Week 12 af2 news & notes

by af2 Press Release
June 21, 2001 - arenafootball2 (af2)

Week 12 arenafootball2 news & notes

af2 Press Release

League News

Mobile, Ala. second team to join 2002 expansion class
The League Office of arenafootball2 announced Friday that Mobile, Ala., received unanimous approval from the af2 Board of Directors as the newest addition to the planned expansion for the 2002 season. Approval by the full Arena Football Board of Directors is expected to be announced later this month.

"I have been a fan of Arena Football for a number of years," said Mobile businessman and owner of the Mobile af2 team Norris Armstrong. "We will strive to maintain a strong, positive presence in our community and focus on presenting a quality product that the people deserve."

"We are extremely pleased to be able to bring the fan-friendly game of arenafootball2 to the Mobile market," said af2 Executive Director Mary Ellen Garling. "Both Beth and Norris Armstrong are passionate sports enthusiasts who have a strong tradition in the Mobile marketplace that will surely carry over to the fans in the community."

"With an af2 team in Pensacola and two other in Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville), we plan to generate the intensity shown in any Alabama vs. Auburn sporting event," said Armstrong.

"af2 will continue Mobile's movement toward becoming the dominant sports city in Alabama," said Mobile Mayor Mike Dow. "I commend Norris Armstrong for his commitment to the city."

The management staff for the Mobile af2 team will be appointed within the next few weeks and team headquarters will be located at the Lafayette Plaza Hotel near Mobile's Civic Center, where all home games will be played. A team name and logo will be announced in the near future.

Albany joins Class of 2002 expansion
The league office of arenafootball2 announced Wednesday that Albany, New York has received unanimous approval from the af2 Board of Directors as the newest addition to the planned expansion for the 2002 season.

This will mark the return of Arena Football to the City of Albany after a one year absence. Albany was home to the Albany Firebirds from 1990-2000. The Firebirds won the ArenaBowl Championship in 1999 defeating the Orlando Predators 59-48 in front of a sold out crowd of 13,652 fans.

"I am very excited to be able to bring Arena Football back to Albany," said Albany businessman and operator of the Albany af2 team Glenn Mazula. "The fan support for Arena Football was tremendous with the Firebirds, and I am sure that fans will support these players in their quest to win the ArenaCup Championship in af2."

"The Albany community are true Arena Football fans and we have waited in anticipation to bring back the game they have come to love," said af2's Executive Director Mary Ellen Garling. "Glenn Mazula is one of the most respected owners in Arena Football and has a tremendous passion for the city of Albany and its fans, a true love affair that we are pleased to reunite in arenafootball2."

The management staff for the Albany af2 team will be appointed within the next few weeks and team headquarters will be located in Pepsi Arena, where all home games will be played. A team name and logo will be announced in the near future. Fans can lock up season tickets starting today with only a $25 deposit by calling the Pepsi Arena Box Office at (518) 487-2085. Former Albany Firebirds season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase the same seats for Albany af2 as they held for the Firebirds.

Albany marks the third arenafootball2 expansion team for the 2002 season; af2 previously announced Bakersfield, CA and Mobile, AL. This year's Championship game, ArenaCup 2001, will again be televised in prime-time on The National Network ("TNN") on Friday, August 10 at 8:00 PM ET/PT. The 2001 af2 playoffs begin on July 27/28.

Lafayette names Whinham interim head coach
The Lafayette Roughnecks announced Monday that Head Coach Buford Jordan was released after leading the team to a 3-8 start (2-5 South Central Division).

"It is with regret that we release Coach Jordan and move in a different direction," said Lafayette Vice President Dave Whinham. "The Roughnecks are grateful for Coach Jordan's contributions in our inaugural season and wish him and his family all the best in his future endeavors."

Whinham will take over as the team's interim head coach until a new coach is hired. Whinham has 12 years of coaching experience in the Arena Football League.

Tennessee Titans mascot to visit Vipers this weekend
The Tennessee Valley Vipers will be welcoming a special guest to Saturday night's game against the Roanoke Steam.

Tennessee Titans mascot, T-Rac, will be making the trip down from Nashville to participate in the opening coin toss. He will be available at Viperville at 5:00 and throughout the game for autographs and, his favorite thing, hugs.

The Vipers host the Steam at 7:30, Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. Plenty of tickets are still available by calling the Vipers front office at (256) 551-3240, or by visiting the Von Braun Center Box Office.

For the Record

Averaging a league-high 8.73 receptions per game this season, Wichita OS Pascal Volz is on pace for 139 receptions this season. That would break the previous record of 138 (Carl Bond, Carolina, 2000). Volz has 96 receptions in 11 games.

With 1,448 yards receiving this season, Jacksonville OS Anthony Bright has already posted the sixth-best regular-season total in league history and he is on pace to set the league's season mark. Averaging 131.6 receiving yards per game, Bright is on pace to post 2,106 receiving yards this season. The current record is 2,086 set last season by Carl Bond (Tallahassee).

With eight tackles for loss this season, Tallahassee OL/DL Ernest Certain is one shy of tying the league record for most tackles for loss in a season (9, James Kirkland, Roanoke, 2000). With 12 career tackles for loss (four in 2000), Certain is the all-time league leader.

With 2.0 sacks last week, Certain has pushed his total this season to 14.0. The record for most sacks in a season is 14.5 set last season by Richmond's Lawrence Lewis. With 20.5 career sacks, Certain is the all-time leader in sacks.

With 44 passes defended, Carolina DS Donvetis Franklin needs just two more to set the league record for most passes defended in a season (45, David Knott, Tennessee Valley, 2000).

Milestones

With one rushing and five receiving touchdowns last week, Tallahassee WR/DB Marvin Taylor tied the season record with six touchdowns in a game. Taylor became the fourth player this season to score six touchdowns in a game.

Taylor and Tulsa WR/DB Jarrail Jackson became the sixth and seventh players this season to record five receiving touchdowns in a game in last week's action.

Quad City QB Jay McDonagh set the season record for most passing yards in a game with 383 yards last week. McDonagh's mark is the second-highest total in league history, trailing only the 457 yards thrown by Tallahassee's Shane Stafford last season (June 2, 2000).

Roanoke QB Matt D'Orazio set the record for most rushing attempts this season with his 13 attempts last week in the Steam's 40-37 win against Greensboro.

Birmingham WR/DB Jonathan Jackson posted the longest interception return in league history last week with his 53-yarder against Lafayette.

With 14 tackles last week, Jacksonville OL/DL Russell Parker became the all-time leader in tackles with 150 in his two-year career. Parker's 73 tackles this season trail only the 76 posted by Lincoln's Heath Staples.

Notable & Quotable

Bossier City DS Chris Clopton on the team's loss last week to Tennessee Valley: "We came out timid and let their 9-1 record against our 4-6 record get to us. We were on our heels, but we have to come out with more confidence against a team like that."

Memphis coach Collins Sanders on his team's overtime win last week against Pensacola: "Our guys definitely know now that you can't give up in this game, even with one second left. I think it says a lot about our team that we didn't just collapse when they scored to force the overtime."

Iowa QB Anthony Buich on preparing to play defending champion Quad City: "We put our pants on the same as them, one leg at a time. They just get into their pants a little better."

Quad City QB Jay McDonagh on his 383-yard passing performance last week, breaking the team record set last season by Billy Dicken, now with the AFL's Chicago Rush: "I didn't even know it was a record. I just had a lot of guys out there making plays. I guess this means next year I'll be playing in the AFL."

Tallahassee coach Gene McDowell on Jacksonville QB Jeff McCrone: "[Jeff] McCrone is key for their team. I wish he wasn't playing, but he is."

Birmingham coach Bobby Humphrey on his team's three defensive scores last week: "Our defense made big play after big play. To score three times on that side of the ball is unreal."

GAME PREVIEWS

TALLAHASSEE THUNDER (6-5) @ JACKSONVILLE TOMCATS (6-5)
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 @ 7:30 PM ET

THUNDER … In the last three games the Tallahassee defense has allowed only 127 total rushing yards. … Last week WR/DB Marvin Taylor tied the team record for most touchdown receptions in a game with six (Carl Bond, 2000). Taylor has eight touchdowns and 240 yards receiving in the last two games. … QB Chris Hixson has thrown for at least six touchdowns and 220 yards in each of his last three games, all Tallahassee victories. … TOMCATS … OS Anthony Bright is first in the league in receiving yards per game (131.6) and fourth in the league in points scored (170) and total receptions (89). … DS Russell Parker set a team record last week with 14 tackles. … FB/LB Schad Freeman leads the team in sacks (5).

CAROLINA RHINOS (8-3) @ NORFOLK NIGHTHAWKS (5-6)
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 @ 7 PM ET

RHINOS … The Carolina defense had two interceptions returned for touchdown and two safeties last week against Charleston. … WR/DB Donvetis Franklin is second in the league in kickoff return aveage (27.7 yards per game) and fifth in missed field goal return average (24.1). … OL/DL Ronnie Washburn is tied for fifth in the league in tackles for loss (4) and OL/DL B.J. Pate and Frankin are tied for sixth (3). … NIGHTHAWKS … OL/DL Marvin Davis has become Norfolk's anchor on the offensive line after an early injury Carl Deadrick. Davis's shining season at center has been a surprise considering that he was a FB/LB for the AFL's Florida Bobcats the previous three seasons. … DS Michael Blount is third in the league in passes defended (32). … DS Chris Pointer is 10th in the league in tackles (63).

WICHITA STEALTH (6-5) @ LAFAYETTE ROUGHNECKS (3-8)
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 @ 8:30 PM ET

STEALTH … Wichita is seeking its first road victory in team history. … DS Darius Ellison is tied for second in the league with five fumble recoveries. … OL/DL Jeremy Johnson is tied for second in the league in forced fumble (3) and tied for third for sacks (9.5). … ROUGHNECKS … This is the first game for team Vice President Dave Whinham as Lafayette's new head coach after replacing former coach Buford Jordan. … QBs Doug Coleman and Bryan Sparacino combined last week for the most passing attempts (48) and completions (24) in a game in team history. … Lafayette is 0-8 in games that it scores less than 50 points.

BIRMINGHAM STEELDOGS (9-2) @ PEORIA PIRATES (5-6)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8 PM ET

STEELDOGS … Birmingham is eclipsing its offense from a year ago, needing just 52 more points to top its team total of 666 points last season. Part of the reason for the offense's success is that the team is plus-20 in turnovers this season as opposed to the minus-11 the team was last season. … In just two weeks at his new position, DS Jonathon Jackson has 17 tackles and two interceptions, including a league-record 53 yarder for a touchdown. … With a combined 2,895 yards receiving, Wayne Thomas, Cedrick Buchannon and Anthony Jordan have accounted for 79.1 percent of Birmingham's offense this season. … PIRATES … FB/LB Shawn Wright leads Peoria in forced fumbles (3). … DS Shedrick Harris leads the team in passes defended (18) and tackles (51).

COLUMBUS WARDOGS (0-11) @ CHARLESTON SWAMP FOXES (5-6)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 7:30 PM ET

WARDOGS … Ty Butterfield leads Columbus with 717 yards receiving on a team-high 60 catches. … OS Matt Burstein leads Columbus in kickoff returns with 720 yards on 36 returns. … Eldrick Hill leads the team with 15 passes defended. … SWAMP FOXES … OS Antoine Calloway is fifth in the league in receptions (84) and receiving yards (1,120). … WR/LB Kenyatta Spruill has sparked the Charleston rushing game with a team-high 164 yards and 10 touchdowns. … OL/DL Preston Vinson has a team-high 5.5 sacks, followed closely by OL/DL Eugene Mays, who has 4.5.

FLORIDA FIRECATS (3-8) @ GREENSBORO PROWLERS (4-7)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 7:30 PM ET

FIRECATS … OS Cleveland Pratt is fifth in the league in scoring (160 points) and touchdowns (26). … DS Anthony Jones leads Florida in tackles (70) and fumbles forced (2). … Florida has 11 different defensive players who have recorded at least half a sack. … PROWLERS … FB/LB Sigmund Platt leads Greensboro in rushing attempts (43), rushing yards (99) and rushing touchdowns (9). … With six interceptions, DS Dee Jefferson is tied with four other players for sixth in the league. … OL/DL Orlando Atwaters is tied for the league lead in fumbles forced with four.

PENSACOLA BARRACUDAS (4-7) @ AUGUSTA STALLIONS (8-3)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 7 PM ET

BARRACUDAS … With 143 yards rushing, QB John Knust is seventh in the league in rushing. … OL/DL Husani Longstreet is second on the team in sacks (2.5) and third in tackles (26) in addition to scoring a safety and touchdown this season. … WR/LB Robert Stomas leads the league in kickoff return average (33.4). … STALLIONS … K Keith Gispert is tied for seventh in the league in scoring for kicker with 75 points (63 of 71 PAT, 4 of 22 FG). … WR/DB Tim Dumas is ninth in the league in receptions (71). … OL/DL Glen Mitts is tied for the league lead in fumbles forced (4).

LINCOLN LIGHTNING (3-8) @ QUAD CITY STEAMWHEELERS (10-1)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:00 PM ET

LINCOLN…Snapped their seven game losing streak last week with a home win over Louisville…QB Josh Luedtke injured his shoulder last week and is probable for this week's game…Lightning WR/DB David Johnson ranks 6th in the league with 6 interceptions returning 2 of them for touchdowns…OL/DL Jay Eilers makes his return to the Quad Cities after playing the 2000 season with the Steamwheelers…Rank 26th in the league in scoring with 300 points…Lightning offensive line has allowed 27 sacks on the season while the defense has only 7 sacks…QUAD CITY…Have their second five-game winning streak of the season after defeating Iowa for the second time last week…Last meeting with Lincoln WR/LB Xavier Patterson caught three touchdown passes and was named games MVP…Steamwheelers have won 17 straight ballgames at home dating back to last season…WR/DB Dennison Robinson continues to be one of the leading candidates for Ironman of the Year, he had his first 100-yard receiving day last week catching 8 passes for 124 yards…Steamwheelers have an astounding +83 turnover margin in two years in af2.

MACON KNIGHTS (7-4) @ TULSA TALONS (10-1)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:30 PM ET

MACON…Won their 5th straight game last week and remain in second place and one game behind Augusta in the Southeast division…QB Mike Gluski is 5-0 as a starter for Macon and has the second highest passing yards per game average (254.9 ypg)…K Jef Wood is 11-15 on two-point drop kicks this season, the 11 makes is the 2nd most in af2…Macon recorded 7 sacks last week against Rochester, while the offensive line hasn't yielded a sack in five games…DS Denario Smalls has recorded 6 interceptions in his 6 games with the Knights this season…Knights are 3rd in the league in interceptions with 21 on the season…Are tied for the most first downs in af2 with 183…TULSA…Remain the number 1 seed after defeating Wichita on the road last week by two…DS Jeromy Flowers needs one more interception to tie the all-time watermark of 11 set by Jacksonville's Brian Livingston last season…OS Jarrail Jackson is averaging 204.7 all-purpose yards per game, 2nd highest average in af2.

ROCHESTER BRIGADE (2-9) @ IOWA BARNSTORMERS (4-7)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:00 PM ET

ROCHESTER…Dropped their third game of the season at home last week to Macon…OS Derek Baker ranks 9th in the league in receiving yards per game (91.4) and 2nd in all-purpose yards (1928)…OL/DL Peter Govens is tied for 3rd with 2 forced fumbles…Despite their 2-9 record, the Brigade have a +5 turnover ratio…Offensive line has given up 46 sacks (worst in af2) so far this season…IOWA…Lost last week for the second time this season to Quad City…WR/DB Corey Hill had two kickoff returns for a touchdown last week (56,57 yards)…Barnstormers are 3rd in the league in first downs (175)…OS Mitch Allner leads the league in missed field goal return yardage averaging 36.8 ypg…OL/DL Nick Anderson is tied for 4th in tackles for a loss (5).

ROANOKE STEAM (6-5) @ TENNESSEE VALLEY VIPERS (10-1)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:30 PM ET

STEAM…Kept their playoff hopes alive last week with a win over Greensboro…Steam are 6-5 on the season and one game back of the 8th and final playoff spot…WR/DB Loren Johnson has 20 passes defended on the season (12th in af2)… K Josh Jones has moved into a tie for 4th place amongst kickers with 8 successful field goals…Steam are 2-3 on the road this season…Steam are 22nd in the league in scoring with 342 points…TENNESSEE VALLEY…Remained undefeated on the road this season (6-0) with a win last week at Bossier City…QB Matt Sauk tied the Vipers single season touchdown record by throwing for his 61st touchdown last week (Bryan Snyder 61)…The 74 points put up by the Vipers last week broke the record for most points in a game previously set this year (68 vs Pensacola)…Vipers broke a team record with 11 touchdowns last week…OL/DL Andy Fuller caught two touchdown passes last week…Vipers remain in the #3 seed for the playoffs.

MEMPHIS XPLORERS (3-8) @ ARKANSAS TWISTERS (3-8)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:00 PM ET

MEMPHIS… Have their first two-game winning streak in their team history after beating Pensacola in overtime last week…OL/DL Marcus Evers is tied for the af2 lead with 4 forced fumbles…WR/DB Harold Wooten had 10 tackles last week, all unassisted, Wooten leads the team with 2 interceptions…Xplorers rank 18th in the league in pass defense giving up 218.7 ypg…Have a great balance on offense this year scoring 25 touchdowns through the air and 22 touchdowns via the ground…ARKANSAS…Have now dropped 4 consecutive games for the second time this season…Twisters secondary tied a team record with five interceptions last meeting against Memphis…Rank 2nd in the league with 34 sacks on the season including 5 last week against Tulsa…FB/LB Reggie Cooley set a Twisters record with one sack last week to push his total to 9.5 on the season…FB/LB Darnell Small set a team record with 48 yards rushing last week in the loss against Tulsa (old mark was 37 set by QB Jon Nielsen)…WR/DB Raymond Fleming is 11 tackles away for breaking the all-time Twisters record of 77 tackles set by Bruce Bailey.

BOSSIER CITY BATTLE WINGS (4-7) @ BATON ROUGE BLAZE (6-5)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 8:30 PM ET

BOSSIER CITY… Lost last week to Tennessee Valley at home…WR/DB Lamar Lowe was lost last week with a knee injury…DS Chris Clopton had 126 kick return yards last week including a 52-yard return for a score…K Marty Kent is just 4 points away from the century mark and becoming the first kicker this season to reach 100 points…The loss last week dropped the Battle Wings record to 1-4 at home while they are 3-3 on the road…BATON ROUGE…Dropped their 3rd straight game last week to Wichita…QB Herb Tyler could be out for up to two weeks after hurting his back in the first play of last week's loss to Wichita…WR/DB Kendrick Lee returned a kick for a touchdown for the second consecutive game…Blaze have turned the ball over 8 times in the last three games.

LOUISVILLE FIRE (5-6) @ RICHMOND SPEED (9-2)
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 @ 7:30 PM ET

LOUISVILLE…Snapped their four-game winning streak last week by losing on the road at Lincoln…Have given up only 13 sacks on the season (tied for 5th)…DS Jabir Walker is tied for 5th in af2 with 6 interceptions…OS Brian McDonald ranks 3rd in all-purpose yards with 1863…OL/DL Jason Thorne has 5 tackles for a loss which leads the team…Fire are 1st in the league in missed field goal return average (26.8 ypg)…RICHMOND…Won their 2nd straight game by defeating Augusta on the road last week…The win keeps Richmond in the number 4 seed in the playoff race…QB Bob Bees ranks 10th in QB pass rating at 101.2…DS Tyrone Laster is 3rd in interceptions with 8…Speed offensive line has only allowed 4 sacks on the season (least in af2) while the defense leads the lead in sacks with 35.

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