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Prowlers vs. Fire Dogs for IPFL title

by Prowlers Press Release
August 23, 2000 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)

Prowlers vs. Fire Dogs for 2000 IPFL title

Prowlers Press Release

August 26, 2000 at Portland's Memorial Coliseum, 7 PM

The Portland Prowlers, the regular season champions of the IPFL, will carry their 11-5 record into the 2000 IPFL Championship game against the 10-7 Mississippi Fire Dogs. The game, to be played at Portland's Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, August 26, will feature the top two teams in numerous statistical categories, but a special twist to the game features two standout former NFL quarterbacks, Portland's Erik Wilhelm and Mississippi's John Fourcade.

Mississippi, by virtue of its 43-40 road win this past weekend at Omaha, advances to the IPFL Title Game in just its second year of play. The Fire Dogs made it to the 1999 IPFL Playoffs, only to lose to eventual champion Hawaii in the first round. This year, the Fire Dogs are again led by former New Orleans Saints and University of Mississippi All-American QB John Fourcade. Fourcade, who turns 40 later this year, in in his final season of professional football. "I'm done, baby, put that down," he said. "I'll be 40 in October, we're in the championship and I'm going out a winner." Fourcade surpassed the IPFL's single-season passing and total offense records whil easily becoming the league's all-time leader for both categories. His career regular season passing total is 5,386 yards, and his regular season total offense figure is 5,620 yards. This season Fourcade leads the league in passing attempts (582), passing completions (333), passing yards (3,216), passing yards per game (201.0), total offense yards (3,319) and total offense yards per game (207.4). Fourcade also set two single game IPFL records this season, for attempts (55) and completions (30), both in week 2 versus Portland. He tied for the season lead in touchdown passes with Portland's Erik Wilhelm, which established a new single season IPFL record for both men. For the season, Fourcade was 333-582-29 for 3,216 yards and 62 touchdowns. His QB Rating was 93.8.

His favorite target was league leader Kenny Causey. Causey topped all receivers with 118 receptions for 1366 yards and 23 touchdowns. His reception and yardage totals established new league marks. In Week 11 versus Mobile, Casuey set new highs for receptions in a game (17) and yards (175). Causey is joined by Lamont Woodbury, the league's second leading reciever with 90 catches for 873 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Portland, finished the regular season with three straight wins and captured the regular season title with its 11-5 record. That provided the Prowlers with a bye in the first round and earned them the right to host to the championship game. This is the Prowlers inaugural season and therefore its first foray into the IPFL Playoffs. The Prowlers have been under the direction of 9-year NFL veteran and former Oregon State star Erik Wilhelm. In addition to his IPFL touchdown record (62), he established a single game record of 304 passing yards in Week 11 versus Omaha. His 311 combined yards set a single game total offense record. His season long passing rating of 115.4 eclipsed Fourcade's previous record of 104.0, and he also established a new league mark for completion percentage at 63.5. For the season he was 330-520 and an astonishingly low 12 interceptions. He threw for 3,107 yards.

Wilhelm spread the wealth among his receivers, with three players among the top six; Chad Carlson, former Lewis & Clark All-American caught 72 passes for 820 yards and 16 TD's, Trent Waibel caught 69 for 628 yards and 13 TD's and RB Glenn Vereen, of Portland State, hauled in 64 receptions to lead all IPFL running backs, for 475 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Statistics for the two teams bear out their successful path to the IPFL Championship Game. Portland and Mississippi finished in the top two in four statistical categories; scoring offense, total offense, passing offense and passing defense. Two areas differentiate the teams, the first being rushing offense, where Mississippi completed the the season last in the 7-team league with only 19 yards per game, while Portland used a more balanced attack, finishing with 53.2 yards per game. The other category is turnover margin, where Portland dominated the IPFL with a +23, while the Fire Dogs were 5th with a -3.

Head-to-head, the two teams finished 1-1. Amazingly, both games came down to the final play before the outcome was decided. In Week 2, Portland jumped out to a 29-15 lead, only to have the game become a seesaw affair as the lead changed hands four times before Fourcade, trailing 42-41 took the Fire Dogs the length of the field with only 2:27 to play. In field goal range with only seconds to play, Fourcade threw three intentional incompletions to milk the clock. Then with :03 to play, Brad Rhodes missed a 20 yard field goal attempt to preserve the Prowlers win. In the game, Fourcade was 30-50 with 3 interceptions for 243 yards and 2 TD's. Wilhelm was only 8-18 with 1 interception for only 63 yards and 2 touchdowns, his lowest totals of the season.

In Week 15, Portland traveled to Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, clinging to a one game lead over the Fire Dogs in the standings. Again Portland had the lead late in the game, up 33-26 following a Wilhelm to Arthur Williams 29-yard scoring toss. Fourcade countered with a 3-yard toss to RB Buster Brown to knot the score at 33. With but 33 seconds to play, Portland Kicker Justin Clack converted on a 36-yard 3-point field goal to give Portland a 36-33 lead. Undaunted, Fourcade hit Causey on a 20-yard slant route to setup a fateful QB sneak with only :03 to play. Fourcade, after serveral timeouts, baited the Prowler defense into thinking the play was a straight handoff, only to execute a perfect naked bootleg for the score and the win. The three-point win gave the Fire Dogs the tie-breaker in the event of a season ending tie, but two Mississippi losses to end the season gave the Prowlers the title and the bye into the championship. In the rematch, Wilhelm was 21 of 37 for 183 yards and 5 touchdowns. Fourcade finished with 22 of 34 with one interception, 220 yards and 5 TD's.

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