MILLION DOLLAR GAME
San Francisco Demons (6-5) vs. Los Angeles Xtreme (8-3)
Saturday, April 21, 2001, 5:00 p.m. PDT
Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.
San Francisco, Jim Skipper (First Year in XFL) – CAREER PROFESSIONAL RECORD: 6-5 (.545, One Year)
Los Angeles, Al Luginbill (First Year in XFL) – CAREER PROFESSIONAL RECORD: 41-31 (.569, Seven Years)
California native Jim Skipper has been associated with two previous league championships, but this is his first opportunity as a head coach. The Demons’ chief was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia, then Baltimore Stars when that team won back-to-back USFL championships in 1984-85. The Stars’ head coach Jim Mora and Skipper, along with several other coaches, left for New Orleans of the NFL the next season and the 1986 USFL campaign never occurred. Skipper hails from Brawley and coached in his early years in the profession at San Jose State among other in-state institutions before branching out to Oregon and then to the professional ranks, mostly east of the Rocky Mountains. Once deciding to cast his lot with the XFL, Skipper immediately ended a 14-year association with the NFL before the start of the 2000 season. He had been assistant head coach of the New York Giants (1997-99) after stints in New Orleans (1986-95) and Arizona (1996).
Al Luginbill of Los Angeles is back coaching in the States with the Xtreme. Luginbill finished his assignment with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFLE in June with consecutive 4-6 seasons after four straight non-losing campaigns. Amsterdam advanced to the World Bowl in 1995 under Luginbill after a 9-1 mark in the regular season. Two members of the current Demons’ roster played for Luginbill at Amsterdam last summer: safety Greg Williams and running back Juan Johnson.
All San Francisco games will be carried in northern California. The flagship organization for the game broadcasts is Clear Channel Communications, Inc., feeding affiliate KCNL-104.9FM. Roxy Bernstein of the California Basketball Radio Network and Demons’ General Manager Michael Preacher will describe the action.
It the Demons are to win the Million Dollar Game for the XFL championship, San Francisco will have to do so by winning three of consecutive road games to conclude the season. The chance to host a first-round playoff game evaporated in one of the Demons’ poorer performances in the season finale at Los Angeles, but San Francisco qualified as the No. 2 seed in the Western Division by virtue of two straight victories over Memphis, which also posted a 5-5 record during the regular season. Including a come-from-behind 26-25 victory at Orlando in Round One, the Demons are 3-3 on the road with victories in the regular season at Memphis and Las Vegas. San Francisco was a 24-0 loser at Los Angeles two weeks ago.
The Demons kicked off the 2001 XFL season with a 15-13 triumph over Los Angeles at Pacific Bell Park on Mike Panasuk’s 33-yard field goal as time expired.
The XFL’s tidy 10-week schedule allowed all teams to play each other at least once. The Western Division concluded with an 11-7 advantage over the Eastern teams in intra-division contests, including the two semifinal playoff contests. San Francisco, however, did not do its part, ending at 2-3 vs. the East. Los Angeles was unbeaten against the East, including victories at New York/New Jersey and Birmingham. The season concludes: Saturday, April 21 with the Million Dollar Game, 5:00 (NBC)
The immediate assumption would be that linebacker Dave Thomas reinjured the ankle that kept him out four weeks when he limped off the field at Orlando last Saturday. However, Thomas’ injury was on the right ankle, his previous problem was with the left. His injury is the one that will give San Francisco the most concern this week as it prepares for the Million Dollar Game. Of the two starters who were damaged in the last contest at Los Angeles, one returned at Orlando to play well and the other remained on the sideline. Defensive end Jermaine Miles suffered a sprained right ankle, but started at Orlando. However, quarterback Mike Pawlawski dressed, but didn’t see action last Saturday, but could be ready for the championship game if necessary. Still sidelined is defensive end Jomo Cousins (knee). In addition, offensive tackle Josh Kobdish (leg) and tight end Richard O’Donnell (knee) still reside on the injured reserve list. San Francisco has only suffered three season-ending injuries: tight end Brian Roche (Achilles) at Orlando, offensive lineman Curtice Macfarlane (dislocated kneecap) against Las Vegas and defensive tackle Emile Palmer (foot) at Chicago.
The Demons earned $7,500 each for the first-round triumph at Orlando, which is about $900 more than is awarded for winning in the regular season. However, the winning team in the Million Dollar Game receives $25,000 for all 38 active players. Those on the practice roster are paid $2,000 if their team wins the title game. As in the first round, members of the losing team cash checks for $5,000.
The San Francisco roster has gained some maturity and experience over the last few weeks with the addition of several players. Heading the list are CFL veterans Kelvin Anderson and Marvin Coleman, both of whom have had distinquished careers in the Canadian game and turn age 30 early next year. In addition, strong safety Toby Wright and defensive lineman John DeWitt provided San Francisco’s defense who two more veteran players. With three of five players on the Demons’ injured reserve list eligible to return before the end of the regular season, the San Francisco roster will continue to undergo changes in the next couple of weeks even though the trading deadline is long since past. Offensive tackle Josh Kobdish could be activated at any time and tight end Richard O’Donnell and middle linebacker Dave Thomas will have served their four weeks on the injured rolls by the time the Demons go to Los Angeles for the season finale. DeWitt was brought it when Eric England was ailing with a sore knee and now he’s filling in for Jomo Cousins, a defensive end who has been on the shelf for most of the season. Offensive lineman Curtice Macfarlane became the second squad member lost for the year after his a dislocated kneecap on his left leg had to be surgically repaired. Also new to the Demons in the last three weeks are offensive tackle Jeff Buckey and offensive guard Ben Nichols. Here is a rundown of Demons’ roster moves since the opening of training camp:
1- 6: Traded C David Diaz-Infante to Las Vegas for OT Harvey Goins
1-12: Waived K Ignacio Brache
1-18: Acquired WR Floyd Turner, WR Jimmy Cunningham and WR J.T. Thomas, Placed WR Mike Adams, OT Ben Nichols and DT Barry Mitchell on injured reserve
1-21: Waived CB Steve Johnson, OT David Walden, LB Eric Quarles and DT Ken Talanoa; Placed TE Sean Manuel and QB Kevin Feterik on injured reserve 1-27: Waived CB Derrick Gardner, LB Kevin Jefferson, LB Barrin Simpson, CB Cordell Taylor, CB Lee Cole, WR Floyd Turner, WR Darran Hall, WR Lee DeRamus, FB Ryan Christopherson and DT Pene Talamaivao. Placed C Curtice Macfarlane and WR J.T. Thomas on injured reserve
2- 2: Re-activated WR Calvin Schexnayder from the Failed to Report list
2- 3: Claimed and activated K Mike Panasuk from player pool; Waived K Frank Biancamano
2-11: Claimed QB Oteman Sampson and placed him on the practice roster; Placed TE Brian Roche on injured reserve.
2-13: Claimed WR Travis Moore and placed him on the practice roster; Waived TB Derek Brown from the practice roster and QB Kevin Feterik off injured reserve.
2-21: Claimed CB Lee Cole and placed him on the practice roster; Elevated TE Sean Manuel and C Curtice Macfarlane off injured reserve to the practice roster; Placed OT Josh Kobdish on injured reserve and waived TE Joe Kavanaugh.
2-28: Claimed RB Kelvin Anderson and placed him on the practice roster; Placed TE Rich O’Donnell on injured reserve.
3-5: Traded OG Robert Hunt and OT Harvey Goins to New York/New Jersey for OT Tony Berti and traded Berti to Las Vegas for SS Toby Wright; Waived TB Vaughn Dunbar.
3-7: Recalled OG Ben Nichols from injured reserve list and placed on the practice squad.
3-8: Activated OT Jeff Buckey off reserve-retired list.
3-13: Placed LB Dave Thomas on injured reserve; Claimed DE John DeWitt from player pool.
3-21: Claimed DT Pene Talamaivao from player pool.
3-22: Claimed CB Marvin Coleman from the player pool and placed him on the practice squad.
For the third straight week, San Francisco will be the NBA telecast Saturday night. The Demons also have been the object of five national cable telecasts and were the back-up game for NBC four other times. Matt Vasgersian, Jesse Ventura and Mike Adamle will be the booth announcers and Chris Wragge and Fred Roggin will roam the sidelines. John Faratzis is the producer of the telecast and John Gonzalez will direct.
San Francisco Demons 15, Los Angeles Xtreme 13, Sunday, February 4, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif.
The Demons’ defense controlled the proceeding throughout much of the game against high-powered Los Angeles and the offense and special teams closed the deal. San Francisco held Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox without a pass completion for more than 20 minutes and the Demons’ signal caller Mike Pawlawski engineered a drive in the game’s final 3:55 for the victory. San Francisco to traversed 57 yards in the waning minutes to put first-week kicker Mike Panasuk in position to boot a 33-yard field goal as time expired. Pawlawski completed 31 of 47 passes for 283 yards and both Demons’ touchdowns and receiver Brian Roberson caught 12 passes for 127 yards. San Francisco limited Los Angeles to just 161 yards through the air and forced two turnovers. Cornerback Dwayne Harper forced Maddox to fumble and Eric England recovered in the first quarter and cornerback Kevin Kaesviharn thwarted a fourth-quarter Xtreme drive with an interception deep in Demons’ ground.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Jimmy Cunningham 1-27, Juan Johnson 2-20, Mike Pawlawski 4-13, Vaughn Dunbar 10-10, James Hundon 1-5, Brandin Young 1-2.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 31-47-0, 288, 2TD
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Brian Roberson 12-127, Calvin Schexnayder 4-59 1TD, James Hundon 3-28, Jimmy Cunningham 3-25, Vaughn Dunbar 3-14 1TD, Juan Johnson 2-22, Brian Roche 2-7, Rich O’Donnell 1-3, Brandin Young 1-3.
Los Angeles Xtreme 24, San Francisco Demons 0, Saturday, April 7, Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.
It wasn’t the way in which Coach Jim Skipper would have elected to head to the XFL playoffs, but the Demons will be able to dismiss the finale to the regular season as an aberration. San Francisco was dominated by a focused Los Angeles team for 60 minutes and suffered its first shutout of the season. The Demons had trouble stopping the Xtreme in any manner and suffered critical turnovers by their own volition, preventing San Francisco from seizing any of the game’s momentum. Los Angeles scored two first-quarter touchdowns, bumped that to a 17-0 margin at recess and kept the pressure on in the second half. Quarterback Mike Pawlawski piloted the Demons into Los Angeles territory on several occasions, but San Francisco was guilty of three turnovers including two interceptions by Pawlawski while attacking near paydirt. Tailback Terry Battle paced the Demons in rushing and receptions, accounting for 170 all-purpose yards. Los Angeles was error-free and violated San Francisco for 173 yards rushing, the most the Demons have relinquished this season. San Francisco didn’t crack the Red Zone (opponent’s 20) until its last offensive possession, but reserve quarterback Pat Barnes was sacked on four down from the Xtreme 11 in the final minute.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Terry Battle 7-40, Brandin Young 3-33, Mike Pawlawski 3-5, Kelvin Anderson 4-(-1).
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 17-29-2, 136; Pat Barnes 4-11-0, 65.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Terry Battle 6-48, James Hundon 4-76, Travis Moore 3-34, Brian Roberson 3-22, Jimmy Cunningham 3-16, Kelvin Anderson 1-4, Brandin Young 1-1.
2001 SEASON IN REVIEW
San Francisco Demons 15, Los Angeles Xtreme 13, Sunday, February 4, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif. (See Above)
Orlando Rage 26, San Francisco Demons 14, Saturday, February 10, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
The Demons scored even earlier than they did in Week One, methodically grinding out a 90-yard drive on their first possession. Quarterback Mike Pawlawski was extremely effective most of the night, but was brilliant on the opening march, hitting nine of 10 passes en route to the end zone, capping the proceedings with a five-yard toss to tight end Brian Roche. San Francisco then relinquished 26 unanswered points to Orlando, including two costly turnovers that prevented the Demons from ever getting in position to contest. Pawlawski ended with 294 yards through the air, connecting on 36 of 52 passes. San Francisco finished with 359 yards total offense and shackled the Rage’s offense in the final 21 minutes, holding Orlando to just 297 yards. Jimmy (The Jet) Cunningham was Pawlawski’s favorite target with 10 catches for 95 yards. Pawlawski’s first interception of the season occurred in the Rage end zone when the officials ruled Orlando linebacker Omar Brown stole the ball in the air from the Demons’ Calvin Schexnayder, precluding San Francisco from clawing back to within one touchdown. Replays of the pass hinted the touchdown possibly should have been allowed.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Vaughn Dunbar 6-25, Juan Johnson 8-24, Mike Pawlawski 2-12.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 36-52-1, 294, 2TD; Brandin Young 1-1-0, 11.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Jimmy Cunningham 10-95 1TD, Tydus Winans 6-43, Brian Roche 5-27 1TD, James Hundon 5-51, Calvin Schexnayder 4-52, Juan Johnson 3-5, Vaughn Dunbar 2-10, Brandin Young 1-15, Jamie Reader 1-6. Page Four
2001 SEASON IN REVIEW, PART II
San Francisco Demons 13, Memphis Maniax 6, Saturday, February 17, Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.
Quarterback Mike Pawlawski singed Memphis with his third straight game of two touchdown passes, both in the second half, and the Demons’ defense pillaged with three interceptions and a season-best three quarterback sacks. All of the San Francisco pass theft came in the frenetic second half when the Demons wasted a 6-0 halftime deficit. San Francisco was struggling somewhat before a panicked Memphis quarterback Marcus Crandell threw a pass that ricocheted off an official and into the waiting hands of defensive tackle Emile Palmer. It took Pawlawski two plays and an interference penalty to convert with a nine-yard pass to No. 3 tailback Terry Battle to tie the proceedings. After a short, penalized Memphis punt, the Demons negotiated 41 yards for the go-ahead marker and Battle was running free in the secondary and Pawlawski hit him with a 24-yard scoring toss. After that, the defense sealed the issue, cornerbacks Kevin Kaesviharn and Wendell Davis thwarting Maniax’s drives with interceptions inside the San Francisco 15. Battle accounted for 172 all-purpose yards, including 35 rushing on six carries and 54 receiving on five catches, and was named the XFL’s offensive player of the week.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Terry Battle 6-35, Jimmy Cunningham 1-9, Juan Johnson 4-2, Vaughn Dunbar 4-(4), Mike Pawlawski 2-(4).
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 19-37-0, 184, 2TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: James Hundon 7-68, Terry Battle 5-54 2TD, Jimmy Cunningham 3-10, Brian Roberson 2-21, Rich O’Donnell 1-27, Vaughn Dunbar 1-4.
Las Vegas Outlaws 16, San Francisco Demons 9, Sunday, February 25, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco was holding its own against the XFL’s top defense, even scoring the first touchdown of the year on Las Vegas, but the Demons served up enough turnovers to allow the Outlaws to gain 16-9 sustenance and assume sole leadership in the Western Division. When Mike Panasuk booted another last-second field goal (this one at the end of the first half), San Francisco owned a 9-6 advantage at halftime. But, Las Vegas made life miserable for Demons’ quarterback Mike Pawlawski and replacement Pat Barnes in the second half and the Outlaws scored all 10 of the points rung up after intermission. Las Vegas intercepted both Demons’ quarterbacks and sacked Pawlawski three times to end drives including a fumble San Francisco lost. The Demons suffered five turnovers in all and Las Vegas prevailed despite just 163 yards total offense. Pawlawski connected on a league-best seventh touchdown pass, but failed to throw for two scores for the first time this season.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Juan Johnson 3-26, James Hundon 1-15, Pat Barnes 1-12, Brandin Young 1-7, Terry Battle 1-0, Vaughn Dunbar 2-(2).
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 25-35-1, 223, 1TD; Pat Barnes 3-11-1, 17.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: James Hundon 6-70, Jimmy Cunningham 6-51, Juan Johnson 5-41, Brandin Young 4-23 1TD, Tydus Winans 3-36, Jamie Reader 2-10, Terry Battle 1-6, Travis Moore 1-3.
San Francisco Demons 39, Birmingham Thunderbolts 10, Saturday, March 3, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif.
Quarterback Mike Pawlawski and San Francisco’s stingy defense had been keeping the Demons’ afloat. With Pawlawski out of action and the No. 2 XFL passer coming to town in Birmingham’s Casey Weldon, San Francisco was going to need reinforcements. Riding to the rescue was another former California signal caller Pat Barnes and a revitalized Demons’ running attack. Barnes accounted for San Francisco’s first three touchdowns and the Demons belted Birmingham in every way possible. San Francisco jolted its ground game to life with two scores, set up other markers with pass interceptions and cashed in for points with its special teams in rolling to the largest point total in regulation play in the league this season. Juan Johnson took advantage of his first start to accumulate 101 yards rushing and scored on a pass reception and Barnes and another tailback Terry Battle reached paydirt on the ground as the Demons piled up 173 yards rushing. Weldon was limited to 35 yards passing and the San Francisco defense were nearly inpenetratable except for one 42-yard run by James Bostic and back-up quarterback Jay Barker’s 92-yard pass to Stepfret Williams. The Bolts gained 45 yards with the rest of its offense. Barnes threw for two touchdowns and an even 100 yards on 10 of 17 passes with the logged football.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Juan Johnson 17-101, Pat Barnes 5-40 1TD, Terry Battle 8-16, Travis Moore 1-9, Oteman Sampson 1-5, Jamie Reader 1-4, Vaughn Dunbar 3-0.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Pat Barnes 10-17-0, 100 2TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Brian Roberson 6-69 1TD, Jimmy Cunningham 2-11, Juan Johnson 1-11 1TD, Tydus Winans 1-9.
2001 SEASON IN REVIEW, PART III
New York/New Jersey Hitmen 20, San Francisco Demons 12, Sunday, March 11, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif.
New York/New Jersey fired its best shot of the season at San Francisco and scored a direct hit on the Demons. The Hitmen rubbed out San Francisco with their defense, which had been taking a backseat to that of Las Vegas and the Demons through the first half of the season. New York’s offense was far from overwhelming, but the Hitmen took advantage of enough opportunities to post the upset. Not all of the visitor’s trick plays were successful, but just enough were. Receiver Zola Davis’ 74-yard touchdown pass to cohort Kirby Dar Dar ona fake reverse was the first of three Hitmen scores. New York/New Jersey forced three turnovers and sacked Demons’ quarterback Pat Barnes four times to hold San Francisco to a season-low 217 total yards. Barnes connected on just 19 of 41 passes and the Demons ran for just 58 yards. Receiver Jimmy Cunningham returned a punt for a touchdown for the first time in Demons’ history, streaking 63 yards with the first time any Demons handled the ball to give San Francisco an early 6-0 cushion. Two of San Francisco’s turnovers occurred in enemy territory and Mike Panasuk’s 10-yard punt gave New York only 44 yards away from the eventual clinching score.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Kelvin Anderson 5-21, Terry Battle 5-20, Brandin Young 2-11, Pat Barnes 2-0.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Pat Barnes 19-41-1, 194 1TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Jimmy Cunningham 5-53, Travis Moore 4-45 1TD, Brian Roberson 4-40, Tydus Winans 3-34, Terry Battle 2-14, Sean Manuel 1-8.
Chicago Enforcers 25, San Francisco Demons 19, Sunday, March 18, Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.
San Francisco was its own worst enemy at Chicago, contributing penalties and a critical error in the kicking game to a 25-6 deficit with just over 21 minutes remaining. Just the same, the Demons would have preferred not to be trailing by such a large margin, but they did make a positive rally from their circumstances. Quarterback Mike Pawlawski returned from an injury-induced two-week layoff, but San Francisco’s offense was lethargic at best in the first 39 minutes. The only score by the Demons was provided by the special teams when Carl Hansen blocked a Chicago field goal and Dwayne Harper raced 80 yards with the wreckage to pull San Francisco even early. But, the Enforcers scored 19 unanswered points and then were able to hold off the Demons’ rally. Pawlawski, who threw for 12 yards in the first two quarters, connected on 12 of 16 passes after intermission for 121 yards and powered two drives of 50-plus yards to scores to pull San Francisco within striking range. But, with just 1:50 to work with, the Demons’ last-ditch drive came to an end in the hands of Chicago safety Dorian Brew, who picked off Pawlawski’s last pass. Receiver Jimmy Cunningham scored for the second straight week, and Kelvin Anderson rushed 13 times for 71 yards, but San Francisco didn’t run as effective as had been hoped.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Kelvin Anderson 13-71 1TD, Mike Pawlawski 1-(1).
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 15-24-2, 133 1TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Jimmy Cunningham 6-53 1TD, Brian Roberson 4-51, James Hundon 2-19, Tydus Winans 1-6, Travis Moore 1-2, Kelvin Anderson 1-0.
San Francisco Demons 21, Memphis Maniax 12, Saturday, March 24, Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco accomplished its goal of keeping the ball away from Memphis’ top-rated offense and the defense did its part when the ball was turned over to the Maniax. Illustrating the point, the Demons ran a season-high 71 offensive play to just 50 by the Maniax. After allowing a penalty-juiced scoring drive early in the game to Memphis, the Demons’ defense was stingy, keeping the Maniax’s offense in a straight-jacket on seven consecutive possessions until the game’s outcome was decided. In the meantime, San Francisco gained control by scoring on three straight times with the ball and quarterback Mike Pawlawski regained his touch in command of the Demons’ offense. He passed for all three San Francisco touchdowns and did not suffer an interception nor was he sacked. Pawlawski found wide receivers Travis Moore, Brian Roberson and Jimmy Cunningham with short scoring passes and he connected on 26 of 44 passes for 215 yards, his fifth 200-yard performance in six games. Tailback Kelvin Anderson gained 80 yards on a Demons’ season-high 19 carries to add balance to San Francisco’s attack. Defensive ends Eric England and Jermaine Miles recorded their fourth quarterback sacks of the year and reserve cornerback Terrell Sutton, spelling injured veteran Dwayne Harper in the secondary, picked off his second pass of the season helping the Demons complete a sweep of Memphis.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Kelvin Anderson 19-80, Brian Roberson 1-9, Mike Pawlawski 7-0.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 26-44-0, 215 3TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Jimmy Cunningham 9-74 1TD, Travis Moore 6-56 1TD, Brian Roberson 5-48 1TD, Tydus Winans 3-22, Kelvin Anderson 2-7, James Hundon 1-8.
2001 SEASON IN REVIEW, PART IV
San Francisco Demons 14, Las Vegas Outlaws 9, Sunday, April 1, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
With no margin for error if the Demons were to extend their season, San Francisco forced three critical turnovers to fight off elimination and the Las Vegas Outlaws on the road. The Demons did everything necessary to clear its next obstacle, moving the ball when necessary and scoring in a couple of unconventional manners. San Francisco forged a 6-6 deadlock at halftime when Wendell Davis and Lee Cole combined to turn a league-record 67-yard punt by Mike Panasuk into six points. Dave jarred the ball loose from Las Vegas returner Jamel Williams and Cole jumped on the fumble in the end zone. The Demons scored first in the second half, capitalizing on cornerback Dwayne Harper’s 49-yard interception return. Quarterback Mike Pawlawski and tailback Terry Battle connected on two consecutive pass plays to gobble up the remaining 36 yards and give San Francisco a lead it would not relinquish. After a third Las Vegas turnover, the Demons nearly exausted the remaining clock with a 78-yard drive. While not producing a score, it set the stage for a clinching safety by the defense when end Eric England was the victim of holding in the end zone.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Kelvin Anderson 12-56, Terry Battle 4-24, Mike Pawlawski 4-15.
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Mike Pawlawski 17-28-0, 152 1TD.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Travis Moore 4-32, Terry Battle 3-41 1TD, Jimmy Cunningham 3-18, Sean Manuel 1-19, Brian Roberson 1-17 Kelvin Anderson 1-6, Brandin Young 1-3.
Los Angeles Xtreme 24, San Francisco Demons 0, Saturday, April 7, Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif. (See Above)
San Francisco Demons 26, Orlando Rage 25, Saturday, April 14, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (XFL Playoffs)
Facing a 16-0 deficit and with quarterback Mike Pawlawski on the sidelines, few would have given San Francisco a plug nickel for the Demons’ chances, let alone a million dollars. Those in the white uniforms knew San Francisco’s bleeding was all self-inflicted in the form of fumbles and an interception for a touchdown. In a way, the Demons put their fate in the hands of their defense and the Pat Barnes-energized offense picked up on the momentum. San Francisco broke the ice with a lengthy drive to Mike Panasuk’s 42-yard field goal and carved the deficit to 16-10 at intermission on the strength of an Orlando error in the punting game. In the second half, the Demons dominated. Three straight Orlando possessions failed to yield even a first down and, when the Rage summoned back-up quarterback Jim Arellanes, he suffered two turnovers immediately and San Francisco increased its string to 26 unanswered points when cornerback Dwayne Harper streaked 40 yards the other direction with Arellanes’ first pass. After Orlando closed to 26-25, the Demons swallowed the game’s last 3˝ minutes, not giving the Rage another chance with the ball, triumphantly kneeling down on the game’s last two plays to earn a spot in the Million Dollar Game. Barnes scored twice on one-yard sneaks and Panasuk added another 40-yard field goal to San Francisco’s cause.
DEMONS’ RUSHERS: Kelvin Anderson 18-53, Pat Barnes 6-10 2TD, Juan Johnson 1-3, Terry Battle 1-(12).
DEMONS’ PASSERS: Pat Barnes 16-26-2, 179.
DEMONS’ RECEIVERS: Brian Roberson 6-56, Kelvin Anderson 4-55, Jimmy Cunningham 3-49, Sean Manuel 1-15, Travis Moore 1-5, Terry Battle 1-(1).
THE QUARTERBACKS PART I
The Starter vs Los Angeles (Games/Starts): Mike Pawlawski (8/8) or Pat Barnes (5/3)
Pat Barnes: Whether Pat Barnes is San Francisco’s quarterback in Saturday night’s XFL Million Dollar Game or not is immaterial. The Demons wouldn’t be playing in it without him. Yes, Barnes was sacked three times and he suffered two interceptions, one on an ill-advised pass early in the game that resulted in an Orlando touchdown, but he kept San Francisco’s offense focused. Pat completed 16 of 26 passes for 179 yards and scored touchdowns on a pair of one-yard sneaks. After an outstanding performance against Birmingham, Barnes was not as effective in his other start against New York/New Jersey when the Hitmen’s pressure was quite intense Against the Thunderbolts, he accounted for San Francisco’s first three touchdowns to pace the Demons to a convincing 39-10 victory. Barnes scored San Francisco’s first touchdown less than six minutes into the game and then fired two scoring passes to power the Demons to the most points scored in the XFL this season during regulation play. Prior to starting against Birmingham, Barnes was summoned to action early in the fourth quarter against Las Vegas for his first action of the season. He also finished up the Demons’ finale at Los Angeles and marched San Francisco inside Los Angeles’ 15-yard line, but was unable to consumate the drive. Page Seven
THE QUARTERBACKS PART II
Mike Pawlawski: The NFL scout that inhabited the San Francisco-Los Angeles press box lamented that Pawlawski was already age 31. To know Mike is to understand that he thinks and plays much younger and knows the game better than almost any quarterback in organized football. Unfortunately, the representative of an AFC team saw Mike at his worst and he likely had suffered the shoulder strain early enough in the game to affect his performance. Pawlawski couldn’t yank San Francisco out of the trance that Los Angeles cast on the Demons based on the Xtreme’s inspired play. For the first time this year, Pawlawski didn’t complete a touchdown pass for San Francisco in the Coliseum and victimized by two interceptions for only the second occasion. The statistics from the finale of the regular season should not diminish Mike’s performance in his first season on the big field with 10 teammates. He finished second in the league in passing despite missing two games with a neck injury and finished with a mark of more than 200 yards though the air per game. One thing hasn’t changed in Mike’s career regardless of league or field configuration. He is careful with the ball and throws accurately and intelligently remains within the framework of the office. He had the best completion percentage of any quarterback in the XFL, helping 62.8 per cent of 296 passes reach their target and suffering an interception only once in nearly 50 attempts. At Chicago, Pawlawski returned from his neck injury, but he was BACK against Memphis in San Francisco’s home finale at Pacific Bell Park and his winning performances continued at Las Vegas. Against Memphis, the Demons’ offense appeared to crank on all cylinders and and San Francisco surpassed the 300-yard mark in total offense for the first time in six weeks. In the process, he threw for a season-best three touchdowns and surpassed the 200-yard mark for the fifth time this season. Mike was sidelined after San Francisco’s loss to Las Vegas after suffering a neck injury in an area where he already had undergone surgery. At the time of his injury, Mike was leading the XFL in nearly all passing statistics, becoming the first in the league to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. Pawlawski was available to play at Orlando if necessary, but San Francisco’s best laid plans were followed. Mike didn’t need to play and should be available to face Los Angeles.
RUNNING BACKS PART I
The Starters vs Los Angeles: TB Kelvin Anderson (6/4) or Terry Battle (7/1), FB Jamie Reader (11/11).
Terry Battle: Based on two performances, San Francisco can uniquivocably say the Demons’ offense might have operated at a higher degree of efficiency if a back like Battle had been available all season. Terry basically played three games at full strength and he contributed heavily in all, including both of San Francisco’s road victories. Battle wasn’t completely healthy the entire month of January at training camp and when the season started, Terry reluctantly accepted a position on the practice squad. When the Demons lost tight end Brian Roche and made the decision to go with an offense that didn’t need a player in that position regularly, Battle got the call to join the offensive gameplan and plays were designed for his ability at Memphis. He donated heavily to that victory, even earning XFL offensive player of the week honors for his efforts, but the price was rather steep. Terry suffered damage to his ribs and he was not healthy for three weeks, when he was sidelined entirely by a neck injury. He sat out games at Chicago and against Memphis, but returned to play a vital role at Las Vegas. While San Francisco didn’t zoom through last week’s game at Los Angeles, Battle recorded 170 yards in all-purpose production and led the Demons in rushing, receiving and kickoff returns. He rushed for a season-best 40 yards on seven carries and caught six passes for 48 yards in addition to 82 yards in runbacks a week after scoring San Francisco’s only offensive marker on a 25-yard pass in a 14-9 derailment of Las Vegas. At Memphis, he rushed for 35 yards, caught five passes for 53 yards, two for touchdowns, and ran back three kickoffs for 84 yards to record his first outstanding all-purpose night. Battle started for the first time this season at Orlando, but suffered two first-quarter fumbles and played sparingly.
Juan Johnson: After San Francisco’s first-ever 100-yard rushing performance, Juan Johnson didn’t hardly break a sweat against New York/New Jersey because of more knee problems. Juan had been battling a balky nerve behind his left knee during the week, but then suffered strained ligaments very early in that contest. Juan began the season as a back-up performer at both tailback and fullback, but was one of the Demons’ most effective runners in a non-starting role. He earned his first start against Birmingham and promptly churned out 101 yards on 17 carries vs. the Thunderbolts. He didn’t even have the chance to carry against New York/New Jersey except for an unsuccessful PAT attempt. Johnson has missed San Francisco’s last three starts, but the knee has been feeling better daily as he puts it through an accelerated workout regimen. He has paid his own expenses and traveled to support his teammates at the last two games and carried once for three yards at Orlando after returning to the active roster. Page Eight
RUNNING BACKS PART II
Kelvin Anderson: San Francisco has claimed several players during the season in an attempt to strengthen its team, but few plugged the dike better than Anderson. Kelvin was there when both Juan Johnson and Terry Battle were sidelined with injuries and has rushed for 206 yards as a starter in the Demons’ last four games. Now, both injured runners and back in the lineup and Kelvin should still be the starter against Los Angeles in the Million Dollar Game. Kelvin chipped in several big plays to San Francisco’s cause at Orlando, but none bigger than an acrobatic 40-yard pass reception that was the key play in Demons’ drive to its first score after a quick 16-0 deficit. Kelvin hammered out 53 yards on 18 carries and fielded four aerials in all for 55 yards. It’s always difficult to run against Las Vegas, but San Francisco ripped off three carries to gain first-down yardage on the last drive that inhaled nearly all the time remaining in the fourth quarter. Anderson did his part on that with a 39-yard gainer, the longest run by a Demon this season. Anderson was summoned to start against Chicago in only his second game in the XFL after five productive years in the Canadian League. Despite scoring his first XFL touchdown at Chicago, Kelvin likely had more fun against Memphis and Las Vegas. Anderson carried more times than any San Francisco runner has this season, taking the ball 19 times against Memphis and advancing it 80 total yards for the Demons’ second-best rushing total of the season. He recorded the No. 3 total of the season the week before at Chicago with 71 yards on 13 carries and finished with 56 on 12 attempts at Las Vegas. Anderson played his first game on American soil since his collegiate days at Southeast Missouri State vs New York/New Jersey. He gained more than 1,000 yards in each of five seasons with Calgary.
Jamie Reader: One of the team’s unsung performers, Reader has started all 10 games at fullback and has gained about as much notoriety for that as an offensive lineman. Jamie isn’t always on the field on offense when San Francisco goes with one or no back, but is an outstanding blocker and pass protector. He has touched the ball four times this season, including three pass receptions for 16 yards.
Brandin Young: In his first professional season, Young has not been disappointing. He has accumulated 21 total touches as one of the Demons’ four tailbacks and has accounted for 170 all-purpose yards. He scored San Francisco’s lone touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Mike Pawlawski in the Demons’ loss to Las Vegas and rushed three times for 33 yards at Los Angeles, including a 21-yard scamper. Brandin was assigned to the practice roster for the first-round playoff game.
PASS CATCHERS PART I
The Starters vs Los Angeles: SE Brian Roberson (9/9), FL Travis Moore (8/7).
Brian Roberson: After a 12-catch XFL debut, Roberson suffered a foot injury in practice the next week and missed the next week’s game at Orlando. Roberson stepped out onto the field before Friday’s practice and warned an invisible audience he was ready to make his central Florida debut. Brian didn’t exactly take the game over, but he did lead San Francisco in receiving with six catches for 56 yards, one of his best performances of the year. He also was sidelined against Las Vegas at Pacific Bell Park, but stands second on the team with 43 catches in all for 451 yards. Roberson added five receptions for 48 yards and his second XFL touchdown to his cache against Memphis, but had just one catch at Las Vegas and three short receptions at Los Angeles. He gained 127 yards against Los Angeles in the season opener and recorded just two catches at Memphis when he tried to return to the lineup too soon, but was again on his best game with six catches against Birmingham for a team-leading total. Because of his health problems and then the arrival of CFL all-star returnee Jimmy Cunningham, Roberson has not been able to perform the duties for which he’s best known, returning kicks in general and punts in particular.
Travis Moore: Gaining momentum as the season picks up speed, Moore has enjoyed his best games in the XFL recently. He paced San Francisco with four catches at Las Vegas, then hauled down six passes for 56 yards and his second scoring aerial in helping San Francisco dispatch Memphis. It has been either feast or famine this year for Travis, who owned four catches against New York/New Jersey, one for a score, but had just two receptions or fewer in his other four games. He stood out with three seasons of 70 or more receptions for Calgary. Moore was the first of three former Calgary producers to join the Demons. Cornerback Marvin Coleman, tailback Kelvin Anderson and Moore finished 1-2-3 in all-purpose yardage for the Stampeders last season, combining for 4,957 total yards rushing, receiving and on returns.
PASS CATCHERS PART II
Jimmy Cunningham: San Francisco’s leading receiver and one of the league’s most productive is Cunningham, a non-starter for the Demons. The versatile Cunningham is the only receiver to play and catch a pass in all 11 San Francisco games and he has caught at least two in every outing this year, pacing the Demons with 53 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns, all team-leading totals. He finished with nine catches for 74 yards against Memphis and the 5-8 dynamo is not afraid to trek into any part of the field to get open for one of Mike Pawlawski’s passes. He also is not reticent to go airborne when necessary, which is what he did near the Orlando goal last Saturday coming up a yard short of paydirt on one of his three catches for 49 yards. It was Jimmy’s best output in a winning effort. Cunningham’s three previous high catch total were all authored in San Francisco losses. He had 10 catches at Orlando and scored his first XFL touchdown and had six each vs. Las Vegas and at Chicago before his breakthrough home effort in the Demons’ Pac Bell finale.Despite his size, Cunningham has been extremely durable his entire career and has been San Francisco’s primary punt returner the last four weeks, a job in which he flourished and received his highest accolades in Canada. He also leads the Demons in all-purpose yards and has a team-high four touchdowns. Cunningham jump-started San Francisco against New York/New Jersey with a picture-perfect 63-yard punt return, the first for a touchdown by a Demon. It was Jimmy’s 11th all-time runback for a touchdown and first in this calendar year. He had 10, including nine on punts, during his first six CFL seasons.
Tydus Winans: He is one of the Demons’ reliable reserve receiver, active for eight of San Francisco’s games so far. Winans owns 20 total catches for 166 yards, including a season-high six at Orlando in February. Tydus was the first Demon to win the Scramble for the Ball, beating Memphis’ Kevin Cobb. He has had at least one catch in seven appearances this year, but missed the trip to Los Angeles with a tender hamstring.
James Hundon: Since returning from a concussion suffered against Las Vegas, James has not been able to regain his game. James may have shown some of his previous life with four receptions for 76 yards at Los Angeles, including a 34-yard catch-and-run on San Francisco’s last possession. He had been plagued by dropped passes earlier in the season, but is averaging a team-best 12.9 yards per catch among the Demons’ regular rotation of receivers on 28 total catches. Hundon was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover in conjunction with the magazine’s story of the XFL’s opening week and receives copies of the magazine daily seeking his autograph on the publication. He estimates he has signed and returned more than 100 magazines to collectors. He also is the only unbeaten Demon in the Scramble for the Ball, including a victory over Jamel Williams for Las Vegas’ only loss. While not active at Orlando, he won the pre-game dash again.
Sean Manuel: After the permanent loss of Brian Roche to injury, Manuel was not ticketed to be able to be activated for another week and wasn’t ready after a January knee injury for another. So, San Francisco stategized to go without the tight end and Sean has only seen limited duty. However, he is an outstanding athlete and tremendous team player. Tight ends have 10 total catches for the Demons and Sean has three of them for 42 yards.
The Starters vs Los Angeles: LT Seth Dittman (11/11), LG Pita Elisara (11/7), C Michael Kiselak (11/11), LG Steve Scifres (11/11), RT Scott Adams (11/11).
Four members of San Francisco’s offensive line have started all 11 games this season and they’ve become quite a close-knit group, one of the silent stories about the debut season of the XFL. Season-long friendships are memories are being burned as we speak. On the bus back to the east Bay in the early-morning hours of Easter Sunday, the linemen planned meals together and a viewing of the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, clearly the groups favorite celluloid. When San Francisco’s offensive line has played well, the Demons’ offense has enjoyed success. The men in the trenches posted a first for the Demons against Memphis by avoiding a quarterback sack and permitted Las Vegas’ outstanding defense just one the next week. That was so much the case against Birmingham, that San Francisco nominated right guard Steve Scifres for the XFL’s offensive player of the week award. The Demons rolled to a season-high 175 yards rushing against the Thunderbolts and escorted tailback Juan Johnson to the team’s first-ever 100-yard individual performance. Both offensive tackles, Seth Dittman and Scott Adams, have been 10-game starters as has center Michael Kiselak. The only deviation in San Francisco’s alignment this season has been at left guard where Robert Hunt opened four of the Demons’ first five games, then was traded to New York/New Jersey. Pita Elisara was the starter to begin the season and has returned to the lineup the last five weeks. The Demons now have basically two newcomers as back-up linemen for the remainder of the season: guard Ben Nichols and tackle Jeff Buckey who rejoined the squad four weeks ago. Page Ten
BACKER TRACKER PART I
The Starters vs Los Angeles: SLB James Williams (11/11), MLB Craig Powell (11/8), WLB Jon Haskins (10/10)
James Williams: There was little fanfare when James Williams was claimed by San Francisco from the XFL player pool in December, not selected in either draft nor was he a territorial selection from Cal, Stanford or San Jose State. However, it was one of the Demons’ best strokes of player procurement. Williams finished as San Francisco’s leading tackler, but also provided the Demons with large measures of leadership both from a mental but physical standpoint as an eight-year pro veteran. He concluded the regular season as one of the busiest San Francisco squad member, called upon often to help with special teams in addition to his defensive duties. Williams, for one, doesn’t appear worse for any of the extra field time.
At Orlando, James finished with xxx tackles to hike his team-leading total to and hopped on a Rage second-half fumble to help fuel the Demons’ comeback efforts. James possesses six games of six or more tackles this season with a pair of nine-tackle performances at Memphis and Chicago and was credited with a season-high three tackles on special teams against Memphis. Of the three linebackers that started the season opener against Los Angeles, only veteran James Williams has not had to sit out with an injury. In short, Williams is a collision waiting to happen and he is not afraid to blow up situations that call for a splatter hit. He is one of the reasons the Demons’ defense is one of the stingiest in the league.
Jon Haskins: As an alter ego to James Williams, Haskins is one Stanford graduate who is not wishy-washy about contact and “getting his hands dirty.” Jon has all the manners his mother would be proud to know he possesses, but he’s a real headhunter and bellringer on the field. And, he speaks his mind well, too. Haskins’ emotions sometimes spill over on the field as well. While Williams is well into his 33rd year on the planet, Haskins is a whippersnapper of less than 25 years. Prior to being shown the door at Las Vegas when he reacted inappropriately to the proceedings on the field, Haskins enjoyed a six-tackle performance including two for lost yardage. He notched the linebacking corps’ first and only interception to date of the season by leaping to swipe tailback Dino Philyaw’s halfback pass with the New York/New Jersey driving in the second quarter. He also has two quarterback sacks and six tackles for negative yardage in addition to standing No. 4 on the squad in tackles with 39 for the season.
Craig Powell: Spelling four-game starter Dave Thomas at middle linebacker, Powell has helped San Francisco maintain its defensive prowess and assisted the Demons to rise to the top of the XFL charts for total proficiency at one time. Craig enjoyed one of his best games as an XFL player at Orlando and produced his only sack of the season against Las Vegas. He is regaining the form that allowed him to be a first-round NFL draft choice before two significant knee injuries. It’s the speed and athletic ability of the Demons’ linebackers that has afforded defensive coordinator Michael Church the prospect of calling on an extensive blitz package in San Francisco’s arsenal.
Dave Thomas: Prior to an ankle injury in practice early in the season, Thomas was among the team’s leading tacklers, consistent with the position of middle linebacker. Dave was reactivated prior to the trip to Las Vegas and was playing well prior to hurting his other (right) ankle early in the game at Orlando. Prior to his injury, he had 17 total tackles and still ranks among the leaders with 33 stops. He was among the team’s leaders at Los Angeles with seven tackles.
PASS DEFENDERS I
The Starters vs Los Angeles: SS Toby Wright (5/4), LC Dwayne Harper (10/10), RC Kevin Kaesviharn (11/9), FS Greg Williams (11/11).
Dwayne Harper: Three days before the Demons played at Las Vegas, Dwayne celebrated his 35th birthday, but he is playing just as spritely as the other younger members of the San Francisco secondary. Harper has played well all year, but has turned up the dial in the last three weeks, pitching in with crucial interceptions to spearhead the defensive efforts at Las Vegas and Orlando. At Las Vegas, his pick got the Demons rolling, his pass theft at Orlando put the finishing touches on a dynamic defense-driven rally to victory. Harper’s interception and 49-yard return at Las Vegas was a thing of beauty. Dwayne cleanly swiped a Ryan Clement pass deep in Demons’ territory and put the Demons just 36 yards away from a lead-producing touchdown. At Orlando, Harper perceived the situation perfectly. With a new Rage quarterback in the game for the first time, he surmised Orlando would elect to give Jim Arellanes a safe throw to get him started. Dwayne read the circumstances like yesterday’s newspaper and game San Francisco a 10-point advantage 40 yards later. It was the 27th pass theft of Harper’s 13-year professional career and third this season for San Francisco, but first for a touchdown in any league. Harper has scored three times in his career and twice with the Demons, dashing 85 yards with a blocked field goal in the first quarter at Chicago. Harper played in the 1994 Super Bowl with San Diego. Page Eleven
PASS DEFENDERS II
Kevin Kaesviharn: One of the team’s leading tacklers, Kaesviharn has been the object of rival offensive attention much of the season and, for the most part, has had an answer for the attacks. But, he may have snapped out of a slump during the second half of the season with a great performance at Orlando, often covering former Arena League teammate Kevin Swayne in the process. He is leading the secondary in numerous statistic categories including interceptions and tackles. Kaesviharn took over as a starter at cornerback in the first meeting against Memphis and has retained the position throughout the last nine games. He has garnered three interceptions, among the league leaders, and is No. 2 among Demons with 48 tackles. He may not have added to his total of pass thefts at Orlando, but he certainly contributed to one of the two San Francisco recorded. Kevin knifed in front of Swayne to deflect a pass that fluttered unclaimed until safety Toby Wright dove to secure it. It was one three passes defensed by Kaesviharn, upping his seasonal total to 15.
Toby Wright: Not equipped with as much NFL experience as teammates Dwayne Harper or James Williams, he is one of the Demons’ solid veterans nonetheless. Wright has not lost his propensity for contact and earned a promotion to the starting lineup four the last four games with his hard-hitting play at Chicago. He responded to the added incentive of playing against the team he was traded by at Las Vegas and was credited with 10 tackles and the defender who forced the Outlaws’ Rod Smart toward the sideline and prompt the fumble that ended a Las Vegas scoring threat. Toby was credited with seven tackles at Los Angeles and was below six defensive stops for the first time in five appearances at Orlando, but now totals 31 tackles. Unlike Williams and Harper who have glitzy post-season experience, Wright is a playoff participant for the first time in his career. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” says Toby.
Greg Williams: The Demons’ only 11-game starter in the secondary, Williams has been a steady influence on San Francisco’s defensive backfield, playing both strong and free safety. His first XFL interception and subsequent 49-yard return against Birmingham allowed the Demons to take a 27-3 advantage. Greg also had another pass theft nullified by an interference penalty (not on him) against Memphis and is fifth on the squad in tackles with 34 total with a five-tackle effort at Las Vegas. Williams had a bittersweet return to the Chicago area earlier this season. He was a Parade all-American at Bolingbrook High School attending North Carolina and spent two pre-season training camps with the Bears as well.
Wendell Davis: Davis started his third game at San Francisco against Memphis in relief of Dwayne Harper. He is among the team leaders in passes defensed with 10 and also recorded the game-clinching interception of Memphis’ Jim Druckenmiller earlier in the season.
THE FRONT LINE I
The Starters vs Los Angeles: LE Jermaine Miles (11/10), LT Adbul-Salam Noah (11/8), RT Albrey Battle (11/4), RE Eric England (10/10).
Eric England: San Francisco welcomed England back to its lineup for the final three games and Eric has showed why the Demons missed the veteran defensive end at Chicago. England recorded his fifth quarterback sack of the season at Las Vegas and also was threatening quarterback Mike Grieb, prompting tackle John Bateman to commit holding on Eric in the end zone resulting in the Demons’ game-clinching safety in the closing minute. England ranks third on the team in tackles with 40 and has eight tackles for 44 lost yards and 25 times harassing opposing quarterbacks. The Demons reluctantly elected to leave England behind for the trip to Chicago because of his knee problems, but a new brace and a week’s rest allowed Eric to be able to go all-out against Memphis’ passing attack. England, who stands among the XFL leaders in quarterback sacks, turned the Big 3-0 the day after the Demons waxed Memphis. However, it’s because of that maturity level that he has been a steadying influence on the younger defensive linemen.
Jermaine Miles: After a slow start, Miles has played some his best football for San Francisco in his last seven games including the Demons’ playoff appearance at Orlando on a bum ankle. Jermaine came home from Los Angeles the week before on crutches, but he followed medical rehab instructions to perfection and was even able to start vs. the Rage. He finished with three tackles, including one for a three-yard loss and constantly harassed Orlando’s quarterbacks. San Francisco has increased its total of quarterback sacks to 19 and Miles has done his part. He recorded his fifth at Las Vegas and owns the Demons’ leadership in tackles for lost yards with nine for 44 yards. Against Birmingham, Jermaine recorded a pair of quarterback sacks and caused a over-the-air communiqué from quarterback Casey Weldon to tailback James Bostic to roll free and the Demons recovered for a 15-yard loss and converted the turnover into points. For his efforts, he was the XFL’s defensive player of the week. A total of 25 of his 30 tackles have occurred in the last six weeks. Page Twelve
THE FRONT LINE II
Abdul-Salam Noah: Earning a starting berth nine games ago, Noah has contributed to San Francisco’s best defensive efforts. He was credited with his second sack of the season against the Hitmen’s Wally Richardson for a six-yard setback and also was credited with deflecting a pass at the line of scrimmage. He had a season-high six tackles at Chicago and is among the team’s leading in tackles for losses with six. Noah is the youngest Demon at age 22.
Carl Hansen: One of the squad’s most consistent players at defensing the running game, Hansen enjoyed one of his best outings of the year at Orlando. He notched his first quarterback sack of the season and applied constant pressure as a back-up tackle. He also delivered two big plays against Chicago, snuffing an Andy Crosland attempted field goal that cornerback Dwayne Harper converted the play into points with an 85-yard return and knocked down his first pass of the season. Carl has started six games this season and also can play at defensive end as well.
Pene Talamaivao: When Emile Palmer was lost for the season, the Demons had to look no closer than its roster for training camp to find a better-than-adequate replacement. Not only did Talamaivao fill a serious void, but he played so well that he cracked the starting lineup for San Francisco’s first playoff venture at Orlando. Pene made some very athletic plays during training camp in January, but the coaches didn’t feel he was physical ready for the grind of a football season. Showing his self-discipline, he went home to Utah and shed 15 pounds and came back to San Francisco with renewed vigor and has assisted the Demons in their post-season push. Talamaivao recorded his second tackle for minus yardage against the Rage.
Albrey Battle: As a starter over the last three weeks, Battle also has come from the reserve roles to make a difference for the Demons’ defense. He notched his second tackle for lost yardage against Los Angeles in the finale of the regular season and has 14 total tackles, including three at Orlando.
John DeWitt: When the extent of Eric England’s knee injury was not known, DeWitt was called in and has served as a strong back-up lineman. He was waived by Las Vegas in training camp because he was not effective at tackle at 270 pounds, but gained more than 15 pounds back after being able to train again properly following bicep surgery last summer. Emile Palmer: One of the Demons’ flamboyant personalities, Palmer has been lost for the season with a badly bruised left foot suffered at Chicago, but he recorded a variety of big plays will playing in five games. That included San Francisco’s only interception by a lineman this season, a diving scoop of an errant pass at Memphis that helped turn that game in the Demons’ favor.
KICKER TO THE STORY
The Starter vs Los Angeles: Mike Panasuk (11/11).
Mike Panasuk: There were those that thought the XFL was going daffy by requiring one man (except Los Angeles who has found a way to circumvent the rule) to perform all the kicking chores, kickers like Panasuk prove it can be done and accomplished well. Just to still be around after 11 games in testimonial to Mike’s ability since kickers often come and go like pizza delivery jocks. Panasuk has received better-than-average marks in all of his duties and took pleasure in one of his best efforts of the season at Orlando. He averaged 41.3 yards on four punts and banging through field goals of 40 and 42 yards after making just one of five kicks of such length previously this season. He carries a 40.x mark so far this season and now has cashed in seven of 13 field goals. In addition, opponents are averaging just xx.x yards on xx kickoff returns. He holds the XFL record for longest punt, booming a 67-yarder at Las Vegas, a boot that the Demons’ special teams converted into San Francisco’s first touchdown. Mike cranked home his XFL best against Birmingham with a 42-yarder between the posts in the fourth quarter after he had deposited a 22-yard field goal on the scoreboard early in the period. In his only attempts in the second half of the season, Mike did cash in on a 34-yard attempt vs. Memphis as the first half expired to give the Demons a 15-6 advantage. There was a kicker to the story of San Francisco’s maiden voyage in the XFL. Just three days into the next installment in his pro career, Panasuk missed a 42-yard attempt earlier in the game against Los Angeles, but responded to the hurried conditions in the closing seconds and banged home a game-winning 33-yard field goal, becoming an instant celebrity. Panasuk admits the winning kick played a factor in he being granted a leave of absence by his school district to play in San Francisco. His fellow teachers at Lebanon (Ind.) High School made the drive to Chicago to see Mike perform in a professional game for the first time in his career and two others flew to Orlando for last week’s contest. He will be joining them again for the remainder of the school year just as soon as the Demons close the season.