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Mahoning Valley Thunder game notes

June 5, 2007 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Mahoning Valley Thunder News Release

QUICK FACTS:

Mahoning Valley Thunder (4-5) at

Green Bay Blizzard (4-4)

Date: Friday, June 8, 2007

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. EST

Site: Resch Center (7,695)

National Anthem: TBA

Coin Toss: TBA

Officials: Referee: Pat Miles

Umpire: Gus Golembiewski

Head Linesman: Rick Kruger

Line Judge: Matt Kukar

Back Judge: Tom Wohlleber

Radio: ESPN 1240 FM; 96.7 FM (Mike Case, Play-by-play and Christian Aleshire, Color Commentary)

Series Record: 0-0, First Meeting between the two teams

Last Meeting: N/A

Streaks: Thunder Won 1; Blizzard Lost 1

Coaches: Mike Hold (31-32 Reg. Season, First year w/Thunder, 5th overall)

Doug Lytle (4-4 First year w/Blizzard)

THE STAKES: The Mahoning Valley Thunder snapped a five-game losing streak last week in Cincinnati, improving to 4-5 on the season. Green Bay traveled to Louisville to face the Fire, dropping a close game, 39-33 on June 2. Thunder Head Coach Mike Hold looks to even his career coaching record at 32-wins with a victory over the Blizzard.

THE SERIES: This week's game pits the Thunder and Blizzard in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The two will clash again on July 28 at the Chevrolet Centre in the season finale. Each team enters the game with four wins on the year, looking to make it a fifth with a victory this Friday. Mahoning Valley is 2-1 versus the American Midwestern division (2-0 versus Cincinnati and 0-1 versus Lousiville).

THE IFs:

If Mahoning Valley defeats Green Bay, it would ...

- Mark the first win in the young history over the Blizzard.

- Improve the Thunder to 5-5.

- Extend the win streak to two straight games.

- Make the Thunder 3-1 over the American Midwestern Division.

- Improve Head Coach Mike Hold's career coaching record to 32-32.

Mahoning Valley (4-5)

Date Opponent Result Record

3/31 TRI CITIES W 48-40 1-0

4/6 @ Albany W 65-59 2-0

4/21 CINCINNATI W 54-20 3-0

4/28 @ Manchester L 49-67 3-1

5/5 LOUISVILLE L 34-52 3-2

5/12 WILKES-BARRE/SCR. L 26-56 3-3

5/19 @ Florida L 26-62 3-4

5/25 MANCHESTER L 40-50 3-5

6/2 @ Cincinnati W 57-20 4-5

6/8 @ Green Bay 8:30 N/A

6/16 QUAD CITY 7:05 N/A

6/30 @ WB/Scranton 7:00 N/A

7/7 @ Louisville 7:00 N/A

7/13 ALBANY 7:05 N/A

7/21 @ Tennessee Valley 8:30 N/A

7/28 GREEN BAY 7:05 N/A

*all times EST

Greeen Bay (4-4)

Date Opponent Result Record

3/31 @ Fort Wayne L 28-36 0-1

4/13 MANCHESTER W 35-32 1-1

4/21 @ Albany L 27-75 1-2

4/27 QUAD CITY W 44-14 2-2

5/4 @ Tennessee Valley L 21-26 2-3

5/11 TRI-CITIES W 29-18 3-3

5/18 CINCINNATI W 48-38 4-3

6/2 @ Louisville L 33-39 4-4

6/8 MAHONING VALLEY 8:30 N/A

6/16 @ Tulsa 8:00 N/A

6/22 FORT WAYNE 8:30 N/A

6/29 @ Quad City 8:30 N/A

7/6 ALBANY 8:30 N/A

7/14 @ Cincinnati 7:30 N/A

7/20 LOUISVILLE 8:30 N/A

7/28 @ Mahoning Valley 7:05 N/A

American Conference East Standings

Team W L PCT Home Road

WB/Scranton 8 0 1.000 4-0 3-0

Mahoning Valley 4 5 .444 2-3 2-2

Manchester 4 5 .444 3-1 1-4

Albany 3 5 .375 2-2 1-3

Mike Hold, Thunder Head Coach Mike Hold enters his first season as the Head Coach of the Mahoning Valley Thunder. He comes to the Thunder after serving as head coach of the Augusta Stallions of af2, head coach of the Macon Knights of af2, head coach of the Carolina Cobras of the AFL and coaching with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the AFL. Hold brings over 20 years of Arena Football experience to the Thunder. He enjoyed a 12-season playing career in the AFL beginning in the League's inaugural season in 1987 with the Chicago Bruisers. Hold participated in training camps with the Denver Broncos in 1986 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987 and 1988. Hold also played in three games with the Bucs during the 1987 season completing 8-of-24 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Hold graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1985 after playing two seasons. He led the Gamecocks to the only 10-win season in school history and was named MVP of the Gator Bowl in 1984. Hold ranks seventh on the school's all-time passing list with 2,981 yards. A native of Tempe, Arizona, Hold worked as a color commentator for the Mountain West Conference, for ESPN's Arena Football League coverage in 2001 and was the play-by-play announcer for the af2's ArenaCup6 Championship Game in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He and his wife, Nicole, reside in Salem, OH with their two dogs, Phoenix and Macy.

The Last Time Out:

CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mahoning Valley Thunder (4-5) were losers of five consecutive games coming into Saturday's contest against the Cincinnati Jungle Kats (1-8). During the losing skid, Mahoning Valley was averaging just 22.5 points per game but on this night, their offense exploded as they defeated the Jungle Kats 57-20 at U.S. Bank Arena. Mahoning Valley signal caller Mike Schneider threw 17 of 19 for 237 yards and 5 scores while Kats QB Aaron Marshall completed 20 of 39 passes for 182 yards and 1 TD in a losing effort. The Thunder dominated the opening quarter, as Mike Schneider tossed 3 TD passes opening frame while Brian Majors, Kenny Johnson, and DeMarcus Mathes hauled in TD grabs, putting Mahoning Valley up 28-7 through one frame. In the second, the tough times continued as the Thunder added another three scores while Cincinnati was only able to muster just one touchdown and trailed 45-14 at the break. Kats wide receiver Hassan Brockman recorded both touchdowns in the first half for Cincinnati, a 55-yard kick return for a touchdown in addition to a 42-yard TD grab. In the third quarter, both teams hit an offensive stalemate with just one exception; with just 2:10 to play in the third, Tim Murphy capped off a 48-yard drive to extend the Thunder lead to 51-14. Through three quarters of play, the Kats had amassed just 97 yards of total offense. Both teams traded possession throughout the fourth quarter, trading touchdowns; Mahoning Valley's Tim Murphy picked up his third rushing TD while Aaron Marshall ran for one of his own to cap off the scoring at 57-20.

TALE OF THE TAPE: Here's how the Thunder and Blizzard stack up:

Statistical BLIZZARD THUNDER

Category Rank Stat Rank Stat

Scoring Offense T27 33.1 T22 44.2

Touchdowns 27 38 T18 58

Total Offense 25 229.8 15 265.9

Scoring Defense 1 34.8 14 47.3

Total Defense 1 203.2 10 251.7

Rushing Offense 17 18.8 4 33.6

Passer Rating 26 80.7 24 84.6

Rushing Defense 3 11.0 15 19.1

Pass Rat. Defense 4 75.9 23 108.5

Pass Offense 26 211.0 19 232.3

Pass Defense 1 192.2 11 232.6

Field Goals 29 .125 26 .167

PAT Kicking 17 .758 21 .741

MFG Returns 1 30.1 19 14.9

Kickoff Returns 22 15.0 30 13.5

Turnover Margin 29 -11 19 -4

First Downs 26 129 8 167

Opp. First Downs 1 123 16 155

Sacks 22 10 8 17

Penalties 5 47.6 12 54.8

Sacks Against 23 18 22 17

Opponent Penalties 13 58.4 5 66.2

LEAGUE TOP 10s: Players from this week's matchup who rank among af2's statistical leaders:

THUNDER

Player Rank Category Stat

Tim Murphy 1 Rushing 28.3 ypg

Anton Ceaser 5 Sacks 7.0

Anton Ceaser T7 Tackles For Loss 8.0

Anton Ceaser T1 Forced Fumbles 4

BLIZZARD

Player Rank Category Stat

Antoni Ficklin T9 Rushing 16.7 ypg

Donnie Amadi T1 Forced Fumbles 4

Ronnie Amadi 2 Passes Defensed 19

THIS WEEK'S QUOTES:

MIKE HOLD, on the win: "Winning is contagious but so is losing. We were on a three-game high early in the year and then a five game skid. We need this victory and now we feel that we can keep the momentum going in Green Bay."

MIKE HOLD, on Green Bay: "This will be as physical of a team that we've played all year. We will have our hands full this week but our guys will be ready."

LUCIOUS DAVIS, on how his defense played: "Our defense played well this week. We were able to force some turnovers and keep the momentum in our favor. I'm proud of our defense."

HOME COOKIN': Mahoning Valley returns home next week for a matchup with the Quad City Steamwheelers on Cortland Banks Field at the Chevrolet Centre. Unfortunately, that game will be the last home game until just under a month later when the team returns home on July 13 versus Albany. After Quad City, the Thunder are on a bye week and follow that up with two consecutive road games.

MILESTONES: Having never played an af2 game before, every play in the home opener was some kind of new Thunder record. Here are some of the most notable facts that have made it into the Mahoning Valley Record Book:

First TD Pass: Glen Gauntt to Chris Archie

First TD Rush: Tim Frost

First Play from Scrimmage: Gauntt pass to Kenneth Johnson for nine yards

First Interception: Brian Majors

First Fumble Recovery: Mike Lane

First Interception return for a touchdown: Maurice Taylor

SKID-STRIPS: The Thunder snapped a five-game losing streak last week with a 57-20 victory over the Cincinnati Jungle Kats. The win was the first for the Thunder since April 21 with a decisive 54-20 win over the Jungle Kats at the Chevrolet Centre. The Thunder earned the first series sweep of an opponent this season and the first in the brief history of the team.

BE LIKE MIKE: QB Mike Schneider had his finest performance of his young career last week in Cincinnati, leading the Thunder to a 57-20 victory. In the first quarter, Schneider completed 7-of-9 passes for 98 yards and three of his game-high five touchdowns. He finished the game with 237 yards on 17-of-29 passing. For the first game this year, the Thunder did not throw an interception.

TAYLOR MADE: DB Maurice Taylor was awarded Defensive Player of the Game in Week 9 against Manchester and Week 10 in Cincinnati. Taylor has now won the award three times this year and looks to make it three consecutive weeks with a big game in Green Bay. Taylor led the Thunder with 7.0 tackles and two PBU against the Jungle Kats, and has recorded 16.0 tackles (114 solo and 4 assists), three passes broken up, one interception for a 50-yard touchdown return and one forced fumble in his last two games.

DEFENSIVE STALEMATE: Defensive Coordinator Lucious Davis had his team ready to play last week in Cincinnati, holding the Jungle Kats to just 20 points in the game. For the year, the Thunder limited the Jungle Kats to 40 points in the two games (54-20 on April 21 and 57-20 last week).

FIRST TIMER: LB Sam Crenshaw nabbed his first interception of the year last week versus the Jungle Kats. On Cincinnati's first play in the third quarter, QB Aaron Marshall's pass over the middle was intercepted by Crenshaw who returned it for no yards. The pick marked the second in as many games for the Thunder. Two weeks ago versus Manchester, Maurice Taylor intercepted a pass and returned it to pay dirt. Prior to those INTs, the Thunder had gone four straight games without one.

FIRST TIMER (2X): WR/DB Brian Majors earned his first career start at wide receiver in Cincinnati, replacing the inactive Chris Archie. Majors made an immediate impact on the Thunder offense, recording his first reception on the first ball thrown to him. The six-yard pass was just getting his feet wet as Majors connected with QB Mike Schneider later in the first. With a 14-7 lead, Schneider found Majors for a 31-yard touchdown strike, giving the Thunder a 21-7 advantage with 4:31 left in the quarter. That was the first receiving touchdown of the year for Majors.

RUNAWAY TRAIN: With the running game in Arena Football almost non-existent, the Thunder has found a way to utilize the size and speed of FB Tim Murphy. Murphy has appeared in eight games this season, rushing 29 times for 198 yards (6.8 yards per carry). He has added seven rushing touchdowns thus far and is providing the Thunder with 28.3 rushing yards per game. His 28.3 yards per game currently ranks his first in that category in af2. Murphy added a season-best and career-high three rushing touchdowns in the win over Cincinnati in Week 10. Murphy looks to crack the 200-yard rushing barrier this week and is on pace to finish the inaugural season as the teams all-time leading rusher.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Prior to the game against Cincinnati, the Thunder activated FB/LB Mike Andrews from the exempt other league list. Andrews, a standout at Youngstown State made his presence felt against the Jungle Kats, recording 2.0 tackles including 0.5 for a loss, broke up one pass and forced one fumble.

PUTTING THEM AWAY EARLY: The Thunder scored 45 points in the first half of the game in Cincinnati on June 2, the most points in a single half this season. Mahoning Valley jumped out to a 28-7 lead after the first quarter and took a 45-14 advantage into the locker room at halftime. The 28 points in the first quarter is the most points in a quarter this year by the Thunder.

LET'S GO HALVES: The Thunder have played 18 halves of football this year in the nine games. Of those 18, the Thunder has held their opponents to six points or less in three of those halves. Here is a look:

Date Opponent Points Half

March 31 Tri-Cities Fever 0 First Half

April 21 @ Cincinnati Jungle Kats 6 Second Half

June 2 @ Cincinnati Jungle Kats 6 Second Half

ONE QUARTER AT A TIME: Limiting points in Arena Football is the key to success. Stopping an opposing offense a few drives each game can lead to victories. Of the 36 quarters of football, the Thunder has held its opponents to a single-digit quarter on 17 occasions. Here is a breakdown of the fewest points in a quarter:

0 Points - 4 quarters

3 Points - 1 quarter

6 Points - 4 quarters

7 Points - 8 quarters

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME AWARD

(selected by media)

Week Opp. Player

1 TRI WR Chris Archie (MVT)

2 @ ALB QB Glen Gauntt (MVT)

3 BYE BYE

4 CIN WR DeMarcus Mathes (MVT)

5 @ MAN QB Ryan Porter (MAN)

6 LOU WR Tiger Jones (LOU)

7 WBS QB Ryan Vena (WBS)

8 @ FLA WR/LB Chris McKinney (FLA)

9 MAN WR Ari Confesor (MAN)

10 @ CIN QB Mike Schneider (MVT)

IRONMAN OF THE GAME AWARD

(selected by media)

Week Opp. Player

1 TRI OL/DL Tim Frost (MVT)

2 @ ALB DB Jarvis Johnson (ALB)

3 BYE BYE

4 CIN TE/DL Jamel Lee (MVT)

5 @ MAN WR/DB David Bailey (MAN)

6 LOU OL/DL Eddie Yauch (LOU)

7 WBS WR/DB Larry Kendrick (WBS)

8 @ FLA WR/DB Levy Brown (FLA)

9 MAN WR/DB David Bailey

10 @ CIN WR DeMarcus Mathes (MVT)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME AWARD

(selected by media)

Week Opp. Player

1 TRI OL/DL Anton Ceaser (MVT)

2 @ ALB DL Durrand Roundtree (ALB)

3 BYE BYE

4 CIN DB Maurice Taylor (MVT)

5 @ MAN DL Maurice Fountain (MAN)

6 LOU DB Nate Green (LOU)

7 WBS WR/DB TuTu Ferguson (WBS)

8 @ FLA WR/DB Levy Brown (FLA)

9 MAN WR/DB Maurice Taylor (MVT)

10 @ CIN WR/DB Maurice Taylor (MVT)

CATCH OF THE GAME AWARD

(selected by media)

Week Opp. Player

1 TRI WR Chris Archie (MVT)

2 @ ALB WR DeMarcus Mathes (MVT)

3 BYE BYE

4 CIN WR Kenny Johnson (MVT)

5 @ MAN WR Chris Archie (MVT)

6 LOU WR Chris Archie (MVT)

7 WBS WR/DB TuTu Ferguson INT (WBS)

8 @ FLA WR Magic Benton (FLA)

9 MAN WR Jarrail Jackson (MAN)

10 @ CIN WR Hassan Brockman (CIN)

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