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Week seven IPFL Preview

by IPFL Press Release
May 19, 2000 - Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL)

WEEK SEVEN IPFL PREVIEW

IPFL Press Release

May 18, 2000 - Week seven in the Indoor Professional Football League (IPFL) features the top four teams in action on Saturday night, while the bottom two teams will fight it out on Sunday afternoon. Louisiana (4-1) takes its league-leading record to Omaha (3-2) for a 7:30 (Central Time) kickoff at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. Also on Saturday, Idaho (3-2) travels to Portland (4-2) for a 7:30 (Pacific Time) game at Memorial Coliseum. Mississippi (1-4) hosts Shreveport-Bossier (1-4) on Sunday. Kickoff at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum is at 2 p.m.

Louisiana sits atop the league standings for the first time since 1998, the year it compiled a dominating 15-1 record en route to winning the inaugural league championship. The Rangers have won four straight games, during which they have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 174-114. Among the team statistics, Louisiana is ranked second in both scoring offense (40.4 points per game) and scoring defense (32.2 ppg).

Quarterbacks Kevin Nawracaj (6-2, 225) and Brian Sparacino (6-2, 200) head up the Rangers' offense. Nawracaj leads the league in three passing categories: pass rating (147.5); completion percentage (64.5); and fewest interceptions (0). Sparacino owns the league's fourth-best pass rating at 91.0.

Linebacker Darnell Lee (6-1, 235) and defensive back Tremayne Evans (5-8, 175) anchor Louisiana's defense. Together the duo has combined for 60 tackles through five games. In last week's 39-19 victory over Shreveport-Bossier, Lee and Evans were part of a defensive effort that held the Bombers to just nine first downs and 116 yards of total offense.

Omaha, which is coming off a 39-36 road win over Mobile, has won two straight. Quarterback Troy Travis (6-3, 240) was named the IPFL's Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in last week's win over the Seagulls. Despite last week's strong showing, the Beef are still averaging a league-low 159 yards of total offense per game.

Defense is Omaha's strength. The Beef lead the league in turnover margin, averaging plus one per game. Last week Omaha's defense came up with five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles) against Mobile, including two interceptions by Shanon Yates. Linebacker Cale Good (6-1, 225) and defensive backs Ralph Cotton (5-11, 178), Lamar O'Neal (6-2, 195) and Steve Lovell (5-9, 155) are ranked among the league leaders in tackles. Together they have combined for 138 tackles.

Saturday's other matchup pits the league's top scoring offense (Idaho) against the league's top scoring defense (Portland). Idaho is averaging a league-leading 40.8 points per game, while Portland is surrendering a league-low 28.3 points per game. These two teams met last week in Boise, with Idaho coming away with a 41-30 win.

In addition to leading the league in scoring offense, Idaho is also tops in total offense, averaging a league-high 247.2 yards per game. No player has been more important to the Stallions' offense than quarterback Albert Higgs (6-1, 210). During the last two games Higgs has accounted for 415 yards of total offense (341 passing and 74 rushing) and had a hand in 10 touchdowns (five passing and five rushing). In last week's game against Portland, Higgs rushed for three scores and passed for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Although Idaho is ranked last in total defense, giving up a league-high 259.6 yards per game, four Stallions' are ranked among the league leaders on defense. Linebacker Brian Smith (5-11, 225) leads the league in both tackles (54) and sacks (three), while his sidekick Julian Yearwood (6-2, 260) has made 40 tackles. Idaho's secondary is headed up by Chris Cook (6-2, 190), the reigning IPFL Defensive Player of the Week, and DaWuan Miller (6-3, 195). Together Cook and Miller have combined for 62 tackles.

After opening the season with four straight wins, back-to-back setbacks have forced Portland to fall out of first place in the standings. Defensively, the Prowlers' strength is still in the secondary. Defensive backs Jake Capdeville (6-1, 210), Antonio Sparrow (6-2, 200) and Milton Myers (5-11, 150) have combined for 99 tackles.

Portland's offense is centered on the talented arm of quarterback Erik Wilhelm (6-3, 217), who leads the league in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Through six games Wilhelm is 114-192-5 passing for 948 yards and 20 touchdowns. In last week's loss to Idaho, he was 27-42-1 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Wilhelm's two leading targets are tight end Trent Waibel (6-5, 225), who has a league-high 31 receptions, and wide receiver Chad Carlson (6-0, 195), who leads the league in receiving touchdowns with eight.

Shreveport-Bossier and Mississippi will both be looking to end four-game losing skids when the two tangle in Biloxi on Sunday. Ranked last in both scoring offense (28.0 ppg) and scoring defense (39.0 ppg), Shreveport-Bossier will attempt to shake things up this week. On offense, Chris Milwee (6-3, 205) is expected to see his first significant action at quarterback. The two leading targets for the Bombers are wide receivers Tacoma Fontaine (6-0, 190) and Terry Savannah (6-2, 200). Together they have combined on a total of 45 receptions for 493 yards and six touchdowns.

Mississippi, which is coming off a bye week, will counter with the throw-and-catch tandem of quarterback John Fourcade (6-2, 225) and wide receiver Kenny Causey (6-1, 190). In addition to his league-leading 735 all-purpose yards, Causey leads the IPFL in both receiving yards (338) and receptions per game (5.60). Through five games, Fourcade is 87-156-8 passing for 754 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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