Originally created 08/11/00

Stallions coach, quarterback honored



Aaron Sparrow has added another feather to his hat.

At the arenafootball2 season-ending awards banquet in Quad City, Iowa, on Wednesday night, the Augusta Stallions quarterback and his coach, Mike Neu, were honored as two of the year's best in the league.

Sparrow, who beat out Quad City quarterback Billy Dicken for offensive player of the year, finished the regular season with a 122.94 pass rating after completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 4,000 yards and 78 touchdowns. Sparrow was one of only two players to win the af2 player-of-the-week award three times this season.

Neu, who directed Augusta to the af2's second-best record at 14-4 and the league semifinals, was named the af2 coach of the year. Augusta was the only team to finish the season in the top four in every major offensive category.

The selection of Sparrow and Neu upset some in the Quad City camp. Neu was picked over Quad City coach Frank Haege despite his Steamwheelers' 18-0 mark heading into Thursday's ArenaCup. Quad City defeated Tennessee Valley 68-59 for the league championship.

"Oh yeah, I'm surprised," Haege told The Quad City Times. "But I can't control what happens off the field."

Expectations were high for the Steamwheelers this season. Quad City is owned by Jim Foster -- who also owns the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena League -- and perception around the af2 league is that the two teams are running a feeder program.

The awards were voted on by the league's 15 coaches.

In other awards, Quad City's Xavier Patterson was named Ironman of the year, and teammate Cornelius Coe was named defensive player of the year. Patterson caught 65 passes for 718 yards and 24 touchdowns while recording 59 tackles and six interceptions. Coe led the league with 139 tackles and had eight interceptions.

Sparrow was the only Stallion to be named to the all-af2 first team. Quad City and Arkansas led all teams with two players each on the first team.

Augusta led the second team with four players, including offensive/defensive lineman A.J. Blum, wide receiver/defensive back Calvin Ceaser, defensive specialist Nick Rawls and kicker Chris Chambers.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.