Los Angeles Avengers game notes
Game: San Jose SaberCats at Los Angeles Avengers
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2006
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Site: STAPLES Center (17,942)
Radio: AM 570 (Isaac Lowenkron, Troy West -- pregame show at 7 p.m.)
Spanish Radio: KWKU 1220-AM (Edu Villmar, Mario Amaya)
Internet Broadcast: www.arenafootball.com (AFL Net)
Internet Radio: www.xtrasportsradio.com
Line: San Jose by 6 (over/under 113)
Series Record: San Jose leads 8-5
Last Meeting: Los Angeles 75, San Jose 61 - March 12, 2006, HP Pavilion
Officials: Bill LeMonnier (R), Mike Delaney (U), Bill Ward (HL), Paul Engelberts (LJ), Billy Beckett (BJ)
Los Angeles -- Ed Hodgkiss (fifth season, 41-34)
San Jose -- Darren Arbet (eighth season, 80-37)
THE AVENGERS: Los Angeles continues its season-ending homestand when it hosts the San Jose SaberCats at STAPLES Center on Saturday, April 29. The Avengers are in the midst of their second five-game losing streak this season. The last time they had lost five in a row, the Avenger broke out of their skid with a 75-61 victory at San Jose on March 12. L.A. followed that victory up by defeating the defending ArenaBowl champion Colorado Crush, 60-57, at STAPLES Center on March 19, but have not won since. Last Sunday, the Avengers lost another heartbreaker as the New York Dragons scored the winning touchdown with just three seconds remaining (and then got a safety as the Avengers went for the Hail Mary on the last play of the game). Despite its 3-10 record, Los Angeles is still mathematically alive in its attempt to qualify for its fifth consecutive trip to the AFL Playoffs. Veteran WR/DB Kevin Ingram, the 2005 AFL "Ironman of the Year," is a leading candidate to repeat. He leads the team in receptions (92), receiving yards (1,143), touchdowns (31) and interceptions (five). The Avenger offense has received a significant boost from rookie quarterback Sonny Cumbie, who has started L.A.'s last nine games and has already thrown 48 TD passes (and only five INTs). On the season, Cumbie is 209-of-359 (58.2 percent) for 2,534 yards, and his passer rating of 107.6 ranks him at No. 8 in the AFL (minimum 300 attempts). QB Brian Mann, who started three of the first four games for the Avengers this season, is now the backup and is contributing significantly on special teams, having made 13 tackles on kickoff coverage in recent weeks. Offensive specialist Tony Locke, who opened the season on injured reserve, has caught 69 passes for 1,026 yards and 16 scores. Remy Hamilton, who set several league records last season, has remained in a groove, hitting 23 of his 30 field goal attempts (76.7 percent) this year. Last year, the Avengers won the Western Division title and 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 was named to the AFL's prestigious "20 Greatest Players" list prior to the season. He is in his 11th season in the league and one of only five players in AFL history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards in a career (10,105). Hopkins also is currently running for office in Pennsylvania (State Representative - 50th District).
4 WR/DB Kevin Ingram on pace to repeat as "Ironman"
... see Ingram notes on Page 2
4 QB Sonny Cumbie having "Rookie of the Year" season
... see Cumbie notes on Page 3
4 Right foot of Remy Hamilton still red hot
... see Hamilton notes on Page 5
LOS ANGELES AVENGERS
2006 SCHEDULE (3-10)
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
Mar. 5 @ Orlando Loss 59-34
Mar. 12 @ San Jose Win 75-61
Mar. 19 Colorado Win 60-57
Mar. 24 @ Arizona Loss 58-45
April 2 @ Las Vegas Loss 63-49
April 9 @ Kansas City Loss 62-45
April 15 @ Utah Loss 63-61
April 23 New York Loss 70-61
Rest of season Opponent Time(PT) Television
April 29 San Jose 7:30 AFL Net
May 6 Nashville 7:30
May 13 Las Vegas 7:30 AFL Net
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.
SERIES INFO: The SaberCats lead the series between the AFL's only California teams, 8-5. Three of L.A.'s five victories have come at STAPLES Center (47-44 in 2001, 73-72 in 2003, and 71-69 in 2005). The Avengers finally broke though versus San Jose on the road last season, winning for the first time at the HP Pavilion, 54-42, on May 7, 2005, and then made it two in a row up north, beating the SaberCats, 75-61, last month. Last season's season sweep by the Avengers represents only the fifth time in the SaberCats' 12-year history that the have been swept by a team ... more importantly, however, it paved the way for L.A. to capture its first Western Division title.
TURNOVER MARGIN TAKES A TURN: The Avengers are currently "zero/even" in turnover margin (tied for 10th in the AFL). That's a far cry from where Los Angeles 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. The Avengers turned over the ball only 20 times (fewest in the AFL). 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 20 takeaways (12 INTs and eight fumble recoveries). Last season at this time, Los Angeles had 32 takeaways (19 INTs and 13 fumble recoveries), owned a turnover margin of +18 and was 8-5.
INCUMBANT IRONMAN: Avenger WR/DB Kevin Ingram, the 2005 AFL "Ironman of the Year" and a two-time All-Arena selection, is having another stellar campaign and is a strong candidate to repeat. Last season, he led L.A. with 88 receptions, accounted for 1,052 receiving yards and scored 24 touchdowns. Defensively, Ingram had a team-high six interceptions (and also made 68 tackles). In addition, he led the team in kickoff returns and averaged 104.1 all-purpose yards per game. This season, Ingram has already surpassed most of those statistics and has three games remaining. He currently has 92 catches, 1,143 receiving yards, 31 TDs, five INTs and is averaging 119.1 all-purpose yards per game. At this pace, Ingram will finish the 2006 season with 113 receptions, 1,407 receiving yards, 38 TDs, and six INTs, which would all be career highs.
Kevin Ingram -Ironman Comparison
2006 92 catches, 1,143 receiving yards, 31 TDsFive INTs, averaging 119.1 all-purpose yardsAFTER JUST 13 GAMES
2005 88 catches, 1,052 receiving yards, 24 TDsSix INTs, averaged 104.1 all-purpose yardsIN 16 GAMES- AFL "Ironman of the Year"- First Team All-Arena selection
2004 67 catches, 848 receiving yards, 23 TDsFour INTs, averaged 116.9 all-purpose yardsIN 16 GAMES- First Team All-Arena selection
MR. 10,000: On April 2, in a game at Las Vegas, Avenger WR/LB Greg Hopkins became only the fifth player in AFL history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards in a career. And earlier this month in Kansas City, he caught eight passes for 50 yards and one touchdown to move into the No. 4 spot on the AFL's all-time receiving yards chart. Hopkins needs 143 more yards to move past Gary Compton and into the No. 3 position.
All-Time AFL Leaders -Receiving Yards
1. Barry Wagner (San Jose) 13,247
2. Eddie Brown (1994-2003) 12,730
3. Gary Compton (1992-2004) 10,247
4. Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles) 10,105
5. Cory Fleming (Nashville) 10,093
6. George LaFrance (1988-2000) 9,004
7. Calvin Schexnayder (San Jose) 8,812
100-YARD RUSHER: Avenger FB/LB Lonnie Ford currently ranks at No. 5 in the AFL in rushing. He has gained 125 yards and scored eight touchdowns on only 31 carries this season. His per carry average of 4.0 yards is the best in the league among players with 25 or more carries. Ford, the team's all-time leading rusher, is also the only Avenger to record two 100-yard seasons.
Avenger Record Book -Rushing Yards in a Season
1. Chad Dukes (2002) 223
2. Lonnie Ford (2005) 193
3. Mathias Vavao (2003) 126
4. Lonnie Ford (2006 - 3 games left) 125
5. Ed Smith (2001) 113
NEW ARENA QB RATING: The debate has gone on for years in the AFL -- "Does the statistical passer rating formula used for the outdoor/stadium-played game really translate to AFL quarterbacks?" Since scoring touchdowns, not turning the ball over and completion percentage dictates whether you win or lose in the AFL, stats guru Tom Goodhines decided to come up with a new formula that puts more weight on "TD-INT ratio" and completion percentage, with no emphasis on yardage.
ARENA QB RATING FORMULA: Multiply "TD percentage" (TD passes divided by TD passes + INT) by two and add the completion percentage and divide it all by three.
Avenger rookie quarterback Sonny Cumbie ranks at No. 5, mainly due to the strength of his "TD-INT ratio" of 48-5 (90.6 percent).
Arena Football Quarterback Rating
Rating Comp.Pct. TD INT
1. C. Dolezel (Dallas) 84.3 65.9 85 6
2. M. Nagy (Georgia) 83.6 71.5 69 8
3. M. D'Orazio (Chi.) 83.4 68.4 50 5
4. M. Grieb (San Jose) 79.9 65.5 68 10
5. S. Cumbie (L.A.) * 79.8 58.2 48 5
6. S. Stafford (T.B.) 77.8 62.7 70 12
7. J. Dutton (Colo.) 77.4 62.0 74 13
Minimum of 300 attempts* AFL rookie
THIS ANTOINE REALLY BURNS: Although he has been the Avengers' primary kickoff returner for just the past seven games, rookie WR/LB Antoine Burns has already made a big impact, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. In the victory at San Jose on March 12, he exploded for a 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (the longest scoring play in Avenger history). Last month at Arizona, Burns torched the Rattlers with a 53-yarder for a score on his way to piling up 162 yards on eight returns (No. 3 on L.A.'s all-time single game chart). Only two players in the AFL have more kickoff returns for touchdowns this season than Burns, who has a total of 863 yards on 44 returns (average of 19.6).
Avenger Record Book -Kickoff Return Yards in a Single Game
1. Anthony Rice (vs. San Jose, 2000) 181
2. Kevin Ingram (vs. Chicago, 2006) 168
3. Antoine Burns (at Arizona, 2006) * 162
4. Chad Dukes (vs. Arizona, 2002) 160
5. Henry Douglas (vs. Austin, 2004) * 149
6. Antoine Burns (at Utah, 2006) * 145
7. Antoine Burns (at K.C., 2006) * 141
8. Antoine Burns (vs. N.Y., 2006) * 138
9. Mark Ricks (at Nashville, 2001) 138
10. Kevin Ingram (at San Jose, 2004) 128
* AFL rookie season
Avenger Record Book -Kickoff Returns for Touchdowns in a Season
1t. Antoine Burns (2006) * 2
1t. Henry Douglas (2004) * 2
1t. Chad Dukes (2002) 2
* AFL rookie season
THE TEXAS GUNSLINGER: Rookie QB Sonny Cumbie, a strong candidate for AFL "Rookie of the Year" honors, has started L.A.'s last nine games and is 209-of-359 (58.2 percent) for 2,534 yards and 48 touchdowns, with only five interceptions (tied for fewest in the AFL). His current passer rating of 107.6 ranks him at No. 8 in the AFL (minimum 300 attempts), putting him ahead of veterans such as Arizona's Sherdrick Bonner (107.5), Philadelphia's Tony Graziani (99.8), Columbus' John Kaleo (92.2) and Utah's Andy Kelly (90.4), and all rookies. Furthermore, Cumbie's interception percentage of 1.4 is second best in the league. On March 12, he was 23-of-34 for 348 yards and six TDs in L.A.'s 75-61 victory at San Jose. Those 348 passing yards rank fifth on the all-time Avenger chart. Cumbie threw 17 TD passes in his first three starts, the most by any QB in Avenger history, beating the previous mark set by Tony Graziani, who was in his second AFL season when he tossed 16 in his first three starts for the Avengers. In his starting debut on Feb. 25, Cumbie completed 29 passes (second most in Avenger history), seven of which went for scores (first among all QBs making their first start for the Avengers).
Avenger Record Book -Passing Yards in a Single Game
1. Todd Marinovich (at Houston, 2000) * 469
2. Tony Graziani (vs. Detroit, 2004) 359
3. Tony Graziani (at New York, 2003) 355
4. Tony Graziani (at Georgia, 2002) 352
5. Sonny Cumbie (at San Jose, 2006) * 348
6. Tony Graziani (vs. San Jose, 2003) 345
7. Sonny Cumbie (at Utah, 2006) * 337
8. Tony Graziani (vs. Austin, 2004) 332
9. S. Semptimphelter (vs. Carolina, 2000) 331
10t. Tony Graziani (at Arizona, 2002) 329
10t. Tony Graziani (vs. Arizona, 2003) 329
* AFL rookie season
INTERCEPTION-FREE STREAK: Avenger quarterback Sonny Cumbie had his interception-less streak snapped in Sunday's loss to New York, but not before he broke Tony Graziani's team record. Cumbie's streak of 212 attempts without an interception came to an end in the third quarter of the game against the Dragons. Prior to that, the last time he was picked off was on his first attempt against Colorado on March 19 (a 60-57 Avenger win over the defending ArenaBowl champions). In between INTs, Cumbie tossed 28 touchdown passes. He has not been intercepted in six of the nine games he has started this season, including all of the games on L.A.'s recent four-game road swing. Graziani set the Avenger record for attempts without an interception at 210 in 2004 (he also had a string of 185 passes without a pick in 2003). Raymond Philyaw set the all-time AFL record of 247 in 2003 while with the Indiana Firebirds.
Avenger Record Book -Pass Attempts without an Interception
1. Sonny Cumbie, 2006 (span of 6 games) * 212
2. Tony Graziani, 2004 (span of 7 games) 210
3. Tony Graziani, 2003 (span of 7 games) 185
* AFL rookie season
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 what was then a tie with Orlando defensive specialist Kenny "The Glove" McEntyre at the top of the AFL's career chart (in Orlando's 53-13 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday, McEntyre tied Hopkins at the top of the list by returning an INT three yards for the final score of the game). 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 -Interception Returns for TDs (regular season)
Greg Hopkins (Los Angeles Avengers) 10
Kenny McEntyre (Orlando Predators) 10
Darryl Hammond (Nashville Kats) 9
Mark Ricks (1996-2004) 7
Hunkie Cooper (1993-2005) 7
QUICK-STRIKE OFFENSE: In a flashback to the past, the Avenger offense was in quick-strike mode during its two-game winning streak last month over the past two ArenaBowl champions (San Jose and Colorado), scoring 13 of its 17 touchdowns on "drives" of three plays or less (7-of-10 at San Jose and 6-of-7 vs. Colorado). Ninety-three of L.A.'s 197 offensive touchdowns dating back to last season have been of the quick-strike variety. In fact, 24 of them were on one-play "drives." Over the course of the last three seasons, 231-of-438 Avenger TDs were of the quick-strike variety (69 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 85 38 (45 %) 13
Total 438 231 (53 %) 69
UNLIKELY TACKLERS: Among their other duties, kicker Remy Hamilton and backup QB Brian Mann have been busy making tackles on kickoff coverage this season. Hamilton, who leads the AFL in scoring by kickers with 142 points, also ranks at No. 10 in the league in special-teams tackles with 11.5. Mann, who started three of the first four games of the season at quarterback, has made 13 special-teams tackles in eight games of action on the kickoff coverage unit (No. 6 in the AFL).
SECRET IS SCORING 60: Dating back to 2004, the Avengers are 11-4 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, in both games this season against Utah and last week versus New York). 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 seven of its 10 losses this year.
A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN SIX SECONDS: In the final six seconds of the first half of game at Utah in Week 12, Avenger WR/DB Kevin Ingram displayed what it really means to be an "Ironman." With the Blaze already leading, 35-27, and driving deep into Avenger territory once again, Ingram intercepted an Andy Kelly pass with six seconds remaining until halftime. On L.A.'s ensuing possession, Ingram caught a seven-yard pass from Sonny Cumbie and quickly got out of bounds, giving the Avengers a second-and-three play from their own 11-yard line with 1.7 seconds left. Then, Cumbie threw a "Hail Mary" pass off the rebound net system and into Ingram's arms for a touchdown as time expired in the first half. His work not yet done, Ingram then successfully fielded a bad snap and expertly got the football set for Remy Hamilton's extra point kick, which brought the Avengers to within a point at the break ... when just moments before, it seemed as if they were about to go down by two touchdowns.
THIS LOCKE IS ALSO A 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 has returned to the starting lineup to catch 69 passes for 1,026 yards for 16 touchdowns in the past 11 games. Last month, in the 75-61 victory at San Jose, Locke caught seven passes for a game-high 168 yards (ranking him at No. 9 on the Avenger all-time single game chart) and three touchdowns. 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.
THE SACK STORM OF 2005: Never before in the history of the AFL had there been a defensive performance by a lineman like the one Silas Demary gave last season, which earned him the league's "Defensive Player of the Year" and "Lineman of the Year" awards. As Week 10 began, he had only one sack, but ended up breaking the oldest and most elusive record in the game. Craig Walls of the Pittsburgh Gladiators established the record with 13 sacks in 1987. Demary played in 15 games for the Avengers in 2005, but he recorded 12.5 of his sacks in the last seven regular-season games. Demary also set a single-game Avenger record with four sacks versus New York on April 10 (three in the first quarter alone).
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
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.
37.5 PERCENT TROJAN: Before DS Antuan Simmons was placed on the injured reserve list on April 14, L.A.'s starting defensive unit often included OL/DL Bernard Riley and FB/LB Lonnie Ford, alongside Simmons. All three of those defenders played at the University of Southern California and were all members of the same Trojan teams from 1999 to 2001. (The Avenger roster also includes another USC Trojan, OS-WR/DB Kareem Kelly, who was recently activated off injured reserve.)
TOP BOSSES: Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss is ranked ninth on the AFL's all-time winning percentage chart (regular season only, minimum 65 games).
All-Time AFL Top Winning Percentages
Head Coaches Record Winning %
1. Perry Moss 75-28-1 .726
2. Tim Marcum * 155-65 .705
3. Darren Arbet * 80-37 .684
4. Danny White * 126-63 .667
5. Jay Gruden * 63-38 .624
6. Mike Dailey * 88-58 .603
7. Pat Sperduto * 40-30-1 .570
8. John Gregory 67-51 .568
9. Ed Hodgkiss * 41-34 .547
10. Todd Shell 53-45 .541
* Active coaches
THE DRIVE FOR FIVE: Head coach Ed Hodgkiss has led the Avengers to a winning season and playoff appearance in each of his four previous seasons at the helm. He is one of only three coaches in AFL history to post winning records in each of their first four seasons as an AFL head coach (Tampa Bay's Tim Marcum and Orlando's Jay Gruden are the other two).
Arena Football League Record Book -Most Winning Season to Begin an AFL Career
1. Tim Marcum (three teams, 1997-2001) 13
2. Jay Gruden (Orlando, 1998-present) * 6
3. Ed Hodgkiss (L.A., 2002-present) * 4
4. Three coaches tied 3
* Active streak
SIX ARE ROOKIES: Six of the 20 players on L.A.'s current active roster are rookies. They are quarterback Sonny Cumbie, OS Kareem Kelly, WR/LB Antoine Burns, FB/LB Lavell Mann, and linemen Reggie Rhodes and Trevor Hutton. Of the 31 players that have seen action for Los Angeles this season, 10 are rookies. Last season, 17 of the 34 players who suited up for the Avengers experienced their first taste of AFL action in 2005 (including five players that are still with the club -- Richard Seals, Bernard Riley, Antuan Simmons, Michale Spicer and Rob Turner).
KICKING UP A STORM: Avenger kicker Remy Hamilton is having another standout season. Displaying stunning accuracy and consistency, he is 23-of-30 (.767) on his field goal attempts in 2006. Hamilton is a near-perfect 22-of-23 on three-pointers inside of 38 yards. He was a perfect 4-for-4 in the season opening victory over Arizona and duplicated the feat last month in the 60-57 win over Colorado. Hamilton has also connected on 73 of his 79 extra point attempts this season. He currently leads all AFL kickers in scoring with 142 points (his closest competitor is 27 points behind). At this time last season, Hamilton was 28-of-35 (.800) on field goals. He went on to lead the AFL in field goals (29), field-goal percentage (.744) and kicking points (185) in 2005. Hamilton opened last year's campaign by hitting his first 11 three-pointers and dating back to the end of the 2004 season, he 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. Last season, he was 6-of-12 from beyond 40 yards (41, 41, 43, 43, 48, 50) and half of his 10 misses were from 47, 48, 50, 53 and 56 yards out.
ANOTHER RECORD SETTING SEASON?: Last season, Remy Hamilton set a new AFL record for field goal percentage in a single season. In 2004, Jay Taylor of Orlando 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 AFL history 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 (32, Daron Alcorn, 1999, Portland). Two weeks ago at Utah, Hamilton scored a total of 13 points to move past Mike Black into the No. 2 spot on the AFL's all-time scoring by kickers chart. He is also one of only three players in league history to boot over 125 field goals. Hamilton's current field goal percentage is .767 (23-of-30) and he is on pace to kick 28.3 three-pointers.
All-Time AFL Leaders -Scoring By Kickers
1. Steve Videtich (Utah) 1,348
2. Remy Hamilton (Los Angeles) 1,265
3. Mike Black (1993-2004) 1,253
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) 156
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
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS:
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Arizona 7 6 0 .538 618 615
San Jose 7 6 0 .538 716 710
Las Vegas 5 8 0 .385 662 713
Utah 5 8 0 .385 705 714
Los Angeles 3 10 0 .231 656 770
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
p - Colorado 9 4 0 .692 713 683
Nashville 7 6 0 .538 642 615
Chicago 5 8 0 .385 651 684
Grand Rapids 4 9 0 .308 576 694
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
p - Dallas 11 2 0 .846 745 575
New York 8 5 0 .615 698 712
Philadelphia 7 6 0 .538 611 593
Columbus 6 7 0 .462 586 568
W L T Pct. Pts. OP
Orlando 9 4 0 .692 656 576
Austin 8 5 0 .615 659 636
Georgia 7 6 0 .538 724 611
Tampa Bay 6 7 0 .462 654 703
Kansas City 3 10 0 .231 566 666
p - clinched playoff berth
RARE SLIDES: Until L.A.'s five-game losing streak earlier this season, the Avengers had never lost more than two consecutive games in the "Ed Hodgkiss Era." And now the Avengers are currently on another five-game skid.
SLOW STARTERS: Continuing a trend that began last season, the Avengers have been getting off to slow starts in 2006. Through 13 games this season, Los Angeles has scored just 98 points in the first quarter (average of 7.5), while opponents have countered with 178 points. The Avengers pick things up in the second quarter, scoring a total of 224 points (34 points in the victory at San Jose on March 12), but that still trails the opposition (229 points). Things are much tighter in the third and fourth quarters, where the Avengers are being outscored 161-153 and 202-181, respectively. 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 DO GET AHEAD: The Avengers have held the lead at halftime in only 10 of their last 28 games and went on to win seven of those games.
... AND AFTER THREE QUARTERS: The Avengers are 42-13 all-time when leading or tied after three quarters.
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.
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
AFL WEEK 14 SCHEDULE (all times Pacific):
Friday, April 28
Arizona @ Dallas - 5:30 p.m. (SIRIUS Channel 110)
Saturday, April 29
Chicago @ Georgia - 4 p.m. (CSN West, INHD)
Philadelphia @ New York - 4:30 p.m. (OLN, SIRIUS Channel 110)
Kansas City @ Tampa Bay - 4:30 p.m. (AFL Net)
Nashville @ Grand Rapids - 5 p.m.
Columbus @ Austin - 5 p.m. (AFL Net)
San Jose @ Los Angeles - 7:30 p.m. (AFL Net)
Utah @ Las Vegas - 7:30 p.m. (AFL Net)
Sunday, April 30
Orlando @ Colorado - 3 p.m. (FSN Rocky Mountain)
WEEKLY AFL SHOWS:
Monday, May 1
"AFL Weekly" on FSN West - 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 2
"This Week in the AFL" on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (Channel 110) - 5 p.m.
(replay at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night on Channel 123)
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.
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, 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."
RECENT AVENGER TRANSACTIONS:
Date Action Player
4/22 Activated from injured reserve OS-WR/DB Kareem KellyOL/DL Richard SealsOL/DL Maurice Anderson
4/22 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB-DE Michale SpicerOL/DL Jason StewartWR/DB Lenzie Jackson
4/20 Signed to practice squad WR/DB Robert Quiroga
4/14 Activated from injured reserve WR/DB Lenzie JacksonFB/LB-DE Michale Spicer
4/14 Placed on injured reserve DS Antuan SimmonsOL/DL Victor Leyva
4/8 Activated from injured reserve OL/DL Reggie RhodesFB/LB Lavell Mann
4/8 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB Jemelle CageOL/DL Richard Seals
4/4 Activated from refused to report WR/DB Brian Sump
4/4 Waived WR/DB Brian Sump
4/1 Activated off injured reserve OL/DL Jason StewartOL/DL Victor Leyva
4/1 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB-DE Michale SpicerWR/DB Lenzie Jackson
3/23 Activated off injured reserve DS Anthony Derricks
3/23 Placed on injured reserve OL/DL Maurice Anderson
3/18 Activated off injured reserve OL/DL Maurice Anderson
3/18 Placed on injured reserve OL/DL Victor Leyva
3/16 Activated off injured reserve OL/DL Charles Howard
3/16 Waived OL/DL Charles Howard
3/11 Activated off injured reserve FB/LB-DE Michale Spicer
3/11 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB Lavell Mann
3/4 Activated off injured reserve DS Antuan SimmonsWR/LB Antoine Burns
3/4 Placed on injured reserve QB Kevin ThompsonDS Ricky Sharpe
3/2 Signed QB Kevin Thompson
3/2 Placed on injured reserve OL/DL Maurice Anderson
3/1 Signed FB/LB Lavell MannOL/DL Maurice AndersonOL/DL Victor Leyva
2/28 Placed on injured reserve FB/LB Josh Jeffries
DRAGONS DOWN AVENGERS, 70-61
By Michael Ordoña
The Avengers dropped yet another thriller, this time to the New York Dragons, 70-61, at STAPLES Center. The hard-hitting, intense game devolved into a bizarre festival of turnovers, near-turnovers, missed kicks and questionable calls by officials before Los Angeles' fate was sealed on the final play.
While some of the calls left the crowd of 9,852 bewildered and booing, the Avengers have no one to blame but themselves for putting their playoff hopes on the brink of doom. The two teams combined for seven turnovers, including L.A. quarterback Sonny Cumbie's first interceptions in 212 attempts, a team record for consecutive passes without a pick.
The first half was a mishmash of big plays and big mistakes by both teams. The Dragons moved smartly down the field with a series of quick passes on their first possession, but on a completion to star receiver Mike Horacek at the Avengers' 4, L.A.'s Damen Wheeler punched the ball out and pounced on the fumble - the first of two the defensive specialist caused on a night when he doled out a month's worth of punishment to opposing ball-carriers. The Avengers' ensuing drive culminated with a surprise draw to FB/LB Lonnie Ford, who busted through several attempted tackles for a 17-yard score.
After New York responded with a wide-open Horacek touchdown, L.A.'s emerging all-purpose weapon Antoine Burns broke three tackles on his way to a 52-yard return to the Dragons' 4. But on the next play, WR/LB Greg Hopkins fumbled on a sweep and New York lineman Andrew Tippins returned the ball 48 yards for the score, giving New York its first lead at 13-7 (Dragon kicker Jesse Obert missed two extra point attempts in the game).
The teams traded touchdowns, including a great twisting catch by Los Angeles offensive specialist Tony Locke on a ball thrown over the wrong shoulder. Midway through the second quarter, the Avengers registered their first sack since Week 5 when OL/DL Reggie Rhodes forced New York quarterback Nick Browder to cough it up in the end zone. Rhodes fell on the ball for the score, giving L.A. the lead - and the momentum - again, 24-20.
"I'll tell you what, the offensive line played great," said Cumbie, upright for almost the entire game, "and the defensive line got a lot of pressure."
One apparently blown coverage later, Dragons receiver Chris Anthony sprinted untouched into the endzone for a 27-24 New York lead. Cumbie then threw a perfect rainbow over a defender to WR/DB Kevin Ingram for a 32-yard touchdown to make it 31-27, Avengers. Then, as the Avengers have made a habit of doing in recent weeks, they got a turnover to end the half when Hopkins tipped a Browder pass and Ford came down with it as time expired in the second period.
With the lead and the possession advantage to start the second half, Cumbie promptly ended his team-record streak of pass attempts without an interception by short-arming a deep lollypop to Dragon defensive back Deshane Dennis, who took it all the way back for a 41-yard score, 34-31 New York.
Ford punched in his second touchdown on the ensuing drive and Wheeler's second forced fumble set the Avengers up to take control of the game - but Remy Hamilton, on pace to repeat as "Kicker of the Year" with a big lead in overall scoring among his AFL counterparts, missed from 30 yards.
The Avengers couldn't hold their 38-34 lead, though, as the scoring came fast and furious except for one Los Angeles drive stopped on downs. Still, Ingram had another spectacular game (seven catches, 136 yards, three scores, a number of fine defensive plays), and Avenger head coach Ed Hodgkiss boldly called for two two-point conversions, both of which succeeded, to pull the teams even in the fourth quarter.
In the key sequence of the contest, after the officials made a confusing call nullifying the Avengers' first two-point attempt (they called two personal fouls on the Dragons' defenders but said they were offset by Locke running into an official - on a broken, schoolyard play on which all three receivers were scrambling for open turf; L.A. converted anyway on its next try), L.A. tried an onside kick that Burns caught on the fly and took in a blur 40 yards for the back-breaking touchdown ... until the zebras called it back, saying he had caught it short of the 10-yard line. Replays were inconclusive, but the sequence brought out the boo birds in force.
Still, Los Angeles had an excellent chance to win it when New York's Obert missed what should have been the go-ahead field goal from 24 yards with only 40 seconds left and the score tied. But on the first play of the Avengers' drive, Cumbie went deep for the streaking Locke, only to have the Dragons' Dahnel Singfield make a stunning, lay-out interception.
The Dragons had the ball on their 1-yard line with less than a minute remaining. If the Avengers could muster one more sack, just their sixth of the year, it would be a game-sealing safety. New York even obliged with a series of offensive penalties, but was still somehow able to move down the field, chewing clock. Browder managed to find Horacek in the end zone just past Wheeler's outstretched hands for the 68-61 lead with only three seconds remaining.
On the game's final play, New York lineman Stacy Evans broke through and wrestled a scrambling Cumbie down in the end zone for the Dragons' only sack of the night - a safety, 70-61, New York.
"The last play of the game, you really can't fault [the line] for that," said Hodgkiss. "On a Hail Mary, you've got to buy a lot of time to throw the ball 50 yards. But the line played well; the difference in the game was the turnovers. We don't do just one of those and we kick a field goal, we win the game. You just can't turn the ball over in Arena Football."
Acknowledging that this game, like so many other recent Avengers contests, could have gone either way right up to the end, Hodgkiss said, "In the past, we won those games consistently. This year, we're not. We're good enough to play with some teams right until the very end, and we've beaten some good teams, but we just haven't figured out how to get over that hump. I wish we'd figured it out earlier in the season, but it kind of snowballed."
NEW YORK (8-5) 13 14 13 30 -- 70
LOS ANGELES (3-10) 7 24 7 23 -- 61
THIS SEASON THE AVENGERS ARE ...
- 2-3 at STAPLES Center
- 1-7 on the road
- 2-3 when they score more than 50 points
- 2-3 when they score 60 or more points
- 1-0 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
- 3-2 when they score first
- 2-4 when they commit fewer turnovers
- 0-5 when they commit more turnovers
- 2-8 whey they make at least one interception
- 1-6 when a player scores three or more touchdowns
- 1-6 when they throw for at least 5 touchdowns
- 3-10 when they pass for 200+ yards
- 1-2 when they pass for 300+ yards
- 1-5 when they don't throw an INT
- 2-9 when Kevin Ingram scores two or more TDs
- 3-8 when Kevin Ingram catches 6 or more passes
- 1-4 when Greg Hopkins catches six or more passes
- 3-2 when Remy Hamilton scores at least 12 points
- 1-6 when they commit fewer penalties
- 1-3 when they record at least one sack
- 1-2 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points
- 1-2 when leading at halftime
- 2-8 when trailing 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
6 @ Orlando WR/LB Jerrian James (Orl.)115 all-purpose yds., 1 INT for TD
7 @ San Jose WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)7 rec. for 68 yds., 4 stops, 3 TDs
8 Colo. WR/LB Antoine Burns (L.A.)5 catches, 136 all-purp. yds., 1 FR
9 @ Arizona WR/DB Randy Gatewood (Arizona)7 catches, 112 yards, 3.5 tackles
10 @ Las Vegas WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)6 catches, 2 TDs, INT ret. For TD
11 @ K.C. WR/LB James Jordan (Kansas City)2 catches, 46 yards, 3.5 tackles
12 @ Utah DS Kevin Moffett (Utah)54-yd. KO return for TD, 8 tackles
13 New York WR/DB Kevin Ingram (L.A.)7 rec., 136 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
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
6 @ Orlando OL/DL Henry Taylor (Orl.)Consistent pressure on QB
7 @ San Jose DS Antuan Simmons (L.A.)Game-high 10 tackles (9 solos)
8 Colo. DS Antuan Simmons (L.A.)4.5 stops, 37-yd. INT return for TD
9 @ Arizona DS Joseph Todd (Arizona)7 pass breakups, 6.5 tackles
10 @ Las Vegas OL/DL Steve Konopka (Las Vegas)2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
11 @ K.C. DS Calvin Spears (Kansas City)4 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles
12 @ Utah DS Kelvin Hunter (Utah)3 pass breakups, 6.5 tackles
13 New York DS Damen Wheeler (L.A.)4 stops, 2 FF, 2 pass breakups
"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
6 @ Orlando FB/LB Marlon Moye-Moore (Orl.)16 yards rushing, 1 catch, 2 TDs
7 @ San Jose WR/LB James Roe (San Jose)12 catches, 156 yards, 4 TDs
8 Colo. OS Damian Harrell (Colorado)9 catches, 169 yards, 4 TDs
9 @ Arizona QB Sherdrick Bonner (Arizona)16-of-29, 236 yards, 7 TDs
10 @ Las Vegas WR/LB Coco Blalock (Las Vegas)7 catches for 85 yards, 1 TD
11 @ K.C. WR/LB Aaron Boone (Kansas City)13 catches, 157 yards, 5 TDs
12 @ Utah QB Andy Kelly (Utah)21-of-33, 285 yards, 8 TDs
13 New York QB Nick Browder (New York)29-of-41, 342 yards, 7 TDs
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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from April 26, 2006
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- Preds midweek update - Orlando Predators
- Deion Sanders joins Wranglers ownership group - Austin Wranglers
- New York Dragons game notes - New York Dragons
- Arizona Rattlers game notes - Arizona Rattlers
- Smash Mouth to rock ArenaBowl XX Las Vegas - AFL I
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