Peoria Pirates Close Books to 2009 Season
The Peoria Pirates arenafootball2 team officially closed out their 2009 season Tuesday evening at the Players Choice Awards Dinner at Sully's in downtown Peoria. While the Pirates organization deals with the future of its ownership structure, it brought closure to a 2009 season, which saw significant changes, both on the football field and with front office operations. Players, coaches, support staff, front office staff and media members were in attendance as MVP awards were presented to six Pirates players, based on ballots cast solely by the players. The award winners were:
2009 Offensive MVP: Dante Ridgeway #4 WR
2009 Defensive MVP: Michael Lewis #45 DL
2009 Lineman of the Year Chad Walker #62
2009 Special Teams Player of the Year Brian Allbrooks #16
2009 Ironman (2 Way) Player of the Year Darren Paige #9 WR/DB
2009 Teammate of the Year Jacob Schoonover #24 WR/LB
Additionally, each of the four Pirate Assistant Coaches were recognized for their effort by Head Coach Mike Hohensee and Managing Local Owner Jim Foster and presented with a game ball autographed by the members of the team and staff. Foster presented Hohensee with a large plaque holding an autographed game ball that denoted the significant contribution he made in turning around the on-field performance of the Pirates in the second half of the season after replacing long term, veteran Head Coach Bruce Cowdrey, who was terminated after the Pirates gave up a 22 point 4th quarter lead, losing to the last place Milwaukee Iron, 62-57 at the Peoria Civic Center.
The Pirates were 1-5 when Cowdrey departed. Hohensee went 4-5 as head coach over the second half of the 16 game regular season. After consecutive road losses to the Kentucky Horsemen in Lexington, KY (34-43) and the Stockton Lightening in Stockton, CA (47-64), the Pirates were eliminated from any possibility of a post-season appearance in the af2 playoffs. A last second home loss to Green Bay, June 6 in Peoria on a bad center snap for a short field goal to win the game, also dampened the overall positive progress made under one of Arena Football's winningest coaches after his arrival in Peoria. The team did manage to win four home games for the first time since 2004.
Meanwhile, efforts continue to generate serious interest in creating a local ownership group, after current Majority Owner, Doug MacGregor announced last week that he does not plan to continue to operate the Pirates in 2010 as the Majority Owner. The af2 requires all teams to be properly organized and funded for the next season by the end of the first week of September. (end)
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