Wolves Season Opener On Friday Vs. Albany; New Quarterback Brian Jones To Start
MANCHESTER-The Manchester Wolves will play for the first time this season in front of their home fans when they host the Albany Conquest on Friday night in an East Division match-up.
Not only will the Wolves (1-1) have the distinct advantage of the friendly confines of Brady Sullivan Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena, the team will also benefit from the addition of quarterback Brian Jones this week.
Jones, who started for the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League last season and was in two AFL camps this year, joined the Wolves in time for practice on Wednesday night. While he may be new to the franchise, he's no stranger to Head Coach Danton Barto.
Barto was the Gladiators head coach in 2007 and he brought Jones in following their successful run together in Memphis with the af2 Xplorers. In 2005, Barto and Jones hoisted the ArenaCup in Memphis.
"I'm here to have fun playing football and hopefully I can come in and give this team a boost and win some football games," Jones said after meeting his new teammates and running through his first Wolves practice. "We've got a young team but I know Danton's system".
Indeed. Barto is thrilled to have Jones in a Wolves uniform and said that his quarterback has been familiar with his schemes and play calling inside and out for over three years.
"He's an AFL-caliber quarterback," said the coach. "He's a pro from top to bottom. He doesn't turn the ball over and he makes completions. He's a winner and he's always been a winner."
The Wolves have won their last six home games against the Conquest (1-1) and are looking to get back on the winning track after a 72-31 loss in Green Bay last week and gain ground in the competitive East Division.
The Conquest pulled out a dramatic 55-54 overtime win at home against Peoria last week and do present a significant challenge. Conquest quarterback Dan Cole, who proved he's dangerous running as well as throwing the ball, currently ranks first in the af2 in total yards (302.5) and yards per rush (8.0). Wide receiver Jared Jones, first in the league in all-purpose yards (252) was named the af2 Schutt Offensive Player of the Week.
"Albany is a good offensive team and their defensive backs are good," said Barto" "We have got to play good football against them and we have not done that yet this season. "I'm excited about Brian Jones being on the team now."
The addition of Jones is a definite plus for the Wolves, as is the play of some of the defensive players who are new to the team this year. Four-year af2 veteran lineman Joe Crear is tied for first in the league with forced fumbles (3) and rookie lineman Larry Brown is tied for the top spot in fumbles recovered (2).
Kickoff for the home opener is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available for the Wolves home opener. The first 750 children to pass through the turnstiles will receive free spring passes to Canobie Lake Park there will also be a Delta Dental toothbrush giveaway to fans of all ages.
At halftime, the Londonderry High School marching band and a team from the Melissa Hoffman Dance Studio in Hudson will perform.
For tickets, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-627-9653.
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