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Church Returns to Peoria
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February 9, 2005 - Peoria, IL- A name synonymous with Peoria Championship Football, former Peoria Quarterback Walter Church has signed to be part of Peoria Rough Rider Football.

Peoria indoor football fans will remember Church coming off the bench (shoulder injury late in the season) during the 2002 championship game trailing 25-23, with 8:03 remaining in the third quarter, connected on a 6 yard pass to former Southern Illinois Saluki Cornell Craig, setting up Church’s collegiate teammate and current Philadelphia Eagle Jason Short for a 3 yard touchdown run to take a lead that they never relinquished, giving Peoria its second football championship.

Head Coach Bruce Cowdrey with the signing of Church gets a solid veteran, a proven quarterback and leader, but most importantly, someone who knows his offensive system.

Last season, Peoria’s offense struggled early waiting for the quarterback corps to learn the offensive system. Former Illinois State QB Mike Souza who picked up the offense, was then signed by the Calgary Stampeeders of the CFL three weeks into the season, leaving Andrew Webb and Talmadge Hill, both rookies, to take over the QB spot and learn one of the most difficult offensive systems in indoor football.

Church graduated from Eastern Michigan University (EMU), where he was a 4-year letterman and team captain both his junior and senior year. Church set school records in total offensive yards (8,628) pass attempts (1,441), pass completions (807), and passing yards (9,142). Walter graduated from EMU with a 3.75 GPA as a math major.

Professionally, after playing for Peoria in 2002, Church was signed by the New York Dragons in the AFL for the 2003 season. He was utilized primarily as a backup for nine-year AFL veteran Aaron Garcia. The 2004 season, Church was traded to AFL Dallas Desperados where he started one game against the Philadelphia Soul on April 4, 2004.

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