6. Cedar Rapids Titans
In their first game under head coach Marvin Jones, the Titans put up a fight against the Green Bay Blizzard - in the first half, anyway. The second half was a different story. All in all, the offense was stopped six times on fourth down and gave up 44 points. For a team looking to improve from 1-15 last season, they haven’t started on the right foot.
5. Green Bay Blizzard
Like Cedar Rapids, Green Bay kept it close in the first half of their first game of the 2018 season. Also, like Cedar Rapids, the second half showed a different story. Green Bay’s defense would give up three second half touchdown passes to Iowa Barnstormers quarterback Drew Powell. They also only scored seven points in the second half of the loss. Still, there is room for improvement for this team.
4. Nebraska Danger
Damien Fleming took the reigns for the Danger and led the team to an opening victory this past weekend. However, a turnover at the end of the first half made it look as if the Titans could be a threat to them in Week
They prospered, however, and showed they’re once again ready to be in contention for the United Bowl.
3. Sioux Falls Storm
The Sioux Falls Storm lost their opening game for the first time since 2005 this past weekend. They had a chance to pull out the win in a tie game, but a turnover led to nine Arizona Rattlers points at the end of the game. Despite that, however, they gave Arizona a real run for their money. Look for them to bounce back big in Week 2.
2. Iowa Barnstormers
Travis Partridge lit up the Barnstormers in 2017. Now, with Drew Powell at the helm, no one was sure he would be able to duplicate that for Iowa in their system.
In the team’s first game, he showed he was still the same quarterback he was with Nebraska last season. He threw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone of the Barnstormers 41-20 win over Green Bay.
Of course, there are still many challenges ahead - such as Sioux Falls and Arizona - but for their first game, Iowa showed to be a strong team on both sides of the ball.
1. Arizona Rattlers
The defending champs were the first to defeat the Storm in a United Bowl game since 2010. To show they mean business, they also defeated them in their home opener, their first loss in their first game of a season since 2005.
They lost quarterback Verlon Reed Jr in that game due to injury - the seriousness of the injury has yet to be determined - but if it’s a long-term injury, they will have to rely on their defense to win them a second consecutive title in the IFL.
The 2018 Indoor Football League season, the league’s 10th, kicks off tomorrow when the Cedar Rapids Titans and Nebraska Danger face off. There will be six teams in the league this season as opposed to the 10 that played in the 2017 season.
Both teams that played in United Bowl IX last season, the Arizona Rattlers and Sioux Falls Storm, will be returning, as will the Titans, Danger, Green Bay Blizzard and Iowa Barnstormers. The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and Colorado Crush both ceased operations. The Wichita Falls Nighthawks also ceased operations after their plan to join the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) failed and the Spokane Empire also ceased operations.
All teams in the IFL will come into 2018 with talent. Arizona will be bringing in their talent that won them United Bowl IX last season. They also brought in much new talent, such as 2017 IFL Rookie of the Year in quarterback Verlon Reed.
Sioux Falls will once again be led by head coach Kurtis Riggs as they look to win their seventh title in eight seasons. Nebraska are now run by former Jacksonville Sharks head coach Bob Stoute and former Sharks quarterback Damien Fleming. Stoute led the Sharks to an 8-0 record last season before being fired. Fleming was the starter as Jacksonville won the inaugural NAL title.
Iowa has two quarterbacks in Travis Partridge and Drew Powell who could lead the team to a serious run. They also have a consistent defense. Green Bay got back a future Hall of Famer in BJ Hill and also have several keys on their defensive line and in their secondary. As for Cedar Rapids, things can only go up for them after a 1-15 season in 2017.
The season kicks off tomorrow and will run through June 23. The two conference games will be played the weekend of June 30. United Bowl X is scheduled to be played Saturday, July 7.
The Peach State Cats of the American Arena League sign former Auburn quarterback, Jeremy Johnson.
The 6'5, 235lb quarterback played college football at Auburn University. In high school, Johnson won the Mr. Football Award, which is given to the best high school football player in Alabama.
He also participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. At Auburn, he played in only 25 games from 2013-2016, serving mostly as a back up. In his time at Auburn, he completed 179 of 282 passes, for 2,224 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 210 yards on 73 attempts for nine touchdowns.
After going undrafted in 2017 NFL Draft, Johnson was picked up by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent to attend rookie mini camp on a tryout basis. After this, Johnson began to pursue a pro basketball career. On Jan. 3 , he joined the coaching staff of his alma mater, Carver-Montgomery, to coach quarterbacks. Now, Johnson will join the Cats for the 2018 season in the AAL.
This is a huge pick up for the Cats. This team has an All-American running back and very athletic receiving corp, so Johnson can get some work in. There's a Tiger among these Cats!
The Indoor Football League will kick off its 10th season next Friday when the Nebraska Danger and Cedar Rapids Titans face off. It’s also a week until the Arizona Rattlers begin their road to a repeat as champions.
Last season, the Rattlers left the Arena Football League and joined the Indoor Football League. After an 0-2 start, Arizona would go to win 12 of their final 14, including their final 11 games, to be the #1 seed in the Intense Conference.
They would defeat the Danger in the Intense Conference Championship game and would advance to United Bowl IX to face off against the six-time defending champion Sioux Falls Storm. This would be the biggest challenge of their first season in the IFL.
When it came to the game, they dominated the first half. They held a 34-7 halftime lead. It looked as if they were going to run with it. That wasn’t the case, however. The Storm would shut out the Rattlers 21-0 in the third and make it a 34-28 game headed into the final frame.
Arizona would prevail, however, and win United Bowl IX by a final score of 60-51. They dethroned the storm, who hadn’t been dethroned since 2010.
Now, they will look to run the six-team league once more, and it will be easier than it was before.
They will be led by 2017 IFL Rookie of the Year Verlon Reed, Jr. Quarterback Kody Sokol will be playing football overseas and Darron Thomas is no competition to Reed, so expect him to win that starting job. He led the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles in passing [of course] and rushing. He is a huge key to their success.
Also returning to the team will be wide receiver Anthony Amos who has been a key in the passing game for Arizona over the last few seasons. He is also a contributor in the special teams game, as he can return kicks.
They’ve also acquired and re-signed several key players on defense, such as defensive back James Calhoun (five pick-sixes last season), defensive back Allen Chapman (led league in passes defended, second in INTs (8)) and United Bowl IX MVP Justin Shirk (7.5 sacks).
Arizona’s road to repeat begins next Sunday, Feb. 25, when they host the Storm in a rematch of United Bowl IX. They, along with the other five teams in the league, will be looking to win United Bowl X, which is scheduled to be played the weekend of July 7.
Independence, Mo. - How does 2017 CIF MVP Donovan Porterie feel about the squad he had surrounding him with the Duke City Gladiators? He was so comfortable in the pocket that he followed it to Kansas City this offseason, joining his offensive coordinator and entire offensive line on the Phantoms’ preseason roster.
“Donovan is not just an incredible athlete, he’s a great quarterback and leader,” said Phantoms General Manager and Head Coach Meadow Lemon. “Having had the opportunity to work with him in 2017, I’m excited to be able to bring him here and give Kansas City fans to have the opportunity to see him perform.”
Portiere (6’4”, 225) is an eight-year veteran of the indoor game, with a couple of stints with the IFL’s Green Bay Blizzard sandwiching a year in the Arena Football League with the Spokane Shock, where he played in relief of injured former AFL MVP Erik Meyer.
Last year, in his MVP campaign with Duke City, Porterie led the CIF with 3,010 passing yards and was second in the league with 63 passing touchdowns. He also completed 265 of 435 passes (60.9%) on his way to an efficiency rating of 159.5.
Porterie joins the rest of the Phantoms in training camp, opening February 22, 2018 at Epic Sports Lodge, 19310 E 50th Terrace, Independence, Missouri. The season kicks off on March 16 at 7:05 p.m. at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena against the Omaha Beef. Tickets are available at http://kcphantoms.com/.
Before Iowa Barnstormers quarterback Drew Powell went into training camp, he spoke with Arena Football Talk about his plans for the upcoming season.
Q: How do you feel you fit in Iowa?
A: I feel like I'm a great fit in Iowa, great coaching staff, veteran receivers. I couldn't ask for a better situation.
Q: You’ll be competing with Travis Partridge for the starting job. Do you feel confident in your ability to win the starting job?
A: I'm a competitor to the core, and it brings out the best in me. My job is to come in and work hard, put my best foot forward everyday and we'll let the rest take care of itself.
Q: If the team asks, will you be open to changing positions?
A: Throughout my conversations with the staff, we never spoke about me changing positions. As much as I fantasize about catching touchdowns or making tackles in the open field, I'm a quarterback.
Q: Why did you leave Nebraska?
A: When coach Chinn was let go, I didn't feel like I was a part of the future plans in Nebraska.
Q: With Sioux Falls having won six consecutive United Bowl titles before Arizona joined, do you think Iowa is a competitor this season?
A: We are definitely a competitor this season, no doubt about it. This is a team that's already proven they know how to win. It's time to take that next step, the goal is a championship.
Q: What are your goals in Iowa?
Q: What do you feel are your best strengths?
A: Knowledge of the game, arm talent, athleticism, and my competitive spirit.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: Steve Mcnair... Rest In Peace