AFA by the Numbers

AFA by the Numbers

In his twenty-first season as AFA's head coach, Fisher DeBerry's record through 249 games stands at 158-90-1(.636) overall; 74-58-1(.560) 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--133 or 53.4%--while 116 or 46.6% have been played as home games. 

      FISHER'S IMPACT. Chris Field, AFAFalcons WriterAFA's all-time record now stands at 296-245-13(.546) in 554 games. Fisher's tenure as head coach spans 44.9% of the total number of games the Falcons have played in their history, yet has produced 53.3% of the academy's victories. Another mark of Fisher's success is that his teams have registered only 36.7% of the academy's all-time losses while having played 44.9% of the total number of games in AFA's football history. DeBerry has already won 20 more games than all other head football coaches in AFA's history combined. The Falcons need four 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 158th win with the team's victory against UNLV, DeBerry stands 42 triumphs short of the vaunted goal with a bit less than six seasons to go on his contract. Let the 200 Watch 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 249 games and posted an overall record of 158-90-1(.636). In 140 games the Falcons held their opponents to 23 or fewer points and posted a dazzling 120-20 (.857) winning mark. In the 109 games the Falcons allowed their opponents to score 24 or more points they have posted a desultory 38-70-1 (.353) record.

This trend, established from 1984 through 1998, has continued in recent seasons as well. From November 18, 1999  through this year‘s Utah game, Air Force has played fifty-one games against division 1-A opponents. In those fifty-one games Air Force has compiled a 28-23(.549) record. In 33 (64.7%) of those games Air Force allowed 24 or more points to the opposition. In those 33 games when allowing 24 or more points, AFA's record is 12-21 (.363). In the eighteen games in which the Falcons allowed twenty-three points or less AFA posted a mark of 16-2(.888).  

            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. 

CHARTING CARNEY'S CAREER. On the premise it's never too soon to start keeping track of a good thing here's a look at QB Shaun Carney on a game by game basis as he leads AFA's offense from the QB position.   

Game

Rushing

Passing

Total yards

Game result

California

18-75-0TDs

9-15-89-1TD

164

Cal 56 -14

East. Wash.

13-62-1TD

10-15-139-2td

201

AFA 42-20

@UNLV

21-64-0TD

12-14-139-2td

203

AFA 27-10

@Utah

21-95-3 TDs

9-13-158-1TD

253 yards

Utah 49-35

Totals

73-296-4TDs 4.05yd/att.

40-57-525-6TDs

70.17%cmp.

821 yards

205 yds/gm.

AFA 2-2

             In four starts for the Falcons in his freshman year, Carney has been directly involved in a play 130 times either running or passing the ball. Those 130 plays have netted the team 821 yards or a healthy 6.31 yards each time Carney has touched the ball. Perhaps most impressive of all is his 70.17% completion rate when throwing the ball. The balance Carney has helped provide the offense was most evident in the UNLV game. The Rebels defense was off-balance during the evening because it had to respect AFA's ability to throw the ball effectively. This balance enabled the Falcons to sustain drives, score points, keep its own defense well-rested and open the conference season with an impressive17 point road win. While Carney and the team lost to a talented Utah squad, AFA demonstrated that it will be able to move the ball on the ground and through the air with Carney in the pilot's seat. 

RUSHING AHEAD. Here is an updated look at the leading rushers in AFA history through the most recently played game.  

          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. 1214     Darnell Stephens ß

       28. 1170     Anthony Butler ß

       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 saw his first action in two weeks against Utah and carried the ball five times for 15 yards. His career stats now show he's carried the ball 220 times for 1,170 yards a 5.31 yards per carry average and 10 TDs. 

            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. After gaining 42 yards on 7 carries against Utah, Stephens has now totaled 208 carries for 1,214 yards and 8 TDs in his career. If Stephens can gain 29 yards against Navy he'll pass both Johnny Smith and Keith Boyea on the AFA career rushing list.  

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, although this year‘s team has shown the fullback game may be reemerging as a central force in the Falcons' option attack. 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 with a mere 44 yards separating them.

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