TULSA, OKLA. Georgia QB DARNELL KENNEDY has been named Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week. Georgia FB/LB BENJI McDOWELL and New Orleans WR PJ BERRY have been named Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and JLS Ironman of the Week, respectively, for Week 20 of the 2011 AFL season. 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 Week 20 is WR ROBERT REDD of the Cleveland Gladiators, while the NiFTy Playmaker of the Week is Utah QB TODD HAMMEL. The Spalding Highlight of the Week award winner is Jacksonville WR JEFF HUGHLEY.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kennedy (6-1, 195, Alabama State) made the most of his first starting job for the Force, leading the team to a victory over the Barnstormers and the third seed in the playoffs. Kennedy completed 21-of-32 passes for 373-yards and seven touchdowns. In the first quarter, Kennedy also ran in a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. The Force would go on to win 63-59.
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
McDowell (6-1, 290, Lenoir-Rhyne) led the Forces defensive attack that sacked Iowa quarterbacks eight times Saturday night. McDowell finished the game with 6.5 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble in Georgias 63-59 road victory over Iowa. McDowells four sacks gave him a total of six for the 2011 season. He has also been effective in the run game this season, putting up eight rushing touchdowns.
JLS IRONMAN OF THE WEEK
Berry (60, 200, Virginia State) tallied six receptions for 79-yards and two touchdowns in New Orleans Week 20 matchup against the Orland Predators. He recorded 201 kick return yards in the game. Berry has reached at least 100 kickoff return yards in 10 games this season. He also made his presence felt in the rushing attack, compiling 12-yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Predators. Berry totaled 292 all purpose yards, which put him at 3,708 yards for the season. That mark set the all-purpose yardage record, previously set by Antonio Chatman in 2003 with Chicago.
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE WEEK
Redd (5-10, 195, Bowling Green) extended over a defender with one hand and brought in a ball before it went over the boards in the third quarter. Later, Redd arguably made the play of the year. He notched a 47-yard touchdown after juking one defender, spinning away from two, finding blockers and eventually the endzone. He finished with 111-yards and three scores.
NIFTY PLAYMAKER OF THE WEEK
Hammel (6-1, 220, Stephen F. Austin) took over the quarterback position for the Utah Blaze on Saturday in their 76-69 win against the playoff bound Cleveland Gladiators. In the win, Hammel finished 31-of-44 for 355-yards and seven touchdowns. Hammel has won two out of his last three starts and has been a viable replacement for the absent Tommy Grady at the end of the season.
SPALDING HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Hughley (5-8, 175, Averett) took the opening kickoff to the house against the Spokane Shock on NFL Networks Arena Football Friday. The 57-yard return came in as the number four play on SportsCenters Top Ten. He also added seven receptions for 98-yards and two touchdowns in the 75-56 win over the Shock.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Iowas Jesse Schmidt, Tampa Bays Amarri Jackson, Orlandos Bobby Sippio, Utahs Todd Hammel, Jacksonvilles Jamarko Simmons, Tulsas Troy McBroom and Pittsburghs Bill Stull.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Tampa Bays Michael Hawthorne, Orlandos Kenny McEntyre, Clevelands Levy Brown, Jacksonvilles Micheaux Robinson, Tulsas Fred Shaw and Philadelphias Melik Brown.
JLS Ironman of the Week candidates included: Iowas Jesse Schmidt, San Joses Marco Thomas, Clevelands Robert Redd, Philadelphias Darnell Whitley, Jacksonvilles Jeff Hughley and Tulsas Jamar Ransom.
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 and ArenaFootball.com. Candidates include Orlando WR BOBBY SIPPIO, Utah QB TODD HAMMEL and Georgia QB DARNELL KENNEDY. The winner will be announced on Thursday, July 28, 2011.