Pro Football is Back in LA: RB John Avery Leads Chicago Enforcers into LA Coliseum Running Back Comes Off Combined 250-Yard, Two-TD Day To Lead Chicago Into LA Coliseum To Battle Xtreme Saturday Night on NBC
Avery is coming off a combined 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-29 loss to the Orlando Rage last Saturday at the Citrus Bowl. The versatile RB racked up 157 yards on 25 carries and caught three balls for 93 yards. Avery also has big-play potential on every play, as he proved by breaking off a 64-yard TD run and pulling in a 68-yard TD catch from QB Tim Lester.
The Xtreme will look to bounce back from a heart-breaker at San Francisco's Pac Bell Park, newly nicknamed the "Hell Hole" by the fans of the Demons. Los Angeles fell to San Francisco, 15-13, on a 33-yard field goal by Demons kicker Mike Panasuk as time expired.
"They ask me if I am I going to be wrestling, throwing super plexes and all that kind of stuff. I'm like come on now, think about it, I mean even if Betty Crocker owned the Bears, do you think we would have to eat brownies before the game? It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that this is real football." - Chicago Enforcers RB John Avery.
"Scoring the first touchdown? It wasn't as fun as I thought it would be since he crushed my ribs." - Los Angeles Xtreme WR Darnell McDonald, on scoring a touchdown and then missing the second half with a rib injury suffered on the play. He is expected to return this weekend.
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE -- BATTLES OF UNDEFEATED AND WINLESS:
Something has to give this weekend as two games feature match-ups of 1-0 teams, while the other two games feature match-ups of teams who lost in Week One. Visit XFL.com for a look at the at the standings and upcoming schedule.
XFL WEEK ONE PRELIMINARY INJURY REPORT: (WILL BE UPDATED EVERY FRIDAY)
PROBABLE: 75% chance of playing
QUESTIONABLE: 50% chance of playing
DOUBTFUL: 25% chance of playing
NOTE: These lists include injuries for the 45-man roster, and do not include players on injured reserve.
BIRMINGHAM THUNDERBOLTS: QUESTIONABLE: Fred White (Knee). PROBABLE: Ed Smith (Ankle), Calvin Jackson (Foot), Dion Foxx (Ankle), James Bostic (Foot).
CHICAGO ENFORCERS: QUESTIONABLE: Willy Tate (Shoulder). PROBABLE: Roell Preston (Shoulder), Kerry Cooks (Quad), Jayson Bray (Hamstring), John Avery (Forearm), Jason Chorak (Ankle), Ryan Yarborough (Hamstring), Steve Conley (Quad)
LAS VEGAS OUTLAWS: PROBABLE: Jon Blackman (Ankle), David Diaz-Infante (Knee), Antonio Edwards (Elbow), Keith Jennings (Quad), Kevin Scott (Calf), Hurley Tarver (Achilles), Jamel Williams (Ankle).
LOS ANGELES XTREME: DOUBTFUL: Bobby Singh (Knee), Reggie Lowe (Shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: Todd Doxson (Knee), Curtis Eason (Knee), Darnell McDonald (Rib), Jeff Russell (Ankle), Ramando Stallings (Hamstring). PROBABLE: Terry Billups (Wrist), Jermaine Copeland (Hamstring), Nate Miller (Calf), Ricky Parker (Ankle), Latario Rachal (Quad).
MEMPHIS MANIAX: QUESTIONABLE: Alvin Harper (Groin), Charles Jordan (Groin), Caspor Stiles (Foot). PROBABLE: Kevin Cobb (Groin), Marcus Crandell (Foot), Jim Kitts (Finger/Groin), Brent Moss (Quad), Patrick Sapp (Shin).
NY/NJ HITMEN: QUESTIONABLE: Kirby Dar Dar (Ankle), Dino Philyaw (Foot).
ORLANDO RAGE: OUT: Ricky Bell (foot), Hassan Shamsid-Deen (Shoulder), DOUBTFUL: Joe Cummings (Shoulder), Sterling Palmer (Back/Ankle), QUESTIONABLE: Derrick Clark (Ribs). PROBABLE: Patrise Alexander (ankle), Rich Young (Calf), Sedric Clark (Abdominal Strain).
SAN FRANCISCO DEMONS: OUT: Sean Manuel (Knee). QUESTIONABLE: Jimmy Cunningham (hamstring), Samuel Manuel (Back) Juan Johnson (Thigh), Terrel Sutton (Shoulder). PROBABLE: Jermaine Miles (Calf), Scott Adams (Shoulder), Brian Roberson (Shoulder).
CHICAGO ENFORCERS (0-1) @ LOS ANGELES XTREME (0-1)
Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 8:00 p.m. (ET)
CHICAGO ENFORCERS NOTES:
• The Enforcers head into LA looking to even their record at 1-1 after a tough 33-29 loss at Orlando last Saturday night.
• Two words: John Avery. The versatile RB will look to shine again after he lit up the Citrus Bowl with 157 yards on 25 carries, also catching three balls for 93 yards. Avery has big-play potential on every play, as he proved by breaking off a 64 with 157 yards on 25 carries, also catching three balls for 93 yards.
• While pre-season questions swirled around the Chicago QB situation, Tim Lester turned in a solid performance in his first professional football game last Saturday in Orlando. The 23-year-old Wheaton, Ill. native connected on 13-21 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions. During the week, coach Ron Meyer moved Kevin McDougal up to #2 in the depth chart, leapfrogging Paul Failla.
• Chicago is the home of the road warriors, as the Enforcers open the season with three games on the road. In fact, Ron Meyer's team is the only team to even open the season with two straight away from home. Chicago won't open at Soldier Field until February 24.
• While they won't play at home this weekend, at least Chicago won't be in Florida. After 39 straight days in Orlando, the Enforcers finally get to see another state as they travel to LA for Saturday's game. Chicago started training camp in Orlando on January 1. The Enforcers will fly back to Orlando on Sunday and practice next week in Florida. The team will not actually arrive in Chicago until February 19.
• When Tommy Maddox goes to the air for LA Saturday night, keep an eye on Chicago cornerback Corey Ivy, who had one interception, three tackles and also picked off an extra-point conversion attempt on Saturday in Orlando.
LOS ANGELES XTREME NOTES:
• Professional football comes back to Los Angeles Saturday night when the Xtreme hosts the Chicago Enforcers at the LA Coliseum. LA must bounce back after a last-second heartbreaker to San Francisco, which won 15-13 on a field goal as time expired.
• "We have a rule on this team. You have 24 hours to feel sorry for yourself then you are back at it." --Al Luginbill, Xtreme Head Coach.
• "If we lose another game all season I will be very surprised." --Darnell McDonald, Xtreme wide receiver.
• QB Scott Milanovich's wife, Jaime, is due to have the couple's first child on Saturday, the day of the game. - Milanovich says he will not miss the birth, which will take place in Southern California.
• The Xtreme had several chances to score against the Demons, but managed only 13 points despite being in the red zone six times. Twice, the Xtreme forced and recovered fumbles inside the twenty, but were able to only convert for three points.
• The MVP for the Xtreme this week may be the athletic trainer, as 13 players were injured in last Saturday's game.
• Despite four injuries to the defensive line, the Xtreme defensive unit showed it can bring it, putting good pressure on Demon quarterback Mike Pawlawski and sacking him four times. The Xtreme allowed just 77 yards on the ground for the game.
• Armed with two quarterbacks who can punt, the Xtreme took advantage of that situation in the third quarter, putting Scott Milanovich in the shotgun on third down and long. Instead of running a play, Milanovich let go a 40-yard punt. With no one back to receive it, the Xtreme's Josh Wilcox recovered the free ball first on the Demons 20 yard-line, but the play was wiped out when Wilcox was called for being offsides.
• Starting QB Tommy Maddox will need to rebound from a tough day in which on his first play from scrimmage as the first quarterback in Xtreme history, he fumbled on his own 40. The ball was quickly recovered by the Demons' Eric England, and the Demons promptly went 39 yards on 11 plays to score the game's first touchdown.
SAN FRANCISCO DEMONS (1-0) @ ORLANDO RAGE (1-0)
Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 8:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: NBC Secondary Game (NBC will provide cut-ins during the LA-Chicago game)
SAN FRANCISCO DEMONS NOTES:
• San Francisco travels to Orlando Saturday night on the heels of a 15-13, last-second win in the "Hell Hole," otherwise known as Pac Bell Park. As the crowd chanted "Beat LA, Beat LA," the Demons won the game on a 33-yard field goal by K Mike Panasuk as time expired, sending more than 38,000 fans at Pac Bell into hysterics.
• The Demons will look for another big day out of QB Mike Pawlawski, who escaped a seemingly constant pass rush and completed an impressive 31 of 47 passes for 288 yards and two scores - as well as leading the game-winning drive.
• The Rage defense will have its hands full with the Demons' talented wideouts, led by Brian Roberson, who tore up the Xtreme secondary for 12 catches and 127 yards. But Orlando better not forget about WR Calvin Schexnayder, who made the play of the game with a spectacular, 32-yard, diving touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to put the Demons back ahead.
• Mike Panasuk was called out of his drama class at Lebanon (Ind.) High School and he flew to the Bay Area to discuss giving his football career one more try. Panasuk was selected from among the candidates and he gained final league approval Saturday and kicked Sunday, admitting he didn't even know all of his teammates' names. He missed a 42-yard attempt earlier in the game, but took advantage of the hurried conditions in the closing seconds to not have to ponder the situation long and banged home a game-winning 33-yard field goal.
• Wide receiver Brian Roberson and halfback Brandin Young are head coach Jim Skipper's nephews. San Francisco's head coach wanted both Brandin and Brian to make the Demons' squad on their own merits before he introduced that information to even his coaches and certainly members of the news media.
• During his collegiate career, Guard Pita Elisara was called by one publication as the "Sportsmayne of the Year" because of his following black Samoan hair that is readily visibly outside his helmet of the same color.
ORLANDO RAGE NOTES:
• Orlando hosts San Francisco Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl, and one of the two undefeated teams is leaving with a loss. The Rage opened the season with a thrilling 33-29 win over the Chicago Enforcers in front of 36,503 at the Citrus Bowl.
• QB Jeff Brohm will look to continue his hot XFL start after torching the Chicago defense for four touchdowns and completing 64% of his passes (14 of 22 for 217 yards) last Saturday night.
• When Brohm puts it up, the Demons' defense better go find WR Dialleo Burks, who caught three touchdowns on Saturday in Orlando's win.
• On the other side of the ball, Shawn Banks is making it happen. The linebacker had five solo tackles, two for losses, added a fumble recovery and an interception - and don't leave out preserving the win by recovering a Chicago on-sides kick in the final minute of the game.
• When the XFL said that PAT's are no longer a given, the Orlando Rage took it to heart, as they were unable to convert any of their five conversion attempts after touchdowns in the opener. Four of the attempts were runs by big running back Derrick Clark.
• No word yet on attendance plans for game two, but list Robin Martin from Kent, England as the XFL season ticket holder who has to travel the longest distance to see his team play. Martin made the 9-hour flight from London's Heathrow Airport to see the Rage take on the Chicago Enforcers. He holds a Rage season ticket to Section 109, Row M, Seat 8 and says he plans to take in at least three Rage home games this season.
BIRMINGHAM THUNDERBOLTS (0-1) @ NY/NJ HITMEN (0-1)
Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 4:00 p.m. (ET)
BIRMINGHAM THUNDERBOLTS TEAM NOTES
• Gerry DiNardo's team will look to break into the win column on Sunday with a visit to 0-1 NY/NJ to face the Hitmen at Giants Stadium. Birmingham was the sole team in the XFL to drop its home opener last weekend, falling 22-20 to Memphis and a big day from RB Rashaan Salaam.
• The Bolts' running defense will look to bounce back against a Hitmen team which managed only 61 yards on 14 carries in an opening loss at Las Vegas.
• The Bolts had no such problems on offense, racking up a league-leading 358 yards on offense against the Maniax Sunday. QB Casey Weldon leads the league in passing yardage after putting up a 306-yard day in the opener.
• Coach Gerry DiNardo has said from almost day one that James Willis is the heart of the Birmingham defense from his middle linebacker spot. Willis lived up to the billing last week, making 12 tackles against Memphis. Defensive end Charles Preston rang up a game-high four tackles for loss against Memphis. Preston accounted for 17 yards in Maniax losses. He also recorded a sack, making five of his seven tackles happen behind the line of scrimmage.
• Birmingham defensive back Toya Jones won Birmingham's first-ever scamble for the ball prior to the game against Memphis last week. Counting preseason scrimmages, the Bolts are three-for-three in the scramble, which replaces a coin toss as a way to decide choice of possession at the beginning of regulation and overtime.
• Birmingham head coach Gerry DiNardo is heading for a homecoming of sorts when the Bolts head for the Meadowlands. DiNardo grew up in South Brooklyn and was educated at St. Francis Prep, graduating in 1970. He played both quarterback and offensive line at St. Francis.
NY/NJ HITMEN NOTES:
• The Hitmen kick off their home slate at legendary Giants Stadium on Sunday afternoon when they host the Birmingham Thunderbolts. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season.
• NY/NJ must rebound from a sub-par performance, as they were run out of sold-out Sam Boyd Stadium with a 19-0 drubbing by the Las Vegas Outlaws.
• The Hitmen offense did show some signs of life, as RB Keith Elias amassed 46 yards on only six carries, while WR Fred Brock caught eight balls for 97 yards.
• On the defensive side, the Hitmen are led by middle LB Ron Merkerson, who recorded nine tackles, eight of them solo efforts. The Hitmen did get to the quarterback, sacking Las Vegas' Ryan Clement three times.
• With Rusty Tillman as the head coach, look for the Hitmen to shine on special teams. NY/NJ has two explosive kick returners in Kirby Dar-Dar and Butler B'ynote, both of whom nearly broke off long returns last week.
• The hard-nosed Tillman likes to show his team hard-nosed movies, as evidenced by the selections he has showed his team, titles including Braveheart, Cool Hand Luke and Patton, which was shown during training camp to acclimate the team to Tillman's coaching style.
LAS VEGAS OULAWS (1-0) @ MEMPHIS MANIAX (1-0)
Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
LAS VEGAS OUTLAWS TEAM NOTES:
• Las Vegas rolls into the Liberty Bowl after an impressive opening performance in the form of a 19-0 blowout of the NY/NJ Hitmen last Saturday night in front of a sold-out Sam Boyd Stadium. The Outlaws built up the 19-point lead before half time and then let the defense settle in and keep the visitors off the board the rest of the night.
• QB Ryan Clement, who started for the injured Chuck Clements, threw for two scores with no interceptions, completing 13 of 28 passes for 188 yards in the win.
• Eight outlaws players caught passes Saturday, but Vegas will need more out of WR Mike Furrey than his one catch for 33 yards.
• The Vegas defense showed its prowess for getting to the QB, sacking the helpless Hitmen quarterbacks six times and picking off two NY/NJ passes.
• The Outlaws will need to establish more of a ground game, as they were held to 91 yards on 27 carries as a team. Rod Smart led the team with 13 carries for 46 yards.
• Smart's 46 yards were not as noticeable as the back of his jersey, which read "He Hate Me." Smart uses the phrase to motivate himself, as the RB envisions opponents, coaches and even teammates hatred of his skill. Before the game, Smart looks across at the other bench and says to himself, "He hate me. That guy hate me. When I run all over their butts, they're all gonna hate me."
MEMPHIS MANIAX TEAM NOTES:
• The Maniax play their home opener Sunday at the Liberty Bowl, hosting the Las Vegas outlaws in a battle of 1-0 teams. Memphis opened the season with the lone road win of the opening weekend, dropping the Birmingham Thunderbolts, 22-20, at Legion Field.
• Running back Rashaan Salaam lived up to his Heisman Trophy reputation, busting up the Birmingham defense for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
• The Maniax hope to debut WR Alvin Harper, who missed the opener with a groin strain. The veteran wideout is questionable for Sunday's game.
• After nine seasons as an assistant in the NFL and 13 years as an assistant at the college level, Maniax head coach Kippy Brown made his head-coaching debut in winning fashion on Sunday and was awarded the game ball by his coaching staff and players.
• Athletic QB Marcus Crandell may need all of his ability to move in and out of the pocket on Sunday against a tough Las Vegas defense. Crandell, who starts over Jim Druckenmiller, completed 11 of 19 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown on Sunday. He did throw one pick, but it was a "Hail Mary" into the end zone at the end of the first half.
Today's release marks the second of a series of XFL Weekly News Releases, which will go out Wednesday from the XFL Corporate Communications department via fax and e-mail. The release will feature news, preliminary injury reports, game previews and more. To be added to either distribution list, please call 203-328-2570.