Focus on game, Soul for players
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For most of this season, some of the Power's greatest concerns had nothing to do with blocking schemes or zone coverages, but rather whether or not the league they played in would have a long-term future.
This week, finally, the Power (3-10) can turn its attention fully to football.
The Arena Football League and its players union reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement last weekend, meaning the Power's game against Philadelphiatonight -- and the rest of the AFL season -- will proceed as planned. The league had threatened a lockout if an agreement was not reached.
"The good thing about it is now our team can truly focus on winning games, and that's what it's all about," Power interim coach Derek Stingley said.
Winning, especially this week, will require as much focus as the Power can muster. Except for a 2-0 forfeit victory against Cleveland, the Power hasn't won since beating Orlando, 57-54, April 14.
Last week's loss was especially heartbreaking, with Milwaukee turning a late deficit to win, 63-62.
Tonight's opponent, the Soul, has already clinched the American Conference Eastern Division, but needs a few more wins to lock up homefield throughout the playoffs.
Even though beating the division winner and, arguably, the best team in the AFL might be a nice feather for Stingley to put in his cap, the coach is looking at it as just another game.
"Regardless of the fact that, yeah, they are our in-state rivals and they are in our division, it's all about us winning," Stingley said. "That's the mentality that this team has now."
Stingley can probably take some confidence from the teams' first meeting. The Soul beat Pittsburgh, 84-59, March 23 in a game that was closer than the final score indicated. The teams entered the fourth quarter separated by just four points, and the Power turned the ball over six times.
The Power may or may not pull off the upset this weekend, but with the CBA now resolved, at least they'll get the chance.
NOTE -- Stingley said former Pitt quarterback Bill Stull, who has been on injured reserve since March 30 with a shoulder injury, was probably ready to play if called upon. Stull, though, is behind starter Bryan Randall and backup Andrico Hines on the depth chart. "It would probably take an injury to one of my other two quarterbacks to get Bill off injured reserve," Stingley said.
First Published June 24, 2012 12:00 am