AFL Power Rankings through Week 4
It's easy to say that the regular season is meaningless this year, but don't tell that to the Rattlers. They fought with all their might on the road against the Sharks on Saturday night and earned an overtime victory on a night where their defense wasn't particularly special and Nick Davila threw two picks. If Kevin Guy's club can win a game like that in hostile territory, it can do anything.
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1: Arizona Rattlers (4-0) (LW: 1) - Man, these Rattlers are good. Maurice Purify came back into the lineup and immediately rolled off nine grabs for 151 yards and five TDs. Davila wasn't his normal sharp self with his two picks, but he threw for 390 yards and eight TDs. Credit to the Latin Laser for going a whopping 224 throws without an interception dating back to last season.
2: Philadelphia Soul (3-1) (LW: 2) - Philadelphia had the only double-digit victory of the night on Saturday against the Gladiators. There were some big problems for sure, not the least of which was the fact that Arvelle Nelson was able to move the ball up and down the field against this defense in the second half. However, the Soul dominated on the offensive side of the ball in the second half for the second straight week. Dan Raudabaugh is starting to look more like the All-Arena caliber quarterback we all know and love.
3: Orlando Predators (4-0) (LW: 3) - The Predators let the KISS hang around for far too long on Saturday night. Randy Hippeard threw 11 straight completions to start the game, but he had no killer instinct whatsoever after that and made some real bonehead decisions with the football, not the least of which was throwing the ball right into the hands of Fred Obi to give LA some life in a game which should've been over already. Orlando will likely be 5-0 after this week's visit to Cleveland, but I'm still colored unimpressed at this point.
4: Jacksonville Sharks (1-3) (LW: 4) - Les Moss' crew blew a game on special teams for the second straight week. This time, it was a kick return that really cost the Sharks. We're not sure they would've won the game anyway on the ensuing drive when David Hyland fumbled, but they at least would've had a much better shot in doing so. Tommy Grady, Joe Hills and Tiger Jones were so darn good against the best team in the league for basically the whole 60 minutes, and the defense did the job and amassed two picks of the un-pick-able quarterback. What more could you have asked for? Oh, that's right… a win. It'll get better in Jacksonville as the year goes on.
5: LA KISS (2-2) (LW: 5) - Even though the KISS lost in Orlando on Saturday night, I left that game more impressed with what they brought to the table than what Orlando did. Nathan Stanley made some mistakes, but he also made some massive throws as well into really tight spots. The defense found a way to buckle down in the second half for a couple stops, and the special teams came up with an onside kick recovery, too. If not for a bar ball in the third quarter, I still wonder if the Fightin' Stanley's would've won that game. Most impressive part of the whole thing with the KISS? They stuck around in Orlando with Donovan Morgan really having no major role in the outcome of the game.
6: Cleveland Gladiators (1-3) (LW: 6) - Remember when Cleveland had one of the best offensive lines in the league just two years ago? Now, Steve Thonn can't seem to figure out how to keep a quarterback healthy. First it was Chris Dieker who went down. Now it's Dennis Havrilla. For the second time this year, it looks as though the Gladiators are going to start a quarterback from off the streets. Stephen Panasuk was playing for the Wichita Force of the Champions Indoor Football League just last week at this time, and now, he's going to get the call to come to Cleveland. Is that was this has really come to?
T-8: Portland Steel (0-3) (LW: T-8) - The Danny Southwick era in Portland is over. Southwick was released on Tuesday (did you hear that, Cleveland?), clearing the way for Darron Thomas to return as a starting quarterback. Thomas left the AFL for the Major League Football League in hopes of getting himself some looks by NFL teams. The league never got off the ground, so he came back home to play for the Steel. His welcoming gift? A visit to the desert to take on Arizona. Southwick was beaten 80-28 by the Rattlers. Thomas is only a 27-point underdog in his debut game.
T-8: Tampa Bay Storm (0-3) (LW: 8) - Jason Boltus took last week to rest up, but he's got another inevitable beat down coming on Sunday afternoon against Jacksonville and its stout defensive front. The good news for Tampa is that this spot looks awfully familiar to last season when it was struggling mightily and found a way to beat a Jacksonville team which apparently was struggling worse. But we all know how that turned out in the end.
ArenaFan Fan Power Poll
1. Arizona Rattlers (99.2 Power Points)
2. Orlando Predators (90.8 Power Points)
3. Philadelphia Soul (76.7 Power Points)
4. LA KISS (65.8 Power Points)
5. Jacksonville Sharks (65.0 Power Points)
6. Cleveland Gladiators (52.5 Power Points)
7. Portland Steel (37.9 Power Points)
8. Tampa Bay Storm (37.1 Power Points)