August 16, 2007 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release
GAME ON - af2's AMERICAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP FEATURED ON B2: The arenafootball2 league (af2) has established a new, extensive online network to provide the league's passionate fan base an opportunity to view a vast number of games through the internet. Thanks to a new league partnership with industry leader B2 Networks, fans across the globe are now be able to bring all the action of af2 football right to their home computer or laptop. To tune into the action, fans can log on to www.af2.com and click on the special advertisement located at the top right-hand corner of the page. Viewers looking to enjoy the games via B2 will only need a high-speed internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 or higher. Games are available for the normal B2 rate of just $6. This week the American Conference Championship game is available though B2. The online broadcast information is detailed below.
Conference Championship Playoff Schedule:
Saturday, August 18
No. 6 Green Bay (11-7) at No. 1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (16-2) 7:00 PM ET
OFF THE NET/week 21/CONFERENCE FINALS: The arenafootball2 league (af2) online radio show, "Off the Net," the only internet radio show devoted solely to af2, will air its 21st show of the season today, Thursday, August 16, on www.af2.com. This week's show features special in-depth interviews with Bossier-Shreveport Head Coach JON NORRIS and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defensive lineman DOUG HARDING. The program will also include news and notes from around the af2 as the league enters the 21st week of the 2007 season. Fans can easily access the program by clicking on a special "Off the Net" advertisement located at the lower right hand corner of af2.com. The show will be available online late this afternoon. "Off the Net," now in its second season, airs every Thursday throughout the regular season and continues all the way until an ArenaCup Champion is crowned in late August. The show is designed to bring af2 fans even closer to their favorite game with in-depth news, interesting interviews and fun feature stories. Veteran broadcaster Dean Jackson serves as host.
ARENACUP8 FEATURES TOP-FLIGHT TICKET PLAN: ArenaCup8, the championship game of arenafootball2, returns to the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La. on Saturday, August 25, and fans can now take advantage of a tremendous ticket promotion. For a limited time, each fan who purchases four sideline seats ($24.75 each), receives complimentary roundtrip airfare for two to over 30 resort destinations including Hawaii, Mexico, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and more. To place your order or for more information, call toll free 888-277-5526. Fans can also visit www.flyfreeamerica.com/arenacup for details.
REED NAMED RUSSELL ATHLETIC LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings' DL ELEX REED has been named the 2007 Russell Athletic Lineman of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and members of the media. Reed, a rookie from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, made an immediate impact for the Battle Wings in 2007. Reed was a big reason behind Bossier-Shreveport's best regular season finish ever at 11-5. He completed the year with a league-best 25.0 tackles for loss and also ranked second overall with 17.5 sacks. On top of that, Reed added 37.5 tackles, forced three fumbles and blocked two kicks for Bossier-Shreveport to help propel the team to its first-ever playoff berth. Reed's best game of 2007 came on April 14 against the Texas Copperheads. On that special day, he brought down the quarterback an amazing six times to set a new af2 single-game record. The previous record (5.0) was set by OL/DL ASA FRANCIS of the Quad City Steamwheelers on June 28, 2003 against Hawaii. For Reed's outstanding effort against Texas, he was named ADT Defensive Player of the Week. In total, Reed had four games during the regular season in which he brought down the opposing quarterback at least two times. Earlier this week, Reed was named as a National Conference First Team All-af2 player. Reed has continued to play well in the 2007 ArenaCup playoffs. In a first round showdown with the Arkansas Twisters, Reed set a single-game playoff record with 3.5 sacks. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one in the win. Reed was named ADT Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
PANELLA NAMED GRIDIRON ENTERPRISES INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Amarillo Dusters' QB STEVE PANELLA has been named the 2007 Gridiron Enterprises International Player of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and media members. Panella, a native of Brampton, Canada, lined up under center for all 16 games for the Dusters this season. He completed 315-of-593 passes for 3,530 yards and 58 touchdowns through the air. Panella's 593 passing attempts and 670 total offensive plays led the af2 in 2007. On the ground, he led the league in rushing touchdowns with 22 and finished fifth in rushing yards with 268. Additionally, Panella's 3,798 yards of total offense was the ninth-best total in the league this season. The former Saint Mary's Husky was one of 28 International players on af2 rosters in 2007. Panella becomes the fourth recipient of the af2 International Player of the Year Award, joining past winners ATNAS MAEKO (Stockton - 2006) originally from Mozambique, HENRIIK JUUL-NIELSEN (Green Bay - 2005), representing Denmark, and TAKUYA FURUTANI (Louisville - 2004) of Japan.
DAVIS NAMED HAVOC KICKER OF THE YEAR: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers' kicker, DAVID DAVIS, has been named the Havoc Kicker of the Year, as selected by a vote of arenafootball2 head coaches and members of the media. Davis, in his fourth season with the Pioneers, led all kickers in PAT kicking percentage at 92.7%, converting on 115 of his 124 chances during the 2007 campaign. Davis also finished fourth in scoring amongst af2 kickers during the regular season with 136 points. The former USC Trojan was 7-of-12 on field goal attempts this year, including a long of 50 yards at Florida on April 21. Davis' consistency has continued during the Pioneers' 2007 ArenaCup playoff run. In his team's two victories thus far, Davis is a perfect 17-of-17 on PATs. He also ranks among the league's all-time leaders in points with 444 (not including playoffs) throughout his career. Davis is the third recipient of the af2 Kicker of the Year Award. Last season, Oklahoma City's A.J. HAGLUND took home the award, while Louisville's DANNY KIGHT was the inaugural winner in 2005.
ALL-AF2 TEAMS ANNOUNCED: The Arkansas Twisters, Florida Firecats, Stockton Lightning and Tulsa Talons each landed a league-best six players on the All-af2 First and Second Teams, the league office announced today. Overall, players from 24 of the league's 30 teams were selected to either the American or National Conference All-af2 First and Second Teams as voted on by af2 head coaches and media. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers had the second most selections overall but the largest number of First Team members with five. QB RYAN VENA, C BEAU ELLIOTT, OL ZACK LOVE, DB CHRIS ROYAL and K DAVID DAVIS were all major players in 2007 for the Pioneers that helped lead the team to a 14-2 regular season record. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has carried over its success into the postseason as well. The Battle Wings, Louisville Fire and Spokane Shock were also well represented with four players named All-af2. Oklahoma City WR/DB AL HUNT has been one of the league's most consistent all-around players since his career began in 2003. He has earned five straight All-af2 selections, the most of any current league athlete. He earned First Team accolades this season and in 2004 while earning All-af2 Second Team recognition in 2003 (Tulsa), 2005 and 2006. Several first-year teams also had a number of players who were named All-af2, including Cincinnati, Corpus Christi, Mahoning Valley, Texas and Tri-Cities. The Fever had the best representation overall with three players being named All-league. QB BRIAN BAKER, WR J.R. THOMAS and DB JAMIE HATTLEY were named to the American Conference All-af2 Second Team. For a full listing of All-af2 honorees, log onto http://www.af2.com.
INGOLD OWNS af2's COACHING WIN MARK: W-B/Scranton Head Coach RICH INGOLD is now the winningest coach in af2 history. Ingold set the new bar by recording his 58th career win two weeks ago as the Pioneers defeated Tri-Cities in the first round of the 2007 af2 playoffs. The veteran coach's record-setting victory was also his first af2 playoff win. He guided W-B/Scranton to a 14-2 regular season record in 2007. Thanks to a second round win last week against Central Valley, Ingold currently has 59 career wins. CHRIS SIEGFRIED, the former leader in career coaching wins, stands in second place all-time with 57 wins. The only other active coach with 50+ career wins is Manchester Head Coach BEN BENNETT. Bennett is third on the all-time list with 56 career victories. Ingold became the fourth coach in league history to win 50 games in Week 8 at Tennessee Valley. Bennett joined the 50-win club with a Week 9 win at Mahoning Valley. Florida's KEVIN BOUIS became the newest member of the 40-career win club in Week 16 with the Firecats' 55-44 road win at Alabama. Bouis, in just his third year as an af2 head coach, is the 11th coach in league history to win 40 or more games. Louisville's TOMMY JOHNSON became the tenth coach to hit 40 wins earlier this season and currently ranks seventh on the all-time list with 48 victories.
TOP ALL-TIME COACHING VICTORIES
1. Rich Ingold* 59
2. Chris Siegfried 57
3. Ben Bennett* 56
4. Kevin Guy 52
5. Bobby Humphrey 51
* denotes active coaches
INGOLD's af2 COACHING CAREER AT A GLANCE:
Regular Postseason Overall Year Team W L Pct W L Pct W L Pct 2002 Quad City 10 6 .625 - - - 10 6 .625 2003 Quad City 14 2 .875 0 1 .000 14 3 .824 2004 Quad City 10 6 .625 0 1 .000 10 7 .588 2006 W-B/S 9 7 .563 0 1 .000 9 8 .529 2007 W-B/S 14 2 .875 2 0 1.000 16 2 .889 Career Totals 57 23 .713 2 3 .400 59 26 .694
KEVIN GUY NAMED HEAD COACH OF AFL'S ARIZONA RATTLERS: Last Friday the AFL's Arizona Rattlers hired former af2 head coach KEVIN GUY to become the team's new Head Coach. Guy signed a multi-year agreement to lead all aspects of the team's Football Operations Department. Guy joins the Rattlers after spending two seasons with the San Jose SaberCats as their Defensive Coordinator. Guy helped lead the team to two consecutive Western Division Championships and an eventual ArenaBowl win this past July. Prior to joining San Jose, Guy served as a head coach in the af2 for four seasons where he finished with the most coaching victories in the history of the league. Guy amassed 52 career wins, a Sportexe Coach of the Year honor and compiled a .732 winning percentage while leading the Tennessee Valley Vipers (2002-04) and Rio Grande Valley Dorados (2005). In 2005, Guy guided the Dorados to a 10-6 regular season record and a trip to the league's National Conference Championship game. Rio Grande Valley's last win in 2005, a 65-42 win over Tulsa in the playoffs, lifted Guy to the top of the league's coaching leaders. Guy's AFL career began on the playing field as a defensive back with the Minnesota Fighting Pike, New Jersey Red Dogs and Orlando Predators from 1996 to 1999, Guy ended his playing career by helping the Predators advance to ArenaBowl XIII.
af2 ALUM SIPPIO SIGNS WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Monday that the club has signed WR Bobby Sippio, a former standout at the af2 and AFL levels, to a two-year contract. Sippio (6-3, 214) joined the Chiefs after spending the previous four seasons (2004-07) in the Arena Football League. He caught 354 passes for 5,137 yards (14.5 avg.) with 142 TDs. He played in 18 games with the Chicago Rush in 2006-07, recording 163 receptions for 2,391 yards (14.7 avg.) with 70 scores. He also spent one season (2003) in the af2 with the Greensboro Prowlers. Sippio was named the league's Ironman of the Year after his amazing individual campaign with the Prowlers which included 57 catches for 1,009 yards and 27 touchdowns, and 66.0 tackles, five interceptions, and 14 pass breakups in 13 games. He originally entered the NFL as a free agent with Miami in 2004. The Orlando, Florida native played three seasons ('99-01) as a cornerback and safety at Western Kentucky. Sippio concluded his college career with 179 tackles, 19 interceptions, 41 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He was a three-sport athlete at Osceola High School in Kissimmee, Fla.
HUGHLEY, VENA, CASON, BACOTE EARN SECOND ROUND HONORS: Tulsa wide receiver/defensive back JEFF HUGHLEY, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton quarterback RYAN VENA and Green Bay defensive back STEPHEN CASON have been named the U.S. Army Ironman, Schutt Offensive Player and ADT Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for the Second Round of the 2007 ArenaCup Playoffs. In addition to these three awards, the af2 is also highlighting the player who makes the best catch of the week. The Cutters Catch of the Week Award for the second round goes to Bossier-Shreveport wide receiver/linebacker MARC BACOTE.
Hughley (5-8, 165, Averett), in his first af2 season, had an impressive all-around effort for Tulsa in the team's 65-27 second round playoff victory against South Georgia. The rookie from Averett made his presence felt on offense with nine catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Hughley was also a factor on special teams with 51 kick return yards for a total of 167 all-purpose yards. He also made an impact on kick coverage by recording a crucial net recovery late in the third quarter. The recovery led to a Tulsa score two plays later to give the team a 14-point lead, 42-28, less than a minute into the final quarter of play. This is the second Ironman of the Week Award of Hughley's career and his third league honor in as many weeks. He was named the Schutt Offensive Player of the Week last week and earned his first Ironman of the Week honor for his play in Week 18. Offensively, Hughley was the Talons' top overall performer in 2007, leading the squad in scoring (198 points), total touchdowns (33 - 26 receiving, 3 rushing, 3 kick return, 1 INT return), receptions (84), receiving yards (1,069), receiving TDs (26), kick return touchdowns (3 - T1st in af2), kick return yards (1,363 - 4th in af2) and all-purpose yards (2,515 - 6th in af2). Hughley has also contributed on defense with 20.5 total tackles and one interception return for a score. Vena (6-0, 220, Colgate) continued his stellar play in 2007 with another strong showing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's 70-53 second round playoff win Saturday against Central Valley. The former Colgate standout, now in his fourth af2 season, completed 31-of-48 passes for an af2 postseason record 404 yards with nine touchdowns and just one interception in the victory. He also rushed for 23 yards on six carries with one touchdown. Vena is no stranger to this honor. This is the fourth time he's earned this award in 2007 (also in Weeks 4, 12, 13). It's also the seventh time overall that Vena has been named Offensive Player of the Week in his af2 career. He was honored once in 2006 (Week 5) and twice in 2003 (Week 10, Week 15). Vena, who has the Pioneers just one win away from a berth in the ArenaCup, is in the midst of maybe his finest professional season ever. He finished the regular season among the league's elite passers in passer rating (1st-124.2), completion percentage (2nd-66.9), total touchdowns (2nd-108; 92 passing, 16 rushing), touchdown passes (T2nd-92) and passing yards (4th-4,241). Cason (5-11, 210, William & Mary) was an impact player on defense for Green Bay in the team's 37-27 second round home playoff win against Louisville. The rookie from William & Mary was a major factor in the defensive backfield with a game-high 10.5 tackles. Cason was especially stingy in the second half, stopping two consecutive Fire drives with interceptions. This is the first Defensive Player of the Week Award of Cason's career. He finished the regular season ranked fourth in the league in tackles with 113 and was second on the squad in interceptions (6) and pass breakups (17). Bacote (6-5, 218, James Madison) earned the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for a leaping touchdown grab on a fade pass from nine yards out early in the fourth quarter of the Battle Wings' 50-45 second round playoff victory over No. 1 seed Rio Grande Valley. In addition to his scoring reception, Bacote also had one tackle for loss on defense. The veteran two-way player from James Madison, in his fifth af2 campaign, was one of the Bossier-Shreveport's top defensive performers in 2007, tallying 35.5 total tackles, two interceptions (one return TD) and two fumble recoveries (one return TD). He also played a valuable part on the offensive side with 17 catches for 133 yards and six scores.
VENA SETS PLAYOFF PASSING MARK: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton QB RYAN VENA set an af2 postseason record with 404 yards passing in the Pioneers' 70-53 second round win against Central Valley last Saturday. The previous record was 397 yards set in 2001 by Richmond's BOB BEES in a semifinal victory at Tennessee Valley. The veteran signal caller's nine touchdown passes (T2nd) and 31 pass completions (T2nd) also rank among the top single-game totals in playoff history.
CONFERENCE FINALS BREAKDOWN: Three of the four teams that take the field on Saturday night in the American and National Conference finals have played in a conference championship before. Green Bay is 1-0, Tulsa is 1-1 and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 0-1. The Blizzard won at Florida in 2006, 67-50, to advance to their first-ever ArenaCup. The Talons defeated Arkansas in 2003, 63-52, and went on to win the ArenaCup. The next year (2004) Tulsa lost to Peoria, 30-28. The Pioneers were defeated by Florida in 2004 in their only conference final appearance, 41-31. The Firecats went on to win the ArenaCup title, defeating Peoria, 39-26. The only team that will be playing in its first conference championship event is Bossier-Shreveport.
AN UPSET ON TAP?: In the ArenaCup playoffs, history has shown that a home game in the Conference Championship doesn't guarantee a victory. In each of the last seven seasons at least one home team has lost when playing for the right to advance to the ArenaCup. In 2002 and 2004 both home teams lost.
SPEAKING OF HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Tulsa posted two of the league's top home records in 2007. The Pioneers were a perfect 8-0 while the Talons completed the regular season 7-1. Both teams are also a perfect
2-0 in the playoffs.
ALLNER ONE STEP AWAY FROM A LEAGUE FIRST: With a victory on Saturday in the National Conference Championship, Tulsa Head Coach MITCH ALLNER would become the first person to participate in an ArenaCup first as a player and then later as a head coach. Allner, a former league standout who played in Tulsa from 2002-04, was a key member of the Talons' 2003 team that won the ArenaCup. The rookie coach has looked like a veteran on the sidelines, guiding his former team to a 16-2 overall record (14-2 regular season; 2-0 playoffs) so far this season.
BATTLE WINGS ONE STEP FROM BECOMING TRUE ARENACUP HOSTS: When it was officially announced by the af2 nearly five months ago that the Bossier-Shreveport area would be hosting its second ArenaCup championship in the last three seasons, having the Battle Wings participate in the game was, well, a stretch. The team was 2-0 at the time, but had only one winning season to its credit in six years without a single playoff appearance. Fast forward to the present, and Bossier-Shreveport is just one road win away from going back home to host the league's championship as a participant. This would be the first time in the league's three-year history of a "neutral-site" ArenaCup final that the location would become not so neutral.
2007 af2 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE & RESULTS: The champion of the American Conference will meet the champion of the National Conference in the 2007 ArenaCup on Saturday, August 25 at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La. Sixteen teams qualified for the playoffs, eight from each conference (American and National). The eight qualifying teams in each conference consisted of the three division champions and five Wild Cards, determined by best overall record. Seeding in each conference was based on overall record, with the top three seeds in each conference reserved for the division champions, regardless of record. In the First Round (August 3-5), the first three seeds in each conference are the three division winners. The next five teams were seeded by next best five overall records. Teams ranked 1-4 earn home playoff games with 1 hosting 8, 2 hosting 7, 3 hosting 6 and 4 hosting 5. In the Second Round (August 10-12), the winner of the 1-8 game plays the winner of the 4-5 game. The winner of the 2-7 game plays the winner of the 3-6 game. The home team is decided by the team with the higher seed. The winners of the Second Round will meet for the Conference Championships on the weekend of August 17-19. The team with the better overall record hosts the Conference Championship game. The winners of the Conference Championships face off in the 2007 ArenaCup.
First Round (All times Eastern)
Friday, August 3
Green Bay 39, QUAD CITY 34 (2,562)
Central Valley 42, MANCHESTER 41 (3,481)
Saturday, August 4
Louisville 62, SPOKANE 35 (8,272)
W-B/SCRANTON 57, Tri-Cities 54 (4,645)
Friday, August 10
GREEN BAY 37, Louisville 27 (4,349)
Saturday, August 11
W-B/SCRANTON 70, Central Valley 53 (4,844)
Saturday, August 18
No. 6 Green Bay (11-7) at No. 1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (16-2) 7:00 p.m.
First Round (All times Eastern)
Saturday, August 4, 2007
South Georgia 59, FLORIDA 50 (5,032)
Bossier-Shreveport 62, ARKANSAS 40 (4,516)
TULSA 65, Oklahoma City 27 (3,151)
Sunday, August 5, 2007
RIO GRANDE VALLEY 44, Alabama 41 (4,997)
Friday, August 10
Bossier-Shreveport 50, RIO GRANDE VALLEY 45 (5,500)
Saturday, August 11
TULSA 49, South Georgia 28 (2,726)
No. 5 Bossier-Shreveport (13-5) at No. 2 Tulsa (16-2) 8:00 p.m.
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