (1996-2004) 7
Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 7
KICKING UP A STORM: Avenger kicker Remy Hamilton, who led the AFL in field goals (29), field-goal percentage (.744) and kicking points (185) last season, started off the 2006 campaign on the right foot, booting all four of his field goal attempts (20, 22, 29, 42) in the season-opening victory over Arizona on Jan. 29. The 2005 campaign was nothing short of amazing for him. Hamilton was 29-for-39 (.744) on field goals in 2005 and opened the year by hitting his first 11 three-pointers. Dating back to the end of the 2004 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, 2005. 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 of the 2005 season, 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." Last season, he was 6-of-12 from beyond 40 yards (41, 41, 43, 43, 48, 50). Hamilton's 10 misses in 2005 were from 16 (blocked), 28, 29, 31, 41, 47, 48, 50, 53 and 56 yards out.
RECORD SETTING SEASON: Last season, Avenger Remy Hamilton set a new AFL record for field goal percentage in a single season. In 2004, Jay Taylor of the Orlando Predators set the mark at .720 (18-of-25). Hamilton's percentage in 2005 was .744 (29-of-39). He and Taylor are the only two players in the 20-year history of the Arena Football League to have a field-goal percentage better than .639. Hamilton also made a run at the league's all-time 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 AFL's all-time scoring by kickers and field goals made charts. He is one of three players in league history to boot over 135 field goals.
All-Time AFL Leaders -Scoring By Kickers
1. Mike Black (1993-2004) 1,253
2. Steve Videtich (Columbus) 1,226
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 1,088
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 (Utah) 165
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 139
4. Kenny Stucker (1994-99) 118
All-Time AFL Leaders -Field Goals Percentage in a Single Season
1. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles, 2005) .744
2. Jay Taylor (Orlando, 2004) .720
3. Steve McLaughlin (Nashville, 2001) .639
All-Time AFL Leaders -Field Goals Made in a Single Season
1. Daron Alcorn (Portland, 1999) 32
2. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles, 2005) 29
3. Daron Alcorn (Portland, 1997) 27
ROAD WARRIOR: In his last 23 games away from STAPLES Center, WR/DB Kevin Ingram has caught 104 passes for 1,286 yards and 33 TDs. Despite playing alongside a constellation of AFL stars for much of his career, Ingram's contributions have not gone unnoticed, winning him the "Ironman of the Game" award in nine road games over the course of the previous two years.
"IRONMAN" INGRAM: In his last 44 games, WR/DB Kevin Ingram has been selected as the "Ironman of the Game" 17 times. L.A. won all but one of those games. The only loss was last weekend's 47-33 defeat at Philadelphia. Ironically, that contest was a homecoming of sorts for Ingram, who grew up in nearby Levittown, Pa. (he attended Harry S. Truman High School). During the past two offseasons, he lived in Philadelphia. Ingram had 105 supporters in the stands at the Wachovia Center.
WHEELER CONTINUES TO ROLL: Avenger DS Damen Wheeler has come up with 12 INTs in his last 26 games, dating back to the tail end of the 2003 season.
INFLUX OF INTERCEPTIONS: In the 54-42 victory at San Jose on May 7, 2005, the Avengers broke a franchise single-season record for interceptions. L.A.'s three picks (all by WR/DB Kevin Ingram, which set an individual single-game Avenger record) pushed the team total for the 2005 season to 22. The previous record was 19, by the 2003 squad. The Avengers came away with at least one interception in 12 of the 16 games last season. L.A. failed to get a pick in the games versus Dallas, at Nashville and at Grand Rapids, which all ended in defeat, and also didn't intercept Las Vegas' Clint Dolezel in the Western Division title clinching victory on May 14, 2005.
RUSHING RECORDS: In L.A.'s game at Orlando on April 3, 2005, FB/LB Lonnie Ford scored three rushing touchdowns to set a new Avenger single-game record. He also broke another team record at Orlando, becoming the franchise's all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns. Ford now has 18 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 332. The Avengers have rushed for 20 touchdowns in their last 11 games.
LOCKE WAS THE KEY: Much like they did a year ago, the Avengers began the season without offensive specialist Tony Locke. This year, he began the campaign on the injured reserve list (hand), but is now eligible to return to the active roster. Last season, Locke began the year on the practice squad and went on to have a dramatic influence on the L.A. offense after joining the active roster in Week 4. In the first three weeks of the 2005 season, the Avengers averaged just 217.3 passing yards per game. In the 13 games that Locke played in, L.A. averaged 263.4 yards passing per game (reflecting a 21 percent increase). The team's touchdown passes per game also went up from 4.0 in the first three games to 5.4 in the last 13. Locke, who led the team with 27 touchdown receptions last season, also had six 100-yard games in 2005, and was named the "Offensive Player of the Game" five times. The Avengers were 4-1 last season when Locke caught at least three touchdown passes in a game (the only loss came in the 2005 regular-season finale at Grand Rapids).
SECRET IS SCORING 60: Dating back to the 2004 season, the Avengers are 9-1 when they score 60 or more points (the only loss came in the 2005 regular-season finale at Grand Rapids, when the Avengers rested several key starters in the second half.). The team did not score more than 55 points in all seven of its losses in 2004, in five of the six defeats last season and its lone loss this year.
QUICK-STRIKE OFFENSE: Fifty-eight of L.A.'s 120 offensive touchdowns dating back to last season were scored on "drives" of three plays or less. In fact, 14 of them were on one-play "drives." Over the course of the last three seasons, 196-of-361 Avenger TDs were of the quick-strike variety (57 on a single play).
Avenger Touchdown Drives (2003-06)
Total TDDrives Quick Strikes (percent) 1 Play Score
2003 124 81 (65 %) 25
2004 117 57 (49 %) 18
2005 112 55 (49 %) 13
2006 8 3 (38 %) 1
Total 361 196 (54 %) 57
JUST FIVE ARE ROOKIES: Five of the 20 players on L.A.'s current roster are rookies. They are offensive specialist Kareem Kelly and linemen Isaac Hilton, Trevor Hutton, Reggie Rhodes and Jason Stewart. Last season, 17 of the 34 players who suited up for the Avengers (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) experienced their first taste of AFL action in 2005.
AVENGERS 2005 RESULTS (10-6, 0-1)
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
May 7 @ San Jose Win 54-42
May 14 Las Vegas Win 63-60
May 21 @ Grand Rapids Loss 71-65
May 29 Chicago (Playoffs) Loss 52-45
AFL RECORDS SET BY AVENGERS IN 2005:
Silas Demary, 13.5 - (2005)
Field-Goal Percentage (Season)
Remy Hamilton, .744 - (2005)
Field Goals (Consecutive Made)
Remy Hamilton, 12 - (2004-05)
Field Goals (Consecutive Made in Single Season)
Remy Hamilton, 11 - (2005)
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS:
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
AVENGERS 1 1 0 .500 73 78
Las Vegas 1 1 0 .500 97 112
Utah 1 1 0 .500 101 91
Arizona 0 2 0 .000 65 93
San Jose 0 2 0 .000 83 99
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Colorado 2 0 0 1.000 126 115
Nashville 2 0 0 1.000 110 55
Chicago 0 2 0 .000 103 116
Grand Rapids 0 2 0 .000 73 104
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Dallas 2 0 0 1.000 114 97
Philadelphia 2 0 0 1.000 99 67
Columbus 1 1 0 .500 80 83
New York 1 1 0 .500 79 104
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Austin 2 0 0 1.000 117 80
Georgia 1 1 0 .500 107 92
Orlando 1 1 0 .500 79 89
Tampa Bay 1 1 0 .500 85 95
Kansas City 0 2 0 .000 85 117
AFL WEEK 3 SCHEDULE (all times Pacific):
Friday, February 10
Georgia @ Tampa Bay - 4:30 p.m. (Sun Sports, SIRIUS Satellite Radio Ch. 180)
Saturday, February 11
Dallas @ Columbus - 4 p.m. (SIRIUS Satellite Radio Ch. 144)
Philadelphia @ Orlando - 4:30 p.m. (INHD)
New York @ Utah - 6 p.m.
Sunday, February 12
Los Angeles @ Grand Rapids - 11 a.m. (AM 570)
Austin @ Kansas City - 11 a.m.
Las Vegas @ Colorado - 12 p.m. (FSN Rocky Mountain) Nashville @ Chicago - 12 p.m.
San Jose @ Arizona - 5 p.m.
BANNER DAY: Prior to the season-opening victory over Arizona, the Avengers showcased the newest addition to the wall at STAPLES Center -- their 2005 AFL Western Division championship banner, which includes a tribute to the late Al Lucas.
WINNING RECORD: L.A.'s 59-56 victory over the Arizona Rattlers on April 30, 2005 meant that, for the first time in Avenger history, the franchise could boast a winning record. In their seventh season of play, the Avengers currently have an all-time regular-season record of 47-45.
LOS ANGELES FALLS AT PHILADELPHIA, 47-33
By Michael Ordoña
The Los Angeles Avengers and Philadelphia Soul's first meeting featured plenty of ghosts from the Avengers' past, but it was tenuous offensive rhythm that continued to haunt Los Angeles.
The Avengers went to Wachovia Center Sunday to face a three-year-old Soul franchise in the process of being remade in new head coach Bret Munsey's defensive image with five former Avengers on the roster. Relentless pressure on young L.A. quarterback Brian Mann resulted in four sacks and numerous hurried throws that kept the team from finding its stride as the defending Western Division champs absorbed their first loss of the season, 47-33.
"We weren't effective on first and second down, so we couldn't keep them off-balance on third and fourth," said Los Angeles head coach Ed Hodgkiss. "We knew going in that they had guys who could rush the passer."
For the second week in a row, the Avengers had to try to sort out their quarterback situation against a team with one of the league's leading signalcallers -- this time, former L.A. star Tony Graziani. And for the second week in a row, the Avengers knocked out an opposing QB when Silas Demary's near-sack of Graziani on the first series of the game forced Philly's 90-touchdown man of last season out with a dislocated index finger.
Los Angeles WR/DB Kevin Ingram said he is close with all the former Avengers on the Soul roster, and was disappointed to see Graziani leave the game: "I definitely wanted to compete against him. We were on the phone, talking smack early in the week."
Medical staff worked on Graziani throughout the game, but though X-rays were negative, he was not able to return. Backup QB Matt Sauk, another former Avenger, gave the crowd -- and his team -- something to sing about when on his first play he found a huge hole in the Avengers' defense and threw an 18-yard score to Mike Brown for a quick 7-0 Soul lead.
"You'd always prefer to see a backup quarterback in there," said Hodgkiss, "but Matt Sauk played for us as well and he's a great quarterback in his own right."
On the ensuing L.A. drive, Mann and his receivers looked out of synch, with passes often behind or over their targets. Remy Hamilton, then missed a 39-yard field goal attempt. Philly's Mike Brown took the ball off the net and danced through several tackles to his 20-yard line, but just as he was about to hit the turf he lateralled to Kevin Gaines, who took it in for the score, completing a 58-yard return. Just like that, it was 14-0, Soul.
On the next drive, the Soul's refusal to let the Avengers find their rhythm seemed to give Mann the blues as he almost got picked on the first snap. Then Ingram put on a double move that had Philly cornerback Reggie Dorster dancing to the wrong tune, and Mann found the league's 2005 "Ironman of the Year" for a 30-yard score to cut the deficit to 14-7.
But Munsey's offense mixed the run and pass well to put up another touchdown to widen the lead to 21-7, a two-score margin that would hold for the rest of the half as the teams traded field goals on the next four possessions. Munsey, who was the guru of one of the league's best defenses with Orlando before taking the head job in Philly this season, unleashed his pass rushers on Mann, punishing the quarterback and forcing misfires.
An Avengers first-and-goal at the 7 was blown up by consecutive sacks by OL/DL E.J. Burt, one of them forcing a fumble that Los Angeles was able to recover. However, the Avengers' defense settled down too, and kept the Soul out of the end zone for the rest of the quarter. At the break, Philly led, 27-13.
The second half started as the first half ended, with Los Angeles fighting to find itself. After a great catch off the back hip for an apparent score by WR/LB Greg Hopkins was wiped out by a penalty, Mann hung in against another bloodthirsty rush to find Ingram running free to bring his team back within a touchdown, 27-20.
Mann went the distance against the Soul, but Hodgkiss said the quarterback position hadn't been salted away: "He's only going to get better and better the more he gets to compete. He just lacks experience. He's only got one way to go, and that's up, with each rep he takes.
"I would anticipate Ryan Van Dyke getting some snaps next week."
The Avenger defense continued to slow down the Soul offense, but on fourth down, Marcus Knight laid out in the corner of the end zone for an impossible-to-defend 14-yard Philly score. After a missed extra point, the Soul had a 33-20 lead midway through the third period.
The teams traded clutch stops, but in the game's key play, Mann made a crucial mistake on first down from his own two-and-a-half yard line. The Avenger quarterback held the ball too long in the end zone, and to avoid the safety as Burt got to him yet again, he desperately tried to heave it away. Unfortunately for L.A., he heaved it backward, and the ball was recovered for paydirt by yet another former Avenger, Wes Ours: 40-20, Philadelphia.
On the next series, the mad-bull Philly rush resulted in a couple of defensive penalties before Mann found Ingram for a short gain that the elusive receiver took all the way to the 3. Then, under pressure again, Mann scrambled right to stay alive just long enough to find rookie Kareem Kelly to cut the Soul lead to 40-27.
Then the Avengers got a big break when Soul wideout J.J. McKelvey shook defensive specialist Damen Wheeler for a potential length-of-field touchdown, but McKelvey couldn't secure the catch and Wheeler, who never gave up on the play, snatched it out of the air for a huge interception. On fourth-and-14, Ingram again showed his MVP form, snagging his third TD of the game. Hopkins had lured the corner away from the middle, which left Ingram free and clear.
The 29-yard score (and missed extra point) pulled L.A. within a touchdown again at 40-33. However, it wasn't enough as the Soul marched down and scored on WR/LB Sean Scott's 2-yard rush for the final margin of 47-33. The Avengers' last hopes ended when corner Eddie Moten picked off Mann in the end zone with less than a minute left in the game.
"I think we've got to get a lot better on offense no matter what happens," said Mann. "Thirty-three points is not going to win a lot of games. If our defense can continually hold like they have in the last couple of weeks, they put us in position to win games. There's just a lot of room for improvement."
LOS ANGELES (1-1) 7 6 7 13 -- 33
PHILADELPHIA (2-0) 14 13 13 7 -- 47
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 OT games, the Avenger opponent has been Arizona (L.A. is 1-2 in those contests). In all three overtime victories, L.A. 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 OT 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
RECENT AVENGER TRANSACTIIONS:
Date Action Player
2/4 Placed on injured reserve DS Antuan Simmons
2/4 Recalled from waivers OL/DL Isaac Hilton
2/3 Signed DS Antuan Simmons
2/3 Placed on recallable waivers OL/DL Isaac Hilton
1/23 Placed on injured reserve OL/DL Jemelle CageOL/DL Charles Howard0S Tony LockeWR/DB Antoine BurnsOL/DL Rod ManuelOL/DL Richard SealsQB Sonny CumbieWR/DB Ricky Sharpe
1/22 Waived OL/DL Marc ManfreddaOL/DL Mike RogersDS Jermaine SmithWR/DB Tramissian Davis
1/22 Waived(injured) DS Walter Bernard
1/22 Released OL/DL Furnell Hankton
1/16 Waived(non-claimable) DS Mark Estelle
1/14 Signed WR/DB Antoine Burns
1/14 Placed on other league exempt WR/DB Ataveus CashWR/DB Terrence Stubbs
1/5 Signed WR/DB Tramissian DavisWR/DB Lenzie Jackson
¼ Signed OL/DL Marc ManfreddaOL/DL Michael Rogers
THIS SEASON THE AVENGERS ARE ...
- 1-0 at STAPLES Center
- 0-1 on the road
- 0-0 when they score more than 50 points
- 0-0 when they score 60 or more points
- 0-0 when they score 70 or more points
- 1-1 when they allow less than 50 points
- 1-0 when they allow less than 40 points
- 1-0 when they score first
- 0-0 when they commit fewer turnovers
- 0-1 when they commit more turnovers
- 1-1 whey they make at least one interception
- 0-1 when a player scores three or more touchdowns
- 1-0 when Josh Jeffries scores at least one rushing TD
- 0-0 when they throw for at least 5 touchdowns
- 1-1 when they pass for 200+ yards
- 0-0 when they pass for 300+ yards
- 0-0 when they don't throw an INT
- 0-1 when Kevin Ingram scores two or more TDs
- 1-1 when Kevin Ingram catches 6 or more passes
- 1-0 when Kevin Ingram intercepts at least one pass
- 0-0 when Greg Hopkins scores two or more TDs
- 0-1 when Greg Hopkins catches six or more passes
- 1-0 when Remy Hamilton scores at least 12 points
- 0-0 when they commit fewer penalties
- 1-0 when they record at least one sack
- 1-0 when they pitch a shutout in a quarter
- 0-0 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points
- 0-0 when leading at halftime
- 1-1 when trailing at halftime
- 0-0 when tied at halftime
LAST SEASON THE AVENGERS WERE ...
- 7-1 at STAPLES Center
- 3-5 on the road
- 8-2 when they score more than 50 points
- 4-1 when they score 60 or more points
- 1-0 when they score 70 or more points
- 8-4 when they allow less than 60 points
- 6-1 when they allow less than 50 points
- 3-0 when they allow less than 40 points
- 5-3 when they score first
- 9-1 when they commit fewer turnovers
- 1-2 when they commit more turnovers
- 9-3 whey they make at least one interception
- 6-3 when a player scores three or more touchdowns
- 4-1 when Tony Locke catches 3 or more TD passes
- 5-2 when they score two or more TDs on the ground
- 7-4 when John Kaleo throws for at least 5 TDs
- 10-4 when John Kaleo passes for 200+ yards
- 2-1 when John Kaleo passes for 300+ yards
- 6-3 when John Kaleo doesn't throw an INT
- 5-3 when Kevin Ingram scores two or more TDs
- 7-4 when Kevin Ingram catches 6 or more passes
- 3-3 when Greg Hopkins scores two or more TDs
- 3-3 when Greg Hopkins catches six or more passes
- 6-3 when Remy Hamilton scores at least 11 points
- 4-4 when they commit fewer penalties
- 4-5 when they record at least one sack
- 2-1 when they pitch a shutout in a quarter
- 6-3 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points
- 6-1 when leading at halftime
- 3-4 when trailing at halftime
- 1-1 when tied at halftime
"IRONMAN OF THE GAME": Voted on by the media, the award goes to the two-way player who best demonstrated the ideals of the AFL's style of ironman football.
Week Opp. Ironman of the Game
1 Arizona WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)7 catches, 126 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
2 @ Philly WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)8 rec., 132 yds., 3 TDs, 7 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 team's defensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Defensive Player of the Game
1 Arizona WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)2 tackles, 1 interception
2 @ Philly OL/DL Earnest Allen (Philadelphia)1.5 stops, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
"OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME": Voted on by the media, the award goes to the player who was the most valuable to his team's offensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Offensive Player of the Game
1 Arizona Kicker Remy Hamilton (L.A.)4-for-4 on field goals, 16 points
2 @ Philly QB Matt Sauk (Philadelphia)17-of-29, 147 yards, 3 TDs
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 and Rob Turner, Central Michigan University Chippewas.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: As of this moment, Avenger games are scheduled to be televised on KNBC five times, FSN West 2 four times (one delayed) and FSN West once. XTRA Sports AM 570 is the flagship radio station for the Avengers, however due to conflicts, three games will be broadcast on 1150-AM and one on 690-AM. Eleven Avenger games also will be aired on Spanish language radio -- eight on ESPN Deportes (1330-AM) and three on 1220-KWKU. Additional television broadcasts could be announced soon. In addition, information regarding high-definition television coverage via H2H (formerly INHD) and broadcasts via Sirius Satellite Radio are forthcoming.
Sunday, Jan. 29, ARIZONA, Noon
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: 690-AM, 1330-KWKW
Sunday, Feb. 5, at Philadelphia, 10 a.m.
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: 570-XTRA, 1330-KWKW, Sirius
Sunday, Feb. 12, at Grand Rapids, 11 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 18, CHICAGO, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FSNW2 Radio: 570-XTRA, 1330-KWKW
Saturday, Feb. 25, UTAH, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FSNW Radio: 570-XTRA, 1330-KWKW
Sunday, March 5, at Orlando, 9 a.m.
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: 570-XTRA
Sunday, March 12, at San Jose, 3 p.m.
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: 1150-AM, 1330-KWKW
Sunday, March 19, COLORADO, 3:30 p.m.
TV: TBA Radio: 570-XTRA, 1330-KWKW
Friday, March 24, at Arizona, 6 p.m.
TV: FSNW2 Radio: 1150-AM
(TV delayed until 10:30 p.m.)
Sunday, April 2, at Las Vegas, 3 p.m.
TV: FSNW2 Radio: 1150-AM, 1330-KWKW
Sunday, April 9, at Kansas City, 10 a.m.
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: 570-XTRA
Saturday, April 15, at Utah, 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, NEW YORK, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FSNW2 Radio: 570-XTRA, 1220-KWKU
Saturday, April 29, SAN JOSE, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 570-XTRA, 1220-KWKU
Saturday, May 6, NASHVILLE, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 570-XTRA, 1220-KWKU
Saturday, May 13, LAS VEGAS, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 570-XTRA, 1330-KWKW
NEW FAN-CENTRIC WEBSITE: Two days prior to their 2006 season opener, the Avengers launched a new, state-of-the-art official website that is perhaps the most fan-centric in all of sports.
Within this new model, Avenger fans are the biggest contributors to the website, adding their own unedited opinions and photos to a section called "The Buzz." In addition to being able to communicate with each other at laavengers.com, fans also interact directly with Avenger players, coaches and front office staff members, including Avenger owner and CEO Casey Wasserman. Just like the players they cheer for and the "A-Team" dancers that they love to watch perform, Avenger fans are listed on their own roster and are able to create their own profiles directly on the website.
"We have an avid and loyal fan base, which is at the center of everything we do, so it is only natural that our website reflects that focus in every way," Wasserman said. "Giving Avenger fans an online community of their own, and one that we will also participate in, puts us at the forefront of what I believe will be the wave of the future in terms of websites for professional sports teams."
In addition, the new laavengers.com is extremely media-rich, featuring high-quality videos and photos of players, coaches and fans, which are updated regularly. The multimedia elements compliment the written reports of two beat writers who will cover the team throughout the 2006 season.
Avenger season ticket holders also are able to fully manage their accounts online. Besides being able to buy season-seat packages, purchase individual game tickets and renew accounts, users will be able to transfer individual season tickets to family or friends via email. Furthermore, the website allows tickets to be put up for re-sale and reprinted if necessary.
Everything that a fan would want in a sports-team website is also readily available within the new laavengers.com, including biographical information on nearly every person involved in the franchise, a calendar of events, media releases and an area just for the Avengers' youngest fans.
The website was built by Schematic, an industry leader in interface design with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta.
"No professional sports website offers fans better access than the new laavengers.com," said Nicholas Worth, the president of Schematic. "The site the Avengers just launched lets casual and hard-core fans of the team interact directly with the players and coaches, watch insightful video shorts, and even post photos, comments and fan profiles. You would have to suit up to get any closer to the Avenger squad."
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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from February 7, 2006
- Utah Blaze Week 3 Practice Schedule - Utah Blaze
- Avengers Double Days - Los Angeles Avengers
- Philadelphia Soul game notes - Philadelphia Soul
- Arizona Rattlers Game Notes - Arizona Rattlers
- Los Angeles Avengers game notes - Los Angeles Avengers
- EA Sports' Arena Football gets rave reviews from GameZone, IGN - AFL I
- Colorado Crush game notes - Colorado Crush
- EA ships all new Arena Football video game today - AFL I
- Shaw named Offensive Player of the Week - Dallas Desperados
- Mason earns Defensive Player of the Week - Austin Wranglers
- Gladiators defeat SaberCats, 51-48 - San Jose SaberCats
- AFL names players of the week - AFL I
- Kats' Bonner Named AFL Ironman of the Week - Nashville Kats
- Destroyer Acquire Douglas in Trade - Columbus Destroyers
- Rush Trades Douglas For Unertl - Chicago Rush
- Orlando Predators game notes - Orlando Predators
- Florida State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Produce Players - AFL I
- Gladiators Win Home Opener - Las Vegas Gladiators
- SaberCats Drop Second Straight - San Jose SaberCats
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