Wolves Receivers Set Franchise Record; Playoff Bound Team Faces Corpus Christi Sharks Saturday
MANCHESTER, NH-- When the Manchester Wolves secured the services of Bradly Chavez, Emery Sammons, and Steven Savoy for this season, they hit the trifecta. The payoff has been a combined 71 touchdowns going into the final regular season game before the Wolves advance to the arenafootball2 league playoffs, and each of the three has indivudually surpassed the 1,000-yd. receiving mark to set a franchise record.
"Having three receivers go over 1,000 yards is a big accomplishment for each player and for our team," said Head Coach Danton Barto, who leads the Wolves into the post season in his first year with Manchester. "I am proud of these three guys and of our team. These guys were able to accomplish this with a rookie quarterback in James Pinkney."
The record-setting accomplishment is notable because the Wolves quarterback is in his first season under center. What makes it remarkable is that Pinkney is the fourth starter in 2008 whom these three receivers have had to develop their rhythm and timing with on passing patterns.
No matter whether Justin Rummell, Jon Grant, the injured Brian Jones, nor Pinkney was barking signals, the sure-handed and steady trio of receivers was going after the ball, catching it, and breaking tackles.
Savoy (5'11", 190) has played in only 11 of the 15 games to date because of an early season concussion but he leads the pack with 1,110 yards on 78 catches for an average of 100.9 yards per game and has scored 24 touchdowns.
"I knew Savoy would be a great player when we got him," said Barto. "He was a huge playmaker in college (Utah) and I knew it would translate to the arena game. His season might be the most impressive of all of the receivers."
While Savoy was sidelined for an entire quarter of the regular season, Sammons and Chavez stepped up for the Wolves and seemingly took turns on the passing routes and in the end zone.
Chavez (6'2",205), who also starts on defense as a linebacker and has been voted the af2 Ironman of the Week twice to date, has started every game at wide receiver and has 83 receptions for 1,084 yards (average of 72.3/PPG) and 27 touchdowns. In 14 games, Sammons ((6'2", 200) has racked up an identical 1,084 from 80 passes (77.4/PPG) and has scored 20 times.
"Chavez has been everything that I hoped for when he decided to come to Manchester. He is a tough, old-school player that does everything right. He is a dying breed of the af2 Iron Man" said Barto. "Emery was the wild card coming in to the season with us. I personally didn't know that much about him from college (Norfolk State). I just knew that he was big and fast. He has really turned into a good football player for us."
Sammons, Chavez, and Savoy are an integral part of the tale of the turnaround for the Wolves this year. The team got off to a dismal 1-6 start, the worst in franchise history, but then won seven of its last eight games to make the American Conference playoffs. With only Saturday night's game against the Corpus Christi Sharks remaining in regular season play, the white-hot Wolves have clawed all the way to the #14 rank in the weekly af2 coaches poll and are considered the team nobody wants to tangle with in the playoffs.
During the 1-6 losing streak, the Wolves allowed an average of 59.375/PPG while scoring an average 49.125/PPG, but throughout the 7-1 winning streak, Manchester has given up only 45.857/PPG average while scoring an average 58.142/PPG.
Manchester (8-7) aims to end the season on a high note and build up more steam for the playoff race with a win over the Sharks (7-8), who are still mathematically alive for a National Conference post season bid, on Brady Sullivan Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
The Sharks, who also must contend with Hurricane Dolly on their home front back on the Texas coastline, are a team which is young, but loaded with talent and hungry for its first taste of the playoffs. Manchester is headed to the post season for the fourth straight year and depending upon how the higher seeds handle their playoff games, it's likely that this is the final time the fans will get to see their Wolves play at home this season.
Kickoff is at 7:05 PM and good seating is still available. Tickets for the game on Saturday night, which is also High School Sports Night, may be purchased through firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 603-627-9653.
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