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AFL Press Release

Stanley, Varner and Smith Earn Weekly Honors

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Thomas, Sonie and Peila also awarded for weekend's highlights

CHICAGO – San Jose Sabercats quarterback Nathan Stanley has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while Orlando Predators Jack linebacker Tanner Varner has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and Tampa Bay Storm defensive back Chris Smith has been named J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 2 of the 2014 NET10 Wireless Arena Football League season. In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. Orlando Predators defensive back Phillip Thomas earned the Cutters Catch of the Week, while Portland Thunder defensive back Varmah Sonie and Jack linebacker Bryce Peila were awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week.

Stanley (6-4, 225, Southeastern Louisiana) made his first career start in Week 2, completing 18-of-28 passes for 249 yards and six passing touchdowns while guiding the SaberCats to a 70-33 victory over the Philadelphia Soul. He also rushed for a touchdown in the game.

Varner (6-0, 205, Northern Iowa) recorded six tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble in Orlando’s 69-63 overtime victory over the LA KISS in Week 2. He returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown and finished the game with 74 interception return yards. He has collected five interceptions in five career games with the Predators.

Smith (5-10, 195, Northern Illinois) tallied five tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and a pass breakup in Tampa Bay’s 48-45 victory over the San Antonio Talons in Week 2. Smith’s second interception came at the goal line in the fourth quarter, preventing the Talons from taking a commanding lead and swinging the momentum back to the Storm. He also recovered a fumble on the final play of the game to secure Tampa Bay’s win. He will be awarded a timepiece crafted by J. Lewis Small for his efforts.

Thomas (6-0, 195, Syracuse) intercepted Los Angeles quarterback J.J. Raterink on the first play of the overtime period to set up the game-winning touchdown in Orlando’s 69-63 victory over the KISS. Thomas raced 17 yards down the field before being brought down at the goal line. He will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.

Sonie (5-8, 175, Northern Iowa) forced a fumble by Iowa Barnstormers wide receiver Darius Reynolds, enabling Jack linebacker Bryce Peila (6-1, 205, Western Oregon) to scoop up the ball and return it 16 yards for a touchdown in Portland’s 36-40 loss to Iowa in Week 2. Sonie also recorded an interception in the game, while Peila enjoyed his second straight contest with a defensive touchdown.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Nick Davila, Iowa’s Darius Reynolds, Orlando’s Khalil Paden and Tampa Bay’s Amarri Jackson.

Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Jeremy Kellem, Portland’s Varmah Sonie, San Jose’s Ken Fontenette and Tampa Bay’s Chris Smith.

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Arkeith Brown, Iowa’s De’Mon Glanton, Orlando’s Arness Ikner, Portland’s Duane Brooks, San Antonio’s D.J. Stephens, San Jose’s Reggie Gray and Tampa Bay’s Justin Hilton.

The Arena Football League is also awarding the MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Iowa Barnstormers wide receiver Darius Reynolds, Orlando Predators wide receiver Khalil Paden and Tampa Bay Storm wide receiver Amarri Jackson. Fans will have 24 hours to vote on beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 26. The winner will be announced on Thursday, March 27.

About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2014 season. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVII Saturday, August 23, 2014 on ESPN.