Author Archives: Dylan Goldman

Tampa Bay Storm Name Ron James Head Coach

A few months after Lawrence Samuels parted ways with the Tampa Bay Storm, the Storm have found their seventh head coach in franchise history. Team President Derrick Brooks made the announcement that Ron James will take over the reins in Tampa.

“It gives me great pleasure to introduce Ron as our next head coach,” Brooks said, “Ron has over 30 years of coaching experience that he is bringing with him to Tampa Bay. After spending time with him throughout this vetting process, we believe he best exemplified what we want to do, and where we want to go, as a team.”

James spent the 2016 season as the head coach of the Portland Steel, who folded this offseason. James coached Portland to a 3-13 record last season before getting steamrolled by the Arizona Rattlers in the 84-40 in the National Conference Semifinals.

James brings 30 years of coaching experience to the Storm, and he spent eight of those years as a head coach. The 2012 AFL Coach of the Year has led his teams to three playoff appearances, which includes a trip to the National Conference Championship in 2012. “I am extremely humbled and excited to join one of the most storied franchises in the Arena Football League,” James said. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of a team that has such strong management and leadership. This is truly an honor and I want to thank Derrick Brooks, (owner) Jeff Vinik and the entire Storm organization for giving me this opportunity to lead the team into the future.”

A native of Albany, New York, James played collegiate football at Siena for four seasons, where he was an All-American offensive lineman. James began his coaching career at Siena in 1986 as the team’s linebackers coach. Jones began his AFL career in 1990, when he was an assistant coach for the Albany Firebirds for two seasons. James would return to college football after spending time with Albany.

After brief stops at Hartwick College and Kentucky Wesleyan, James would coach the offensive line at Army for two seasons. James would return to the AFL in 1999 when he coached the offensive and defensive line for the Houston ThunderBears. He would then become the assistant head coach for the Las Vegas Gladiators in 2002, before taking over as the head coach in 2005. James then took over as the head coach of the Utah Blaze in 2010, leading them to a 30-33 record over four seasons. James became the head coach of the Pittsburgh Power in 2014, and he led them to a 15-2 record. Known for his defense, Pittsburgh led the league in interceptions (36), and they were second in scoring defense (43.2), while finishing third in total defense (256.0). James will look to improve a Storm team that went 2-14 last year.

CAFL Super Series III Recap

Super Series III was probably the least entertaining of the first three Super Series,’ but that didn’t mean there were some intriguing matchups heading into Super Series III. Hosted by the Qingdao Clipper at the Qingdao Sports Center, Super Series III provided a matchup of the two remaining undefeated teams in the league, which was the main event for fans in Qingdao.

Shenzhen Naja vs. Shanghai Skywalkers

In the first game of the weekend, these two squads were battling to stay legitimate contenders for the China Bowl. After handily defeating the Dalian Dragon Kings in Super Series I, Shenzhen dropped their second straight game on Saturday against the Skywalkers. Shanghai won their second straight game after losing to the Beijing Lions in Super Series I.

Quarterback Shane Austin threw four first half touchdowns for Shanghai. There was CAFL history in this contest, as LaChristopher Lee recorded the first ever kickoff return for a touchdown. Shaun Kauleinamoku caught four touchdowns, and Mike Washington caught three touchdowns for the Skywalkers.

Shanghai almost lost the ball twice on kickoffs. Dwayne Hollis touched the ball on a line drive, pinning the Skywalkers at the one yard line. Then, the ball hit the crossbar before going out of bounds.

Shenzhen quarterback Dak Britt rushed for two touchdowns, including the one that made it a one possession game late in the contest.

Shanghai would prevail, winning 61-48 to reaffirm their status as the “Super Skywalkers.” With a second loss, Shenzhen’s China Bowl hopes took a severe hit. They’ll play the Guangzhou Power, while Shanghai will battle the Qingdao Clipper.

Guangzhou Power vs. Dalian Dragon Kings

The Power played well in Super Series I and Super Series II, but they didn’t finish games strong, which resulted in two losses. Dalian was overmatched in their first two games, especially in the second half. In this contest, they were overmatched for the entire game.
Guangzhou annihilated Dalian, 40-7, which kept the Power’s China Bowl chances alive.

When star receiver Joe Hills chose not to play for Dalian, everyone knew their production would suffer, but not this much.

Guangzhou jumped out to a 27-0 lead, and Dalian was finally able to score after a Maurice Woodard touchdown at the end of the half. Dalian failed to move the ball down the field, which is why they only scored seven points in what was a 40-7 rout. As expected, Dalian’s hope of a China Bowl are out of reach, while Guangzhou will play Shenzhen in a game where both teams try to keep their seasons alive.

Qingdao Clipper vs. Beijing Lions

This game was the main event of Super Series III, and it failed to live up to its billing. In the battled of undefeated teams, Beijing showed who was the better team as they defeated the Clipper, 47-33.

Beijing led 14-0 after the first quarter. This quarter included two fumbles and a touchdown by defensive back James Romain. After two Clipper turnovers and two Collin Taylor touchdowns, Beijing led 35-13 at halftime. Beijing hasn’t lost one game, but they’ve had a problem sustaining leads, especially ones in the second half.

They had the problem again in this game, but it didn’t affect them a whole lot. Qingdao would come close to coming back, but Beijing wound up winning 47-33, making them the lone undefeated team in the CAFL. Beijing proved that they are the best team in the league once again on Sunday. They played a full 60 minute game for the most part, and they dominated the Clipper defense. Only time will tell if this team will win the China Bowl.