Islanders, Stealth battle for lead in West Division
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Hawaiian Islanders have the Wichita Stealth on their radar screen again and thoughts of taking over sole possession of first place in the National West Division for the first time.
The teams played two weeks ago at Wichita with the top spot also on the line. The Stealth won on a late missed field goal return, 36-29.
The teams are 4-2 going into tonight's arenafootball2 game at Blaisdell Arena. Kickoff is set for 7:35 p.m.
"We're very much looking forward to this one," Islanders quarterback Darnell Arceneaux said. "They did some things we didn't agree with on the field so we're going to take this game real personal this week. We're not going to let bygones be bygones."
When asked what happened at the Kansas Coliseum on May 3, Arceneaux didn't elaborate.
The Islanders, coming off a 5-11 inaugural season, will match last year's win total with their next victory. They didn't win their fifth game until the final week of last season.
"At this time last year we already knew we were kind of out of it," Arceneaux said. "We know what it takes to win (this season)."
The Islanders and Stealth are coming off down-to-the-wire games last Saturday.
The Islanders stopped a late two-point conversion run to beat the visiting Bakersfield Blitz, 50-48.
"I don't think we'll have any letdown whatsoever," Islanders head coach Cal Lee said. "We have an opponent that has beaten us, so there's enough motivation there to be ready."
Wichita was stopped short of the goal line on the final two plays in a 62-56 loss to the visiting Quad City Steamwheelers.
"Anytime you lose a game like we did last week it takes the wind out of your sails," Wichita head coach Bob Cortese said. "But they're resilient and they'll bounce back."
Who: Wichita Stealth (4-2) vs. Hawaiian Islanders (4-2) When: 7:35 tonight Where: Blaisdell Arena Admission: $10 upper level (unreserved) for adults and $7 ages 4-17. Lower level sold out Parking: $3 Radio: 1500 AM
Who: Wichita Stealth (4-2) vs. Hawaiian Islanders (4-2)
When: 7:35 tonight
Where: Blaisdell Arena
Admission: $10 upper level (unreserved) for adults and $7 ages 4-17. Lower level sold out
Radio: 1500 AM
The Islanders are ninth in the 27-team af2 with a 45.7 points per game average; the Stealth are 14th with 43.3 ppg.
"In arena football it's hard for defenses to dominate," Cortese said. "It could be a high scoring game. Hawai'i has a potent offense, they like to mix the run and pass and they have a quarterback who's mobile. If we get bounces going our way we can score a lot."
Said Islanders offensive specialist Darrell Jones: "We're all looking forward to this. Wichita, they know what we got, we know what they got."
The Islanders are 3-0 at home this season and the Stealth are 1-1 on the road.
"They better be ready to play, they're coming into our house and we're trying to not lose any games to anybody in our house," Arceneaux said.
Notes: Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh will be on the field for the coin toss. He is in town for various appearances. ... Wichita offensive specialist Michael Dritlein leads af2 with 116 points scored and 1,150 all-purpose yards. ... The Islanders' next game is May 24 at the expansion Cincinnati Swarm.
National West Division
W L PF PA Streak
Hawaiian Islanders 4 2 274 274 W1
Wichita Stealth 4 2 260 237 L1
San Diego Riptide 3 3 267 272 L1
Bakersfield Blitz 1 5 246 284 L3
Wichita Stealth at Hawaiian Islanders, 7:35 p.m. (HST)
Arkansas Twisters at Bakersfield Blitz
Cincinnati Swarm at San Diego Riptide