Friday, March 18, 2011

GAME PREVIEW - WEEK 2 - Power vs Barnstormers




Saturday, March 19, 2011

7:30 PM
TV: Pittsburgh's CW Channel 19
Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA

After the gut-wrenching loss to hated Philadelphia in week one, the Bolts return to the CEC for a matchup with one of the most storied franchises in the history of Arena football. The Iowa Barnstormers bring some familiar faces, and have several other ones laced throughout their rich history.

History, that's an interesting concept. Here in Pittsburgh, a town whose football tradition dates back only one week and ends in a bitter overtime loss, we don't care. It's a case of "What have you done for me lately?" -- The past isn't pretext, because it doesn't exist. No amount of legendary players, coaches, or history matches the passion and will to establish ourselves as the ones who will dwarf all others in AFL history. The time is now.

The Barnstormers, coached by John Gregory, are one of the longest-tenured (sort-of) franchises in Arena League history. In fact, Gregory is the Barnstormers first head coach. He stuck with the team from their formation in the mid 90's until their move to New York early on in the millenium, and is now back to lead an Iowa franchise that was resurrected in May of 2007. During his tenure, Gregory has amassed 5 division titles.

You may remember Coach Gregory as the man who signed grocery store shelf stocking journeyman no-name Kurt Warner to his first Arena League contract with the Barnstormers in 1995. Warner would lead his team to two ArenaBowl losses (ArenaBowl X and XI) and never be heard from again.

The "new" Barnstormers started out their existence in AF2, the minor leagues of Arena ball, during the NBC/TNN era, a time in which the league was shooting for the stars with larger market teams (hence the relocation to become the NY Dragons) - relegating many of the league's famous micromarket teams to this league to serve as a feeder organization not unlike the NBA D-League.

However, after the cancelled season, the league knew it had to reach back into it's deep history to help it get back on their feet, and the Barnstormers were moved back to the AFL proper in 2010.

In their first season back in the big leagues, Iowa went 7-9. Coach Gregory was left to deal with what was basically a minor league squad in a major league sport, and wound up doing a pretty admirable job, given that.

This year, however, it's a totally different story. History doesn't matter anymore, either. This is a new era. This is the POWER era. Oh, and the Barnstormers have goggles on their helmets.

I'm pretty sure this officially makes them bojos.

Anyways, nobody knows what to expect from the goggles.


Sorry, I'm distracted. Maybe I'm just nervous because of the illustrious history of the Iowa franchise, I mean, Kurt Goggles.



Why do they have goggles on their fucking helmets?

*Shakes head*

OK. I think I've got the cobwebs out now. Back to the preview.

Goggles. Oh my God. Are you bojos serious? Goggles? On your helmet? Fuck.

The Goggles, in an attempt to upgrade from last year's undersized AF2 roster, have added 16 new arrivals to their 24 roster players. The only returning players are stud DL and Iowa State grad Brent Curvey, DL Charles Johnson, and WR's Jesse Schmidt, Toddy Blythe (of ISU fame as well), Tommy Ellington, and Errick McCown, who is out with a hip pointer.

Up until today, we didn't know if the starting QB was going to be former Heisman Trophy runner-up Brad Banks (Iowa) or the venerable Bryan Lee-Lauduski. As was the rumor (he tore up in their scrimmage) - Banks will get the start, per the Des Moines Register. It will, like Bernie Morris for the Power last week, be Banks' first significant AFL experience.

Other than that, we don't know a whole bunch about the Barnstormers. They haven't played a game yet this year, and, as I said, they have had more than half of their roster turn over, including the entire offensive line and the quarterback. We do know that losing to a team with goggles on their helmet will not sit well with this Pittsburgh fan base.

For the Power, we'll need Bernard Morris to step up his game. Although he threw for 264 yds and 5 TD vs the Soul last week, his three interceptions, including an overtime game winner, were killer. If he picks up where he left off, we could see Kevin McCabe get some action.

It's going to be up to Mike "Joystick" Washington (111 Rec Yds, 1 TD), Lonnell Dewalt (2 TD), and Jason Willis (2 TD) to get open and give their QB support and get his confidence up early. Josh Rue has proven he is clutch in short yardage situations, and the city has absolutely fallen in love with "The Golden Boot" Paul Edinger.

For every Power game we cover here on the BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG, our three contributing editors will pass along their expert picks for the game, along with the key to victory. We call these our BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG KEYS TO VICTORY! There are three of them. One each.

- Perry -
Bernard Morris needs to get his head together and not throw picks in the goggles.


The clutch.

I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt this week, because I think Coach Sieg will have him focused. Brad Banks will struggle in his first goggles experience.


Arena Football experience.

Power 60
Barnstormers 49

- Pro -
The only time you need goggles is if you're Michael fuckin' Phelps. Bojos. 67-52 Bolts.

Power 67
Barnstormers 52

- Schwartz -
Seems like a good week to win 74-51.

Power 74
Barnstormers 51


2) Michael Phelps
3) Win


Anonymous said...

These articles are fast-paced thrill rides. I need a cigarette.

Perry said...

@Anon - I smoked two during the writing of it.

Just like the 50 yard indoor war, Arena Journalism is fast and furious.

Anonymous said...

My name isn't actually Anonymous.

Perry said...

I love drunk commenters.