Week 18: Quick Hitters
July 24, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release
SHOCK TOP FINAL COACHES POLL OF 2008: The Spokane Shock maintained the No. 1 ranking in the final Weekly Coaches Poll of the 2008 season, the arenafootball2 (af2) league office announced on Wednesday. This marks the fourth consecutive week Spokane has claimed the pole position and seventh time overall. The Shock collected 443 of a possible 448 points and 24-of-29 first place votes in securing the top spot. Spokane improved to 14-1 with an impressive 78-51 home victory in Week 17 against the Quad City Steamwheelers. The Shock, who have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the National Conference, conclude the regular season this Saturday when the squad hosts Boise (8-7). Another Spokane win would ensure the team its best regular season finish in team history. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (13-2, 423 points, 5 first place votes) won its sixth straight game last week at Mahoning Valley, 62-33, to finish at No. 2 overall. The Pioneers' victory secured them the No. 1 playoff seed in the American Conference. The No. 3-ranked South Georgia Wildcats (11-4, 380 points) also earned their sixth consecutive win with a 54-40 road triumph at Peoria. The Arkansas Twisters (10-5, 337 points) and Tulsa Talons (11-4, 324 points) round out the Top-5 at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The Talons, currently a game ahead of the Twisters in the Central Division, can clinch their seventh straight division crown with a win Saturday night at Iowa. An Arkansas win coupled with a Tulsa loss would give the Twisters their first-ever division title.
POSTSEASON APPEARANCES: In Week 17 four more teams punched their ticket to the postseason. Florida, Central Valley, Manchester and Tennessee Valley joined Green Bay Blizzard, Arkansas Twisters, Lexington Horsemen, South Georgia Wildcats, Spokane Shock, Tulsa Talons and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers as 11 of the 16 spots have been taken for the 2008 af2 playoffs. The Talons have earned nine straight postseason appearances, the most of any active team. Tulsa, one of three original af2 member teams, has qualified for the playoffs every season of the team's existence. The Florida Firecats currently rank second in all-time playoff appearances with seven in eight af2 campaigns. Tennessee Valley is tied with Quad City for third overall with six trips to the postseason.
MOST PLAYOFF APPEARANCES, ALL-TIME
QUAD CITY 6
TENNESSEE VALLEY 6
SOUTH GEORGIA 5
CENTRAL VALLEY 5
GREEN BAY CLOSE TO TEAM SACK RECORD: With Green Bay's season-high eight sacks in a Week 17 home win against Louisville, the Blizzard became the fifth team in league history to reach 50 sacks in a season. With 52 heading into the final week, Green Bay needs five more in Week 18 at Mahoning Valley to tie Rio Grande Valley's single-season league record total of 57 sacks.
PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 18: The regular season concludes on Saturday night with nine teams vying for the remaining five spots for the 2008 af2 playoffs.
Louisville can clinch a playoff spot with win vs. PEO and a loss by QCS
Quad City can clinch a playoff spot with a win vs. LEX
Iowa can clinch a playoff spot with a win vs. TUL and a loss by QCS and LOU
South Georgia can clinch the South Division title with a win at TVV
Tennessee Valley can clinch the South Division title with a win vs. SGW
Green Bay can clinch the Midwest Division title with a win at MVT
Lexington can win Midwest Division with a win at QCS and a loss by GBB
Tulsa can clinch the Central Division with a win at IAB
Arkansas can win the Central Division with a win vs. TEX and a loss by TUL
Austin can clinch the Midwest Division and the No. 3 seed with a win vs. BSB
Bossier-Shreveport can clinch the Midwest Division and the No. 3 seed with a win vs. AUS
REESE, DENNEY, WILLIS AND SHAW EARN WEEK 17 HONORS: Amarillo quarterback/linebacker JULIAN REESE, Arkansas wide receiver CHRIS DENNEY and Green Bay defensive lineman ODELL WILLIS have been named the JLS Ironman, Schutt Offensive Player and ADT Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for Week 17 of the 2008 season. In addition to these three awards, the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for Week 17 goes to Oklahoma City wide receiver/defensive back FRED SHAW.
Reese (6-2, 215, Indiana St.) had an impressive all-around effort for Amarillo in the team's important, 42-35, Week 17 home victory on Monday night against Lubbock. The af2 veteran signal caller from Indiana State, now in his fourth season, nearly single-handidly carried the Dusters past the Renegades. On offense, Reese completed 21-of-35 passes for 190 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. In addition, he ran the ball seven times for 20 yards. While Reece's offensive exploits were impressive, his recent impact on defense as a jack linebacker has been just as valuable. This past week was a great example. With the game tied at 35-35 with just over a minute to play and Lubbock threatening with a 2nd-and-goal from the Amarillo 4-yard line, Reese recorded a crucial interception (his second of the season) in the end zone to halt a potential go-ahead score by the Renegades. He then turned around and led the Dusters down the field on offense for the game-winning score - a 1-yard touchdown pass to Craig Fulton, Jr. - with just five seconds left. Reese is the first quarterback in league history to receive the Ironman of the Week Award. Denney (6-3, 210, Nebraska-Omaha), an af2 rookie, had another impressive outing in the Twisters' Week 17 game against Bossier-Shreveport. Arkansas saw its seven-game win streak snapped by the BattleWings, 80-69, but the result could not overshadow Denney's individual effort. The former Nebraska-Omaha standout caught 14 passes for an af2 season-high 237 yards with five touchdowns (Week 17 high). Denney, in just 10 games played, leads the af2 in scoring (256 points), points per game (25.6), receptions per game (10), receiving yards per game (141.1) and receiving TDs (41). He has recorded 100+ yards receiving in eight out of 10 games and boasts the two highest single-game receiving totals in the af2 this season (237, 229). This is Denney's first Offensive Player of the Week Award. He is also the second straight Arkansas player in as many weeks to earn the honor (Kyle Rowley - Week 16). Willis (6-2, 245, West Georgia) was a menace on defense for Green Bay in the team's 33-20 home victory in Week 17 against Midwest Division rival Louisville. The rookie defensive lineman from West Georgia imposed his will on the Fire with a 2008 af2 single-game best and team-record five sacks. Two of Willis' sacks resulted in safeties. He also had one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and finished with six total tackles (5 solo, 2 asst) on the night. Willis' sack total also tied the second highest single-game effort in league history behind former Bossier-Shreveport DL Elex Reed's six-sack outing in 2007 against Texas. This is the first league honor of Willis' career. He has six sacks in two games played with the Blizzard and 12.5 overall including his 6.5 recorded in eight games played with Peoria earlier this season. Shaw (6-2, 200, Central Oklahoma) earned the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for his incredible game-winning touchdown grab off a Hail Mary pass from QB Evan Gray in Oklahoma City's 58-57 home win against Tulsa. As time on the clock expired, the third-year player from Central Oklahoma went up high to snatch Gray's pass as it caromed off the rebound net. The catch was Shaw's only reception of the night. On the defensive side he contributed 3.5 tackles (3 solo, 1 asst), one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. The play was so impressive that it earned national TV exposure as the No. 9 play on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day.
INTERNATIONAL UPDATE: This season the af2 continues to maintain its strong international development program, which began in 2003. Currently, the league has international athletes from 15 countries on team rosters. This past week (Week 17), 15 international players saw action around the league. Two players who stood out from the af2's international talent pool were Green Bay DB OLAWALE KWAKU (Nigeria) and Spokane FB/LB LEE FOLIAKI (Tonga). Kwaku had five total tackles in in a 33-20 home win against Louisville while Foliaki recorded four solo tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack and was named ADT Defensive Player of the Game in the Shock's 78-51 home win against Quad City.
GILLIAM BREAKS af2 INTERCEPTION RECORD: Spokane rookie DB SERGIO GILLIAM (6-2, 195, Clemson) broke the af2 record for most interceptions in a season with his 16th in the Shock's Week 15 road win against division rival Stockton. The rookie from Clemson surpassed former Tennessee Valley Viper standout KELLY SNELL to make the record his own. Snell, who set the previous league standard for most interceptions in a season with 15 in 2003, is still involved in the game as the defensive coordinator for the Arkansas Twisters.
SIX ACTIVE COACHES AMONG ALL-TIME BEST: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Head Coach RICH INGOLD added another victory to his resume in Week 17. Already the league's all-time leader in career coaching wins, Ingold earned his 73rd victory (73-29 overall; .716) with the Pioneers' 62-33 win vs. Mahoning Valley. Ingold and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton have already clinched the team's second straight East Division title and fifth straight playoff berth. KEVIN BOUIS, in his fourth season as head coach of the Florida Firecats, is currently one win away from becoming the eighth coach in af2 history to reach 50 career coaching victories. He currently ranks eighth on the league's all-time win list with 49 career victories. Arkansas' CHRIS SIEGFRIED (67) and Austin's BEN BENNETT (64) rank second and third, respectively, on the all-time win list. Below is a breakdown of the leaders in career af2 coaching wins.
TOP ALL-TIME COACHING VICTORIES
1. Rich Ingold* 73
2. Chris Siegfried* 67
3. Ben Bennett* 64
4. Danton Barto* 57
5. Tommy Johnson* 54
6. Kevin Guy 52
7. Bobby Humphrey 51
8. Kevin Bouis* 49
* denotes active coaches
PETERSON SETS TACKLE RECORD IN FIRST af2 GAME: In his first af2 game, Lubbock rookie DB DARVIN PETERSON set an af2 single-game record with 17.5 tackles (16 solo, 3 asst) in a Week 16 overtime loss to Austin. Peterson's record-setting total bested the former high mark of 16.5 stops set on two different occasions by former Greensboro players ADRIAN JONES (vs. Albany 6/7/03) and JERMAINE TONEY (at Rochester 5/24/02). Before Peterson's outing, Bossier-Shreveport DB PETE MCBRIDE owned the previous 2008 league high with 15.5 total tackles (14 solo, 3 asst) against Arkansas in Week 9.
ROAD WARRIORS: The No. 1-ranked Spokane Shock (14-1) are 6-1 at home and a perfect 8-0 on the road this season. The Shock finished 8-0 on the road with a win at West rival Stockton in Week 16, 65-41. The Shock join the 2007 Rio Grande Valley Dorados, the 2001 Tennessee Valley Vipers and the 2000 Quad City Steamwheelers as the only teams in league history to ever finish a season with an undefeated road record.
af2's ALL-TIME INTERCEPTION LEADER SETS NEW PERSONAL STANDARD: Veteran DB MATT FORBES, in his second year with the Louisville Fire and his sixth af2 campaign overall, increased his new career high for interceptions in a season with his 14th against Albany in Week 16. His previous season best for interceptions was nine which he set in back-to-back seasons (2004-05) as a member of the Quad City Steamwheelers. The former William Penn standout now has an all-time league high 47 for his career. Forbes' 2008 total also ranks tied for second overall among the af2 leaders.
ARENABOWL XXII IN NEW ORLEANS TO FEATURE af2 FLAVOR: The Mitsubishi Motors Drive to Virgin Mobile ArenaBowl XXII New Orleans makes its final stop in the Crescent City as the National Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul (13-3, 2-0) host the American Conference Champion San Jose SaberCats (11-5, 2-0) this Sunday, July 27 at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN on ABC HD, ESPN360.com, SIRIUS Radio - Channel 127). The two competing teams feature 16 total af2 alumni, 13 players and three coaches.
The Soul will take the field with six players and one coach that boast af2 experience: WR/DB MIKE BROWN (Charleston 2002-03), QB MATT D'ORAZIO (Rochester 2002, Mohegan 2003), WR BRENT HOLMES (Green Bay 2005-06), DB ROB KEEFE (Columbus 2005, Macon/South Georgia 2005, Spokane 2006-07), DB BRIAN MANCE (Manchester 2006), DB EDDIE MOTEN (Rio Grande Valley 2004) and Head Coach BRET MUNSEY (assistant with Augusta 2000, head coach with Tennessee Valley 2001).
The SaberCats have seven players and two assistant coaches with af2 experience: FB/LB FRANK CARTER (Quad City 2000-01), DB MARQUIS FLOYD (Tennessee Valley 2004, Rio Grande Valley 2005), OL GENE FREDERICK (Memphis 2006, Oklahoma City 2007), OL JULIUS GANT (Rio Grande Valley 2005), K A.J. HAGLUND (Oklahoma City 2005-06), QB SCOTT RISLOV (Central Valley 2006), LB STEVE WATSON (Arkansas 2005-06) and Defensive Coordinator/Special Teams Coach JEFF JARNIGAN (head coach with Oklahoma City 2005-06) and Offensive Line Coach/Director of Player Personnel DAVE WITTHUN (assistant with Pensacola 2000, Macon 2001).
PIONEERS CONTINUE IMPRESSIVE HOME STREAK: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's current home win streak has reached 20 games after the team's 62-33 triumph against Mahoning Valley in Week 17 at Wachovia Arena. The Pioneers' current streak, which dates back to 2006, is the second longest in league history. The last time Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost a home game was on July 8, 2006 when the Florida Firecats edged the Pioneers, 56-51. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's next opportunity to extend its current home win streak is next Saturday when the No. 1 seed Pioneers host a first round playoff game.
While Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's impressive home streak is still alive, the Tulsa Talons had two notable runs end in 2008. Tulsa saw its team record for consecutive wins (16) halted in Week 10 with a 52-45 road loss at Bossier-Shreveport. The Talons run of 16 consecutive victories is the third longest in af2 history. Despite Tulsa's overall win streak coming to a close, the Talons had an impressive home win streak still in tact. With a 70-40 win against Lubbock in Week 11, Tulsa set a new team record for most consecutive home victories with 12. The Talons won again in Week 12 to run their streak to 13 wins in a row at the Tulsa Convention Center. The streak included the first seven games of 2008 and the last six in 2007. With the Talons set to move to the BOK Center next year, last Saturday's home game against the Arkansas Twisters was their last scheduled, regular-season game at the Convention Center. Tulsa's streak at 13 straight home wins as the Twisters spoiled the Talons regular season home finale, 66-54.
Below is a chart detailing the most impressive win streaks in league history.
Most Consecutive Games Won, Regular Season & Playoffs
24 Quad City, 19 games in 2000; 5 games in 2001
17 Quad City, 13 games in 2001; 4 games in 2002
16 Tulsa, 8 games in 2007, 8 games in 2008
14 Rio Grande Valley, 14 games in 2007
14 Quad City, 14 games in 2003
14 Tennessee Valley, 14 games in 2003
Most Consecutive Home Games Won, Regular Season & Playoffs
25 Quad City, 11 games in 2000; 11 games in 2001; 3 games in 2002
20 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 1 game in 2006, 11 games in 2007, 8 games in 2008*
16 Richmond, 3 games in 2000; 9 games in 2001; 4 games in 2002
13 Tulsa, 6 games in 2007, 7 games in 2008
* Still active
WILLIAMS OWNS ALL-TIME TD RECORD: In addition to being the league's all-time leading scorer, WR GEORGE WILLIAMS is also the af2's all-time leader in total touchdowns with 179. Florida WR MAGIC BENTON ranks second with 177 career touchdowns. Benton is the career leader in receiving touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards.
Most Touchdowns, Career
179 George Williams
177 Magic Benton*
170 Al Hunt*
157 Kevin Williams
153 Jarrail Jackson*
* Active in 2008
Most Receiving Touchdowns, Career
175 Magic Benton*
146 Al Hunt*
144 George Williams
139 J.R. Thomas*
137 Jack Walker Jr.*
* Active in 2008
Most Receiving Yards, Career
8321 Magic Benton*
6646 Al Hunt*
6588 George Williams
6494 J.R. Thomas*
6220 Tim Dodge*
6035 Jarrail Jackson*
* Active in 2008
Most Pass Receptions, Career
624 Magic Benton*
500 Jack Walker, Jr.*
482 J.R. Thomas*
479 Al Hunt*
478 Jarrail Jackson*
476 George Williams
474 Tim Dodge*
* Active in 2008
1,000-YARD THREESOMES: This season, for the second time in league history, the af2 has seen two sets of team threesomes record at least 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. There is also a possibility that as many as five other team threesomes can hit the 1,000-yard plateau. To date, there have been only seven groups in total that have posted such lofty numbers. The following is a list of all seven threesomes to record 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
Manchester (2008) - Bradly Chavez, Steven Savoy, Emery Sammons
Quad City (2007) - Deontrae Johnson, Kris Peters, Jesse Schmidt
Albany (2007) - Bakari Brown, Antwun Williams, Chris Curd
Quad City (2007) - Tom Anthony, Kris Peters, Jack Walker, Jr.
Quad City (2006) - Tim Dodge, Kris Peters, Jack Walker, Jr.
Oklahoma City (2004) - Kris Peters, Al Hunt, Timon Marshall
Quad City (2003) - Tim Dodge, Jeff Hewitt, Ira Gooch
BENTON SET TO MAKE SCORING RECORD HIS AGAIN: Veteran Florida WR MAGIC BENTON is just five points away from resuming his perch atop the league's all-time scoring list. WR GEORGE WILLIAMS currently tops the all-time chart with 1,084 points with Benton right behind him with 1,080 career points. Oklahoma City WR/DB AL HUNT (1,032), KEVIN WILLIAMS (958) and Tulsa's JARRAIL JACKSON (926) round out the Top-5. Below is a breakdown of the leading scorers in af2 history:
MOST POINTS SCORED, NON-KICKING, CAREER
PTS PLAYER YEARS PLAYED
1,084 George Williams 2001, 2003-present
1,080 Magic Benton* 2001-present
1,032 Al Hunt* 2003-present
958 Kevin Williams 2001-present
926 Jarrail Jackson* 2000-01, 2005-present
882 Jack Walker, Jr.* 2002-03, 2005-present
876 J.R. Thomas* 2004-present
* Active in 2008
VETERAN PASSER BREAKS ALL-TIME COMPLETION MARK: When CRAIG STRICKLAND retired after the 2006 season, many of his league passing records seemed unattainable. However, in Week 16, Florida QB CHRIS WALLACE surpassed Strickland's all-time completion total. Wallace is also just three touchdown passes away from moving past Strickland in career touchdown passes. Wallace is the second player in af2 history to reach 20,000 career passing yards. His current total stands at 21,904. Below is a breakdown of the leaders in each category.
Most Touchdown Passes, Career
481 Craig Strickland
479 Chris Wallace*
388 Ryan Vena*
360 Matt Sauk
334 Chad Elliott
299 Josh Kellett
* Active in 2008
Most Passes Completed, Career
1783 Chris Wallace*
1736 Craig Strickland
1625 Chad Elliott
1585 Ryan Vena*
1494 Matt Sauk
* Active in 2008
Most Passing Yards, Career
22688 Craig Strickland
21904 Chris Wallace*
19568 Ryan Vena*
18415 Chad Elliott
15262 Josh Kellett
* Active in 2008
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY - 2008 af2 PLAYOFF PICTURE: Sixteen teams qualify for the playoffs, eight from each conference (American and National). The eight qualifying teams in each conference consist of the three division champions and five Wild Cards, determined by best overall record. Seeding in each conference is based on overall record, with the top three seeds in each conference reserved for the division champions, regardless of record. In the First Round (August 1-3), the first three seeds in each conference are the three division winners. The next five teams are seeded by next best five overall records. Teams ranked 1-4 earn home playoff games with 1 hosting 8, 2 hosting 7, 3 hosting 6 and 4 hosting 5. In the Second Round (August 8-10), the winner of the 1-8 game plays the winner of the 4-5 game. The winner of the 2-7 game plays the winner of the 3-6 game. The home team is decided by the team with the higher seed. The winners of the Second Round will meet for the Conference Championships on the weekend of August 15-17. The team with the better overall record hosts the Conference Championship game. The winners of the Conference Championships face off in the 2008 ArenaCup on the weekend of August 22-24 at the venue of the participating team with the best overall record.
AMERICAN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. W-B/Scranton (13-2) - xy - East Division Champion
2. South Georgia (11-4) - y - Current South Division Leader
3. Green Bay (10-5) - y - Current Midwest Division Leader
4. Tennessee Valley - (10-5) - y
5. Florida (9-6) - y - Owns better win % in common games over LEX (DAY, PEO, TVV)
6. Lexington (9-6) - y
7. Manchester (8-7) - y
8. Quad City (7-8) - Owns point differential in HTH games with LOU (92-83)
9. Louisville (7-8)
10. Iowa (6-9)
11. Albany (5-10)
12. Peoria (4-11)
13. Mahoning Valley (3-12)
14. Daytona Beach (2-13)
NATIONAL CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Spokane (14-1) - xy - West Division Champion
2. Tulsa (11-4) - y - Current Central Division Leader
3. Austin (8-7) - Current Southwest Division Leader (Owns HTH over BSB)
4. Arkansas (10-5) - y
5. Central Valley (9-6) - y
6. Amarillo (8-7) - Owns HTH advantage over BSB; AMA and BSB own better win % in common opponents over LUB and BOI (OKC)
7. Bossier-Shreveport (8-7) - Owns better win % in common opponents over LUB and BOI (TEX, OKC, TUL)
8. Lubbock (8-7) - Owns better win % in common opponents over BOI (OKC, SPK, TEX, TUL)
9. Boise (8-7)
10. Rio Grande Valley (7-8) - Owns HTH advantage over CCS
11. Corpus Christi (7-8)
12. Oklahoma City (5-10)
13. Stockton (5-11)
14. Tri-Cities (4-11)
15. Texas (2-13)
x - clinched division; y - clinched playoff spot
*Teams in bold currently lead their respective division; HTH = Head-to-head; SOS = Strength of schedule
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