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Nashville Venom play Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in PIFL Championship at Municipal Auditorium Saturday

 

Nashville VenomNashville, TN – The Nashville Venom of the Professional Indoor Football League will host the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at Municipal Auditorium Saturday night at 7:00pm, for the PIFL Championship.

When Lehigh Valley has the ball: The Steelhawks have the fifth best scoring offense in the PIFL and they are seventh in total offense. Nashville is second in the league in total defense and tops in the league in scoring defense.

Nashville Venom hosting Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Saturday night for PIFL Championship. (Mateen Sidiq - Nashville Sports Network)

Nashville Venom hosting Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Saturday night for PIFL Championship. (Mateen Sidiq – Nashville Sports Network)

Rushing: L-V’s Shane McSweeny is a dual-threat at QB. In limited action, he has scored seven TDs and is the team’s leading rusher. FB Jeff Link is 255 pound wrecking ball that is tough to bring down in short yardage situations.

Nashville’s defense is the stingiest against the run in the PIFL. Venom NG Walter Thomas has been a key for the Venom. He demands double-teams on short yardage and frees up others to make tackles.

Passing: McSweeny boasts a 109.43 QB rating. He has thrown for an efficient 66 percent with 16 TDs and only six INTs. Nashville’s passing defense has grabbed a league leading 27 INTs. All-PIFL DLs Wayne Daniels and James Frazier have led a potent that has been in the faces of QBs all season. All-PIFL DBs Scooter Rogers and Corry Stewart are tied for second with eight picks. DB Kenny Veal made a game saving interception to defeat Columbus last week.

When Nashville has the ball

Nashville is leading the league total offense and in scoring offense. Lehigh Valley is seventh in the league in total defense and fourth in scoring defense.

Rushing: Nashville running game is lethal around the goal line. They are third in the league with 25 TDs and boast three players in the top 10 in rushing TDs. Mack Ogletree leads the team with nine. QB Charles McCullum has scored six times and All PIFL OL Stanlee “Garbage Truck” Bradley has also scored six TDs.

Passing: McCullum leads the PIFL in total offense. In seven games he has thrown for 35 TDs and only five INTs. McCullum has a plethora of receivers to throw to. WRs Jordan Jolly and Phillip Barnett both eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark. Barnett leads the league with 31 TDs receiving. His 79 receptions place him tied for third in the PIFL. Jolly is leading the league in yards per catch at a 14.4 clip. WR George Murray has been steady all season. He has also stepped to play QB when needed. Ogletree has stepped in and caught 34 passes for 358 yards and four TDs. L-V’s Dwayne Hollis is a big play threat at DB. He has 10 INTs on the season and has taken two in for TDs.

Special Teams: Two of the PIFL’s best kickers will be on the field. L-V Kicker Mike Barnard has scored 115 points on the season. He has 26 Unos and his 11 field goals ties him for second in the league. Nashville Kicker Christian Reed is money on extra points. The rookie out of Wofford University is kicking at 91% and he has 15 Unos in only eight games.

Reed was named Player of the Game by the Venom Coaching Staff last week versus Columbus. His four Unos, and field goal before the half kept his team in the game. He also added another field goal and was 4-5 in extra points, giving him 14 points in the game.

Hollis also was named All-PIFL as a kick returner. He had a 56 yard TD return versus Harrisburg and is dangerous every time he touches the ball. For Nashville Mack Ogletree has come close to taking one the distance for Nashville on a couple of occasions.

Coaching: L-V Head Coach Chris Thompson is in his 3rd season with the Steelhawks organization. In the Steelhawks have made the playoffs each year he has been at the helm. Venom Head Coach Billy Back has a career 52-13 record as a Head Coach and a perfect 7-0 record in the playoffs.

Intangibles: Lehigh Valley has been in a “win or go home” situation the past two weeks and have come out with victories. They started season 3-0 and would love to end the season the same way. They suffered a heart-break last second loss in the first round of the 2013 playoffs. Nashville is on an eight game winning streak and is the top team in the PIFL. No PIFL team has lost a home playoff game. No one gave this expansion team a chance to start to season so they have played with a large chip on their shoulders.

Tickets are available at the Municipal Auditorium Box Office.


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