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New York Dragons Game Notes

February 8, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - New York Dragons News Release

Quick Facts

NY Dragons (1-0) at Las Vegas Gladiators (1-1)
Date: Friday • February 11, 2005
Kickoff: 10:00 PM (EST)
Site: Thomas & Mack Center (16,606)
Officials: Referee: Steve Pamon, Umpire: Jeff Carr, Head Linesman: Brent Durbin, Line Judge: R.G. Detillier, Back Judge: Tony Lombardo
TV: None
Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio WEPN – Peter Schwartz (play-by-play) and Wayne Morris (analyst)
Series Record: New York leads 5 games to 4
Series Streak: New York +1
Last Regular Season Meeting:
New York - 43 • Las Vegas - 42
Thomas & Mack Center • Las Vegas, NV
May 3, 2003
Coaches:
Las Vegas • Ron James (All-Time: 1-1)
New York • Weylan Harding (All-Time: 1-0)

DRAGONS 2005 SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
January 26-28 BYE --- ---
February 6 DALLAS 1:00 W 55-45
February 11 at Las Vegas 10:00
February 19 NASHVILLE 7:00
February 27 ARIZONA 3:00
March 6 at Philadelphia 12:00
March 12 GEORGIA 7:00
March 19 at Austin 4:00
March 26 at Columbus 7:00
April 2 CHICAGO 7:00
April 10 at Los Angeles 3:00
April 15 at Orlando 7:30
April 24 PHILADELPHIA 1:00
April 29 at Dallas 8:30
May 7 COLUMBUS 7:00
May 15 at Tampa Bay 1:00
May 21 COLORADO 7:00

Game Preview

After their season opening victory against the Dallas Desperados, the Dragons travel to the home of ArenaBowl XIX -- Las Vegas, NV – to face the Gladiators. The game is on Friday night, February 11, which gives the Dragons a short work week.

Last Regular Season Meeting Recap

The last time these two squads met was two years ago in 2003 when the Gladiators were a member of the Eastern Division. On May 3, 2003, the Dragons defeated the Gladiators 43-42 in Las Vegas. The win helped propel the team to its first Eastern Division Championship. With Las Vegas moving to the Western Division, the teams did not meet in the 2004 season.

Dragons/LAS VEGAS all-time

DATE H/A SCORE W/L
May 9, 1997 A 21-45 L
July 18, 1998 H 55-49 W
July 10, 1999 A 56-23 W
May 25, 2001 A 71-49 W
June, 30, 2001 A 59-36 W
May 18, 2002 A 69-76 L/OT
July 6, 2002 H 50-76 L
February 22, 2003 H 45-46 L
May 3, 2003 A 43-42 W

Last Week

The Dragons defeated their Eastern Division rival Dallas Desperados 55-45 in front of a capacity crowd of 14,925 at the Nassau Coliseum. Mike Horacek caught three touchdown passes.

Next Week

The Dragons begin a two-game home stand on Saturday night, February 19 when they host the expansion Nashville Kats. The Kats enter Week Three with a 1-1 record.

The IF’s

If the Dragons defeat Las Vegas it would…

· Give the Dragons a 2-0 record to start a season for the third time (1995, 1999).
· Give the franchise its 85th regular season victory.
· Give the Dragons their 41st victory since moving to Long Island in 2001.
· Give QB Aaron Garcia his 51st victory with the franchise and his 26th with the Dragons.
· Give the team an all-time record of 6-4 versus Las Vegas all-time.

Dragons 2005 Record When/Versus

At the Home 1-0 Opponents Score First 0-0
On the Road 0-0 Ahead at Half 1-0
Friday 0-0 Tied at Half 0-0
Saturday 0-0 Behind at Half 0-0
Sunday 1-0 Ahead after 3 Quarters 1-0
February 1-0 Tied after 3 Quarters 0-0
March 0-0 Behind after 3 Quarters 0-0
April 0-0 Outcome 7 pts or less 0-0
May 0-0 Outcome 3 pts or less 0-0
National Conference 1-0 Outcome 7 pts or more 1-0
Eastern Division 1-0 Outcome 3 pts or more 0-0
Southern Division 0-0 Overtime 0-0
American Conference 0-0 Plus turnover margin 1-0
Central Division 0-0 Even turnover Margin 0-0
Western Division 0-0 Minus Turnover Margin 0-0
Score First 1-0

Dragons’ Practice Schedule

Monday (2/7/05): Off
Tuesday (2/8/05): 1:45-3:45 at Practice Facility
Wednesday (2/9/05): 12:30-10:30 at Practice Facility
Thursday (2/10/05): Team leaves at 9:00 AM
Friday (2/11/05): Game vs. Las Vegas

To confirm the Dragons’ practice schedule or to receive directions, please contact Corey Witt at 516-501-6841.

Notes From the Dragons’ Lair

LAS VEGAS CONNECTIONS:
Dragons WR/LB Mike Horacek (2002-2003) and OL/DL Steve Scifres (2004) both played for the Gladiators. OL/DL John Thomas went to college at Nevada. Current Gladiators FB/LB Rodney Filer played for the Barnstormers/Dragons for six seasons (1999-2004).

SWAYNE TO IR:
Prior to the Dragons’ Week Two game, the team placed OS Kevin Swayne on Injured Reserve. He now joins OL/DL Clyde Sanders and WR/DB Lamont Webb on the injury report.

HARDING’S SUPER DAY:
Weylan Harding took the victory in his head coaching debut on Super Bowl Sunday in Week Two vs. Dallas. His defense came up with crucial interceptions at the end of the first half and mid-way through the fourth quarter.

HORACEK’S HEROICS:
For the first time in almost five years, Mike Horacek went through training camp with little fanfare. In his first game as a Dragon, the 2000 Offensive Player of the Year caught three touchdowns and took home Offensive Player and US Army Ironman of the Game honors.

COLISEUM MADNESS:
For the second consecutive season the Dragons set a new single-game franchise attendance record. The organization started off the 2005 season with a packed house of 14,925, which is the complete Arena Football capacity for the Nassau Coliseum.

IN THE TRENCHES:
Dragons QB Aaron Garcia was hit and taken to the turf on a few occasions, but the 11-year pro was not sacked. The re-tooled Dragons’ offensive/defensive line protected Garcia well throughout the game while pressuring the Dallas passer throughout.

STANDING TALL:
At 5 foot 6 inches tall, OS Markeith Cooper holds the distinction of being the shortest athlete in professional football. Quick on his feet, Cooper’s first position was halfback. However, he switched to wide receiver while in his junior season in college.

LIVING YOUNG:
In the off-season the Dragons hired a defensive-minded head coach, who also happens to be the youngest in professional football. Weylan Harding enters the 2005 season at 33 years old, 23 months and four days younger than the second-youngest head coach – New Orleans’s Mike Neu. However, Harding does not hold the distinction of being the youngest coach in league history. That honor goes to Kevin Guy of the 2000 New Jersey Red Dogs. Guy was 27 years old.

TEAM COACH DOB AGE
NYD Harding 1/5/1972 33
NOV Neu 12/9/1970 34
LAA Hodgkiss 10/23/1970 34
GRR McEwen 4/28/1968 36
ORL Gruden 3/4/1967 37

ORIGINAL DRAGONS:
FB/LB Chin Achebe and QB Aaron Garcia are New York Dragons thick and thin. The duo are the only two that have played with the team for each of its first five seasons on Long Island. Both Achebe and Garcia made the move when the Iowa Barnstormers relocated to New York prior to the 2001 season.
Achebe has spent each of his six AFL seasons with the franchise as he made his league debut as a Barnstormer in 2000. Garcia was traded to Iowa from New Jersey on June 2, 1998 for WR/DB Chris Spencer and OL/DL John Dixon. This is Garcia’s 11th AFL season and eighth with the franchise.

OS Kevin Swayne has been the property of the Dragons for all five seasons, however he spent two seasons on the exempt list from 2002-2004. After a successful 2001 campaign, he was signed by the NFL’s New York Jets and stayed there for three seasons. He returned to the Dragons mid-way through the 2004 season. Swayne also suited up for the Barnstormers from 1998-1999.

WR/LB Mike Horacek is the only other player to have played for both the Barnstormers and the Dragons. From 1997 to 2000, Horacek split time as a WR/DB and an OS with Iowa. He was the AFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2000, his last with the team until he was selected in 2004 Dispersal Draft. The 2005 season will be his first with the Dragons, but fifth with the franchise.

ARENA-BRED COACHES:
The Dragons are one of two teams in the league this season to have their entire coaching staff comprised of former AFL players. They share the distinction with the Philadelphia Soul. In total, the Dragons coaching staff has a combined 22 years of AFL playing experience and another combined 14-plus years as coaches.

GARCIA CONTINUES TO LEAD AFL:
Dragons QB Aaron Garcia enters his eleventh AFL season as one of the League’s top passers. He ranks first all time with 635 touchdowns, third with 30,545 passing yards and fourth with 2,365 completions. Last year on May 16 at Los Angeles, he went over 30,000 passing yards. On April 18 vs. the Colorado Crush, Garcia became the first professional football player to throw for 600 career touchdowns.

Aaron Garcia All-Time Rankings:
Rank TDs Yardage Completions
1st Aaron Garcia640 Andy Kelly32,666 Andy Kelly2,925
2nd AndyKelly632 Shedrick Bonner30,820 Shedrick Bonner2,477
3rd Sheick Bonner 618 Aaron Garcia30,757 Clint Dolezel2,478
4th Clint Dolezel589 Clint Dolezel 29,633 Aaron Garcia2,383

VILMA TV:
As part of a new partnership between the network and the AFL, the Dragons will be on Fox Sports Net this season. Bob Wischusen will call the play-by-play for the majority of the games as he did in 2002. This year he will be joined by the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2004, New York Jets LB Jonathan Vilma. The former Miami Hurricane will make his broadcasting debut on the FSN broadcast of the March 12th game vs. Georgia. Peter Schwartz and New York Giants QB Jesse Palmer will have the call on FSN for the February 19th game vs. Nashville.

Players to Watch

THREE FIRE BREATHIN’ DRAGONS:
QB Aaron Garcia: One of the most prolific passers in the history of the AFL always gives his team a chance to win. In Week Two he found the endzone five times by completing 18 of 34 passes for 212 yards. He connected with WR/LB Mike Horacek for three scores, including the game’s first drive.

WR/LB: Mike Horacek: Horacek took home Offensive Player and the US Army Ironman of the Game honors in his first game back with the franchise. Count him as one of Garcia’s favorite targets, especially with OS Kevin Swayne on the Injured Reserve.

OL/DL John Thomas: In his first game as a Dragon, Thomas came up with several big tackles on rushing plays. He finished the game with a half sack and one tackle for loss.

Inside the Headset

Every Monday, Dragons head coach Weylan Harding lets the fans get inside his head set in an open question and answer forum. Here is a summary of last Monday’s journal.

Congratulations on the win, coach. How does it feel to get your first victory under your belt?

Harding: It felt great because it was the first home game. It’s very important to me that we win at home in front of our fans. I thought the fans were great from the moment we hit the field. I hope all the fans that packed the Coliseum keep on coming back.

How do you think your defensive specialists played against Dallas?

Harding: We played hard, physical ball and made plays when it counted. It will take a little time to get the cohesion I would like in this unit, but it will
come. There is a pretty large learning curve for DBs new to this game.

What are you most concerned about for your Las Vegas game this week?

Harding: I’m concerned about the short week because of the limited practice time and travel. There is a delicate balance between what is necessary, both physically and mentally, to get the team prepared without exhausting them on both fronts.

Judging from how the Dragons played against Dallas, how do you plan to hone the team's performance even more before the Las Vegas game?

Harding: Our effort was admirable, but no team plays a perfect game. The Dallas game
provided a lot of good teaching material for us to work on. Any team worth its
salt wants to improve and play that perfect game.

Who do you think was the unsung hero of the game and why?

Harding: I would say every person that was in attendance either at the Coliseum or in
front of the television supporting us.

For a full length copy of Inside the Headset, please contact Corey Witt or see a Dragons Media Relations Assistant.

Game Award Winners

Week 1:
Team did not play

Week 2:
Offensive POG: WR/LB Mike Horacek
US Army Ironman: WR/LB Mike Horacek
ADT Defensive POG: DS Billy Parker

Dragons Transactions:

2/8/05: Signed WR/DB Chuck Wesley to the practice squad

2/05/05: Placed OS Kevin Swayne on the injured reserve list.

2/01/05: Signed OL/DL Ufuoma Pela to the practice squad.

1/31/05: Signed WR/LB Latrez Harrison to the practice squad.

1/28/05: Signed QB Ronnie Gordon to the practice squad.

1/27/05: Waived FB/LB Jeremiah Pharms from the practice squad.

1/26/05: Signed WR/DB Yuichi Watanabe to the international practice squad.

1/25/05: Awarded FB/LB Jamaal Cherry off waivers. Placed OL/DL Clyde Sanders on the injured reserve list. Signed FB/LB Jeremiah Pharms to the practice squad.

1/24/05: Placed WR/DB Lamont Webb on the injured reserve list.

1/23/05: Waived DS Jerald Brown.

1/22/05: Waived OL/DL Andre Arnold, OL/DL David Ashkinaz, QB Kane Claunch, WR/DB Scott Cloman, DS Nate Coggins, QB Ronnie Gordon, WR/LB Latrez Harrison, OL/DL Kerry Linnear, OL/DL John McDermott, FB/LB Chris McIver and OL/DL Charles Missant.
1/21/05: Signed OL/DL Kerry Linnear, OL/DL Steve Scifres and WR/DB Lamont Webb.

1/20/05: Waived WR/DB Kenny Johnson and OL/DL Ufuoma Pela.

1/19/05: Signed WR/DB Kenny Johnson. Waived FB/LB Laurence Nolen.

1/18/05: Signed WR/DB Mutsumi Takahashi to the international practice squad.

1/13/05: Signed QB Ronnie Gordon, OL/DL Joe Laudano and FB/LB Chris McIver.

1/12/05: Signed OL/DL Charles Missant.

1/11/05: Signed OS Markeith Cooper. Waived OL/DL Jerry Turner.

1/09/05: Waived DS John Barnes, FB/LB Rashon Burns and FB/LB Derric Coackley.

1/05/05: Signed WR/DB Corey Johnson.

1/04/05: Placed WR/DB Lincoln Dupree and OL/DL Eric England on the refused-to-report list.

MILESTONES WITHIN REACH

Kevin Clemens 7 rushing yards shy of 100 for his career
Stacey Evans 9.5 tackles shy of 100.0 for his career
Aaron Garcia 10 touchdown passes shy of 650 for his career
Aaron Garcia 19 total touchdowns shy of 700 for his career
Mike Horacek 11 touchdowns shy of 150 for his career
Jermaine Miles 6.5 tackles shy of 50.0 for his career
Kevin Swayne 81 receiving yards shy of 5,000 for his career
Kevin Swayne 5 touchdown receptions shy of 100 for his career

MILESTONES REACHED in 2005

Weylan Harding Recorded his first win as a head coach vs. Dallas (2/6)
Stacey Evans Played in his 60th AFL game vs. Dallas (2/6)
Corey Johnson Recorded his 250th career tackle vs. Dallas (2/6)

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