New Haven Ninjas Game Notes
New Haven Ninjas (0-1)
vs. Cape Fear Wildcats (1-0)
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2002
Kickoff: 7:00 pm
Site: New Haven Coliseum (8,725)
National Anthem: Ashley Hayden
Coin Toss: TBA
Officials: Mike Perry, Referee
George Santoro, Umpire
Howard Brechtel, Head Linesman
Paul Wzontek, Line Judge
Mike Roberts, Back Judge
Series Record: First meeting
Last Meeting: First meeting
Streaks: Ninjas L1; Wildcats W1
Coaches: Rick Buffington (0-1, 1st)
Chris Siegfried (1-0, 1st)
THE STAKES: The Ninjas are looking for a strong showing in the first home game in franchise history. Cape Fear is coming off a 69-19 victory over the Norfolk Nighthawks.
THE SERIES: This will be the first and only meeting this season between the two expansion teams.
If the Ninjas defeats Cape Fear, it would
· Give the Ninjas a victory in their first win of the season
· Give the Ninjas a victory in their first ever home game
· Give Head Coach Rick Buffington his first af2 victory.
HEAD COACHES: Rick Buffington brings his 14 years of Arena Football experience to New Haven to captain the expansion Ninjas in their inaugural season.
Cape Fear's Chris Siegfired begins his first season as a head coach after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Macon Knights in 2001.
FAMILIAR FACES: Offensive coordinator Wayne Morris and defensive backs coach Merv Mosley played together under Head Coach Rick Buffington in 1995 with the Connecticut Coyotes. Southern Connecticut State will have three Ninjas on the field in Tom Madigan, Chris Ortiz and Damon Richardson while former New Haven Chargers include Ketric Barnes and Dan Hayes. The Rhode Island Rams are represented by Cy Butler and LaJhon Jones.
THIS WEEKS QUOTES:
Rick Buffington, on injuries in week one: We started the game at only 17 players, which hurt us. Ortiz and Madigan werent able to play, but they should be back for this week.
Rick Buffington, on Cape Fear: Theyre a brand new team, but they were able to put 69 points up on the board, so theyll be something to reckon with.
· First tackle Anthony Comer (4/6 @ Rochester)
· First touchdown pass Phil Stambaugh (4/6 @ Rochester)
· First touchdown reception Cy Butler (4/6 @ Rochester)
· First rushing touchdown Nick Patterson (4/6 @ Rochester)
DROPBACK: Rochesters Martino Theus scored three touchdowns including a 27-yarder with 2:20 gone in the first quarter to lead the Brigade to a 61-34 victory over the New Haven Ninjas at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. The touchdown gave the Brigade a lead it would never relinquish en route to the win in front of a crowd of 6,123 in the Ninjas first game in team history. Cy Butler led the Ninjas with 108 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
FORWARD MOTION: New Haven will face perhaps its biggest test of the season when it travels to Richmond. The Speed reached the Arena Cup last season after posting a 13-3 regular season record.
Bye Bye Butler: OS Cy Butler was a last minute replacement for Chris Ortiz against Rochester, but finished with a game high 108 yards with two touchdowns. Tack on 58 kick return yards, and he was the most productive member of the team. Unfortunately, Butler dropped in the third quarter with an Achilles injury and will be placed on IR.
Two-Way Tough: Anthony Comer proved to be a big two-way player for the Ninjas in week one. On top of three hard tackles, Comer finished with 71 yards receiving and two touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving. His efforts earned him the teams Built Ford Tough Award for the week, as voted by the coaching staff.
Old and New Faces: The Ninjas regained Ryan Brady who was cut in the final day of training camp. Brady, who came into camp as a lineman, will see time at fullback/linebacker. The new face on the Ninjas squad is wide receiver/defensive back Kody Fedorcha. Fedorcha was a First Team All-Patriot League selection at Lehigh where he was a teammate of Ninja quarterback Phil Stambaugh.
There are walls on this field: On the Ninjas roster, there is only one player who has any Arena experience. OS Chris Ortiz played in one game with the New England Seawolves in 2000. OL/DL Bill Gipson is the only other player with indoor experience. He played with the Steel Valley Smash of the Indoor Football League in 2000.
Nutmeg Nitch: Of the 21 players on the Ninjas roster, eight have ties to Connecticut. Seven of those eight played their college ball in Connecticut, four are natives, and all eight currently reside instate.
Can the Coach Play?: Ninjas defensive backs coach Merv Mosley ranks sixth all-time in AFL history with 28 career interceptions.
PLAYERS/MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Ninjas QB Phil Stambaugh: Stambaugh threw for a game high 207 yards with 3 touchdowns against Rochester. Stambaugh joined the Ninjas after spending the final 10 weeks of the 2001 NFL season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the starting quarterback for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe prior to joining the Jaguars.
Ninjas OS Chris Ortiz: Ortiz will see action in his first game of the season after sitting out the season opener due to illness.
Ninjas DS Andre Dixon: Dixon recorded a game-high 6.5 tackles against Rochester in the season opener. Dixon brings NFL defensive back experience to a league that averages over 90 points a game. He spent the 1999 season with the Detroit Lions.
KEY DATES IN TEAM/LEAGUE HISTORY:
6/25/01 New Haven is announced as the newest expansion team in af2.
4/6/02 The New Haven Ninjas travel to Rochester for the first game in team history. The Ninjas debut is a rocky one, falling to the Brigade 61-34.
4/13/02 The Ninjas open their home season against the Cape Fear Wildcats.
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