Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Arena football may be known for all the offense scored in it, but having some dominant defensive talent can go a long way towards separating a team from pretender and contender status.  The Power have been very focused on the defensive side of the ball but until today, they were still looking for a strong presence in the middle of their defense.

The Pittsburgh Power announced today that they have been assigned 1st team All-Arena jack linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson.  Jackson was a monster in the middle of the New Orleans VooDoo defense last year with 14 interceptions, which tied him with for the league lead in that category.   In two seasons in the AFL, he has amassed 22 interceptions overall.

“Alvin Ray makes any defense he plays in better,” remarked Power Head Coach Derek Stingley.  “My defense is his defense; it’s the defense where Alvin Ray cut his teeth in.  He knows all the checks, he understands all the situations like down and distance, field awareness, time and personnel.”

Stingley also commented on the impact Jackson will have in the turnover department.  “He’s a playmaker, his instincts are almost always spot on.”   This was something the Power really struggled with last year but the signing of Jackson, along with defensive backs Sergio Gilliam (six interceptions) and Chris LeFlore (nine interceptions), gives the Power defense a few ballhawks who will cause some serious havoc for opposing offenses in 2013.  Jackson and LeFlore both ranked in the top ten in the AFL last year in interceptions.  

The Power still have 13 open roster spots for the 2013 training camp roster and are hopeful that standout wide receiver and kick returner P.J. “Superman” Berry will also return to the team once he comes off the league’s injured reserve list.  By rule he is not eligible to sign with any team until then.

For the latest Power news keep checking in here at the blog.  Follow me on Twitter @SteelCityVoice as well.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Power sign eight more to the 2013 roster.

The Pittsburgh Power continues to stockpile talent for the 2013 season and have added some interesting players to the mix.

2010 Pittsburgh Power standout linebacker Gary Butler (6’1” 250 lbs, California of Pa.) is back with the team after a year off.  Nicknamed “The Bully” by the fans, Butler notched three sacks in his first four games, as well as three fumble recoveries.  He was also a presence with seven passes defensed.  Injuries slowed him down in the second half, but he was a vocal leader on the defense and should be a strong presence again this year for the Power.

Defensive lineman Dominie Pittman (6’3” 255 lbs, North Alabama) also returns to the Power coming off a solid pass rushing campaign last year.  He notched two multi-sack games against Orlando (Week 1) and Iowa (Week 17) and finished with 5.5 sacks overall.  He is looking to be a full time starter on the line this year for the Power.

The Power have also signed six rookies to the roster.

Running back Jason Ford is a 5’10 251 lb. bowling ball out of the University of Illinois.  Steeler fans will remember him from this year’s preseason roster.   He had 42 yards on 8 carries against the Colts before injuring his hamstring.  Considering he was merely an injury replacement on the roster to begin with, he was a longshot to make the team.  His bullying, bruising running style should make him a strong running back in the AFL.

Speedy wide receiver Curtis Walls (5’10”, 180 lbs., North Carolina A&T) has impressed the Power coaching staff enough to earn an invitation to training camp.  He played five seasons at North Carolina A&T (2003-07) and recorded 98 catches for 1,101 total receiving yards as a member of the Aggies.  He has also spent time on the rosters of the Montreal Alouettes (CFL) and the Tulsa Talons (AFL).

Defensive lineman Darius Powell is a 6’3” 245 pound pass rush specialist out of Fayetteville State.  He was 2009 Second team All-CIAA.  His best game was against St. Augustine where he had career-highs in tackles (7), tackles for loss (5), sacks (3), forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (1).

Defensive back Dee Wolford was signed following his appearance at open player tryouts for the Power.  Dee spent two seasons at Geneva College (‘04-‘05) where he was named an All-MSFA Pre-Season All-American, and two-Time All-MSFA Defensive Player of the Week.  He totaled 79 tackles, 27 break-ups, and five interceptions. Wolford finished his college career with two seasons (’06-’07) at Shippensburg University by adding 83 tackles, two sacks, 11 break-ups, and one interception.  Wolford also played in 2010 for the Reading Express of the Indoor Football League.

The Power have also been assigned defensive tackle Willie McGinnis (three year starter at Rhode Island, five sacks) and defensive end Quintin Anderson from Wagner who as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.