After two-year break, VooDoo receiver gets back in groove

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Bones, the mascot of the New Orleans VooDoo, entertains the crowd during a March 24 game. The VooDoo will go for their third straight win Saturday against Arizona.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Bones, the mascot of the New Orleans VooDoo, entertains the crowd during a March 24 game. The VooDoo will go for their third straight win Saturday against Arizona.

Newly acquired VooDoo receiver Larry Beavers had a sideline chat last Saturday with quarterback Chris Dixon.

Beavers noticed that every time he approached the Utah Blaze defensive back between him and the end zone, he opened his shoulders. His flawed tactics seemed like a great time for the VooDoo to run a play Beavers learned last week — his first week with the VooDoo.

The play resulted in a 34-yard touchdown, a grand way for Beavers to return to football after two years off the field on gamedays. Beavers finished with four catches for 56 yards, helping the VooDoo (5-10, 2-2 American South) win their second consecutive game.

“I trusted Chris, Chris trusted me, he threw the ball and I made a good play,” Beavers said. The touchdown marked on of Dixon’s five in his first start for the VooDoo.

Beavers, who was in training camp with the Saints in 2010, has stayed close to the sport the last two years by trying out with a variety of teams and working out with the Pittsburgh Power.

Surprisingly, he said he feels like he’s near top shape.

“I haven’t really played football, on the field, contact, in two years, and coach (Pat O’Hara) gave me a chance,” Beavers said. “He stuck with me. He’s worked with me.”

Up next is Saturday’s game against the Arizona Rattlers, who hold the best record in the Arena Football League (13-2) and clinched a playoff berth in the National Conference.

A victory would place the Rattlers closer to a West Division title.

Meanwhile, the VooDoo need a win to remain in the hunt with the Orlando Predators (5-10, 1-4) for the fourth playoff spot in the American Conference.

Beavers will be called on again to fill in at receiver. Leading receiver Donovan Morgan missed last Saturday’s game with a left knee injury.

Sizing up the Rattlers

Arizona defensive back Virgil Gray may not be so easy to fool. Gray is tied for third in the AFL with nine interceptions. Teammate Arkeith Brown is tied for fifth with eight, and Marquis Floyd has seven.

Arizona quarterback Nick Davila is coming off a 411-yard, nine-touchdown performance last week against Orlando. Both were season highs. Davila’s 4,176 yards and 95 touchdowns rank second in the AFL.