Steamwheelers Weekly Report
Recap: It is beginning to appear that the Quad City Steamwheelers have completely kicked their losing habit and it showed this past Friday night. What is starting to become something of the norm, the Steamwheelers started off slow on the offensive end, but held their own on defense. Then the Wheelers took over to start the second half and ran away with a 54-29 victory over the Arkansas Twisters. The win is the second straight for the Wheelers and coupled with a Louisville loss at Manchester, the Steamwheelers now have sole possession of first place in the National Conference Midwest Division.
Next Up: A month ago, this game appeared to be a little easier than what it will actually be now. The Steamwheelers will defend their rights to the Ruler of the River trophy in the War on I-74 against their archrival Peoria Pirates. The Pirates have now won three out of their last four and two straight. Pirates coach Bruce Cowdrey has made some roster changes that have taken the once 2-5 Pirates to a 5-6 record heading into this game. The Pirates had their bye week last week.
Last Time: The Steamwheelers jumped out to a 27-0 lead on the Pirates shortly into the second quarter at the Peoria Civic Center. But just when it looked as if the Steamwheelers were going to run away with the game, the Pirates battled back to within seven after rattling off 20 straight points. That would be all that they could muster as the Steamwheelers then scored the games next 20 points to walk away with the Ruler of the River trophy with a 47-20 victory.
The Curse Was Broken: But now it is back. For the first time since Week 3, a No. 1 ranked team in the af2 Coaches Poll won. That was last weekend when the top ranked Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers defeated the Albany Conquest 69-43 in Albany. The Week 13 poll came out and the Pioneers remained atop the polls. They were the first team to hold the top ranking in back-to-back weeks since the Steamwheelers did for the first three weeks of the poll. Every other top ranked team lost the weekend after gaining the top seed. Just when it appeared that the curse was gone, the Pioneers brought it back, losing this past weekend to the Cape Fear Wildcats by a count of 57-49. The top ranked team is now 4-8 when holding the ranking. Of the top six ranked teams, four lost this past weekend, with another on their bye week. The lone winner was the third ranked Birmingham Steeldogs, who escaped Rio Grande Valley with a 59-58 victory over the Dorados. They will most likely take over the top spot when the new poll comes out this Wednesday.
Still Running Towards the Record: The man is a rushing touchdown machine. It just doesnt stop. For the 12th straight game, quarterback Ronnie Gordon rushed for a touchdown. In other words, there hasnt been a Steamwheelers game this season in which Gordon has not accomplished this feat. On the season he now has 19, a new Steamwheelers record, and fell slightly off the pace to tie the af2 record of 28 set by Cape Fears Wilmont Perry last season. Gordon is on pace to finish the season with 25.
Delay of Game: As some might have noticed, the statistics from the Steamwheelers game this past weekend have not been posted on the af2 or Steamwheelers websites. There is good reason and the problem is in the process of being fixed. A technical problem with the stats computer in Arkansas delayed the release of the game statistics. But have no worries, they will be released by the end of the day.
Upcoming Steamwheelers Appearances: The Steamwheelers will be out and about this week starting with the DeckMate Cheerleaders YMCA Cheerleading Clinic, which starts Monday and rolls all the way through Thursday. The clinic is 6-8 p.m. at the Downtown Davenport YMCA. Also, on Sunday, Steamwheelers players and staff will be appearing in the Bettendorf Fourth of July Parade, which begins at 9 a.m.
Practice Times: Coach Ingold and the Steamwheelers return to practice on Monday after taking the weekend off to heal up some sore bodies. The Steamwheelers will be practicing Monday Thursday at MAXSports (formerly Marycrest Events Center). Practice begins at 5 p.m. with a film session that usually runs for 20-30 minutes. Practice then runs for about an hour to an hour and a half. Most players begin to arrive at practice around 4:30 p.m. and are around after practice for at least 20 minutes. Interviews are best to be conducted before or after practice. If there are any problems, contact Steamwheelers Media Relations Manager Ryan Holtmann.
Travel Plans: The Steamwheelers are home for the weekend and will only have the short trip over the I-74 Bridge to The MARK of the Quad Cities for this weekends game.
On the Air: In the Boiler Room is in full effect and airs every Monday night on WFXN 1230 AM at 7 p.m. In the Boiler Room host Jim Albracht will be joined by Steamwheelers coach Rich Ingold as well as select players.
You can also listen in to Q106.5s Dwyer and Michaels every morning as they discuss the Wheelers periodically on the Mornings with Dwyer and Michaels show that runs from 5:30 a.m. 10 a.m.
Also, the Voice of the Steam Jim Albracht also hosts Albracht in the AM from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on WOC 1420 AM. Throughout the show he discusses a variety of topics as well as the Steamwheelers.
Every Sunday night on NBC affiliate KWQC-TV6, following the 10 p.m. news, sports director Thom Cornelis hosts Wheeler Watch which features highlights of the previous weekends game and a discussion with head coach Rich Ingold.
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