It’s a football game day in the Lehigh Valley as the SteelHawks return to Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center in downtown Allentown. Here’s what you need to know as the Black and Vegas Gold begin their 2016 campaign versus the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets:
The SteelHawks once again made the playoffs last year, but again fell short of the ultimate prize. Along the way, we’re still in search of our first home post-season date as we open the 2016 season with a “Kickoff Classic” game at the PPL Center in Allentown.
The Philadelphia Yellowjackets are in town, a team consisting of many Trenton players from last season as well as some talent from the Philadelphia Soul. They should be a tough test right out of the gate, and we’ll see if any bad blood from the Trenton/Lehigh Valley rivalry comes back to the surface. We’ll see this team again on April 23.
The SteelHawks open the season as the #2-ranked team in the entire American Indoor Football (AIF) league. Our opponents today are ranked #3.
Tickets: Good seats are still available. Noise Nation will be in section 116. Come join us to cheer on the ‘Hawks!
Parking: Parking is plentiful, via the Allentown Parking Authority facilities near the PPL Center arena. The arena deck is sometimes pre-paid only, so consider ordering via the PPL Center online, although the link shows only Phantoms passes at this juncture. Give the arena deck a try with cash today, if you want. Parking is $6.00
Promotion: The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a “Kickoff Classic” T-Shirt, courtesy of Kalco Resources and Corporate Images
Arena Policies: Please note the following arena policies and security standards:
No professional lenses are permitted.
As part of our safety policy, there is no re-entry into the PPL Center. If you enter the facility and then leave, you will need an unused ticket to enter the arena again.
There are no refunds for PPL Center events. All ticket sales are final.
The Smoking Area, located at the Northwest Gate, will open at puck drop and will close at the end of the 3rd quarter. Ticket required for re-entry.
The following items are prohibited during all PPL Center events to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests. Additional rules and regulations may be posted on PPL Center property or may be communicated through PPL Center staff. Guests are reminded to arrive early, as they may be subject to bag checks, a physical search and/or metal detection prior to entering the facility.
Prohibited items include but are not limited to:
– Alcoholic beverages, controlled or unlawful substances and controlled substance paraphernalia
– Weapons of any kind including but not limited to: firearms, knives, chains and spiked jewelry
– Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes
– Cans, bottles (glass or plastic) or coolers
– Outside foods or beverages
– Professional cameras, audio or video recording devices, tripods, and drones
– Mobile tablet devices and laptops
– Laser pointers and pens, pepper spray and Mace
– Noisemakers, such as airhorns, fireworks, Frisbees, balls and other projectiles
– Large purses and large backpacks
– Animals that are not service animals
– Balloons or gifts of any kind
– Selfie Sticks
– Any and all bags exceeding the maximum size limit of 16x15x6. (i.e. backpacks, suitcases, beach bags, etc.)
– Laptops or tablets
– No wrapped gifts are permitted to enter the building at any time under any circumstances.
– Any other item deemed unacceptable by the event or building management
*This list is subject to change without notice by PPL Center Management.
Halftime: The Precious Metals Dance Team, the Dance Clinic participants, and the Bucket Drummers will all perform.
Pregame: There are many restaurants and shops in downtown Allentown which you may visit prior to or after the game. Chickie’s and Pete’s sports bar and crab house is attached to the arena, and has access directly onto the concourse. Crust, coal-fired pizza, is also attached, but closed for a private party–hosted by the Phantoms Hockey Fan Club the pizza party is open to the public and $22 for a pizza buffet and hockey on TV.
Broadcast: The game does not appear to be available on TV as the local sports channels are covering High School Basketball.
Who to watch for the YellowJackets
(Uniform numbers for the YellowJackets were not available at WordPress time)
DB/KR Jesse Cooper Cooper holds the SteelHawks all-time record for interceptions. CB3 will want to avoid throwing at him too much this evening. The special teams unit will want to keep him bottled up on returns, or just kick the ball through the endzone.
QB Warren Smith He played in the AFL last season, and was a nemesis of the SteelHawks while playing in the PIFL with Trenton and Richmond. He was PIFL MVP two years ago.
Who to watch for the SteelHawks
#13 QB Clay Belton III “CB3” The big lefty stands 6’6″ and should be able to survey the field easily and deliver the ball. He went to the University of Findlay and was in camp with the Miami Dolphins.
#12 LB/DE Chris Alvarez The active defender should be the beneficiary of strong D-line play in front of him. Look for him to get free for a sack or two, and keep the running game in check. The 6’3″ 255lb defender went to Rowan University.
#97 DL/OL Tahir Basil He’s 6’2″ 285 and went to Lafayette. He’s part of the tandem of linemen on defense making up one of the most fearsome pass rushes in all of indoor football.
#92 DL “Big” Larry Ford The WVU product returns for another campaign. He’s a fan favorite, and our version of Michael Strahan or Reggie White. Look for him to be in Warren Smith’s kitchen most of the day. He’s 6’4″ 240 but plays even bigger.
#21 DB Ken Walton At 6’2″ out of Itawamba he makes up part of a tandem of taller D-backs who hope to “hawk” interceptions all season long. He played in the PIFL last season with the Nashville Venom.
#24 DB E.J. “Night Train” Frain Another big guy in the defensive backfield, the 6’2″ product of Abilene Christian should be a force as well.
#3 DB John Williams III “J-Dubs” This speedy corner will most likely be charged with following Jesse Cooper around the field and keeping him from getting deep. He was with ASI Panthers last season and played at Tabor University.
#1 WR Brandon Renford He’s speedy and shifty and should get open for at least one TD today. He reminds me of Emmanuel Sanders from Denver, a little bit. I wonder what kind of TD celebration he has planned for today?
#8 WR Ken Parrish Parrish runs 6’3″ and will be the big target in close for CB3. He’s an East Stroudsburg University product.
Kicker: At press time there is no kicker listed on the official roster. During pre-season, we were introduced to a kicker who was in camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kicking is an important part of the indoor game, watch to see who holds down that job tonight.
PRINTABLE ROSTER: SteelHawks Roster 3-5-2016
The SteelHawks go on the road for three straight games and will return to Allentown on April 8th at 7:30PM to battle the Winston Wildcats. From there, the following four games are at home as well.
See you at the arena,