BUSY WEEKEND FOR FORMER FOOTBALL STANDOUTS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As many Americans head out for their summer vacations, seven former Hornet football players will be hard at work this weekend. Four of the former Hornets will be beginning the 2008 Canadian Football League season while the other three gear up for the Arena Football League Playoffs.
Starting on Thursday when Marko Cavka and Brandon Smith take the field, it will begin a five-day stretch in which the players compete in six different games. The first matchup pits Montreal against Cavka’s Hamilton Tiger Cats. A former all-Big Sky Conference offensive lineman, Cavka enters his second year with the Ti-Cats after spending time with the New York Jets and in NFL Europe. That same night, Smith will make his CFL debut with the Calgary Stampeders against the B.C. Lions. Smith spent last year with the San Jose SaberCats of the AFL and has also been in camp with the Detroit Lions.
The following evening, Charles Roberts will look to retain his CFL rushing title as Winnipeg takes on Toronto. That same night, the AFL playoffs will begin with the wild card round. One of the opening matchups will be New York against Dallas. The Dragons are guided by quarterback Aaron Garcia.
The run continues on Saturday with action north of the border when Ricky Ray will return at quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos. Ray missed the final portion of last season with a shoulder injury but hopes to take the Esks back to the Grey Cup for a fourth time in his five seasons.
The final game involving the Hornets over the weekend will take place on Monday in Cleveland. Fred Otis Amey has sparked the Gladiators during its inaugural season in Cleveland. Amey, who was an All-American at Sacramento State, ended the regular season as the AFL’s leading scorer with 50 touchdowns and ranked 10th in receiving yards with 1,516. This past week, he earned second team all-AFL honors.
The final Hornet is Darren Arbet who is now the head coach of the SaberCats. Arbet’s team earned a first round bye after posting an 11-5 overall record and will play its first game on July 5. The team won the Arena Bowl crown in 2002 and 2004.