08/02/2011 6:16 PM
TULSA, OKLA. Chicago QB JJ RATERINK has been named Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week. Arizona DB MARQUIS FLOYD and Jacksonville Sharks WR/KR JEFF HUGHLEY have been named Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and JLS Ironman of the Week, respectively, for the First Round of the 2011 AFL Playoffs. In addition to these three awards, the AFL is also awarding the best catch of the week, the playmaker of the week and the highlight of the week. The Cutters Catch of the Week award winner for the First Round of the Playoffs is WR REGGIE GRAY of the Chicago Rush, while the NiFTy Playmaker of the Week is MARQUIS FLOYD. The Spalding Highlight of the Week award winner is JEFF HUGHLEY.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Raterink (6-3, 210, University of Wyoming) helped the Rush secure a spot in the National Conference Championship after leading a comeback in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Vigilantes. Raterink found receiver Derek Lee on 38-yard touchdown with 3:46 remaining in the game to give the Rush a 54-51 lead and they never looked back. He completed 23-of-31 passes for 287-yards and six touchdowns in the win. Raterink also made an impact on the ground, posting 22-yards and a touchdown. Raterink and the Rush will face the Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, August 8 in the National Conference Championship.
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Floyd (6-0, 195, West Georgia) was all over the field for the Rattlers defense last week. Floyd tallied 9.5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception for a touchdown. Floyd and Arizonas defense relentlessly irritated Spokane Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley and held the defending champions to a season low 33 points. The Rattlers defeated the Shock, 62-33, and will face the Chicago Rush in the National Conference Championship.
JLS IRONMAN OF THE WEEK
Hughley (5-8, 175, Averett) gave the Sharks a jump start against the Orlando Predators in their First Round matchup on Friday. Hughley opened the game with a 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and brought back a second kick five minutes into the second half. He also added one catch for 16-yards. Hughley finished the game with 143 all-purpose yards and led Jacksonville past Orlando, 63-48. Jacksonville will host the Georgia Force on Monday, August 8 in the American Conference Championship game on NFL Network.
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE WEEK
Gray (5-10, 175, Western Illinois) narrowed Chicagos deficit to three points with 12:54 remaining in the game against the Dallas Vigilantes. Gray hauled in a 4-yard pass from Raterink in the endzone. When Gray elevated for the ball, a defender sent him toppling over the boards. Gray retained possession and finished the night with nine catches, 105-yards and two touchdowns. The Rush defeated Dallas and advanced to the National Conference Finals.
NIFTY PLAYMAKER OF THE WEEK
Floyd (6-0, 195, West Georgia) was awarded NiFTy Playmaker of the Week for his brilliant performance against the Shock on Friday. His 9.5 tackles led the Rattlers defense. Three other Rattlers defenders had interceptions but Floyd notched the longest return, 40-yards and a touchdown.
SPALDING HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Hughley (5-8, 175, Averett) opened Arena Football Friday two weeks in a row with kickoff returns for touchdowns. He returned one kickoff for a touchdown during the regular season but added two to his total in the First Round of the 2011 AFL Playoffs.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Georgias Maurice Purify, Arizonas Kerry Reed and Jacksonvilles Aaron Garcia.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Chicagos Vic Hall, Georgias Ahmad Hawkins and Jacksonvilles Micheaux Robinson.
JLS Ironman of the Week candidates included: Dallas Derrick Ross, Georgias CJ Johnson and Arizonas Virgil Gray.
The Arena Football League is also awarding the National Guard MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner on Facebook. Candidates include Chicago QB JJ RATERINK, Georgia WR MAURICE PURIFY and Arizona DB MARQUIS FLOYD. The winner will be announced on Thursday, August 4, 2011.