By Matt Popchock
After engineering the greatest comeback in the history of the Arena Football League, the Power (2-3) will try to further stabilize their season by collecting their second road victory of 2012 as they head to “The Graveyard” to take on the New Orleans VooDoo (2-3).
Backup quarterback Derrick Cassidy, making his first appearance in black and gold, went through some rather predictable growing pains at CONSOL Energy Center last Saturday. He threw four interceptions, including a pick-six by All-Arena DB Eddie Moten, after relieving an injured Andrico Hines.
But one of those interceptions was stripped and recovered for a touchdown by the Power, and another came on a fortuitous bounce that benefited cornerback Travis Coleman. In the meantime, Cassidy racked up 148 yards and five TD’s, including a game-winning toss to fellow newcomer Christian Wise in that epic 57-54 overtime triumph against the Orlando Predators. He averaged over 12 yards per completion and also ran four times for 20 yards and a late score.
With local boy Bill Stull still on the mend, and Hines sidelined for at least a couple more weeks with a groin ailment, Cassidy will be under center at the New Orleans Arena tonight. He is one of several members of the Power, on and off the field, who spent time with that franchise last year.
Defensive coordinator Derek Stingley was, in fact, its head coach in 2011, before being excused with just a few weeks left in the season. He has since traded places with Maurice Blanding, who held that position with the Power during its inaugural season.
Defensive back LaRico Stevenson had a cup of coffee with the VooDoo before becoming a regular in the Power’s starting lineup. Stevenson racked up eight tackles (seven solo) last weekend and made a third-quarter interception that led to a touchdown and sparked Pittsburgh’s rally.
But all eyes in the building will be on P.J. “Superman” Berry. He was the talk of Bourbon Street last spring, even as the VooDoo limped to a league-low 3-15 record and failed to win a game on home turf. He won AFL Ironman of the Year honors in New Orleans, and so far with the Power, he has accumulated 381 receiving yards for four TD’s while averaging 19.7 yards per kick return and tying for third in the AFL in return yardage.
Meanwhile, the Power recruited 2004 ACC Player of the Year Bryan Randall to back up Cassidy. Randall, a star at Virginia Tech and former MVP of the IFL (Indoor Football League), has spent time with a couple of AFL teams and also has been cut by multiple NFL teams, including the Steelers.
Hear what head coach Chris Siegfried and several of his players had to say about this homecoming game, so to speak, in The Big Easy, and hear our thoughts on the Power’s keys to a second consecutive win:
Kickoff is at 8:00 P.M., and you can watch on the Pittsburgh Power’s official Ustream channel. WPCW-TV will air the game on tape delay Saturday evening at 7:30.
(Follow the Power on Twitter @AFLPittsburgh.)
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)