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15.04.2016
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Article by Linda Lane The Gladiators were without their Head Coach who was called home on Saturday before the game (no details given but reports were stating prayers were asked for). Wishing the coach and his family the very best.   The Coaching staff picked up and led the team to a win after the game going back and forth until the end, with a score of Cleveland 41 Tampa 29. Tampa appeared more ready to play this game as they kept the score pretty close till the end. Tampa Bay's WR Phillip Barnett caught a one handed catch off of an onside kick in the 4th quarter to earn him Week 2 Cutter's Catch of the Week. Cleveland's DB Joe Powell got the Arena League's Defensive Player of the Week, having 7 tackles, 2 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, including the game clincher and a 52 yards run for his third defensive score of the season. WR Thyron Lewis had 10 catches for. 94 yards, 2TD's surpassing 5,000 yard milestone. In the Orlando Predators vs the Portland Steel; the Steel looked much more on their game than last week and being tied 13-13 midway through the 2nd quarter but Thomkins ran a kick-off return down to the 6 yard line with 26 seconds to go in the 1st half to take the lead going into the locker room, the score, Orlando 20-17 Portland at the Half. Portland came out strong 2nd half taking the lead 23-20, 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter.  Both teams swapped scoring and a score of 33-30 to the Predators at the end of the 3rd quarter. 4th quarter saw things pick up quickly with Portland taking a 43-39 lead with 5:20 to go. The see-saw battle began once more, Orlando grabbed the lead 45 – 43, and Portland scored a Field Goal making it 46-45 Portland, with 3 minutes to go. Portland looked to try and win gaining control of the ball after an onside kick. With just 49 seconds left Portland scored making it 50 - 46. Orlando got the ball and scored taking the score to 53-50 after an Interception by Kent Richardson with 26 ticks left on the clock to hold the lead to the end. Orlando's Hippeard had 14 of 28 catches, 228 yards 6TD's plus having 6 yards rushing and 2 TD's. Brandon Thompkins had 5 carries for 110 yards 3 TDs .Greg Carr had 5 carries 59 yards 2TD's. LaMark Brown had 4 passed 59 yards 1 TD. Defensively Kent Richardson had an 18 second game ending interception to steal the game. Jacksonville won the coin toss and Soul took possession first. QB Dan Raudabaugh threw the 1st of 3 interceptions into the hands of Gred Reid. Sharks Roger Jackson followed up with a Shark TD, with 9:40 left in the opening Quarter. Things stayed pretty much back to back trade-offs including players tempers and some face mask as well as unsportsman like calls as well. With 13:20 remaining in the 2nd Quarter, Tiger Jones scored his TD. Feed Reid was called for an unsportsman after a late hit. From then on there was a sea of yellow most of the quarter with the score 28-27 Jacksonville, who would also get the ball back after halftime. The see-saw continued through the 3rd quarter with scores being 35-34 with 5:01 left in the 3rd. Hills got yet another TD with 4:05 to go making it 42-34.  Reid picks off his 2 interception with 1:15 left in 3rd and brought out a challenge flag. Sharks ball and they kick a Field goal, taking the score to 45-34 at the buzzer. With 10:30 left the 4th Soul's Joe Goosby gets a penalty and Dwayne Hollis got a facemask call. The Sharks score another through an interception with 4:37 on the clock. QB Tommy Grady hit a fan in the stands with an errant pass but connected with Joe Hill  making the score now 58-34.  The Soul get the ball and Darius Reynolds for the Soul's last score and in the famous words of the Soul's PA Announcer “Still Not Enough" as Jacksonville won 58-41. Jacksonville’s Grady 21 of 35 passed 326 yards 7 TD and was not tackled for the second week now.    Hills has 18 carries 305 yards 6 TD's. Tiger Jones 18 yards 1 TD. Derrick Ross had 6 carries 4 yards and 1TD.  Greg Reid had 2 interceptions and 10 tackles. Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh had 24 of 36, 306 yards, 3 TD's and 3 Interceptions. Goosby led all tackles with 7.5
11.04.2016
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Article by Linda Lane Only one voice has been there when the Philadelphia Soul has taken the field in it's now 11th year history and that honour goes to Vinnie "The Crumb" Caligiuri. Vinnie's roll doesn't stop at just being the team's announcer. Soul Chief Operating Officer John Adams goes on to state, "Vinnie is the Voice Of The Soul. The game experience centre’s around him. He gets the crowd into the game, gets them on their feet, cheering & screaming. Nobody does it like him and I myself can't imagine a Soul game without Connie being there behind the mic". Vinnie states "It's my job to get everyone pumped up and as fans we owe it to our players to be rooting for them, no matter what the score may be at any point in the game". Vinnie's very first game as a public announcer for the Soul was on February 8th 2004, when the Soul took the field for their first home game, against the New Orleans VooDoo.  He had had no prior experience as an announcer and at first didn't do well, saying that “the first game I realized there was way more to this than I ever imagined but got through it."  There was a learning curve during that 1st season while everyone was figuring out their roles but once all was sorted out, Vinnie knew he found what his role would be and that was to get the crowd into the games and keep them there. Caligiuri had been bouncing around various radio stations, being on 97.5The Fanatic, WMMR, & WYSP. In the 10 seasons the Soul have played in Philadelphia, there has been a lot of player changes, a few different coaches at the helm and ownership has changed hands but the one constant has been Vinnie, manning the PA announcer position since day one and he is getting better at it with every passing game.  "To me, there's nothing better than strapping on the headset and testing the mic." Caligiuri stated.
07.04.2016
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Article by Linda Lane April 1st saw the return of the AFL season in 2016, with each team having high hopes on doing whatever it takes to get their team to the championship and to get their rings. Friday night saw 6 of 8 teams in play and play is what they did. With all 3 match ups being a blow out of sorts. We also saw a number of other high points as well.  We saw the league open with their 3000th game, one WR get his 250th career TD and 1 team celebrating the beginning of their 25th anniversary.  All in all, all teams hope it will be their season to shine and bring home the big prize at the end of the season. The Orlando Predators vs. Tampa Bay Storm game had a little bit of everything in it and it also marked Orlando's 25th anniversary in the league. This face off is usually billed as "The War On Highway 4" with Orlando winning convincingly in a blow out with the score of 76-25 that had announcers saying it looked like Orlando was scoring 3000 points,  blowing the game wide open for Orlando by the 3rd quarter 55 - 19 and never looking back, finishing up 76- 25. Orlando’s QB Randy Hippeard was 20 for 30 attempts, 214 yrds, and 6TD's.  WR Greg Carr had 4 TD's, 7 carries & 113 yrds. Defense saw Varmah Sonie get 8 tackles & 2 interceptions. Tampa’s QB Kennedy, got 12 of 25 attempts,150yrds & 3 TD's. WR TT Toliver had 3 carries, 56 yrds, 2 TD's. WR Gerald Young, had 6 carries, 81 yrds, 1 TD. In the next game, the Philadelphia Soul vs the Cleveland Gladiators, Soul got off to a quick lead in front of a reported 12,944 fans in Cleveland. Coach Dolezel said "It was a great way to start of our season. We are Arena Bowl Bound or Bust and we will be looking to fix errors this week before our home opener with Jacksonville". QB Dan Raudabaugh completed 21 of 33 passing for 233 yrds, 7 TD's.  WR Shaun Kauleinamoku had 3 TD's in 7 carries in 95 yrds. WR D.Reynolds had 8 catches & 3 TD's too. Defense saw Tracy Belton have 8 tackles, D. Hollis had 1 tackle, 1 TD, & 2 interceptions & J. Goosby had 1 interception for 18 yrds. Cleveland's QB went 19-35 196 yrds, 2 TD's & 4 Interceptions, in a final of 69-41. In the Arizona Rattlers vs Portland Steel game, Portland the newly league formed team had many early problems including losing Nick Turesdal with what appears to be an ankle injury in the 1st quarter and was out the rest of the game. Arizona capitalized on many errors, Interceptions, and fumbles.  Southwick, the QB,for Portland, also appeared to get hurt, hurting his right arm (elbow) after being sacked in the 2nd quarter and displaying problems, rubbing the arm before the end of the 1st half and Arizona already having a good lead at the half, 46- 21.  2nd half Southwick came back better but it was too little, too late with the game ending as biggest of all blowouts, 80-28 before a crowd of 6,782 fans. Southwick ended the night, 4 out of 15 attempts, 52yrds and 1TD. Rattlers QB Nick Davila & WR Rod Winsor, never missed a beat with Winsor getting 7 carries, 84 yrds, & 4 TD's. Davila was 9 out of 10 drives, 10 out of 16 attempts, 245 yrds, 7 TD's. DB Arkeith Brown & Kenny Reed both had interceptions & DL Damien Borel had a return fumble and followed it up with it with a TD. Saturday night saw the remaining 2 teams, the Jacksonville Sharks come to visit the LA Kiss. When playing any football game, it is very important to manage the clock properly. All too often games are decided by the last possession before the end of the 1st half and with that said, this was a perfect example of just that. This was a game which had both the LA Kiss and Jacksonville Sharks, trading score for score, it was nowhere near as easy as the final score would appear to be. Everything was set up perfectly for the Sharks, right up to the last 37 seconds of the 1st half. With the game tied 27-27 and the ball on the 1 yard line, new Offensive Coordinator Ray Philyaw, told his team NOT TO SCORE and Derrick Ross appropriately fell down on the ball, forcing Kiss to use their time out.  When play resumed, Ross was given the ball again and in fairness to Ross he was hit in the back and shoved over the goal by Marcus Pittman, sending Ross into the end zone with 7 secs to go.  Kiss gets the ball and Nathan Stanley sends the ball down field on the 1st down and into the end zone to Brandon Collins, to even the score at the half. Kiss came out 2nd half, scoring on the opening drive, to take the lead and never gave it back. Tommy Grady who was great for 3 out of 4 Quarters saw only 1 of 7,2nd half pass attempts completed, 1 interception on the goal line, and the Sharks never regained the lead and looked as if things started to fall apart with the score of 40-39, and  by the end Kiss had won 64-39.  Others scoring for Jacksonville were Joe Hills 9 catches for 151 yrds and 2 TD, Derrick Ross 9 carries 18 yrds 2TDs, DJ Stevens 9 carries 101 yrds. LA Kiss's Nathan Stanley was 27 for 36 attempts, 283 yrds & 5 TD's. Donovan Morgan, scored his 1st of 3 TD's,making his 250th career TD & is the 8th all-time leader league's history & gave the TD Ball to Paul Stanley. Rory Nixon had 3 carries for 7 yrds & 2 TD's.
31.03.2016
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Article by Linda Lane During the last week In February the AFL Board, Officials & Coaches, all came together to focus on player safety and the flow of the games.  They have worked diligently and promised to continue to work on elements of safety, making adjustments for overall improvements of the game.   Most notable changes will be as follows: 1)      Eliminating booth reviews during National TV Games:  No longer will officials review or call for a review in the last minute of each half of play. 2)      All challenges will be controlled by the Head Coach and within that final minute as well. Each team will continue to have their (2) challenges in games and if a team wins both of them in a game they will be allowed a 3rd.   These next few will be big ones as we saw a lot of these issues last season: 3)      Ball carriers and loss of their helmets: When a carrier losses their helmet or it comes off, the PLAY will be stopped immediately with the ball spotted at the point where helmet was off. 4)      Dangerous plays/pulling players off of a pile: If a player or Coach attempts to remove an opposing player from the pile it will result in a personal foul and given a penalty. 5)      Onside kicks and blocking:  Both teams are allowed to try and block the play immediately after the ball is kicked. 6)      Kick off alignment:  The kick off teams will be limited to (5) players in either side when the kicker is kicking the ball. A penalty of (5) yards will be given for illegal formation.
20.03.2016
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Article by Linda Lane As the Arena Season for 2016 draws closer with teams in Camp, fans will see many noticeable changes before kick off on April 1. There will be 16 games for each team and 2 Bye Weeks for each team with the Universal Bye Week for the Week of the July 4th. No More Cats - Champions have left the League No longer with the League are the 2015 Arena Bowl & Pacific Division Championship San Jose Sabercats (17-1 Season), the Las Vegas Outlaws (5-12-1), the New Orleans VooDoo (3-14-1) and the Spokane Shock (7-11). There is as of now a total of 8 teams. This will mean 2 Conferences with a total Of 4 teams in each.  In the National Conference you will find Western Divisional Champs the Arizona Rattlers (14-4), Cleveland Gladiators (8-10), LA Kiss (4-14) and the Portland Thunder (5-13). In the American Conference there will be Arena Bowl runner up for 2015 The Jacksonville Sharks (10-8), Southern Division Champion Orlando Predators (12-6), the Eastern Division Philadelphia Soul (15-3) and the Tampa Bay Storm (7-11). There will be 2 teams having to look for special venues for their home games this year as their regular venues will be playing host to the Democratic Convention (July 25-28) in Philadelphia, and the Republican Convention (July18-21). Both teams will be announcing changes soon. The League announced that due to there being only 8 teams there will now be only 2 Conferences as listed above but each team will have a spot in the Playoffs and will the will look like this. #1 v # 8, #2 v # 7, #3 v #6, #4 v #5, giving each team an equal chance at playing for the 2016 Arena Bowl, with the playoffs starting after August 1st. Many fans many also know that all is not well with the Portland team as the League had taken over the running of the team this past November. There will be more on that later as information comes in. CBS Sports Network & ESPN 1 & 2 will carry games this season and ESPN3 show some online. That schedule will be out as well and I will post when I get it. During the season I will look at all 8 teams and let you know what makes each Franchise special. Their views ranging from owners, coaches, players, staff and fans. I trust you will enjoy my updates, information and stories from this wonderful League.

2015 Arena Bowl XXVIII - Sharks v Sabrecats Full Game Video