Weekly Horsemen update
04/23/03 Horsemen Press Release
THIS WEEK’S GAME:
SATURDAY, APRIL 26 VS. TENNESSEE, 7:30 PM, KNOXVILLE
TOP STORY – HORSEMEN GET FIRST HOME WIN, MOVE INTO 2nd IN STANDINGS
The Lexington Horsemen recorded the first home win in team history on Saturday, demolishing the Oklahoma Crude 61-20 in front of 7,176 fans in Rupp Arena. Led by QB Dusty Bonner’s 6 touchdown passes, the Horsemen (2-1, 1-0) jumped out to a 28-6 lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Bonner completed touchdown passes to five different receivers, and WR Dougie Allen continued to shine on special teams, returning a kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown, Allen’s third TD return in the last two games. Martez Johnson paced the Horsemen on the ground, picking up 48 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown, while Carlos Johnson led all receivers with 8 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown of his own.
Defensively, the Horsemen turned in their best performance yet, holding the Crude to a mere 141 yards of total offense. DL Marvin Major wreaked havoc in the trenches all game, finishing with 7.5 tackles, five tackles for loss, and two quarterback sacks. LB Ray McLaurin turned in a top-notch performance as well, breaking up 6 passes and intercepting a seventh while also assisting on 9 tackles. The Horsemen secondary hassled Oklahoma QB John Howdeshell into a 12-for-35 passing day, with three interceptions.
The win vaults the Horsemen into second place in the Atlantic East division standings, chasing the still-undefeated (and defending champion) Ohio Valley Greyhounds for the division lead. This week’s game against Tennessee will be a battle for the second-place spot in the standings, as the RiverHawks sit only a half-game behind the Horsemen.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – TENNESSEE RIVERHAWKS
Four games into their season, the Tennessee RiverHawks (2-2, 2-2) have had quite the roller-coaster ride, and the Horsemen are catching them on the upswing. Tennessee opened their year 0-2, with a 25-point loss to Ohio Valley and a 45-44 defeat at Myrtle Beach. After the Myrtle Beach loss, former University of Tennessee and Washington Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler stepped down as RiverHawks head coach, citing differences between the front office and offensive coordinator Garmez Parks. A week of confusion followed as the RiverHawks front office and Shuler tried to work out their differences, while on the field, the team, guided by Parks and defensive coordinator Mark Bradley, recorded their first win, 32-23 over Evansville. Shuler officially resigned as head coach on April 17, and the team followed up their Evansville victory with an impressive win over Fort Wayne, erasing an 11-point deficit in the second half to pull away 65-48.
The RiverHawks are the most physically imposing team the Horsemen have faced yet. Tennessee features a run-oriented offense, led by RB Birdie Dockery, who won the 2002 NIFL MVP award as a running back for Ohio Valley. The ‘Hawks will also give the ball to former East Tennessee State RB Brandon Walker and let him work behind one of the more formidable offensive lines in the league. Dockery and Walker are averaging a combined 109.7 rushing yards a game, and have teamed up for 5 touchdowns on the year. When Tennessee does go to the air, they will rely on QB Steve Christie from Menlo (CA) College, who is averaging 84 passing yards a game and has 6 touchdowns against 3 interceptions on the season.
Defensively, the RiverHawks are led by three major-college products: DB Broderick Simpson from the University of Oklahoma, LB Thomas Stallworth from the University of Tennessee, and DB JarMaur Stallings from the University of Georgia. Simpson leads the team in total tackles, with 29, while Stallworth leads all RiverHawks in tackles for loss, with 5.
RIVERHAWKS SEASON TO DATE
3/27 vs. Ohio Valley L 21-46
4/1 at Myrtle Beach L 44-45
4/12 at Evansville W 32-23
4/19 vs. Fort Wayne W 65-48
HORSEMEN STATISTICAL LEADERS
The Horsemen continue to make their presence felt in a number of league statistical categories. As a team, Lexington ranks third overall in point differential (+14.00 per game), trailing only Ohio Valley and Lake Charles.
Individually, there are Horsemen among the league leaders in a wide range of statistical categories. Dusty Bonner continues to shine for the Horsemen, and his 213-yard, 6-touchdown game against the Crude kept him near the front of a number of statistical races. Bonner is currently second in the NIFL in total offense (223.0 ypg) and in passing yards (214.3 ypg), trailing Utah’s Danny Ragsdale in both categories. The Horsemen quarterback is also fourth overall in both pass rating (105.8) and passing touchdowns (13).
Dougie Allen’s third return touchdown in the last two games kept him among the NIFL statistical leaders as well. Allen currently leads the league in kickoff return average (33.2 yards per return) and return touchdowns (3). Additionally, he is currently ranked third in all-purpose yards per game, with 137.7.
Martez Johnson continues to emerge as a threat both running and catching the ball, and currently ranks eighth in rushing yards per game (41.3) and sixth in receptions per game (5.67).
Some emerging stars are appearing on the defensive side of the ball for the Horsemen as well. LB Ray McLaurin currently leads the league in total passes defensed, despite having played at least two fewer games than most of his competition. DL Marvin Major, coming off his best game of the young season, is currently ranked fourth in tackles for loss per game (2.00). DB Nate Green continues to hawk the ball, as he picked up his third interception in as many games against Oklahoma. Green is currently sixth in the league in picks per game (1.00 int/game).
A list of NIFL statistical leaders featuring Horsemen is attached. For full Horsemen statistics, please go to: https://nationalindoorfootballleague.net/2003/stats/LE.HTM
The Horsemen’s game against the RiverHawks will be broadcast live on WLAP 630 AM. Tickets are on sale for the Horsemen’s next home game, which will be held at 7:30 PM on May 3rd against the Myrtle Beach Stingrays.