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Riptide Game Notes

May 22, 2002 - arenafootball2 (af2) - San Diego Riptide News Release

San Diego Riptide (3-4) vs. Bakersfield Blitz (4-2)
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002
Kickoff: 7:00 pm (PDT)
Site: SD Sports Arena (12,000)
Officials: Frank White (referee); Phil Akana (umpire); George Gusman, Jr (head linesman); Matt Sumstine (line judge); Mike Goshima (back judge); Douglas Awana (alternate)

Radio: KSDO 1130 AM (Scott Kaplan, Billy Ray Smith)
By Phone: 1.800.846.4700 Team Code: 4101

Series History: Blitz 1-0
Last time: BAK 49, SDG 43 OT (4/06/02)

Blitz: James Fuller (4-2, 1st year)
Riptide: Cree Morris (3-4, 1st year)

This week’s opponent – Bakersfield Blitz The San Diego Riptide (3-4) return home after a two-game road trip, which they went 1-1, to take on their division rivals, the Bakersfield Blitz (4-2).

The last time these two met was the season opener when Bakersfield battled back from a late first half 27-3 deficit to take the game into overtime and win 49-43.

The Blitz enter tonight’s contest after a disappointing loss to the Peoria Pirates 60-54 in overtime. Bakersfield tied the game at 54 with no time remaining after a 5-yard Steve Wofford touchdown, but they failed to convert the extra point for the win.

Last week at Fresno – Frenzy 49, Riptide 37

FRESNO – Kane Claunch completed 16-of-24 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, all to Marty Graham, in a losing effort as the San Diego Riptide fell 49-37 to Fresno. Defensively despite the score and lack of containing Game MVP Lamont Webb (223 all-purpose yards & 3 TDs), the Riptide did have a few bright spots defensively. WR/LB Rico Curtis registered 13 stops (5 solo, 8 assisted) and an interception despite having a severe case of the flu. OL/DL Trevor Misipeka recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, broke up another pass, had a sack and recorded three assisted tackles.

Fresno jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead after Blake Eagal’s four-yard rushing score. Then their defense forced the potent Riptide offense to a three and out. However, on the next Frenzy play, Ryan Cuthbert sacked Fresno QB Ricky Ray and forced a fumble that set up the Riptide’s first points of the game, a 17-yard run by Brian Berg.

Fresno responded with a 10-play 45-yard drive culminating in the first of five Ricky Ray touchdowns, a 16-yarder to Daman Green. The Riptide quickly took a brief 14-13 lead when Claunch hit Graham on a 17-yard strike. Very brief lead in fact as Ray nailed an open Webb a 36-yard bomb and went back up 19-14 with 12 minutes left in the first half.

Melvin Blue put the Riptide back up 21-19 after his one-yard scamper, but the Frenzy went into halftime up 22-21 with Brian McCabe’s 41-yard boot.

The Frenzy shut out the Riptide in the third quarter and distanced themselves in the fourth thanks to two late Webb touchdowns.

Score by quarter 1 2 3 4 F
San Diego Riptide 07 14 00 16 37
Fresno Frenzy 13 09 06 21 49

Curt’s so good

For the five of seven games, Rico Curtis has led the Riptide in tackles. His 52.5 tackles on the year rank first in the af2 and is on pace to break (with 120 stops) the af2 single-season record (117 by Cornelius Coe of Quad City in 2000). Coe was a defensive specialist and went on to the AFL the following season with the Indiana Firebirds and tallied the AFL single-season mark in his rookie year.

Kane Passing it Around

On the year, Kane Claunch has thrown 32 touchdowns with all 11 players who have caught a pass reeling in a score from him. From the ground, the Riptide have had six different players score rushing TDs (14 total TDs).

First down Friendly to Claunch

Against Fresno (5/18), Claunch completed 12-of-13 passes for 149 yards, a touchdown and six first downs. However, on third and fourth down, he was 0-of-5 passing.

Heckuva “Gei”

Since being assigned to the Riptide just hours before the Louisville game (5/04), Ryan Geisler has been a great acquisition for the Riptide. Before he came to the team, San Diego was just 1-of-9 from field goals. Geisler is 3-for-6, but is a perfect 3-of-3 from under 50 yards.

One-Armed Bandit

Jason Henry played against Fresno (5/18) despite having a dislocated elbow, which in all purposes disabled his left arm. He hurt it in the Louisville game (5/04) and missed the Hawaii game (5/11).

One Flu over the Frenzy?

Rico Curtis suffered from a severe case of the flu against Fresno (5/18) and ended up with 9.0 tackles (5 solo, 8 assisted), an interception and four receptions for 51 yards. As a result, he was named the Ironman of the Game.

Getting “Misi”

Against Fresno (5/18), Trevor Misipeka tallied three assisted tackles, a sack, recovered a fumble and picked off his first career interception. He also started the game at center, marking the first time in his football career he played the position.

A “Cut” Above the Rest

Against Fresno (5/18), Ryan Cuthbert recorded a sack that forced a fumble which set up a Riptide touchdown and batted a ball up in the air, which Misipeka picked off.

Graham nabs three TDs in return

After sitting against Hawaii (5/11) to rest his hamstring, Marty Graham returned to the starting lineup against Fresno (5/18) and caught all three of Claunch’s touchdown passes. Graham ended with seven grabs for 96 yards.

Graham Goes Over a Grand

Against Fresno (5/18), Graham went over the 1,000 all-purpose yardage mark, becoming the first Riptide player to accomplish the feat. He is averaging an af2-leading 229.4 all-purpose yards a game.

Third-Down Woes

The Riptide offense has had very tough times this season on third downs. Against Fresno (5/18), they were 0-of-5 and on the year are 17-of-43 (39.5%). However, if the team decides to go for it on fourth down, they are 5-of-10 (50.0%) with four of those conversions going for touchdowns.


The teamwork of all three of the Riptide Ryans contributed to San Diego’s 52-50 win last Saturday in Hawaii. Ryan Geisler hit both field goal attempts, including the game winner at time expired. Ryan Smith had 261 all-purpose yards, including a 32-yard kickoff return to set up Geisler’s game winner. Finally, Ryan Cuthbert caught a 17-yard touchdown and registered 1 ½ tackles.


Against the Islanders (5/11), the Riptide’s first three touchdowns all came when they started that possession with the ball inside Hawaii territory. Ryan Smith had a 42-yard missed field goal return to the Islander 14 that set up Melvin Blue’s 1-yard rushing score.

On their next scoring drive, San Diego’s Rico Curtis had a 17-yard return and an Islander personal foul placed the ball at the Hawaii 24. A play later Kane Claunch hit Mark Butler on a 24-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Brian Berg stripped out the ball from the Hawaiian returner and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim scooped it up at the Islander 14. Three plays later, Claunch plunged in from a yard out.


In Hawaii (5/11), Aazaar Abdul-Rahim scooped up two loose fumbles for the Riptide and recorded a game-high 7.0 tackles. As a result, he was named as the ADT Defensive Player of the Game for his efforts.


The Riptide registered 68 points against Louisville (5/04) despite having the ball for just 19:46 and only 25 offensive plays. Each scoring drive was less than four plays and the most time consumed was 3:38 when Claunch and Smith hooked up for a 19-yard score.

The Riptide’s longest drive (7 plays, 5:17) resulted in a fumble. Two San Diego scores came from the defense (fumble return and INT return) and another two on special teams (kickoff return and safety).


Against Louisville (5/04), the Riptide returned touchdowns three different ways on their way to winning 68-27. Marty Graham had an af2-record 58-yard kickoff return near the end of the first half. Rico Curtis followed in the third quarter with a 17-yard fumble return for a score. Finally in the fourth, Ryan Smith picked off a pass and raced 52 yards for another Riptide score.


Rico Curtis was named the af2’s Built-Ford Tough Player of the Week after a dominating two-way performance in the Riptide’s 68-27 win over Louisville (5/04). Curtis is the lone Riptide player to be selected as one of the team’s BFT players all seven games this season.


The Riptide have recorded safety’s in three of their six games this season. At Fresno (4/11), a botched snap on a field goal attempt resulted in a safety. The following week against Tulsa (4/20), Ryan Cuthbert forced the Talons returner on the opening kickoff back into the end zone for another safety. And finally, last week against Louisville (5/04), Brad Greetis blocked a field goal. The ball went out of bounds for a safety.


After each of the Riptide’s three safeties, the team has taken the free kick and gone done for scores. Below is how the Riptide scored on each drive after the defense recorded a safety.

Game Plays Score
Fresno 1 Burk 8yd run – PAT good
Tulsa 5 Curtis 1yd run – PAT failed
Louisville 2 Curtis 35yd pass (Claunch) PAT failed


In the Riptide’’s 49-43 overtime loss to Bakersfield (4/06), Marty Graham recorded an af2-record 400 all-purpose yards and many other of the top marks this season in numerous af2 single-game marks. Below is a list of the top statistics that Graham achieved in the season opener.

Game (all vs. Bakersfield) Stat af2 Rank
All-purpose yards 400 1st
Kickoff yards 199 3rd
Combined Ret. Yards 199 3rd
Rec yards/reception 28.1 1st
KO yards/return 28.4 1st
Combined yards/return 28.4 1st
Yards/touch 25.0 1st


Ryan Smith recorded one of the best kickoff return performances in af2 history on against Arkansas (4/27). It ranks seventh all-time in league annuals. Below is a list of the top seven return yardage games.

Player Team Opp Date Yds
Brian McDonald LOU at Iowa 7/07/01 240
Brian McDonald LOU Iowa 7/14/01 234
Archie Turner BAT at BIRM 6/29/01 234
Johnny Loper MEM at RICH 7/13/01 233
Anthony Stringfield NORF CAR 6/22/01 233
Lamont Webb FRN QC 4/27/02 231
Ryan Smith SDG at ARK 4/27/02 227


April 6’s Riptide-Blitz game’s overtime period lasted 10:38, which put the game at 70 minutes and 38 seconds. This marks the longest game in the history of the league.


Despite the loss to Bakersfield on April 6, the Riptide OS set an af2 record for most all-purpose yards in a single game (400) and grabbed four touchdowns. He averaged more than 25 yards per touch in the contest with TD grabs of 40, 16, 36 and 46 yards (his other three catches went for 26,19 and 14).

Marty Graham vs. Bakersfield (April 6, 2002)
Category Touches Yards Avg. TDs
Receiving 7 197 28.1 4
Returns 7 199 28.4 0
Rushing 2 4 2.0 0
All-Purpose 16 400 25.1 4

af2 all-purpose yardage games (All-time)
Yards Player, team Opponent, date
400 Marty Graham, SD 4/06/02 vs. Bakersfield
378 Lamont Webb, FRN 4/27/02 vs. QC
356 Ira Gooch, QC 5/11/02 at PEO
351 Archie Turner, BAT 7/07/01 at Memphis

RIPTIDE AZTEC ARMY Nearly a third of the Riptide roster consist of former San Diego State Aztec players.

Pos Player
DS Aazaar Abdul-Rahim
OL/DL Brandon Bejarano
FB/LB Brian Berg
DS Kevin Burton
WR/LB Rico Curtis
OS Marty Graham
WR/LB Scottie Nicholson

INJURY REPORT (as of May 17)
Player Injury Status
Kevin Burton Knee Injured Reserve
Jerry Garrett Knee Injured Reserve
Nathan Gallow Ankle Doubtful
Jason Henry Elbow Questionable
Ryan Smith Pneumonia Probable

COMET CONNECTIONS The Riptide have five players who played for Palomar Junior College. This is where 2001 AFL Ironman of the Year, Damon Porter (Chicago Rush) played. Riptide OL/DL Steve Hendrickson is an assistant coach for the Comets’ football team, making six players with Palomar connections

Pos. Player FB/LB Jason Burk
DS Michael Duncan
WR/LB Jerry Garrett
OL/DL Brad Greetis
OL/DL Steve Hendrickson
OL/DL Jason Henry
WR/DB Ryan Smith


The award honors the players who made a game-saving tackle or score-saving tackle, threw a key block on the big play or exhibited physical sacrifice or consistent tough blocking and tackling on both sides of the ball.

Riptide Built-Ford Tough Players of the Game
4/06 vs. Blitz Brian Berg, Rico Curtis, Ryan Cuthbert
4/13 at Frenzy Brian Berg, Rico Curtis, Scottie Nicholson, Altie Parker, Jason Burk
4/20 vs. Talons Kane Claunch, Rico Curtis, Marty Graham
4/27 at Twisters Rico Curtis, Altie Parker, Ryan Smith
5/04 vs. Fire Brian Berg, Rico Curtis, Brad Greetis, Ryan Smith
5/11 at Hawaii Brian Berg, Ryan Cuthbert, Rico Curtis, Ryan Geisler, Ryan Smith
5/18 vs. Frenzy Kane Claunch, Rico Curtis, Ryan Cuthbert, Trevor Misipeka

Most Riptide Players Named BFT Player of the Game
7 Rico Curtis
4 Brian Berg
3 Ryan Cuthbert
3 Ryan Smith
2 Kane Claunch


Built-Ford Tough Player of the Week
Week 6 5/04 vs. Louisville Rico Curtis


This is a brand new award that honors the top defensive player of the game/week/year. ADT Security Services, Inc., a unit of Tyco Fire and Security Services will sponsor this award and become one of the af2’s primary sponsors. Below are Riptide players that were voted on by the attending media as that game’s ADT Defensive Player of the Game.

ADT Defensive Players of the Game
4/13 at Frenzy Ryan Cuthbert
4/20 vs. Talons Rico Curtis
5/04 vs. Fire Ryan Smith
5/11 at Islanders Aazaar Abdul-Rahim

NEXT WEEK’S OPPONENT – Hawaiian Islanders The Riptide continue their two-game home stand next Saturday when they take on the Hawaiian Islanders here at the Sports Arena.

The teams played two weeks ago in Hawaii with the Riptide prevailing 52-50 thanks to Ryan Geisler’s 40-yard field goal as time expired.

The Islanders (1-6) have dropped six straight games since beating Fresno back on March 30. Hawaii and Fresno play this Saturday.


If you cannot make it to this Saturday’s game, you have three options to listen to the Riptide-Blitz game.

Join Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith for the pre-game show at 6:30pm and at 7:00pm get ready for all the high-scoring Arena football action.

Log-on to the Riptide’s official homepage ( to listen to every second of tonight’s game anywhere that the Internet is available on the planet.

TELEPHONE – 1.800.846.4700 Team Code: 4101
There’s no need to have Internet access to listen to the Riptide games. To hear live play-by-play of all 16 Riptide games make a toll-free to 1-800-846-4700 and enter 4101 as the Riptide 'Team Code'.

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