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Los Angeles Avengers game notes

February 28, 2006 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Los Angeles Avengers News Release

QUICK FACTS:
Game: Los Angeles Avengers at Utah Blaze
Date: Sunday, March 5, 2006
Kickoff: 9 a.m. (Pacific)
Site: Hummer Field -- TD Waterhouse Center (13,692)
Television: KNBC Channel 4 (Tom Hammond, Pat Haden, Lewis Johnson)
Radio: XTRA Sports AM 570 (Isaac Lowenkron, Troy West -- pregame show at 8:30 a.m. [Pacific])
Spanish Radio: ESPN Deportes 1330-AM (Edu Villamar, Mario Amaya)
Internet Radio: www.xtrasportsradio.com
Line: TBA
Series Record: Orlando leads, 2-1
Last Meeting: Orlando 55, Los Angeles 54 (OT), April 3, 2005 (TD Waterhouse Centre)
Officials: Bill LeMonnier (R), Mike Delaney (U), Allen Baynes (HL), Dave Chesney (LJ), Billy Beckett (BJ)
Head Coaches:
Los Angeles -- Ed Hodgkiss (fifth season, 39-28)
Orlando -- Jay Gruden (seventh season, 58-35)

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, but lost their next four games, begin their toughest stretch of the season with a game at Orlando (3-2) on Sunday, March 5. The clash with the Predators will be the first of six road games that the Avengers will play in the next seven weeks (their only home game until April 22 is a meeting with the ArenaBowl champion Colorado Crush on March 19). Los Angeles is off to its worst start since 2001, but is still just one game back in the division. Veteran WR/DB Kevin Ingram has picked up right where he left off last season when he was honored as the AFL's "Ironman of the Year." Ingram leads the team in receptions (36 -- 25 of which have been for first downs), receiving yards (501), touchdowns (nine) and interceptions (two). In addition, a third of his receptions (12) have come on third down (No. 1 in the AFL). Aside from Ingram, the Avengers have had some difficulty finding their offensive rhythm. Quarterback Brian Mann (81-of-145 for 1,028 yards and 16 touchdowns, with four interceptions) started three of the first four games and has taken the large majority of the snaps this season, but rookie Sonny Cumbie started in Week 5 versus the Blaze and played well. He completed 29-of-43 for 266 yards and seven touchdowns (with no interceptions). Cumbie, who also played briefly during the previous game, is completing 65.4 percent of his passes (34-of-52) and has a passer rating of 114.7 (No. 6 in the AFL). Offensive specialist Tony Locke, who opened the season on the injured reserve list, has injected some new life in the Avenger offense in the past three games, catching 23 passes for 243 yards and four scores. Remy Hamilton, who set several league records last season, has remained in a groove, hitting 11 of his 13 field goal attempts this year and earning "Offensive Player of the Game" honors in the season-opening victory over Arizona. He leads all AFL kickers in scoring with 58 points. Last year, the Avengers effectively utilized a balanced effort rooted in all three phases of the game. L.A. 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 will become the fifth player in league history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards in a career in the next few games.

STORYLINES:
4 L.A.-Orlando games always go down to the last play
... see series information on Page 2
4 Impressive debut as starting QB for Sonny Cumbie
... see statistical comparisons on Page 3
4 Josh Jeffries placed on the IR and lost for the season
... see transactions on Page 6

LOS ANGELES AVENGERS
2006 SCHEDULE (1-4)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 29 Arizona Win 40-31
Feb. 5 @ Philadelphia Loss 47-33
Feb. 12 @ Grand Rapids Loss 66-41
Feb. 18 Chicago Loss 65-46
Feb. 25 Utah Loss 68-66
Rest of season Opponent Time(PT) Television
Mar. 5 @ Orlando 9 a.m. NBC
Mar. 12 @ San Jose 3 p.m. NBC
Mar. 19 Colorado 3:30 OLN
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.

ROAD WARRIOR: In his last 24 games away from STAPLES Center, WR/DB Kevin Ingram has caught 115 passes for 1,412 yards and 35 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 47 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 the recent defeat at Philadelphia. Ironically, that contest was a homecoming of sorts for Ingram, who grew up in nearby Levittown, Pa. (Harry S. Truman High School).

THE SERIES: All three of the previous games matching the Avengers and Predators have been thrillers decided on the final play. The Avengers won the first meeting, 64-63, on March 30, 2003, at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Fla. The game ended on a miraculous "Hail Mary" reception off the net by Greg Hopkins as time expired. The Predators got some revenge, beating Los Angeles, 52-50, at STAPLES Center in the 2004 regular-season finale. Orlando kicker Jason Wells booted a 30-yard field goal as time expired to provide the winning margin in that one. Last season, the Avengers staged a 19-point second half comeback to send the game into overtime, but fell short in overtime. Lonnie Ford scored his team record third rushing touchdown of the game to put L.A. up in the extra period, but Remy Hamilton pushed his extra point attempt wide left after an errant snap. The Predators answered with a touchdown of their own and a successful PAT ended the contest.

All-Time Orlando vs. Los Angeles Series
Score Date Site
Avengers 64, Predators 63 3-30-03 Orlando
Predators 52, Avengers 50 5-30-04 STAPLES
Predators 55, Avengers 54 (overtime) 4-3-05 Orlando

STINGY WITH THE YARDS: The Avengers are currently No. 3 in the AFL in total defense, allowing just 243.6 yards per game. Historically more of an "offensive" team, the current Avenger total defense statistic is quite a departure from previous seasons. L.A. currently ranks first in the AFL in first downs allowed (84) and rushing yards allowed per attempt (1.5 yards). In addition, L.A. is ranked fourth in both passing defense (232.4) and third-down percentage (40.6 percent).

Avenger Total Defense (regular season)
Season Total yards allowed Average
2006 1,218 (five games) 243.6
2005 4,921 (16 games) 307.6
2004 4,665 (16 games) 291.6
2003 4,526 (16 games) 282.9
2002 3,991 (16 games) 249.4
2001 3,492 (14 games) 249.4
2000 4,236 (14 games) 302.6

TURNOVER MARGIN TAKES A TURN: After five games this season, the Avengers are -5 in turnover margin (second-to-last in the AFL). That's a far cry from where L.A. was in the previous two seasons. 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 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. So far this season, the Avengers have come up with only five takeaways (four interceptions and one fumble recovery). Last season at this time, Los Angeles led the league with 13 takeaways (eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries) and was 3-2.

SONNY CUMBIE: Rookie quarterback Sonny Cumbie, who started his first AFL game last week, was 29-of-43 for 266 yards and seven touchdowns in the 68-66 loss to the Utah Blaze. With that impressive showing, Cumbie's name was inserted into a couple spots in the Avenger record book for top single-game performances. His 29 completions ranks second in Avenger history and first among rookies. And Cumbie's seven scoring tosses by a rookie also rank second in Avenger history and first among rookies making their first start. To put Cumbie's stellar debut into the proper context, please note that Clint Stoerner set an AFL rookie record last season with 322 completions for the Dallas Desperados (while starting all 16 regular-season games), but he did not complete more than 26 passes in any game and only threw for seven or more touchdowns one time. Although he has just played in two AFL games so far, Cumbie's current completion percentage of 65.4 percent gives him a good start to possibly threaten the league's all-time record for completion percentage in a single season by a rookie. (Orlando quarterback Joe Hamilton set the record of 65.6 percent in 2004, breaking the previous mark set by his current head coach, Jay Gruden, who completed 63.8 percent for the Tampa Bay Storm in 1991.)

Avenger Record Book -Completions in a Single Game
1. John Kaleo (at Colorado, 2005) 31
2. Sonny Cumbie (vs. Utah, 2006) * 29
3t. Tony Graziani (vs. Arizona, 2004) 28
3t. Tony Graziani (at Dallas, 2003) 28
5t. Tony Graziani (at Georgia, 2002) 27
5t. Erik Wilhelm (vs. Detroit, 2001) * 27
7t. Brian Mann (at Grand Rapids, 2006) 26
7t. Tony Graziani (vs. Colorado, 2004) 26
7t. Tony Graziani (vs. San Jose, 2003) 26
7t. Tony Graziani (vs. New York, 2002) 26
7t. Todd Marinovich (at Houston, 2000) * 26
* AFL rookie season

Avenger Record Book -TD Passes in a Single Game by a Rookie
1. Todd Marinovich (at Houston, 2005) 10
2t. Sonny Cumbie (vs. Utah, 2006) * 7
2t. Todd Marinovich (vs. Milwaukee, 2000) 7
2t. Todd Marinovich (vs. Arizona, 2000) 7
5t. Erik Wilhelm (vs. Detroit, 2001) 6
5t. Todd Marinovich (vs. Florida, 2000) 6
* Starting debut

Arena Football League Record Book -Completion Percentage in a Season by a Rookie
1. Joe Hamilton, Orlando, 2004 65.6
2. Sonny Cumbie, Los Angeles, 2006 65.4 *
3. Jay Gruden, Tampa Bay, 1991 63.8
4. Clint Stoerner, Dallas, 2005 63.6
* Season incomplete, qualification not yet met

RARE SLIDE: In the "Ed Hodgkiss Era," which now spans 67 regular-season games, the Avengers have been under .500 for only four weeks ... the past three weeks (1-2, 1-3 and 1-4) and following last year's season-opening loss at Las Vegas (0-1). Furthermore, until the team's current four-game slide, the Avengers had never lost more than two consecutive games with Hodgkiss at the helm.

SACKMAN SIDELINED: Avenger lineman Silas Demary broke two fingers on his left hand in the first quarter of the game at Philadelphia on Feb. 5 (and continued to play the entire game) and was placed on the injured reserve list on Feb. 11. He missed two games before returning to action last week versus Utah. In that game, he registered his first sack of the 2006 season and, in the process, forced a fumble that was recovered and returned for an Avenger touchdown by Greg Hopkins. Although Demary didn't register a sack in the first two games of the season, he did apply 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." The following week, 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 STORM: 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

TOP BOSSES: Sunday's game pits two of the league's winningest coaches against each other. Orlando's Jay Gruden is ranked fifth and L.A.'s Ed Hodgkiss is ranked seventh on the AFL's all-time winning percentage chart (regular season only, minimum 60 games, * active coaches).

All-Time AFL Top Winning Percentages
Head Coaches Record Winning %
1. Perry Moss 75-28-1 .726
2. Tim Marcum * 152-60 .717
3. Danny White * 123-58 .680
4. Darren Arbet * 74-35 .679
5. Jay Gruden * 58-35 .624
6. Mike Dailey * 83-54 .606
7. Pat Sperduto * 37-25-1 .595
8. Ed Hodgkiss * 39-28 .582
9. John Gregory 67-51 .568
10. Todd Shell 53-45 .541
LOCKE WAS THE KEY: Much like they did a year ago, the Avengers began this season without offensive specialist Tony Locke. This year, he began the campaign on injured reserve (hand), but returned to action in Week 3 at Grand Rapids (five receptions for 44 yards). Then, on Feb. 18, Locke returned to form, leading the team with nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, he led the team with nine receptions once again, totaling 65 yards and a pair of scores. 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 passing yards 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 TD passes in a game.

HOPPING UP THE CHARTS: Avenger WR/LB Greg Hopkins is fifth on the league's all-time receiving yards chart. He has gained 9,735 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) 9,912
5. Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles) 9,735
6. George LaFrance (1988-2000) 9,004
7. Calvin Schexnayder (San Jose) 8,812
8. Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 8,600
9. Darryl Hammond (Nashville) 8,521
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. Hamilton is 11-of-13 on field goals this season and is a perfect 10-for-10 on attempts inside of 39 yards. The 2005 campaign was nothing short of amazing for him. Hamilton was 29-for-39 (.744) on field goals 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 "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 140 field goals. Hamilton's current field goal percentage is .846 (11-of-13).

All-Time AFL Leaders -Scoring By Kickers
1. Mike Black (1993-2004) 1,253
2. Steve Videtich (Utah) 1,251
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 1,121

All-Time AFL Leaders -Field Goals Made in a Career
1. Mike Black (1993-2004) 178
2. Steve Videtich (Utah) 166
3. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 144

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

WHEELER CONTINUES TO ROLL: Avenger DS Damen Wheeler has come up with 12 INTs in his last 29 games, dating back to the tail end of the 2003 season.

SECRET IS SCORING 60: Dating back to the 2004 season, the Avengers are 9-2 when they score 60 or more points (the only losses came in the 2005 regular-season finale at Grand Rapids, when the Avengers rested several key starters in the second half, and last week versus Utah). 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 in three of its four losses this year.

QUICK-STRIKE OFFENSE: Sixty-five of L.A.'s 140 offensive touchdowns dating back to last season were scored on "drives" of three plays or less. In fact, 17 of them were on one-play "drives." Over the course of the last three seasons, 203-of-381 Avenger TDs were of the quick-strike variety (60 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 28 10 (36 %) 4
Total 381 203 (53 %) 60

JUST FOUR ARE ROOKIES: Four of the 17 players on L.A.'s current active roster are rookies. They are quarterback Sonny Cumbie, defensive specialist Ricky Sharpe and linemen Jemelle Cage and Trevor Hutton. 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.

SLOW STARTERS: Continuing a trend that began last season, the Avengers have been getting off to slow starts in 2006. In its first five games this season, Los Angeles has scored just 34 points in the first quarter, while opponents have countered with 73 points. The Avengers pick things up in the second quarter, scoring a total of 64 points, but that still trails the opposition (79 points). The only quarter in which the Avengers have outscored their opponents is the fourth, where L.A. currently holds a 73-67 advantage. In 16 regular-season games last season, the Avengers scored only 133 points in the first quarter (average of 8.3), while opponents countered with 171. The second quarter was when the Avengers shined brightest, scoring a total of 258 points (average of 16.1). L.A. also did well in the third quarter, racking up 252 (average of 15.8). 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 21 games and went on to win six of those games.

... AND AFTER THREE QUARTERS: The Avengers are 41-11 all-time when leading or tied after three quarters.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS:

AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Western Division
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Utah 2 3 0 .400 288 286
AVENGERS 1 4 0 .200 226 277
Arizona 1 4 0 .200 186 231
Las Vegas 1 4 0 .200 234 286
San Jose 1 4 0 .200 241 269

Central Division
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Colorado 4 1 0 .800 275 266
Nashville 4 1 0 .800 270 178
Chicago 3 2 0 .600 278 265
Grand Rapids 2 3 0 .400 236 244

NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Eastern Division
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Dallas 4 1 0 .800 270 239
New York 3 2 0 .600 277 295
Philadelphia 3 2 0 .600 245 221
Columbus 2 3 0 .400 184 206

Southern Division
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Austin 4 1 0 .800 258 220
Georgia 3 2 0 .600 272 206
Orlando 3 2 0 .600 228 241
Tampa Bay 3 2 0 .600 268 270
Kansas City 1 4 0 .200 182 218

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
All-time 3-5
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

AFL WEEK 6 SCHEDULE (all times Pacific):

Friday, March 3
Columbus @ New York - 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 4
Austin @ Georgia - 9 a.m.
San Jose @ Utah - 6 p.m. (FSN Utah)
Nashville @ Arizona - 6 p.m. (AFL Net)

Sunday, March 5
Los Angeles @ Orlando - 9 a.m. (NBC)
Dallas @ Chicago - 9 a.m. (NBC, SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 181)
Grand Rapids @ Colorado - noon (SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 181)
Tampa Bay @ Kansas City - 1 p.m. (AFL Net)
Philadelphia @ Las Vegas - 3:30 p.m. (OLN)

Monday, March 6
"AFL Weekly" on FSN West - 3:30 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.

BACK UNDER .500: 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 are currently 1-4 and have slipped to an all-time regular-season record of 47-48.

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:

Sacks (Season)
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)

RECENT AVENGER TRANSACTIIONS:
Date Action Player
2/28 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB Josh Jeffriesout for the season(broken left fibula and dislocated left ankle)
2/24 Activated from injured reserve OL/DL Silas DemaryOL/DL Rod Manuel
2/24 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB-DE Michale SpicerWR/LB Rob TurnerOL/DL Reggie Rhodes
2/21 Waived OL/DL Isaac Hilton
2/17 Activated from injured reserve DS-WR/DB Ricky SharpeOL/DL Richard SealsQB Sonny Cumbie
2/17 Placed on injured reserve DS Anthony DerricksOL/DL Jason Stewart
2/14 Waived QB Ryan Van Dyke
2/11 Activated from injured reserve OS Tony LockeOL/DL Jemelle Cage
2/11 Placed on injured reserve OL/DL Silas DemaryOS Kareem Kelly
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 HowardOS 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
1/4 Signed OL/DL Marc ManfreddaOL/DL Michael Rogers

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.

LAST GAME:

BLAZE BURN AVENGERS ON FINAL PLAY OF GAME

By Ben Malcolmson
laavengers.com

One second was all that was between an enthralling win and the most gut-wrenching of losses.
In typical Arena Football style, the Avengers came back twice only to see the Utah Blaze score a touchdown as time expired, giving Los Angeles a heart-breaking 68-66 defeat Saturday night in front of 12,314 fans at STAPLES Center.
With one second left and the Blaze down 66-62, Utah quarterback Joe Germaine took the snap, rolled to his right and, on a sequence Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss called a "backyard play," connected with Orshawante Bryant, in the middle of the end zone.
"To win a game like that on a play like that, there's no better feeling," said Germaine, who went 31-for-40 for 387 yards and eight touchdowns. "It was a perfect play."
The Utah drive started with 15 seconds remaining after the Avengers' Greg Hopkins scored on a 17-yard completion to put Los Angeles up by four.
"You never think you have it won in Arena Football," Hodgkiss said. "Fifteen seconds is a good amount of time."
Even though it was their fourth straight loss, the Avengers can take the consolation that they now have a bona fide starting quarterback.
Rookie Sonny Cumbie, the Avengers' third-stringer just two weeks ago, got the start and led Los Angeles in the enthralling offensive shootout. Cumbie, who just 14 months ago was leading the NCAA in passing for Texas Tech, awoke a dormant offense that had averaged 40 points per game going into Saturday's contest.
He hit his receivers with calming regularity, going 29-for-43 for 266 yards and seven touchdowns.
"He made some good throws today, some good check downs, he was reading well out there," said WR/DB Kevin Ingram, who scored on two of his eight receptions. "He was starting to get more comfortable at the end."
Although his improbable performance ended with the same result the Avengers have seen for four consecutive games, players and coaches said Cumbie has instilled optimism in the offense. He has also received the start for next Sunday's game at Orlando.
How exactly? Cumbie carried the Avengers on a comeback that turned a 14-point second-quarter deficit into a 14-point fourth-quarter lead. But to make the electrifying fairy tale even more incredible, Cumbie coolly piloted the last-minute touchdown-scoring drive that was nearly enough for the win.
The Avengers lost more than the game Saturday. FB/LB Josh Jeffries went down late in the first quarter with a broken left fibula.
Even without Jeffries, a powerful backfield blocker and occasional rusher, the Avengers offense finally caught fire, outscoring their previous game-high mark by 20 points.
Cumbie looked nervous and jittery on his first drive, completing 2-of-4 passes for five yards and frequently setting his receivers up to get pummeled by the defense.
His second drive featured much better results. Cumbie deftly connected with receivers on short slants and screens to fullback Lonnie Ford, setting up Ford's one-yard touchdown run that knotted the score at 14.
Cumbie appeared to get more and more poised as the game progressed. And the rest of the Avengers started to follow suit after Los Angeles fell down, 35-21.
Then after Utah scored two unanswered touchdowns -- sandwiched around an unexpected onside kick the Blaze recovered -- Cumbie and the Avengers marched down the field, pulling within seven when Hopkins reeled in a fourth-down pass, bounced hard off the wall and fell into the end zone.
Cumbie could not throw an accurate deep ball during the first half -- until he hit Hopkins on a 31-yard touchdown with 48 second left before halftime, drawing the Avengers to within seven, 35-28.
The first half was a booming success for Los Angeles, which was on its third quarterback in three games.
On the Avengers first possession after the break, Cumbie tossed a perfect pass to Ingram for a nine-yard touchdown, completing a five-plus-minute drive and evening the score at 35.
The Los Angeles defense then came up with a huge interception, and Cumbie lofted another beautiful pass to Ingram for a 12-yard score. Cumbie jumped around, high-fiving teammates as the crowd joined in celebration of the Avengers' 21 unanswered points.
But Utah finally responded, tying the game at 42 on a methodical four-play drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown to Ryan Dennard.
Cumbie again showed unbelievable composure when he threw an eight-yard touchdown-scoring pass to Locke, giving the Avengers a 49-42 advantage, their first lead since early in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Remy Hamilton dribbled a softly hit onside kick, which pinballed around before the Avengers recovered, exemplifying the momentum shift even more.
Cumbie and Locke connected again for a touchdown four plays later. The Avengers had outscored the Blaze, 35-7, since 2:33 was remaining in the first half, and the team and crowd's enthusiasm was palpable in the suddenly raucous STAPLES Center.
"I started out pretty slow but once I got the jitters out, we played pretty well," Cumbie said. "I got great guys around me. They're veteran guys that make my job a lot easier."
The Blaze continued to fight back, eventually coming out on top after the teams combined for 21 points in the final minute and 50 points in the fourth quarter.
For much of the game, the Avenger defense again played like a porous unit, as pressure on Germaine was mostly nonexistent. The lack of a pass rush allowed his receivers to find massive gaps in the Los Angeles defense and give Utah long and easy completions.
Offensive specialist Siaha Burley (a former Avenger) led the Blaze with 13 receptions for 173 yards and three scores.
Cumbie, a former walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech who became the starter in his senior season in 2004, was the third-string signalcaller less than two weeks ago. The team waived Ryan Van Dyke on Feb. 14 and Brian Mann struggled in a 65-46 loss to Chicago on Feb. 18.


UTAH (2-3) 21 14 7 26 -- 68
LOS ANGELES (1-4) 14 14 14 24 -- 66

THIS SEASON THE AVENGERS ARE ...
- 1-2 at STAPLES Center
- 0-2 on the road
- 0-1 when they score more than 50 points
- 0-1 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
- 1-1 when they score first
- 0-1 when they commit fewer turnovers
- 0-3 when they commit more turnovers
- 1-3 whey they make at least one interception
- 0-3 when a player scores three or more touchdowns
- 1-0 when Josh Jeffries scores at least one rushing TD
- 0-2 when they throw for at least 5 touchdowns
- 1-4 when they pass for 200+ yards
- 0-1 when they pass for 300+ yards
- 0-1 when they don't throw an INT
- 0-3 when Kevin Ingram scores two or more TDs
- 1-3 when Kevin Ingram catches 6 or more passes
- 1-1 when Kevin Ingram intercepts at least one pass
- 0-2 when Greg Hopkins scores two or more TDs
- 0-2 when Greg Hopkins catches six or more passes
- 1-1 when Remy Hamilton scores at least 12 points
- 0-3 when they commit fewer penalties
- 1-2 when they record at least one sack
- 1-0 when they pitch a shutout in a quarter
- 0-1 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points
- 0-0 when leading at halftime
- 1-4 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
3 @Grand Rapids WR/DB Timon Marshall (G.R.)4 catches, 2 TDs, 4.5 tackles
4 Chicago WR/DB Dennison Robinson (Chi.)4 catches, 5 tackles, 1 INT
5 Utah WR/LB Greg Hopkins (L.A.)7 catches, 4.5 tackles, 4 TDs

"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
3 @Grand Rapids DS Johnnie Harris (G.R.)10 tackles, 1 interception
4 Chicago DS Jeremy Unertl (Chicago)5.5 tackles, 1 INT return for TD
5 Utah DS Ricky Sharpe (L.A.)7.5 tackles, 1 interception

"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
3 @Grand Rapids QB Chad Salisbury (G.R.)16-of-27, 177 yards, 6 TDs
4 Chicago QB Matt D'Orazio (Chicago)20-of-26, 251 yards, 3 TDs
5 Utah QB Sonny Cumbie (L.A.)29-of-43, 266 yards 7 TDs

BROADCAST INFORMATION: For the remainder of the season, Avenger games are scheduled to be televised on KNBC three times, FSN West 2 three times (one delayed) and OLN once. AM 570 is the flagship radio station for the Avengers, however due to conflicts, three games will be broadcast on 1150-AM. Seven more Avenger games also will be aired on Spanish language radio -- four on ESPN Deportes (1330-AM) and three on 1220-KWKU. Additional television broadcasts could be announced soon. Also, information regarding high-definition television coverage via INHD and broadcasts via SIRIUS Satellite Radio are forthcoming.

Sunday, March 5, at Orlando, 9 a.m.
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: AM 570

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: OLN Radio: AM 570, 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: AM 570

Saturday, April 15, at Utah, 6 p.m.
Radio: AM 570

Saturday, April 22, NEW YORK, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FSNW2 Radio: AM 570, 1220-KWKU

Saturday, April 29, SAN JOSE, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: AM 570, 1220-KWKU

Saturday, May 6, NASHVILLE, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: AM 570, 1220-KWKU

Saturday, May 13, LAS VEGAS, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: AM 570, 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 complement 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 28, 2006


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