Fort Wayne Fusion 2007 Home Schedule Preview
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on fwfusion.com, Friday, December 22, 2006
Being a new team in arenafootball2, fans of the expansion Fort Wayne Fusion may not be familiar with the eight af2 opponents that the team will be hosting this season at Memorial Coliseum. Here is a look at the Fusion’s inaugural af2 home schedule.
Before the regular season even begins, the Fusion will play a home exhibition game on Friday, March 16 against another af2 expansion team, the Mahoning Valley Thunder from Youngstown, Ohio. The game will give both teams a chance to get their feet wet before jumping head first into the regular season. It will also give fans in Fort Wayne a chance to see just how the Arena football game is played.
The league has placed Fort Wayne in the American Conference Midwest Division, along with the Green Bay Blizzard, the Quad City Steamwheelers (from Moline, Ill), the Louisville Fire and the Cincinnati Jungle Kats. Quad City and Louisville have been in the league since the af2 was founded in 2000. Green Bay was an expansion team in 2003 and the Jungle Kats are another expansion team this year.
The regular season starts off with the Fusion hosting the two teams that were in the ArenaCup championship game last year, the Green Bay Blizzard in the season opener on Saturday, March 31 and the Spokane Shock on Sunday, April 15. The Shock defeated the Blizzard 57-34 to capture the 2006 ArenaCup championship back on August 26. The title game was played in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ironically, the Shock was an af2 expansion team in 2006 and had a 14-2 regular season record. The Blizzard’s record was 10-6. Fort Wayne travels to Green Bay later in the season for a game on Friday, June 22.
The third team to visit Fort Wayne this season is the Albany Conquest on Saturday, April 28. Albany has been in the league since 2002 and had a 5-11 record last year. The Conquest are not in the same division as the Fusion, but Fort Wayne will also travel to Albany for a game on Saturday, June 2.
The Louisville Fire comes to town on Friday, May 11. The Fire had a record of 9-7 last year, finishing second in the Eastern Division behind Green Bay. In 2005, Louisville was in the ArenaCup championship game, but lost to the Memphis Xplorers 63-41. Fort Wayne travels to Freedom Hall in Louisville for a rematch on Saturday, June 16.
After a bye week in the Fusion schedule, Fort Wayne plays host to the Tennessee Valley Vipers on Saturday, May 26. The Vipers, who play in Huntsville, AL, were an original af2 team in 2000, but left the league in 2005 to join another indoor football league. When that team moved out of Huntsville after just one season, a new Vipers team was unveiled last season. They posted a 3-13 record. Fort Wayne travels to Tennessee Valley for a game on July 14.
On Friday, June 8, the Quad City Steamwheelers travel to Fort Wayne. Quad City won the first two ArenaCup championships in 2000 and 2001. (ArenaCup I saw the Steamwheelers defeat the Vipers 68-59) Last year, Quad City had a 7-9 record and just missed making the playoffs. The Fusion will travel to Moline to close out the regular season on Friday, July 27.
Fort Wayne finishes the home portion of their schedule with two consecutive Saturday night games. On June 30, the Fusion take on their fellow expansion team and division rival, the Cincinnati Jungle Kats. The Fusion will have already played the Jungle Kats in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 5.
The following week, Fort Wayne closes out the home portion of their schedule with a game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers on July 7. The Pioneers were an expansion team in 2002 and were in the playoffs last season with a record of 9-7. They lost in the first round, however, to the Manchester Wolves.
In all, four of the eight teams that the Fusion face during their regular season home schedule were in the af2 playoffs last season, Green Bay, Spokane, Louisville and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The exhibition game against Mahoning Valley should also go a long way in preparing the Fusion for the tough home schedule that they will face in 2007.
FORT WAYNE FUSION 2007 HOME SCHEDULE
Fri. March 16 – Mahoning Valley Thunder
Sat. March 31 – Green Bay Blizzard *
Sun. April 15 – Spokane Shock *
Sat. April 28 – Albany Conquest
Fri. May 11 – Louisville Fire *
Sat. May 26 – Tennessee Valley Vipers
Fri. June 8 – Quad City Steamwheelers
Sat. June 30 – Cincinnati Jungle Kats
Sat. July 7 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers *
* = 2006 Playoff Team