DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM / MARCH 30, 2002|
Islanders quarterback Darnell Arceneaux has a sore wrist but insists he will play tonight against the visiting Louisville Fire.
make a run
The Islanders enter the second
half of the af2 season on a three-game
streak that has them in first place
The Hawaiian Islanders bring a three-game winning streak and an assortment of bumps and bruises into tonight's arenafootball2 game with the Louisville Fire.
Who: Louisville Fire vs. Hawaiian Islanders
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Blaisdell Arena
Radio: KUMU2 1500-AM
Tickets: Lower Level and loge sold out. Upper level adult $10, children (ages 4-17) $7.
Quarterback Darnell Arceneaux sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore wrist, and defensive specialist Eddie Klaneski has a broken nose to go along with a bum shoulder.
But with the Islanders protecting their division lead, both players insist they'll be on the field tonight.
"I'm a little beat up, but come Saturday I'll be ready to go," Klaneski said. "It's just an every week thing where I've got some little nicks and bruises here and there, but usually come Saturday I'm ready."
The Islanders enter tonight's game at 6-2 and hold a one-game lead over Wichita in the National Conference West Division.
Hawaii returns to Blaisdell Arena, where it is 4-0 this season, having already surpassed its win total of a year ago, when the team went 5-11. The Islanders picked up their sixth victory with last week's 35-28 win at Cincinnati.
Klaneski earned the defensive player of the game award against Cincinnati despite breaking his nose the prior week against Wichita.
"They're going to have to drive an ambulance in there and take me off the field in order to get me out of there," Klaneski said. "Small stuff like that won't take me out of the game."
Arceneaux also said he'll be ready to play despite missing practice this week. He attributed the tightness in his wrist and fingers on his throwing hand to overuse and has been treating the injury with rest and ice.
"It's just a day-to-day thing," Arceneaux said. "With all the injuries I've had in my body, little things start to nag me here and there. It's just stiff and sore from all the throwing."
If Arceneaux can't go, Mike Tillis would step in at quarterback. Tillis looked sharp in practice this week while filling in for Arceneaux.
Whoever takes the snaps for Hawaii will have to keep an eye on Louisville defensive specialist Arkee Thompson.
Thompson is second in the league in interceptions with six and needs just one more to tie the af2 record for interceptions in a career (25).
The Fire (3-5) began the season under the leadership of former University of Hawaii offensive coordinator Wally English. English was fired two weeks into the season and defensive coordinator Tommy Johnson was promoted to head coach.
Louisville is 2-4 under Johnson and has lost two in a row, including a 42-31 loss to Quad City last week. But the Islanders are guarding against overlooking the Fire.
"For a lot of us this is the end of the road," Arceneaux said, "and if we want a ring to wear on our finger, this is what it's going to take. It's going to take guys treating every game and every play like it's the championship game."
Notes: Tonight's game is Fire Fighter Appreciation night. Star Market is donating 1,000 tickets to the Fire Fighters Association. ... The Louisville franchise is owned by former NFL offensive lineman Will Wolford. ... The Islanders play at Arkansas next week and face defending af2 champion Peoria at home on June 14. After today's game, the team has three home dates left in the regular season. ... The af2 playoffs begin the weekend of August 1-2. The conference finals are Aug. 15-16 and the ArenaCup will be played Aug. 22 or 23. The higher-seeded teams will host opening-round and second-round playoff games. The conference finals and ArenaCup will be played at the home arenas of the teams with the best overall records.