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ARENA FOOTBALL

Ingram Makes Up for Miscues

March 29, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Last week, Kevin Ingram of the Avengers fumbled for the first time in his Arena Football League career.

The third-year wide receiver and defensive back marked the occasion by parlaying the miscue into first-time recognition as the league's Ironman of the Week.

"It's funny how things work out," he said.

He wasn't amused when a Grand Rapids defender stripped the ball from his hands after he caught a pass early in the second quarter. And Avenger coaches weren't laughing when Ingram was called for pass interference on the ensuing possession, giving Grand Rapids a first-and-goal at the four-yard line.

Ingram, however, atoned for his mistakes on the next play by intercepting a pass in the end zone and returning it 24 yards.

Two minutes later, he caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Graziani to give the Avengers a 20-6 lead en route to a 61-51 victory.

Ingram finished with four receptions for 36 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs for 34 yards, made five tackles and recovered a fumble as the Avengers improved to 6-2.

Ingram leads the Avengers with three interceptions and 35 tackles. He also has 29 receptions for 291 yards and seven touchdowns -- third on the team in all categories behind offensive specialist Chris Jackson and receiver Greg Hopkins.

"Good things usually happen for us when Kevin gets his hands on the ball," Avenger Coach Ed Hodgkiss said. "He's very savvy and has great body control."

The Avengers will need Ingram's athleticism on Sunday when they play Orlando (6-2) at TD Waterhouse Centre. The Predators' arena features rounded end zones because of the lower bowl's configuration.

The Avengers have never played Orlando, but Hodgkiss is familiar with the venue from his years as an AFL assistant at Albany and Indiana.

"It's the toughest place in the league to play because they always have the rowdiest crowd and those end zones," Hodgkiss said. "That kind of changes your game plan because it really takes away the fade and some of the corner routes we like to run.

"It will be our toughest road game."

*

Sunday's game is a homecoming for Avenger receiver/defensive back Siaha Burley, who played at Central Florida and was a standout offensive specialist for the Predators before he was traded to the Avengers last December.... The Philadelphia Eagles signed fullback Kevin Clemens earlier this week, so Mathias Vavao is likely to play more than initially planned when he returns from the injured list against Orlando.... Former USC running back Sunny Byrd worked out with the Avengers on Wednesday and Thursday but it is unlikely the team would sign him because of his size. "They said the smallest weights for fullbacks in this league are 260 or 270," Byrd said. "I'm at 226 right now. But it was fun to come out here and show them what I can do."

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