By Steve Robinson | July 8, 2008 - 10:21 pm
Posted in Category: Pekin Daily Times, Peoria Pirates

FootballWILKES BARRE, Pa. – If the Peoria Pirates’ record were higher than their current 4-9, this week’s game against the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Pioneers would simply be to settle a score brought about by a loss to the Pioneers at Carver Arena in April.

But the 74-26 loss at the hands of a former Pirates quarterback (Ryan Vena), added to that margin of loss, plus the survival mode Head Coach Bruce Cowdrey’s team now find themselves in in an effort to get to af2’s playoffs, make this anything but a routine venture for evening a score with an opponent.

Peoria PiratesPeoria has to win the remaining games on its schedule and look for help from other teams playing Peoria’s Midwest Division rivals in order to get into the last of eight playoff slots in af2’s American Conference.

Saturday night, the Pirates visit to Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza in hopes a victory over the Pioneers will be a positive beginning toward a final push in the direction of the af2 playoffs.

A win would also erase the memory of the three-game losing streak Cowdrey’s crew have been living through of late, including the 61-33 loss at the hands of the Lexington Horsemen at Carver Arena two weeks ago.

Wilkes Barre-Scranton PioneersStanding in Peoria’s way here is a Pioneers team that is in the middle of its second winning streak of the season since Vena returned to the team after being released by the New York Dragons of Arena Football League early in the af2 season.

The previous streak for the Pioneers lasted seven games, ending in a 70-63 loss to the Manchester Wolves on May 31. Coming into this contest, the 11-2 Pioneers are streaking again, having won four straight, including the 69-27 thumping of the Albany Conquest on June 7 that started this current stretch.

AF2Two weeks ago, on the road at Florida, Head Coach Rich Ingold’s Pioneers came from 21 points down to beat the Firecats, engineering a comeback that ended in an 18-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Pioneers a 59-56 victory. The victory increased the Pioneers’ record to 11-2.

Squib Kicks: A victory would be considered an extra present for Cowdrey, who celebrates a birthday Saturday…Peoria’s last team to finish 7-9 was in the Pirates’ first af2 season in 2001, under then-head coach Gary Porter…United Indoor Football’s Bloomington Extreme will make their first appearance in a championship game Saturday night when they visit UIF three-time league champ Sioux Falls Storm in that league’s “United Bowl IV.”

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