June 13, 2008

Why, Yes We Did Score Seventy-Nine Points


I AM PLEASED to report the Manchester Wolves, my city's minor-league arena football team, have improved to 5-6 on the season, and did so in impressive style this evening. Let's review the Youngstown tune-up we pulled on the hapless Mahoning Valley Thunder (of Youngstown, Ohio) this evening:

* We scored 79 points against the Thunder. That's high even for arena football. It is not the all-time record for Manchester or any other team -- the team's record in a game is 80 points, which I saw them pull off a while back, and the all-time scoring record for a team in af2 is 103 points. It was, however, enough for the Wolves to set a new team record in terms of points scored on the road.

* We had three turnovers in the game -- two fumbles and one interception. Sweet.

* For a good portion of the game, we were up by more than 30 points. Double yoi!

* The Thunder only managed to score one touchdown in the third quarter -- and that followed two possessions in which we forced two turnovers.

* Did I mention we scored 79 points? I watched the game using the af2's clever Internet television broadcasting system. I can't say enough how much that rules. Anyway, our offense was absolutely unstoppable -- our guys were routinely yards away from the enemy's defensive backs, and often practically walked into the endzone. Oh, it ruled.

Of course, being a perfectionist, I did notice some things that somewhat concerned me. Youngstown should not have been able to score 55 points in that game. True, much of this was because of the downright sick play of wide receiver Clenton Rafe, who was all over the field and zipping past our players right and left. Mr Rafe scored most of Youngstown's touchdowns and turned in a downright impressive performance; fortunately, in this league, it requires all eight players on the field doing well for teams to win.

So our defensive backs, basically, need to keep on the ball -- pardon the pun -- and work hard in practice this week on coverage. That said, I have to give credit to No. 2, Trey Bell, formerly of the Grand Rapids Rampage, who made our interception tonight. He read the quarterback perfectly and it was a beautiful pick.

Also, I was a bit concerned about our kick coverage -- it seemed too easy for Youngstown to punch the ball out into good field position, even after their players initially bobbled the ball on several kickoffs. That's something, perhaps, to work on. In addition, our quarterback, James Pinkney, is playing fantastic. But Mr Pinkney should feel free to throw the ball away if he finds himself in trouble as opposed to trying to make a play; that was our one turnover tonight.

I realize this may seem a bit much, considering Manchester has won four games in a row, is one game shy of .500 and four of our five remaining games are against relatively weak teams. But we have to play division leader Wilkes-Barre/Scranton -- on the road -- next week. They're 9-2. They've won 17 games in a row at home. And they scored 77 points tonight against a good Tennessee Valley (Huntsville, Ala.) Vipers* squad.


The playoffs are in sight!


* What's that? Yes, the Tennessee Valley Vipers are in Alabama. But they're really close to the Volunteer State. Look, I'm sure they had a good reason for calling the team what they did.

** Also -- last -- but not least -- The Rant hopes No. 5, wide receiver Emery Sammons, heals up quickly from the injury he sustained tonight. But I certainly admire Mr Sammons' guts -- he was hurt once in the evening, but came back and fought on before getting hurt again. That's dedication.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 13, 2008 10:51 PM | TrackBack

Great post and agreed, Emory will bounce back!

Posted by: Steve Lambert at June 14, 2008 03:58 PM
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