Manchester Wolves game notes
Game 14 Preview - Wolves at Memphis Xplorers - 8:00 PM (DeSoto Civic Center) - Radio: 1370 AM
In what some may call a preview of the 2005 ArenaCup, the Memphis Xplorers enter Saturday's game with a 10-3 record and are in first place in the National Conference, Mid West Division. Memphis, currently ranked No. 2 in the Weekly Coaches Poll, has stumbled a bit of late, losing two games in a row. The Xplorers, however, are a strong team all-around that has dominated much of their opposition. Their 10 wins have come by an average of 21.1 points while their losses have all been by just three points each. QB Brian Jones, who is the 3rd-highest rated passer in the league, leads the offense with 2,736 yards passing and 55 touchdowns with six interceptions. He's also a threat in close, ranking second in the af2 in rushing touchdowns with 19. His main target is Kevin Prentiss, who ranks among the league leaders in receiving yards (3rd - 1,302) and receiving touchdowns (3rd - 32). Prentiss is also a dangerous kick return man who is third in the league in kick return yards (1,109). He has three returns for touchdowns and averages over 25 yards per return ( 25.2). On defense, Dahnel Singfield may be the best defensive specialist in the league. The veteran from Buffalo leads the league is passes defended (41) and is tied for the league lead in interceptions with nine. Lineman Khreem Smith is a bully up front for Memphis who leads the league in sacks with 14.0. The Xplorers defense ranks second in the league in scoring defense at 37.8 points per game allowed. Memphis leads the all-time series, 1-0. In their only other career head-to-head battle, the Xplorers defeated the Wolves, 55-54, in 2004. The top-ranked Wolves (11-2) will look to counter with the dynamic duo of QB Jake Eaton and WR/LB J.J. McKelvey on offense. Eaton has been sharp all season, connecting on a league-leading 71.8 percent of his passes. The former Maine signal caller is also among the league's top QBs in passer rating (1st - 126.9) and passing touchdowns (T-2nd - 71). McKelvey has been Eaton's favorite target. He leads the league with 112 receptions and also ranks among the league's best in scoring (2nd - 252 points). As a group, the Wolves offense ranks fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 51.8 ppg. On defense, William "Roc" Haith and Allistair Sebastien are impact players in the secondary. Haith leads the league in tackles (104) and is among the top-5 in passes defended (29). Sebastien is among the af2 elite in interceptions with six. The Wolves defense ranks third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 38.1 ppg.
Game 13 Wrap-up - Wolves Improve to 11-2; Dominate W-B/Scranton At Home, 63-36
The Manchester Wolves reaffirmed their stance as the top-ranked team in the league with a convincing 63-36 victory against the W-B/Scranton Pioneers Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The win improved the Wolves to 11-2 on the season, while the Pioneers dropped to 7-6. The Wolves' second largest home crowd in team history (8,660) saw Manchester QB Jake Eaton break the team record for most touchdowns passes in a season (71) as he passed for 217 yards and six TDs. Eaton, who also ran for a score, was named Offensive Player of the Game. He wasn't the only Wolves player to shine, however, as WR/LB J.J. McKelvey caught nine passes for 88 yards and three touchdowns, including two one-handed grabs in the end zone. The Wolves dominated the Pioneers in the first half, scoring on the game's opening kickoff (Jamaal Perry 55-yard kickoff return) and tallying nineteen unanswered points in the first 20 minutes. Mark Kimener, U.S. Army Ironman of the Game, caught an Eaton pass and then belly-flopped over a Wilkes-Barre defender into the end-zone for a two-yard score to put the Wolves up 19-0 at 10:07 of the second quarter. Kimener finished the game with six carries for 17 yards and recorded two QB hurries and one pass breakup on defense. W-B/Scranton finally got on the scoreboard on an Ameer Riley three-yard TD reception from QB Bryan Snyder with 7:09 left in the second quarter. After a three-yard McKelvey TD reception put the Wolves up 25-6, Snyder hit OS Jurron Kelly for a 13-yard score to cut Manchester's lead to 12, 25-13, with 1:19 left before intermission. The Wolves weren't done, however, as they recorded two touchdowns in the final minute. David Bailey, a rookie from UNH playing in his first Arena Football game, made his first catch a memorable one by taking a short pass from Eaton and turning it into a 39-yard score as time expired to put the Wolves up 40-13 at intermission. The third quarter was more of the same, as W-B/Scranton scored just once on a 24-yard touchdown reception by Rocco Forgione. Manchester retaliated with touchdowns from McKelvey and Eaton. Pioneer receivers Ufuoma Pela and Forgione each scored in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late for W-B/Scranton by that point. Forgione played well for the Pioneers, catching eight passes for a game-high 116 yards. Snyder was 19-of-30 passing for 188 yards and four touchdowns, but was picked off twice and sacked once on the night. Manchester's William Haith and Ron Smalls earned co-Defensive Player of the Game honors for their strong efforts defensively. Haith made 10 stops and recovered two fumbles. Smalls had one interception.
Next Home Game - Friday, July 29 vs. Albany Conquest - "Fan Appreciation Night"
Fans, come join us on Friday, July 29 for our 2005 regular season finale, "Fan Appreciation Night." It promises to be our most special event of the season with great giveaways all night. The 168 Magazine pre-game concert series starts things off at 6:00 p.m. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. To get in on the fun, purchase your tickets today at the Verizon Wireless Arena box office or through Ticketmaster at 603-868-7300, at Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Adult seats start as low as $14.25 in the upper bowl while youth (12-and-under) and senior (65-and-over) tickets start at just $9.75.
This Week's Community Events Calendar
On Monday, July 11th, Manchester Wolves mascot "Blitz" will be making an appearance at Canterbury Woods Country Club for the Hooters Charity Golf Tournament. The event runs from 8 AM - 3 PM. On Thursday, July 14th, Manchester Wolves mascot "Blitz" will be making an appearance at Intown Manchester's summer concert series. The event will be held in the evening at Veteran's Park in Manchester. Blitz will be there from 6:30 - 7:30 PM mingling with the crowd and signing autographs.
On Friday, July 15th, Manchester Wolves mascot "Blitz," along with members of the Wolves Dance Team will be making an appearance at Central Paper in Manchester. The event will be held from 12 - 2 PM and will feature the Rubbermaid NASCAR along with driver Kurt Busch. The dance team and Blitz will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photographs.
Playoff Picture Starting To Come Into Focus
In 2005, six teams from each the American and National Conference qualify for the playoffs. The six qualifying teams in each conference consist of the two division champions and four Wild Cards, determined by best overall record. Seeding in each conference is based on overall record, with the top two seeds in each conference reserved for the division champions, regardless of record. In the First Round (August 5-7), the two division winners in each conference receive a bye. The top-seeded Wild Card team hosts the lowest-seeded Wild Card team, while the No. 2 seeded Wild Card team hosts the No. 3 seeded Wild Card team. In the Second Round (August 12-14), the division winners who had byes in the First Round host the winners from the First Round. The top seeded division champion plays the lowest seeded team advancing from the First Round, while the second-seeded division winner plays the other winner from the First Round. The winners of the Second Round will meet for the Conference Championships on the weekend of August 19-21. For this round seeding no longer matters, meaning the team with the better overall record hosts the Conference Championship game. The winners of the Conference Championships face off in the 2005 ArenaCup on August 27 at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana televised on FOX Sports Net.
(Very) Good Eaton
Manchester QB Jake Eaton has been the most efficient quarterback in the af2 this season. The former Maine standout has completed over 70 percent (league-best 71.8) of his passes and has thrown just seven interceptions in 429 attempts. To compliment that, Eaton's thrown for 3,318 yards and a team-record 71 touchdowns. With three games to play, he's already eclipsed Chris Sanders' team record of 66 TD passes in a season and is on pace to finish with over 4,000 yards passing. Sanders currently holds the team record with 4,184 yards passing.
J.J. Is Dyno-mite!
Manchester Wolves WR/LB J.J. McKelvey is in the midst of an all-star caliber season. After a solid rookie campaign last season in which he played just six games, the former Clemson standout has started to blossom into a big-time Arena Football player in 2005. Through 13 games, McKelvey has already broken eight Wolves franchise records and is closing in on a number of others. Below is a detailed look at where J.J. stands tall in the team's record book to date:
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