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Aaron Garcia's separated shoulder will keep him out of Saturday's Jacksonville Sharks game and could sideline him for another game or two after that.

Bernard Morris will start at quarterback against the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings on Saturday night. Morris steered the Sharks to a 49-47 victory over Tampa Bay last Saturday, passing for four touchdowns and running for another after Garcia left the game in the first quarter.

Morris was named the Arena Football League's playmaker of the week.

As Morris' backup, the Sharks signed 17-year arena football veteran Todd Hammel, who played last year for the Milwaukee Iron in af2 and is coaching high school football in Texas.

At 43, Hammel is 4 years older than Garcia. Hammel said he's treating his temporary gig as a mini-vacation from coaching.

Garcia said his return would probably come down to a "coaching decision."

"I'm resigned to the fact that it's going to hurt," Garcia said Wednesday. "An injury like this would take about four weeks to heal up, and we don't have that kind of time."

After Saturday's road game, the Sharks (10-4) finish the regular season July 30 at home against Spokane. Jacksonville is trying to retain the No. 1 seed in the American Conference and home-field advantage in the first two playoff rounds.

Wide receiver-kick returner Jomo Wilson, who missed the Tampa Bay game, didn't practice Wednesday because of assorted injuries.

"We have to get him right," Moss said, adding that Wilson probably could play but the Sharks want him healthy for their playoff run.

Packing 'em in

The Sharks' season-high home crowd of 13,011 on Saturday night was the largest of the weekend in the AFL.

Jacksonville is neck and neck with Arizona for third in attendance behind Tampa Bay and Orlando.

Bossier-Shreveport, last in attendance with an average of 3,550 in 12,500-seat CenturyTel Center, gave away 5,000 tickets to Saturday's game against the Sharks.

"I hope they get as many people in there as they can," Moss said. "These guys want to play in front of people."

Quarterback carousel

The BattleWings have had a revolving door of quarterbacks this season.

Saturday's starter, Jimmy Welker, is a former backup at LSU and the fifth to play the position.

He follows Raymond Philyaw, Kinsmon Lancaster, Gary Cooper (who has left the team) and wide receiver Randy Hymes. Philyaw, an AFL veteran, went down for the season with a knee injury in the eighth game.

Playoff update

If the Sharks win their final two games, they would not only host a first-round playoff game, on Friday, Aug. 6, they would also be in position to host the American Conference final, too, on Thursday, Aug. 12.

But if they were to finish behind Tampa Bay in the South Division, they would have to play in Tulsa on Aug. 7. Tulsa, having clinched the Southwest Division, is the only conference team assured of hosting a first-round game.

With two more wins and a 12-4 record, the Sharks could still tie Spokane for the best overall record and be in a position to host the Arena Bowl on Aug. 20.

But for that to happen, Spokane (12-2) would have to lose at home to Chicago today, then lose to the Sharks by 11 points or more on July 30 (Spokane won the first match 67-57).

With 6-8 records, Orlando, Alabama and Oklahoma City all have a shot at the final playoff berth in the American Conference. Oklahoma City plays at Orlando today. Alabama is at Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Catching on

With Wilson out and Morris at quarterback, defensive back Dee Webb became the No. 4 receiver against Tampa Bay and caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter when fellow former Florida Gator Dallas Baker briefly left the game with an injury.

Webb said it was his first touchdown reception since his days at White High School. He reached over the wall to grab Morris' pass.

"Once I saw that ball coming, there was no denying me coming down with that one," Webb said.

Sharks Notebook: Shoulder injury sidelines QB Aaron Garcia

Posted: July 22, 2010 - 10:42pm

Jacksonville Sharks at Bossier-Shreveport Battlewings

When: 8:05 p.m. Saturday.

Where: CenturyTel Center, Shreveport, La.

Records: Jacksonville is 10-4; Bossier-Shreveport is 3-11.

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Jacksonville Sharks have chance to secure homefield advantage for playoffs

A win gives Jacksonville homefield advantage in the playoffs.

Posted: July 29, 2010 - 11:07pm

RAYMA JENKINS/The Times-Union

Sharks quarterback Aaron Garcia warms up before a game against the Tampa Bay Storm on July 17. Garcia was injured in the game, but should be returning tonight.

Arena Football: Shock at Sharks

When: 8:05 p.m. Friday.

Where: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

TV: NFL Network.

Records: Spokane is 13-2; Jacksonville is 11-4.

Jacksonville Sharks Information

Jacksonville Sharks website

Full 2010 schedule

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By Gary Ledman

The final regular-season act of the Jacksonville Sharks' first season in the Arena Football League will unfold tonight, and the Sharks can thicken the plot of the playoffs by putting a few last pieces in place.

The Sharks (11-4) clinched a postseason berth three weeks ago, but beating the Spokane Shock tonight would guarantee them the right to play at home throughout the playoffs — unless they meet again with Spokane (13-2) in the Arena Bowl championship game on Aug. 20.

"These are the games we've worked all year for," Jacksonville coach Les Moss said. "We're playing to win."

Aaron Garcia will be back at quarterback for the Sharks, 13 days after suffering a separated shoulder and a slight concussion early in a 49-47 victory over Tampa Bay. Bernard Morris led the Sharks to a pair of wins, and now Garcia, inured to playing hurt over a 15-year AFL career, figures it's time to get back out there and discover how much pain he'll have to tolerate.

"The thing that would kind of worry me is to not play this week and go into a do-or-die playoff game not knowing what I have to deal with," Garcia said. "As long as I'm not going to hurt the team, I want to be out there."

The Sharks will also regain the services of wide receiver-kick returner Jomo Wilson, who sat out the past two games to heal for the playoffs, and receiver Jeron Harvey (a Jackson High graduate) is eligible to play after spending four weeks on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Defensive back Dee Webb, a former Florida Gators and White High standout, will be serving the second half of a team suspension.

If Jacksonville wins tonight and clinches the No. 1 seed in the American Conference, the Sharks would play host to the Orlando Predators on Aug. 6 to begin the playoffs. A loss to finish behind Tampa Bay would force the Sharks to play at Tulsa on Aug. 7.

Spokane, with the league's best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs already locked up, has nothing to play for tonight — except momentum, an 11-game winning streak and a perfect record on the road.

As Shock coach Rob Keefe told the Spokesman-Review in Spokane earlier this week: "If you're a train and you went 500 miles, why would you stop 20 minutes from the finish line? It takes a long time to get started up again."

The Shock split its first four games before running off this string of victories, which includes a 67-57 win over the Sharks on May 29.

Spokane has maintained its roll despite the loss of receiver Raul Vijil after 10 games. Vijil caught 10 passes, seven for touchdowns, from quarterback Kyle Rowley against Jacksonville. Rowley has thrown for 96 touchdowns this season, No. 4 in the league.

While most of the AFL's 15 teams organized, or reorganized, from scratch to restart the league this season, the Shock is one of the teams that moved up from af2, the so-called feeder league that stopped play after last season. It was the best of the bunch, having won the Arena Cup last year and twice in its four years in af2.

So Spokane's success this season does not surprise Moss any more than his own team's record.

"They have a great organization out there. They're a very good team," Moss said.

Rowley and the Shock went 14-2 in 2006 in the team's first season.

Their coach was Chris Siegfried, now the Sharks' offensive coordinator. After that championship season, Siegfried served as offensive coordinator of the AFL Kansas City Brigade in 2007 and then two years as head coach of the Arkansas Twisters in af2. There, his quarterback was Rowley again.

While he has a high regard for Rowley and a few other Shock players who were part of the original team, Siegfried makes it clear his loyalties lie with the Sharks. A resident of Windermere near Orlando, he wanted to work closer to his family after a hectic several seasons in different places. He called Moss soon after Moss was hired.

"He was very passionate about wanting to be offensive coordinator, and it was an easy pick, really," Moss said.

And now, Siegfried says, working with Moss and calling plays with Garcia "is a good fit."

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Sharks Notebook: Quarterback Aaron Garcia to return for regular-season finale

Posted: July 29, 2010 - 12:23am

Jacksonville Sharks Information

Jacksonville Sharks website

Full 2010 schedule

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Sharks roster

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By Gary Ledman

Aaron Garcia will be back at quarterback when the Jacksonville Sharks play host to the Spokane Shock at 8:05 p.m. Friday at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Garcia suffered a separated shoulder and a slight concussion early in the Sharks’ 49-47 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm on July 17.

He sat out the Sharks’ 48-20 road victory over Bossier-Shreveport on Saturday.

“Aaron’s good to go,” Jacksonville coach Les Moss said. “It’s not perfect, but there aren’t many guys out here this time of the season who are perfect.”

The Sharks (11-4) have qualified for the Arena Football League playoffs, but they need a win Friday (or a Tampa Bay loss to Orlando on Saturday) to clinch home-field advantage.

“There are things I’m going to do on Friday night that are going to cause pain, and I’ll have to be ready to deal with it,” said Garcia, a 15-year AFL veteran.

Garcia’s backup, Bernard Morris, passed for seven touchdowns and ran for two in Garcia’s place over the last two games.

Teams on the move

The website arenafan.com is reporting that the Bossier-Shreveport and Alabama franchises will relocate before next season and take on the names of former AFL teams.

According to the report, Bossier would move to New Orleans, whose team in the old AFL was the VooDoo, and Alabama would move from Huntsville to Nashville, Tenn., (as the Nashville Kats) or Gwinnett County (as the Georgia Force).

Elsewhere

If the Sharks win Friday, they’d play host to South Division rival Orlando Aug. 6 in the playoff opener, and the second-round home game would be on Aug. 14. If they lose to Spokane (13-2) and finish second behind Tampa Bay, they’d have to open the playoffs at Tulsa on Aug. 7. ... Sharks DB Micheaux Robinson was named one of the AFL playmakers of the week. Robinson was credited with seven pass breakups and

9 1/2 tackles in Saturday’s game at Bossier City, La. ... Some form of instant replay review will be used in Friday’s game, televised on the NFL Network, as an experiment for possible use in the playoffs

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Last-second touchdown ends season for Jacksonville Sharks

08/07/2010 12:29 AM

JACKSONVILLE- Bobby Sippio's sixth touchdown of the game with 8.7 seconds remaining gave the Orlando Predators a 73-69 playoff victory over the Jacksonville Sharks on Friday night before 10,157 fans at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, ending the Sharks' first Arena Football League season abruptly in the first round of the postseason.

The winning touchdown came less than 12 seconds after the Sharks had rallied to take a 69-66 lead on Aaron Garcia's 13-yard touchdown to Jeron Harvey, Garcia's seventh touchdown pass of the game.

The Sharks, who were the No. 1 seed in the American Conference after a 12-4 season, fell behind 49-40 on the second play of the fourth quarter as a result of their only turnover of the game. A Garcia pass bounced off the ankle of Jason Willis and into the hands of Dion Byrum, who flipped the ball to Kenny McEntyre for a return to Jacksonville's 3-yard line. Fullback James Lynch scored on the next play.

The 275-pound Lynch also scored on the final play of the third quarter, rumbling 36 yards on a second-down-and-1 run.

Orlando had finished the regular season with an 8-8 record, clinching the fourth and final seed in the conference with a game left in the regular season. The Predators split with the Sharks, losing 57-31 in the Sharks' home opener on April 16.

"We made some plays. We didn't make enough plays to win the game," Sharks coach Les Moss said.

"We've been in those situations before and we usually get it done. We didn't get it done tonight," said Garcia, who completed 31 of 45 passes for 346 yards.

After Sippio's game-winning touchdown and Jason Willis' kick return to the Jacksonville 14, Garcia hit Dallas Baker for 19 yards to the Orlando 17 with 0.7 seconds remaining. But a pass into the end zone fell incomplete on the final play.

Sippio, who joined the Predators in midseason and did not play either regular-season game against the Sharks, caught 9 passes for 113 yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Nick Hill. He also ran for a pair of scores.

"Bobby Sippio adds a lot to their lineup," Garcia said. "I don't care where he goes, he's going to make a team better and he proved that tonight."

"We felt like we had some good matchups with Bobby and their secondary, and he proved it," said Orlando coach Pat O'Hara, who credits Hill's improved play over the final month of the season for the Predators' surge and their chances against either Tampa Bay or Tulsa in next week's conference finals. Hill completed 23 of 39 passes for 246 yards and six touchdowns. "When our quarterback goes, we go," O'Hara said.

Just about Hill's only mistake was a fumbled snap on the first play of the second half, giving the Sharks a turnover that looked as it might be the difference in the up-and-down game.

Hill dropped the ball, which was kicked into the end zone, and Sharks defensive end Henry Taylor fell on it for a touchdown and a 33-28 lead.

Orlando had a 28-27 halftime lead, the difference coming on Paul Edinger's partially blocked extra-point attempt after the Sharks' second touchdown, Garcia's second scoring pass to Dallas Baker.

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I Know Garcia Was Not The Main Reason The Sharks Lost Tonight But It JUst Sucks The Best AFL QB EVER(STATS DON'T LIE) Lost In The First Round Of The Playoffs To Some QB In His 2nd Year In The AFL

I AM UPSET BUT AT LEAST THE JETS START NEXT WEEK

Isn't it a pain in the a$$ to capitalize every word in a sentence?

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Chicago Rush Adds Veteran QB Hammel For Playoffs

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Chicago Rush has signed AFL veteran quarterback Todd Hammel to serve as the team’s backup quarterback for the playoffs, the team announced today. The Rush has been without a backup since starting QB Russ Michna suffered a broken rib in the first half of the team’s July 17 game vs. Dallas and backup J.J. Raterink assumed the starting role.

The 43-year-old Hammel (6-1, 215, Stephen F. Austin) spent 15 seasons in the AFL – including one year with the Rush in 2005 – before retiring after the 2006 season. After spending two years away from the game, Hammel returned to Arena Football in 2009, playing in eight games for the then af2 Milwaukee Iron. He also served as the backup QB for the Jacksonville Sharks for one game earlier this season.

During his one year with the Rush, Hammel served as the backup to Raymond Philyaw, playing in six gmaes, including going 2-0 in two starts, and completing 55 of 76 passes for 754 yards and 15 touchdowns.

For his career, Hammel has played in 153 career games and has completed 2,164 of 3,833 passes for 27,097 yards and 423 touchdowns.

The Chicago Rush opens the 2010 Arena Football League playoffs tonight in Milwaukee with a National Conference semifinal game against the Milwaukee Iron. Kickoff for the game at Milwaukee’s U.S. Cellular Arena is set for 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the National Conference Finals at Spokane next Thursday, August 12.

The Rush and Iron split their 2010 season series, with the Iron winning 71-48 on May 7 in Milwaukee and the Rush evening the series with a 63-56 win June 19 at Allstate Arena.

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Shock advance to ArenaBowl after defeating Iron 60-57

08/12/2010 10:34 PM

Spokane, WA: The Spokane Shock defeated the Milwaukee Iron 60-57 Thursday night and will advance to the ArenaBowl as the National Conference Champions.

The ArenaBowl will be held on Spokane Tribe Field Friday, August 20th , kicking off at 5 PM PST. Tickets for the Championship game will go on sale tomorrow at noon through TicketsWest and can be purchased by calling 1800 325-SEAT.

Spokane jumped out to an early lead, capitalizing on their first possession with a 14-yard touchdown reception by WR Markee White. Milwaukee fired right back when KR Antoine Burns returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards for the Iron’s first score of the game.

Spokane’s Huey Whittaker scampered into the endzone on a two-yard run to put Spokane back in the lead, 14-7. Burns’ ensuing kickoff return started Milwaukee’s first offensive drive on the eight-yard line. On the Iron’s first play from scrimmage, Spokane’s defensive line overpowered Milwaukee and easily penetrated the pocket. Shock DL Jerry Turner forced a fumble that Milwaukee recovered in the endzone to give Spokane a safety and a 16-7 lead.

Spokane’s defense continued to limit Milwaukee’s high-powered offense by holding them a 25-yard field goal on their next drive. On the offensive side of the ball, Shock QB Kyle Rowley continued to put points up on the board, scoring on every drive for the remainder of the first half.

But, Milwaukee simply would not go away. The Greisen-led offense outscored Spokane 21-7 in the third quarter, including 14-straight points after capitalizing on Spokane’s only turnover of the game.

With just under a minute remaining in the game, Spokane held on to a slim three-point lead. Milwaukee attempted an onside kick that DB Alex Teems recovered and sealed the win for Spokane.

Rowley finished the night completing 76% (28/37) of his passes with 334 yards and seven touchdowns. The Shock receiving corps was led by the Nifty Playmaker of the Game, Whittaker. In addition to his rushing touchdown, Whittaker hauled in a game-high 14 receptions for 165 yards and four (receiving) touchdowns. WR Markee White added two touchdown receptions, while WR Greg Orton was second on the team in receptions with eight for 94 yards.

For Milwaukee, Greisen completed 77% of his passes for 235 yards and five touchdowns. Greisen spread the wealth amongst his receivers, completing at least one pass to six different receivers. Burns led the Iron receivers in receptions (8), while WR Tiger Jones led the team in touchdowns (2).

Spokane will host the winner of Saturday night’s American Conference Championship between Orlando and Tampa Bay.

Attendance: 8,151

JLS Ironman of the Game: SPO – WR Huey Whittaker

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: SPO – QB Kyle Rowley

Spalding Highlight of the Game: Spokane’s 1st quarter safety

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: SPO – DL Jerry Turner

Nifty Playmaker of the Game: SPO – WR Huey Whittaker

Cutter’s Catch of the Game: SPO – WR Huey Whittaker’s fourth quarter touchdown

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Sharks quarterback, Aaron Garcia, set yet another record by becoming the first football player at any level to reach 1,000 combined touchdowns in his career.

Congrats Aaron

Wrong, I had over 1000 touchdowns in recess football years ago.

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Storm Punch Ticket To ArenaBowl XXIII With 63-62 Win Over Predators

08/14/2010 9:10 PM

TAMPA- The Tampa Bay Storm (12-5, 1-0) punched their ticket to Arena Bowl XXIII next Friday in Spokane, claiming victory in the third installment of the “War On I-4” by defeating the Orlando Predators (8-9, 1-1) by a score of 63-62 in a barnburner of the AFL American Conference Championship game. The trip to next week’s championship contest marks the eighth ArenaBowl appearance by the franchise.

A series of Orlando penalties proved to determine the game’s outcome, forcing Predators kicker Carlos Martinez to re-try an extra point that initially had tied the game at 63 after Orlando roared back from a 21-point deficit at the start of the second half. Rather than tying the game, however, Martinez’s kick sailed and hit the right goalpost, allowing the Storm to maintain a one-point lead. Martinez later received another opportunity to win the game with a 49-yard field goal attempt with two seconds remaining, but the try fell short, deeming the Storm the 2010 American Conference champs.

Both teams dueled in the fourth quarter, trading score-for-score and matching each other’s touchdown production, but solid special teams play by Michael Hawthorne, clever play calling, and clutch execution on two-point conversion attempts allowed the Storm to prevail as the final buzzer sounded.

Brett Dietz led the Storm, throwing for 260 yards and seven touchdowns. Tyrone Timmons led all Tampa Bay receivers with three scores, while DeAndrew Rubin and Terrence Royal also cashed in a pair of touchdowns. Orlando quarterback Nick Hill countered Dietz, passing for 265 yards. T.T. Toliver led all receivers from both clubs, bringing in seven of Hill’s nine touchdown passes on the night. Tampa Bay was equally as impressive on the other side of the ball as well, forcing and recovering two fumbles in the first quarter alone.

Tampa Bay’s defense set the tone early, dictating play for the majority of the first quarter. The Storm registered numerous pass break-ups and applied heavy pressure to Predators quarterback Nick Hill, while forcing Orlando to turn the ball over on downs on its first offensive possession. Cliff Dukes provided Tampa Bay with its first true scoring chance after he recovered an Orlando fumble, but Dietz failed to convert. The Storm signal caller, however, redeemed himself by throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew Rubin to even the score after Orlando took a 7-0 lead. Tampa Bay maintained its high-tempo for the remainder of the period following the initial score, finding the endzone once more courtesy of Terrence Royal after defensive end Jermaine Smith recovered Orlando’s second fumble of the night.

Tampa Bay padded its first quarter lead in the following period, going up 35-21 at halftime. Much like in the game’s opening period, Orlando struck first on a touchdown pass from Hill to receiver T.T. Toliver. Dietz, however, remained poised in the pocket, spread the ball around, and threw three scores each to different receivers including DeAndrew Rubin, Tyrone Timmons and Hank Edwards. Tampa Bay’s last score of the first half was aided by solid special teams play, as Drew Weatherford recovered an onside kick that allowed the Storm an additional opportunity to put points on the board.

The Storm opened the third quarter with its largest lead of the game, going up 21 points after Tyrone Timmons hauled in his second score of the night. Although Tampa Bay scored a second time in the quarter, Orlando slowly began to chip away at the deficit, scoring twice on a pair of unanswered touchdown receptions by T. T. Toliver. Toliver then brought the Predators to within just one touchdown after teammate Josh Bush recovered an onside kick to give Orlando an extra possession that set up the score.

Both teams traded a score each before Orlando’s Dion Bynum intercepted a Dietz pass with four minutes left, leading to the tying touchdown on a fourth-and-one play in which Hill overthrew intended receiver Bobby Sippio and instead found a wide-open T.T. Toliver who caught the ball off of the netting to make the score 56-55 following the extra point. Each team would find the paint once more, but Michael Hawthorne sealed the game with an onside kick recovery, allowing the Storm to burn time off the clock and capture the win. The Predators gave a last ditch effort to win the game with two seconds remaining on the clock, but a 49-yard, potential game-winning field goal by Orlando kicker Carlos Martinez fell short.

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Chicago's Alfonzo named Ironman of the Year; All-Ironman Team announced

08/17/2010 3:51 PM

TULSA- Chicago Rush wide receiver/linebacker DeJuan Alfonzo has been named the Arena Football League’s JLS Ironman of the Year, the AFL announced today. One of the game’s most complete players, Alfonzo was a major factor on offense, defense and special teams in 2010 for a Chicago Rush squad that finished 10-6 and advanced to the playoffs for the ninth-consecutive season.

Regarded as one of the best Jack linebackers in AFL history, Alfonzo (6-0, 205, Indiana State) recorded 63 tackles, four interceptions – three of which he returned for touchdowns – and 12 passes broken up this season for the Rush defense.

However, when injuries depleted the Rush wide receiving corps, Alfonzo moved to offense where he caught 28 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 26 yards and four TDs.

In addition, Alfonzo was the team’s holder on all extra points and field goals and the team’s best performer on kick returns and kickoff coverage.

Along with being named Ironman of the Year, Alfonzo also anchors the league’s All-Ironman team, which features the best two-way players in the AFL. It is the fourth-consecutive season in which Alfonzo has been named to the league’s All-Ironman team.

Joining Alfonzo on the 2010 All-Ironman team are ….

2010 AFL All-Ironman Team

WR/LB DeJuan Alfonzo, Chicago Rush

FB/LB Dan Alexander, Alabama Vipers

Finished the season with 84 rushes for 209 yards and 26 touchdowns…Also tallied 4 receptions for 45 yards and one touchdown…His 209 rushing yards was good for fourth best in the league. He also tallied 10 unassisted tackles and 12 assisted and two tackles for loss.

OL/DL Aaron McConnell, Alabama Vipers

Tallied 12 unassisted tackles and 8 assisted…Also nabbed 7.5 tackles for loss for an impressive 45.2 yards and 5 sacks.

WR/KR Jeff Hughley, Tulsa Talons

Finished the season with 113 receptions for 1,258 yards and 28 touchdowns…Had the second most All Purpose yards in the league (2,808), third most Kick Return yards (1,551) and fourth most All Purpose yards per game (175.5)

WR/KR Kenny Henderson, Dallas Vigilantes

Made 117 receptions for 1,286 yards and 23 touchdowns…Caught 99 kick returns for 1,931 yards, the most kick return yards in the league….also lead the league in All Purpose Yards (3,313) and All Purpose Yards per game (207.1)

WR/KR CJ Johnson, Alabama Vipers

Made 108 catches for 1,246 yards and 21 touchdowns…third in league in All Purpose yards (2,805), All Purpose Yards per game (187) and fourth in total kick return yards (1,449).

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Tulsa's Nyenhuis named Russell Lineman of the Year

08/18/2010 5:23 PM

TULSA- Tulsa defensive end Gabe Nyenhuis has been named the Arena Football League’s Lineman of the Year, the league office announced today. A constant threat to offenses, Nyenhuis tallied up impressive numbers while aiding the Talons in reaching the postseason in their inaugural season with the AFL.

While Nyenhuis (6-4, 260, Colorado) tallied 21 unassisted and 11 assisted tackles on the season, it was the quarterback that was his favorite target. He nabbed a spectacular 15.5 sacks on the season, breaking the previous sack record of 15 set by Greg White (Orlando) in 2007.

Additionally, Nyenhuis made 13 tackle-for-losses, a league high. He was also credited with four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and nine forced fumbles in his standout year.

Nyenhuis is no stranger to the indoor game. He has played arena football for three seasons, including a season with the 2008 ArenaBowl Champion Philadelphia Soul, where he recorded 9.5 sacks on the year and was named to the Second Team All-Arena team.

In the past, Nyenhuis has signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Soul and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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