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Week Sixteen: Friday Night Matchups

July 12, 2007 - arenafootball2 (af2) News Release

AlbANY CONQUEST (5-8) AT MAHONING VALLEY THUNDER (5-8)

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007 - The Chevrolet Centre (5,700) 7:00 P.M. ET

The Mahoning Valley Thunder host the Albany Conquest in a Friday night East Division affair in Week 16. This is the second time this season these two teams have met. The Thunder struck first on the Conquest early in 2007, 64-59, on April 6. Both teams are currently fighting to stay in the playoff mix in the American Conference. Albany is coming off a disappointing 69-36 loss last week at Green Bay. The Blizzard disrupted Albany rookie QB RYAN HART and forced him into a sub par showing. The Conquest signal caller completed just 22-of-38 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He was also sacked three times. Albany also had two drives stalled due to fumbles. The Conquest's most reliable receiver on the night was WR CHRIS CURD, who caught 10 passes for 101 yards and two scores. Defensively, newcomer CLARENCE CURRY might've been the lone bright spot with 6.0 total tackles and an interception in his first af2 outing. WRs BAKARI BROWN (af2-high 129 catches; 1,280 yards, 24 TDs) and ANTWUN WILLIAMS (1,027 yards, 27 receiving TDs; 30 total TDs) are two other names to watch out for on the Albany offense. The Thunder enter this week coming off a lopsided loss as well, 57-32, at Louisville. Mahoning Valley's offense struggled against the Fire defense, which yielded just five scores in 12 possessions. WR CHRIS JOHNSON showed out offensively with 10 catches for 140 yards and four touchdowns. It was Johnson's first action since dislocating his elbow earlier in the season. DL ANTON CEASER stood out individually for the Thunder defense with 3.5 tackes, including one tackle for loss. Ceaser (team-high 9.0 sacks) and DB MAURICE TAYLOR (team-high 7 INTs, 63.0 tackles) have been Mahoning Valley's top defenders on the season. This should be a fierce battle between two teams who need a win to stay on track in the crowded American Conference playoff race.

ALBANY MAHONING VALLEY

SERIES LEADER Mahoning Valley leads 1-0

LAST MEETING Mahoning Valley won 64-59 on 4/6/2007

LAST FIVE GAMES 2-3 2-3

LAST GAME Lost 36-69 vs. Green Bay on 7/6 Lost 32-57 to Louisville on 7/7

2007 LEADERS ALBANY MAHONING VALLEY PASSING Hart: 327-503-10 3470; 74 TDs Gauntt: 182-340-13; 2105; 41 TDs

RECEIVING Brown: 129-1280; 24 TDs Archie: 89-1010; 22 TDs

RUSHING Jones: 8-28; 2 TDs Murphy: 54-289; 11 TD

TACKLES Conway: 68.0 Taylor: 63.0

SACKS Roundtree: 5.0 Ceaser: 9.0

INTERCEPTIONS Washington: 4 Taylor: 7

KICKING Glas: 65-82 PAT; 9-12 FG; 92 PTs Schorejs: 52-69 PAT; 2-16 FG; 58 PTs

TEAM OFFENSE 51.4 PPG; 283.3 YPG 44.0 PPG; 274.5 YPG

TEAM DEFENSE 48.8 PPG; 260.9 YPG 47.8 PPG; 245.2 YPG

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers (13-0) AT MANCHESTER WOLVES (7-6)

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007 - Verizon Wireless Arena (9,650) 7:00 P.M. ET

The Pioneers (No. 1 in Coaches Poll) enter Week 16 as the af2's only undefeated team, and for the first time this year, they'll head to Manchester to face their division rivals. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's success has come as a result of strong coaching (RICH INGOLD - 56 career af2 wins - 2nd all-time), a super offense (60.2 points per game - 2nd in af2) and a solid defense (42.3 ppg allowed - 6th in af2). The Pioneers have won a lot of games with relative ease, but they've been tested as well, especially in recent weeks. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, however, has always come out on top. The Pioneers have trailed at one point in four of their last five games, with three of those outcomes being decided by one score or less. Week 15 was certainly a close call for the Pioneers as they escaped a game Fort Wayne team, 48-47, thanks to a late stop on a potential game-winning two-point conversion. QB RYAN VENA threw for 259 yards in the victory with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had one rushing score. WR BUCHIE IBEH was Vena's top target with 10 catches for 87 yards and two TDs. Defensively, DB CHRIS ROYAL recorded eight total tackles and two interceptions. Royal leads the team with 94.0 total tackles and 10 interceptions. Vena has had the sharpest season of his career with nearly 3,600 yards passing, 83 TDs and just eight INTs. He ranks among the league leaders in a host of passing categories. Manchester (No. 12 in Coaches Poll) has been picking up steam as of late. The Wolves have won three of their last four games including a win last week at Cincinnati. Manchester showcased a balanced offensive attack with QB MARK RADLINSKI going 22-of-34 for 234 yards and five TDs, while FB ADAM FICHTER rushed for 44 yards and three scores. The Wolves defense held the Jungle Kats to 1-of-6 on 3rd down conversions, and the offense converted 6-of-8 red zone chances to key a 54-34 victory. WR ARI CONFESOR leads a solid cast of receivers with 82 catches for 971 yards and 22 TDs. Defensively, DL MAURICE FOUNTAIN (team-high 10.5 sacks) and DB ALLISTAIR SEBASTIEN (af2 career leader - 32 INTs; team-record 7 this season). These two teams have met head-to-head 17 times overall, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton holding a slight edge, 9-8. The Pioneers have also claimed both head-to-head affairs in 2007 which have been played in Pennsylvania. Manchester hopes to make the third time a charm. On Friday the 13th, the Wolves' goal is to kill the Pioneers' chances at a perfect season while bolstering their own playoff positioning. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, however, is certainly not scared of the competition.

W-B/SCRANTON MANCHESTER

SERIES LEADER W-B/Scranton leads 9-8

LAST MEETING W-B/Scranton won 59-42 on 5/4/2007

LAST FIVE GAMES 5-0 3-2

LAST GAME Won 48-47 at Fort Wayne on 7/7 Won 54-34 vs. Cincinnati on 7/7

2007 LEADERS WB/SCRANTON MANCHESTER PASSING Vena: 301-431-8; 3587; 83 TDs Radlinski: 158-260-9; 1701; 33 TDs

RECEIVING Jones: 77-967; 21 TDs Confesor: 82-971; 22 TDs

RUSHING Vena: 45-131; 13 TDs Fichter: 65-189; 12 TDs

TACKLES Royal: 94.0 Sebastien: 78.5

SACKS Harding: 4.0 Fountain: 10.5

INTERCEPTIONS Royal: 10 Sebastien: 7

KICKING Davis: 99-106 PAT; 5-9 FG; 114 PTs Pohlman: 34-48 PAT; 2-10 FG; 40 PTs

TEAM OFFENSE 60.2 PPG; 290.4 YPG 49.5 PPG; 258.8 YPG

TEAM DEFENSE 42.3 PPG; 290.7 YPG 48.8 PPG; 272.4 YPG

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