Last week the Erie Express suffered their first loss of the season to the defending PAFL and National Champion South Buffalo Celtics 55-19 in Buffalo, NY. The Express came into the game at 3-0 with wins over #17 Lockport Rampage 17-16, Mid West Rams 24-0 and the Pittsburgh Jaguars 34-32. The loss was the first game of the PAFL portion of the 2015 season. Erie is home this Saturday and will look to get things back on track against the 2014 SFA Runner Up North West PA Rampage. in 2014 the Rampage were 11-5, SPF Ohio Division Champions and SPF Runners Up. The Rampage have struggled to an 0-3 start so far in 2015 losing 20-0 to the Strabane Spartans, 24-22 to the Pittsburgh Rangers and 14-6 to the Mahoning Valley Tigers. Both the Rampage and Express are in search of their first win in the PAFL having both lost in week 1.
The Rampage are led by former Express Wide Receiver De’Arius Goodwine (East High School) who last season earned All-Pro status with 66 receptions 1137 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively the Rampage are led by 2x All-Pro LB Gerald Hutchinson (Conneaut Lake, HS) who has recorded 166 tackles in his previous two seasons.
The Express were without several starters last week, some of which will be making their return this week to face off against the Rampage. All-Pro WR Javon Rowan (Indiana University of PA), All-Pro LB Thomas Wallace (Edinboro University), DB Dwaon Woodard (Clarion University), DL-Chuck Wilson (McDowell,HS), ST-Chris Corder (Cathedral Prep), ST-LaDon Miller (East, HS) all will be back this week. Also missing were DB-James Saunders (Gannon University), DL-Enoch Pierson (General McLane,HS) and TE-Fred Szklenski (Harbor Creek, HS)
The Express will be without the services of TE-Zack Mayr (Edinboro University) for the second week in a row after a leg injury has sidelined him. LB-Rob Robison (Duquesne University) (funeral), ATH-Peter Hamilton (East, HS) (funeral) DL-Demetris Stevenson (Central Tech) (injured), DL-Richard Conner (McDowell, HS) (wedding), DB James Saunders (Gannon University) (Military Obligation) and TE-Fred Szklenski (Harbor Creek, HS) (injured)
“We had a terrible week of practice last week and played exactly how we practiced. Practice is an investment in your performance and when you invest as little as we did, the performance showed. This week our guys were at it hard and focused on getting back to where we were prior to last week. The Rampage are a much improved team from the last time we faced them and we are aware of the weapons they have in all three phases of the game. Our guys are excited to get back on the field and show that last week was not what we are all about”-Director of Operations Paul Pennington.
This will be the second meeting between the two teams and the first of two in 2015. The Express defeated the Rampage 93-6 in 2013 and did not play them in 2014.
Kickoff is set for 5pm at Cathedral Preps Event Center. LIVE updates are available via Twitter @ExpressErie and Facebook (Erie Express Football)