Week 17 IPFL Preview

by IPFL Press Release
July 27, 2000 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)

WEEK 17 IPFL PREVIEW

IPFL Press Release

July 27, 2000 - Two of the three playoff berths in the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) can be claimed with a victory during week 17 action this Saturday night. Mississippi and Omaha can each earn a berth with a win, while idle Portland can secure a berth with a Mobile loss.

Week 17's lineup has Mississippi (8-5) hosting Shreveport-Bossier (4-9) at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Omaha (8-5) visiting Louisiana (6-8) at the Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria, and Mobile (7-7) entertaining Idaho (5-8) at the Mobile Civic Center. Kickoff for all three games is at 7:30 p.m. Central Time.

The league's top three teams (Portland, Mississippi and Omaha) all control their own destiny. One more win garners them a spot in the IPFL playoffs. As for Mobile and Louisiana, they each require some help to get in. Mobile needs to win its final two games and either have Portland lose its last two games or Omaha lose its final three games. Louisiana needs to win its last two games and have both Omaha and Mobile lose its remaining games.

In addition to clinching a playoff berth, Mississippi can move into a first place tie with a win over Shreveport-Bossier. This will be the second meeting in the three-game season series. Mississippi won the first meeting 57-17 back in week seven as quarterback John Fourcade (6-2, 225) passed for 189 yards and six touchdowns. Entering that first meeting, the Fire Dogs occupied the league cellar with a 1-4 record; however, since then they have won seven out of their last eight games, including four straight.

This time around Mississippi enters fresh off a bye week, and Shreveport-Bossier is coming off a 35-29 win over Louisiana. Mississippi leads the league in both scoring offense (41.9 points per game) and passing offense (193.3 yards per game), while Shreveport-Bossier is ranked last in both categories (averaging 26.2 points per game and 105.9 passing yards per game).

The Fire Dogs' leader is Fourcade, who serves as the team's head coach, general manager and quarterback. On the sidelines Fourcade has compiled a 17-13 record, making him the winningest head coach in league history. On the field he hails as the league's all-time leader in both passing (4,714 yards and counting) and total offense (4,904 yards and counting). This season he leads the league in passing yards per game (195.7) and total offense yards per game (200.2). Aside from his 2,603 yards of total offense, he is 254-442-21 passing for 2,544 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Fourcade's top target is wide receiver Kenny Causey (6-1, 190), the league's all-time leader for both receiving (1,851 yards and counting) and all purpose (3,779 yards and counting). This season Causey leads the league in receptions (94), receiving yards (1,070), receiving touchdowns (18), receptions per game (7.23), receiving yards per game (82.3), all purpose yards (2,332), all purpose yards per game (179.4) and field goal return yards (248). Also getting in on the mix is wide receiver Lamont Woodberry (6-3, 215), who has 70 receptions for 720 yards and 13 touchdowns, and running back Buster Browne (6-2, 230), who has scored 17 touchdowns.

The strength of Mississippi's defense is its secondary. The Fire Dogs top the league in pass defense, surrendering a league-low 122.2 passing yards per game. Leading the way individually is a trio of defensive backs, Quincy Sorrell (5-11, 190), Kevin Bouis (6-0, 205) and Eugene Ridgley (6-2, 195). Together they have combined for 185 tackles and 10 interceptions.

Shreveport-Bossier's strong point is defense. The Bombers feature three of the league's best defenders. Defensive lineman Mike Moncrief (6-2, 235) leads the league in sacks (12.5) and tackles for a loss (25), while defensive backs Chris Samson (6-0, 210) and Larry Holloway (6-1, 230) have combined for 165 tackles. On offense the Bombers are paced by the wide receiver tandem of Terry Savannah (6-2, 200) and Tacoma Fontaine (6-0, 190). Together the duo has combined for a total of 101 receptions for 1,030 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Omaha and Louisiana will square off for the final time in their two-game season series. Back in week seven, Louisiana came away with a 40-33 road win over Omaha as the Rangers piled up 235 yards of total offense and forced five Omaha turnovers (two interceptions and three fumbles). Since that win, however, Louisiana has fallen from the top of the league standings, losing seven out of its last eight games. Omaha, on the other hand, has won three straight, averaging a robust 56.6 points per game during that stretch.

Although Omaha needs just one more victory to earn a playoff berth, all three of its remaining games are on the road. Last week the Beef knocked off Mobile 57-44 as running back Calvin Jones (5-11, 210) and linebacker Johnny Harrison (6-0, 220) garnered player of the week honors. In addition to scoring on a five-yard run, Jones returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. For the game he averaged 4.8 yards per carry and had 179 all purpose yards. Harrison had a game-high 16 tackles, including seven behind the line of scrimmage that resulted in a loss of 60 yards.

Saturday's Omaha vs. Louisiana matchup pits the league's top rushing offense against the league's top rushing defense. The Beef averages a league-high 76.0 rushing yards per game, while Louisiana yields a league-low 35.1 rushing yards per game. Omaha will attack with the one-two punch of Jones and Clinton Childs (6-1, 230). Together the combo has rushed for 703 yards and 16 touchdowns. The task of stopping the Beef tandem will fall primarily on the shoulders of Louisiana linebackers Darnell Lee (6-1, 235) and Charles Ayro (6-1, 220). Together the pair has been responsible for 151 tackles.

Omaha's secondary heads up the Beef's defense. Backs Lamar O'Neal (6-2, 195), Steve Lovell (5-9, 155), Thomas Williams (5-11, 185) and Shanon Yates (6-0, 210) have accumulated 267 tackles and 19 interceptions. Louisiana's offense is led by running back Byron Allen (6-0, 205), the league's all-time leading scorer with 296 points and counting. In addition to leading the league in rushing with 599 yards on 158 carries, Allen needs to gain 114 yards in the Rangers' final two games to become the league's all-time leading rusher.

Mobile and Idaho will open their two-game season series Saturday in Alabama's Port City. Next week they will clash again in Boise. Mobile comes in having won four out of its last six games, while Idaho enters on a three-game losing skid. Among the team statistics, Mobile leads the league in total defense, surrendering a league-low 162.2 yards per game. Both teams have been hit hard by turnovers. Idaho is ranked last in turnover margin, averaging a league-low -0.85 per game, while Mobile has committed a league-high total of 41 turnovers (26 interceptions and 15 fumbles).

For the Seagulls' defense, everything starts up front. Defensive linemen Terrance "Tiny" Simmons (6-5, 295), Raymond Nobles (6-1, 301) and Joey Duplan (6-6, 265) have combined for a total of 34 tackles for a loss and 15.5 sacks. Their mission this weekend is to pressure Idaho quarterback Albert Higgs (6-1, 210), who has passed for 1,990 yards and 34 touchdowns. Higgs' top two targets are wide receivers Ricky Ross (6-0, 195) and Antwan Wilson (5-9, 190), both of whom have combined for 934 receiving yards.

Mobile's offense is jumpstarted by running back/wide receiver Antoine Flowers (5-9, 175). In addition to leading the league in scoring with 28 touchdowns and a total of 168 points, Flowers is just one score away from establishing the league's single-season scoring record. On the season the Seagulls' leading receiver and rusher has rushed for a team-high 457 yards and 19 touchdowns and caught a team-high 56 passes for 488 yards and nine touchdowns. Mobile's other top offensive threats are quarterback Kelvin Simmons (6-1, 203), running back Cleon Jones Jr. (5-11, 220) and wide receivers Ryan Blakely (5-11, 175) and Alex Howell (6-2, 196).

Idaho's defense is led by linebacker Brian Smith (5-11, 225), the league's all-time leading tackler with a total of 224 and counting. Smith currently leads the league in tackles with an IPFL single-season record of 144 and counting. Also contributing are defensive backs Chris Cook (6-2, 200), DaWuan Miller (6-3, 195) and Darnell Hasson (6-1, 190). Together the trio has accounted for 227 tackles. Cook needs just two interceptions in the Stallions' final three games to become the league's all-time interception leader.

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