Week One: Quick Hitters
March 26, 2009 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release
GAMES ON - af2TV FREE ONLINE NETWORK BACK IN 2009: Thanks to a unique league partnership with Network Foundation Technologies (NFT), all the hard-hitting, fast paced action of arenafootball2 will once again be available to fans worldwide. The FREE-for-View online network called "af2TV" will showcase every game of the league's 10th anniversary season live over the Internet. The process to view games is easy. To obtain the free af2TV player, fans should first click on the af2TV advertisement located on the upper right corner of the league's web site, www.af2.com. Following the link will bring fans to a special landing page which includes simple directions on how to download and place the af2TV player icon on your desktop. Broadcasts began last week with the two Kickoff Week contests. The action continues this week with a full 12-game slate that will be available to fans at no charge.
MCKINNEY, MURRIETTA, SPOTWOOD, DICKENS EARN KICKOFF WEEK HONORS: Florida wide receiver/linebacker CHRIS MCKINNEY, Central Valley quarterback JASON MURRIETTA and South Georgia linebacker KINNY SPOTWOOD have been named the JLS Ironman, Russell Athletic Offensive Player and Aaron's Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for Kickoff Week of 2009, the af2's 10th anniversary season. In addition to these three awards, the af2 is also highlighting the player who makes the best catch of the week. The Cutters Catch of the Week Award for Kickoff Week goes to South Georgia wide receiver KELVIN DICKENS.
McKinney (6-2, 215, Guilford College), in his sixth af2 season, showcased his all-around talents for the Firecats in the team's Kickoff Week contest against South Division foe South Georgia. Despite the result (54-53 loss), the veteran playmaker's notable two-way play included two total touchdowns on offense, one receiving and one rushing. McKinney finished with nine catches for 101 yards and 49 yards rushing (all game-highs). On defense, the Guilford College alum was also impressive with three total tackles. This is the third Ironman of the Week award of McKinney's career (Week 2 - 2008, Week 3 - 2007) and the fourth weekly league honor of his career. He earned the Cutters Catch of the Week for Week 10 of 2006. Murrietta (6-1, 215, Northern Arizona) led the Coyotes to a 48-37 Kickoff Week victory at home against West Division rival Tri-Cities. Murrietta, in his second af2 season, showed well in his first start with Central Valley, completing 23-of-28 passes (82.1 percent) for 225 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. The former Northern Arizona standout also proved his toughness in the game as well. During Central Valley's final drive of the third quarter, Murrietta was knocked out of the game for a brief period after taking a late hit by a Fever defender below the knees. He limped back in three plays later, however, and threw an 11-yard TD pass to WR George Williams. This is the first af2 weekly award of Murrietta's career. Spotwood (5-11, 245, Tulsa) was a major player on defense in South Georgia's Kickoff Week win on the road at South Division rival Florida, 54-53. The second-year linebacker from Tulsa recorded 2.5 total tackles and a key fumble recovery touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The turning-point play came with South Georgia trailing 40-47 with just under four minutes to play. After Wildcats DL Tito Hannah came around the edge to strip the football from Firecats QB Chris Wallace near his own goal line, Spotwood was Johnny on the spot and scooped the ball up at the 1-yard line and dove into the end zone for the score.
Gilliam also recorded 3.5 tackles and two pass breakups. This is the first af2 weekly award of Spotwood's career. Dickens (6-3, 212, Morgan St.), who is entering his third season in the af2, earned the Cutters Catch of the Week Award for his outstanding 11-yard touchdown grab late in the second quarter of the Wildcats' 54-53 road win at South Division rival Florida. The former Morgan St. standout reached out to snatch the scoring pass away from a Firecats defender. He was able to hang on to the ball despite crashing hard into the side end zone wall and toppling over onto the concrete floor. Dickens finished with five catches for 46 yards and three touchdowns.
SHOCK TOP WEEK 1 COACHES POLL: The Spokane Shock, last year's ArenaCup runner-up, have maintained the No. 1 ranking in the Week 1 Coaches Poll, the arenafootball2 (af2) league office announced on Wednesday. Spokane secured 328 of a possible 384 points and 12-of-25 first place votes to earn the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive week. The Shock begin their fourth season of play when they host West Division rival Stockton on Friday, April 3. The defending ArenaCup Champion Tennessee Valley Vipers enter Week 1 ranked No. 2 overall with 310 points (5 first place votes). The Vipers begin defense of their af2 title this Saturday, March 28 with a tough road battle against the defending Midwest Division Champion Green Bay Blizzard (No. 7). The Tulsa Talons (304 points, 3 first place votes), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers (301 points, 5 first place votes) and Arkansas Twisters (209 points) round out the Top-5.
LEAGUE'S ALL-TIME SCORING RACE HEATING UP: Veteran Florida WR MAGIC BENTON entered 2009 as the league's all-time scoring leader with 1,098 points, 14 points ahead of Central Valley WR GEORGE WILLIAMS and his 1,084 career point total. Both players were in action in Kickoff Week. Benton saw his lead trimmed to just two points as Williams scored 24 points against Tri-Cities on four TDs while Benton scored twice and tallied 12 points against South Georgia. Oklahoma City WR/DB AL HUNT (1,064), KEVIN WILLIAMS (958) and JARRAIL JACKSON (932) 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
1,110 Magic Benton* 2001-present
1,108 George Williams* 2001, 2003-present
1,064 Al Hunt* 2003-present
958 Kevin Williams 2001-2008
932 Jarrail Jackson 2000-01, 2005-2008
906 J.R. Thomas 2004-2008
882 Jack Walker, Jr.* 2002-03, 2005-present
* Active in 2009
BILETNIKOFF, JR. FIVE WINS FROM 50: Central Valley Head Coach FRED BILETNIKOFF, JR. earned his 45th career coaching victory last Friday with the Coyotes' 47-38 home win against Tri-Cities. The veteran coach, now in his sixth season, currently ranks tied for 10th overall in career wins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Head Coach RICH INGOLD is the league's all-time leader in career coaching wins with 75 (75-30 overall; .714). Arkansas' CHRIS SIEGFRIED (68) and Amarillo'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* 75
2. Chris Siegfried* 68
3. Ben Bennett* 64
4. Danton Barto* 60
5. Tommy Johnson 55
6. Kevin Guy 52
7. Bobby Humphrey 51
8. Kevin Bouis* 50
9. Richard Davis* 46
10. Fred Biletnikoff, Jr.* 45
Kevin Porter 45
* denotes active coaches
af2 ALUMS CAST IN MICHAEL IRVIN REALITY SHOW: For three former af2 players, it's "4th and Long." DB EDDIE MOTEN, DB AHMAAD SMITH and WR STEVE GONZALEZ were recently chosen out of hundreds of athletes to be among a group of 12 finalists (6 defensive backs, 6 wide receivers) for a new cable television reality show called 4th and Long. The show, created by former Cowboys Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, was designed to find the Cowboys' 80th and last roster member when the team's training camp opens July 31. Irvin is also serving as host of the program and one of the judges. The series is being taped at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, and will be presented in 10 hour-long weekly episodes on Spike TV beginning May 18. Moten spent one season in the af2 with Rio Grande Valley (2004) before moving up to the AFL. n just 11 games played in 2004, Moten tied for the league lead in interceptions with 10 and also tied for fourth overall in passes defended with 28. He also accumulated 47.5 total tackles, 18 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He earned a spot on the 2004 National Conference All-af2 First Team. In 2005, Moten joined the AFL's Philadelphia Soul. In his four-year AFL career (2005-2008 - all with the Soul), he recorded 31 interceptions (7 INT return TDs), 81 pass breakups and 359 total tackles. Smith saw action in five games with the af2's Texas Copperheads in 2007 (14.5 total tackles, 1 INT, 8 PBUs, 1 FF). Gonzalez has played three seasons in the af2 (2005-06, 2008) and one year in the AFL (Philadelphia - 2007). His best year was in 2006 as a member of the Manchester Wolves in which he tallied 2,525 all-purpose yards (4th in the league) and finished second in the league in scoring (276 points). In 15 games played on offense he collected 1,355 receiving yards (5th in the league), 118 receptions (5th in the league), and 45 touchdowns (2nd in the league).
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 14 countries on team rosters. This past week (Kickoff Week) four international players saw action around the league, including three in South Georgia's 54-53 win at Florida. The Firecats got solid contributions from their two international players, FB/LB ADEBIYI OJUTIKU (Nigeria; 1.5 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss) and WR/KR JAMES PANUI (Great Britain; 7 kick returns - 142 KR yards). South Georgia international DB TAKASHI WALKER (Nigeria) also made his presence felt with 5.5 tackles.
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