By Eric Crocker, Defensive Back
It's all or nothing for us Thunder players now. Every game we play is a playoff game from here on out. We definitely haven't had the success that we thought we'd have heading into the 2014 season but luckily for us a lot of other teams have struggled as well. Up until last week we controlled our own destiny heading into the playoffs but after a tough loss to an improving Los Angeles Kiss team we are now on the outside looking in.
This Thursday we are battling against the New Orleans VooDoo. After watching them score only 13 points in their last game you would think we would already look past them. WRONG! We practiced hard this week with the intensity of preparing for an Arena Bowl. Our team knows that every game, it’s all or nothing. As a defensive back I've mainly focused my film study on the VooDoo's receivers. They are definitely the strength of their offense because they have a good mixture of speedy guys and guys with size. I'm really looking forward to the challenge of guarding Courtney Smith because we have a history. I have him during my junior year of college and remember one thing, he talked more trash than anyone I've ever played against! lol. Everyone knows to expect the Portland Thunder to bring the boom when New Orleans rolls into town.
New Orleans VooDoo GameDay Analysis:
By Chase Deadder, Wide Receiver
New Orleans VooDoo
This will be our first game against Portland and I'm very excited to play this team because I have a lot of respect for them. The VooDoo season has felt like a curse. We have struggled with injuries throughout the season including the loss of four quarterbacks! Even I fell victim to this curse. I suffered a high ankle sprain in our first game and re-aggravated it five weeks down the road. But I rested, healed and rehabbed it and am here. It hasn't been the season I imagined but I'm happy to be back on the field.
Portland plays in one of the toughest divisions in the AFL, the National Conference’s Pacific Division. Their head coach Matthew Sauk has done a great job in recruiting hard working and talented players. He has a keen eye for finding players who want to get better. Coach Sauk brought me into this league last year while he was coaching for the Utah Blaze, he is a great coach.
I believe this game will be a great match up on both sides of the ball but the key matchup will take place at the line of scrimmage. In order for us to win this game we need to minimize our turnovers and penalties. As long as we can play as a team and play our hearts out, we will win this game.