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Payton, McElrath and Matthews take Week nine honors

June 1, 2004 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

CHICAGO - Louisville wide receiver/line backer ANTHONY PAYTON, San Diego wide receiver/defensive back NAKOA MCELRATH and Peoria wide receiver/line backer LAWRENCE MATTHEWS have been named the Baby Ruth Real Deal Offensive Player, U.S. Army Ironman and ADT Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for Week 9 of the 2004 season.


Payton (6-2, 220, Kentucky Wesleyan), in his fourth season, caught a touchdown pass off the net while laying flat on his back in the endzone with no time remaining to give the Louisville Fire a 48-47 victory over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers. This play won the game for the Fire but without Payton's other four touchdowns, three receiving and two rushing, this play could never have happened. With 2:30 left in the game and the Fire down thirteen points, Anthony scored a touchdown on a one-yard run to bring the Fire within six at 47-41. The Pioneers missed a field goal on their next possession, giving the Fire the ball and setting up Payton's dramatic catch off of the net. On the night he finished with eleven catches for 93 yards and three receiving touchdowns while rushing three times for seven yards and two rushing touchdowns. His numbers were game highs in receiving, rushing and scoring. This is Payton's second time winning a weekly award. He won the U.S. Ironman of the Week award in Week 8 of the 2001 season. This is the fourth weekly accolade for a Louisville player this season.


McElrath (6-2, 190, Washington State), a rookie, scored four touchdowns for the San Diego Riptide in their 91-77 victory over the Hawaiian Islanders, the highest scoring game in af2 history. His sixteen-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter gave the Riptide a 14-7 lead. His next score came on special teams late in the third quarter as he stripped Islanders' return man Anthony Arceneaux in the end zone and then pounced on the ball for a touchdown to bring the Riptide lead to 70-48. McElrath added two more receiving touchdowns, including San Diego's last score, which pushed the Riptide over the 90-point total. He also forced another fumble while defending one pass and recording 1.5 tackles. Offensively, McElrath finished with six catches for 92 yards and three receiving touchdowns. This is the first weekly award for the San Diego Riptide this season. Kenny Haslip was the last Riptide member to win a weekly honor. Haslip won the ADT Defensive Player of the Week award in Week 18 of last season.


Matthews (6-3, 181, Western Illinois), a rookie, recorded two interceptions in the Peoria Pirates' 44-24 victory over the Albany Conquest. The first interception came in the second quarter with the game tied at seven and set a defensive tone for the game. Matthews intercepted the D. Bryant pass and returned it twelve yards for a touchdown to give the Pirates a lead they never relinquished. He recorded his second interception of the game on Albany's first drive of the second half. The former Leatherneck also defended another pass while registering 3.5 tackles (3UA 1A). As if his defensive play wasn't enough, Matthews also recorded two receiving touchdowns on offense. This is the first weekly award for Matthews and the Pirates this season. Peoria's last award winner was Davaren Hightower, who won the U.S. Ironman of the Week award in Week 4 of last season.

Baby Ruth Real Deal Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Florida's Steve Gorrie, Columbus' Adrian Cockfield, Cape Fear's Matt Burstein, Oklahoma City's Kris Peters, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's J.R. Thomas, Tulsa's Robert Reed, Green Bay's Chris Greisen and Randall Lane, Wichita's Damon Thompson, San Diego's Kane Claunch, Arkansas' Kevin Williams, Manchester's Chris Sanders.

U.S. Army Ironman of the Week candidates included: Tulsa's Toby Moeves and Bjorn Barre, Hawaiian's Anthony Arceneaux, Florida's Cainon Lamb, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Rocco Forgione, Wichita's Brian Livingston, Birmingham's Rajohn Myles, Manchester's Reggie Robinson, Peoria's Lawrence Matthews, Albany's Jamie Ware, Rio Grande Valley's Lawrence Pullen, Columbus' LaQuonne Holden, Oklahoma City's Timon Marshall.

ADT Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Tulsa's Ricky Davis, Florida's Roy Stabler, Wilkes/Barre-Scranton's Kyle Grove, Birmingham's Jerry Turner, Manchester's Allistair Sebastien, Wichita's Christopher Highsaw, Bossier-Shreveport's Dennis Skains, Oklahoma City's Chuck Little, Macon's Elliott Burkes, Cape Fear's Quesaun Wigfall, Albany's Jamie Ware.

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