AFA by the Numbers

Chris Field

In his twenty-first season as AFA's head coach, Fisher DeBerry's record through 247 games stands at 157-89-1(.637) overall; 73-57-1(.561) on the road or at neutral sites and 84-32(.724) in home games. A greater number of these games have been played on the road or at neutral sites--131 or 53.3%--while 116 or 46.7% have been played as home games.

FISHER'S IMPACT. AFA's all-time record now stands at 295-244-13(.546) in 552 games. Fisher's tenure as head coach spans 44.7% of the total number of games the Falcons have played in their history, yet has produced 53.2% of the academy's victories. Another mark of Fisher's success is that his teams have registered only 36.4% of the academy's all-time losses while having played 44.6% of the total number of games in AFA's football history. DeBerry has already won 19 more games than all other head football coaches in AFA's history combined. The Falcons need five more victories to post their 300th win.
 
THE "200 WATCH". Having now signed a five year extension on a contract which was set to expire after the 2004 season, Falcons' fans can rest assured that Fisher DeBerry will be stalking the sidelines through the fall of 2009. Never one to speak publicly about coaching standards he might reach as the result of being the most successful coach in service academy football history, I'll mention a long term benchmark at which DeBerry may finally be able to take aim. As the current season began only sixteen coaches in division 1-A history had reached the 200 win plateau. Before retiring as head coach at Fresno State, Jim Sweeney became the man to most recently arrive at 200 career victories. (Falling just short of the 200 mark are: Dana Bible with 198 wins; Dan McGugin with 197 and Fielding Yost  and Howard Jones with 196).
 
Having posted his 157th win over Eastern Washington, DeBerry stands 43 wins short of the vaunted goal with a bit less than six seasons to go on his contract.
Let the "200 Watch" officially begin!
 
 DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE?  The Fisher DeBerry era, now in its twenty-first season, has demonstrated that a crucial determinant in AFA's ability to win a game is the frequency with which the Falcons hold opponents to twenty-three points or less.  Fisher DeBerry had coached AFA in 247 games and posted an overall record of 157-89-1(.637). In 139 games the Falcons held their opponents to 23 or fewer points and posted a dazzling 119-20 (.856) winning mark. In the 108 games the Falcons allowed their opponents to score 24 or more points they posted a desultory 38-69-1 (.356) record.
 

This trend, established from 1984 through 1998, has continued in recent seasons as well. From November 18, 1999  through this year‘s Eastern Washington game, Air Force has played forty-nine games against division 1-A opponents. In those forty-nine games Air Force has compiled a 27-22(.551) record. In 32 (65.3%) of those games Air Force allowed 24 or more points to the opposition. In those 32 games when allowing 24 or more points, AFA's record is 12-20 (.375). In the seventeen games in which the Falcons allowed twenty-three points or less AFA posted a mark of 15-2(.882).
 
The preponderance of evidence over twenty years is clear: when AFA limits the opposition to 23 points or less it wins. When AFA allows twenty-four points or more its chances to win decrease rapidly and the figures support this assessment. Whether you take the long view over Fisher's twenty years as the team's coach or the short view from November 1999 to the present the outcomes are strikingly similar: when AFA holds its opponent to twenty-three or fewer points it wins and when it allows twenty-four or more points it loses.
 
RUSHING AHEAD. Here is a look at the leading rushers in AFA history at the outset of the 2004 campaign.
    
 
         1. 3612     Dee Dowis
         2. 3379     Beau Morgan
         3. 2726     John Kershner
         4. 2324     Chance Harridge
         5. 2284     Brian Bream
         5. 2284     Pat Evans
         7. 1993     Greg Johnson
         8. 1860     Marty Louthan
         9. 1762     Jason Jones
       10. 1760     Rodney Lewis
       11. 1702     Rob Perez
       12. 1677     Bart Weiss
       13. 1633     Terry Issacson
       14. 1630     Ken Wood
       15. 1551     Shelby Ball
       16. 1534     Mike Thiessen
       17. 1478     Jake Campbell
       18. 1470     Leotis Palmer
       19. 1406     Qualario Brown
       20. 1400     Scotty McKay
       21. 1371     Mike Quinlan
       22. 1354     Spanky Gilliam
       23. 1347     Larry Thomson
       24. 1296     Nakia Addison
       25. 1242     Keith Boyea
       26. 1233     Johnny Smith
       27. 1155     Anthony Butler <==
       28. 1154     Darnell Stephens<== 
       29. 1129     Blane Morgan
       30. 1091     Curtis Martin
       31. 1074     Bill Berry
       32. 1005     Joel Carlson          
 
 Anthony Butler continues his climb up the chart of career rushing leaders at the academy. After topping the one-thousand yard plateau in the 2003 season Butler stands positioned to make a concerted charge up the ranks of the all-time leaders during his senior campaign in 2004. Butler was limited to a single carry against Eastern Washington because of an ankle sprain, but  carried the ball 215 times for 1,155 yards, 10 TDs and a 5.37 yards per carry average.
 
The newest name to be added to the list of career rushers to have reached or surpassed the 1,000 yard mark is Darnell Stephens. His career slate shows him having carried the ball 198 times, for 1154 yards, a 5.70 yards per carry average and 8 TDs.
 
The individual and collective performances of Butler and Stephens give evidence as to why the AFA ground based option attack has focused more upon the halfbacks' efforts and less upon production from the fullbacks in recent years. The two have a solid chance to surpass the 1,400 yard career barrier as seniors which would place them among the top twenty ground gainers in academy history. The senior HBs now stand 27th and 28th on the career rushing list at AFA only one yard apart. 

SCHEDULING SNAFU. Current NCAA guidelines allow division 1-A teams to schedule 12 regular season games in a year depending on the number of weekends which fall between Labor Day and the first week of December. The next four years in which AFA would be eligible to play 12 games are: 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2019.

Texas Christian University will become a full fledged member of the MWC beginning with the 2005 football season. This means that the conference will be comprised of nine teams and each school in the league will play every other member annually. That gives AFA eight games a year. Throw in the yearly CIC battles against Army and Navy and the Falcons have ten games seemingly in place stretching into the far reaches of their football future.

At present AFA is under contract for the 2006 season to play at Northwestern and at home against Notre Dame. However, 2006 is a year in which teams are eligible to play only eleven regular season games.

The scenario is nearly the same for the 2007 season with AFA hosting Northwestern and traveling to South Bend to face the Fighting Irish. It's a season in which current NCAA guidelines allow for only eleven regular season games.

 The same situation arises in 2009 when AFA is scheduled to host Texas A & M and meet North Texas in Denton. It's a year in which only 11 games are permitted.

 The dilemma for the Falcons is a tough one. The AFA has played Notre Dame and Northwestern with some frequency during Fisher DeBerry's tenure. A home game against the Fighting Irish is a cash cow for the Falcons and putting future games against the Irish in jeopardy would be courting severe financial impact. On the other side of the coin, Northwestern represents a school of similar academic integrity to that of the AFA as well as being a member of the BCS. Under current NCAA guidelines, one of the games in the 2006, 2007 and 2009  seasons will need to be dropped by AFA.

There are at least two ways in which to regard this potential scheduling gridlock. For the season ticket buying public, it means AFA's schedule will have a highly repetitive nature since there will only be one slot available for a non-MWC, non-military academy rival each year. On the other hand, the current NCAA restriction allowing just eleven games in most seasons may finally end AFA's longstanding practice of scheduling games against division 1-AA opponents which have produced no drama and farcical mismatches while forcing the public to pay premium prices for an inferior product.


THE MWC VERSUS  THE BCS
. There's a frequent cry of anguish which arises from camps of followers of MWC teams bemoaning the fact that the league's teams deserve more recognition on a national basis given their individual and collective records against BCS affiliated teams. Frankly, since the inception of the MWC its teams have not fared well when stepping outside conference play when facing BCS teams. During the course of the 2004 regular season MWC teams are scheduled to face members of BCS affiliated conferences in19 games. Here's a look at when and where the match-ups are taking place as well as the outcomes and the MWC's  record in the games played to date.
 

Date

Home team

Visitor

Score

Sept. 2

Utah

Texas A & M

Utah  41-21 (1-0)

Sept. 3

New Mexico

Washington State

WSU  21-17 (1-1)

Sept. 4

BYU

Notre Dame

BYU  20-17 (2-1)

Sept. 4

Air Force

California

Cal  56-14  (2-2)

Sept. 4

Colorado

Colorado State

Colo.  27-24 (2-3)

Sept. 5

Tennessee

UNLV

Tenn  42-17  (2-4)

Sept. 11

Southern Cal

CSU

USC  49-0  (2-5)

Sept. 11

New Mexico

Texas Tech

UNM  27-24  (3-5)

Sept. 11

Wisconsin

UNLV

Wisc.  (3-6)

Sept. 11

Arizona

Utah

Utah  23-6 (4-6)

Sept. 11

Texas A & M

Wyoming

A & M 27-24  (4-7)

Sept. 11

Stanford

BYU

Stan. 37-10  (4-8)

Sep. 18

CSU

Minnesota

 

Sept. 18

Oregon State

New Mexico

 

Sept. 18

Michigan

San Diego State

 

Sept. 18

Southern Cal

BYU

 

Sept. 25

Wyoming

Mississippi

 

Oct. 2

UCLA

San Diego State

 

Oct. 16

Utah

North Carolina

 


 

FalconsReport.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets