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Riptide's McElrath Named Ironman of the Week

June 1, 2004 - arenafootball2 (af2) - San Diego Riptide News Release

CHICAGO – San Diego Riptide wide receiver/linebacker Nakoa McElrath has been named the af2’s U.S. Army Ironman of the Week for Week 9. The Riptide rookie caught a game-high three touchdown passes and forced two fumbles to lead the ‘Tide to a surprising 91-77 upset victory over the division-leading Hawaiian Islanders last week.

McElrath, who was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Game for his effort on the defensive side of the ball, including 1.5 tackles, one pass defended and two forced fumbles, one of which he recovered for a touchdown. The stellar effort, combined with his six catches for a game-high 92 yards earned him the league’s weekly U.S. Army Ironman Award, given to the player who combines the strongest performances in multiple aspects of the game.

The six-foot-two-inch, 190-pound rookie out of Washington State scored four touchdowns for the 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.

After missing the first three weeks of the season with an injury, McElrath has become one of the most dangerous receiving threats in af2. In his first-ever af2 game in Week 4 he caught three balls, all for touchdowns. He added a game-high 94 yards in his next contest, and another touchdown the following week. Then, in Week 8, McElrath shredded the league’s top ranked defense, scoring five touchdowns in the Riptide’s win against the Quad City Steamwheelers, setting a new team record.

McElrath, a La Jolla native, graduated from Scripps Ranch High School in 1998 where he starred on the football and basketball team. While at Washington State, McElrath helped the Cougars to a 10-2 record in 2001, culminating in a Sun Bowl victory that season. He set team records with 72 catches and 1,163 yards receiving that season and later spent time in training camp with the Seattle Seahawks.

Each week the af2 honors the best offensive, defensive and Ironman performance during the preceding week’s games. This is the first such honor for a Riptide player during the 2004 season. Kenny Haslip, now with the Bakersfield Blitz, was the last San Diego player to win a league award, taking home ADT Defensive Player of the Week honors during Week 18 of the 2003 season.

Louisville WR/LB Anthony Payton and Peoria WR/LB Lawrence Matthews were named Week 9’s Baby Ruth Real Deal Offensive Player of the Week and ADT Defensive Player of the Week, respectively.

The Riptide travel to Fresno this week to take on the Central Valley Coyotes for the second of a three-game road trip. They return home on June 26 to take on the Bakersfield Blitz for the first time this season at the Sports Arena. The first 3,000 fans will receive complementary Riptide ball caps, courtesy of Sportsbook.com. Fans can catch all the action for every Riptide game with Mark Rogondino calling the play-by-play, by visiting www.WorldTalkRadio.com.

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