Monthly Archives: June 2015

Playoffs!? You Kidding Me? Playoffs?!

Playoffs!? You Kidding Me? Playoffs?!

By Alex Gustafson

In the words of Rob Schnider in The Waterboy: “Oh no! We suck again!”

The Spokane Shock had a great turnaround in Portland last week, but San Jose was the next team up on the schedule and they were not willing to take their foot off the gas pedal. The third and final contest between the two Pacific Division rivals took place up in Spokane last Friday, and the SaberCats absolutely smashed their opposition.

Spokane has a disgusting habit of not scoring in quarters. They could not put any points on the board in the first, letting Eric Meyer and Reggie Gray do their thing and throw up two touchdowns before the second quarter rolled around. It was then that Spokane kicked into gear. Carson Coffman got in contact with last week’s star Nick Truesdell with a one handed pass in the endzone that earned Catch of the Game honors. Braylon Bell added on an impressive touchdown, and Mike McMillan scooped and scored to tie the game which was ruled AFL Highlight of the Game. A missed extra point from Taylor Rowan prevented the Shock from gaining an outright lead against San Jose for the first time all season. Halftime produced a bit of hope, but once play resumed, Spokane got straight up manhandled.

That disgusting habit reared its ugly head again in the third with zero points in favor of Spokane. Meyer however showed no mercy against his former team and lit the scoreboard up all night. His first start against Spokane resulted in Player of the Game honors as he went 26-34 for 277 yards and eight total touchdowns, one of them a rushing score. His weapons varied with Gray, Jeremy Kelly, Ben Nelson, Darius Reynolds, and even one of his linemen Rich Ranglin for receiving touchdowns. Meyer’s line did their job and he capitalized on finding open receivers all game long. Pressure from Spokane’s defense was present, but was not a factor as Meyer was never sacked or intercepted.

Spokane’s offense was barely able to get off the ground as the San Jose defense suffocated the Shock. Carson Coffman was held to 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns before injuring his shoulder in the third quarter. Arvell Nelson took over and connected with Truesdell for six, but the effort was too little, way too late. When your opposition goes on a 42-0 run during any point of the game, you’re going to lose. When you put up zero points in two quarters of play, you’re going to lose. The SaberCats got their brooms and swept the Shock away 62-27.

A couple of thoughts can be taken away from this contest. Spokane only scored 81 points over three games against the SaberCats. San Jose still would have beaten them in one game alone when they threw up 83 against the Shock back in Week 8. And the SaberCats three game total versus Spokane you ask? That would be an even 200 points. San Jose has a quality team that refuses to take any opposition lightly, no matter their record. Though the beating Spokane took was terrible to relive, it’s good to see that Darren Arbet didn’t take the Shock for granted and played them straight up. The SaberCats now look to the playoffs in a race against the Arizona Rattlers for the top two seeds in the National Conference. The boys in green have the advantage as they are spoiled with a bye in Week 18, not to mention being up by two wins. Their last appearance in the ArenaBowl was in 2008, the season before the league reboot and since then, only Spokane and Arizona have won the Jerry B. Kurz Trophy. This should be San Jose’s year to finally take the National crown and represent the west in the ArenaBowl again.

Every single person on that SaberCat roster is looking to finally add that honor to their resume, and their opportunity for grabbing home field advantage is sterling. Arizona wouldn’t be content with being relegated to the two seed though, as they have been the one seed in the conference for the last four years. The mystery as to which team gets what seed won’t be solved for another month until the Rattlers take on the SaberCats in Arizona in Week 19. It should be a huge test for Arizona, but Nick Davila should be ready to take it. BJ Coleman was the man behind center for the Rattlers when they lost San Jose earlier this year, but Davila has a history of taking the Cats down when it counts. Don’t be surprised though if Arbet and company counter by trying to court Maurice Purify for an added edge.

Though the Shock lost in ugly fashion, they were granted a stay of execution thanks to Las Vegas. The Outlaws narrowly defeated the Portland Thunder on Sunday. These three are all vying for the other two spots in the National race. One will be left out in the rain. The spots will be decided by a round robin challenge as Spokane hosts Portland and play their final regular season game down in Vegas. The Thunder will welcome the Outlaws to the Moda Center in between those matchups. With other teams acting as hurdles to all three, this will be an exciting race to see who will be coming out on top.

The LA KISS aren’t mathematically eliminated even after their loss to Arizona, but with a rematch with the Rattlers and their regular season finale versus San Jose looming, it’s hard to see the KISS steal one of those seeds. Perhaps a downed Spokane team could be the trick for Bob McMillen’s boys to play spoiler in the playoff hunt. Knowing Spokane though, when there’s work to do, they get it done. There’s still hope. There’s still a chance. Spokane is hanging on by a thread to make the postseason this year, and though we’re down, we aren’t out. Spokane has only missed the playoffs twice in nine full seasons. This town still believes. And in the words of Rob Schnider in The Waterboy, “You can do it!!”

The whole league is taking a summer vacation for Week 15, but Week 16 will see the Shock hit the road to take on the KISS on July 12. Before that, ESPN 2 will broadcast the SaberCats playing the New Orleans VooDoo on July 10. Other teams in the National Conference Playoff hunt will see Las Vegas travel to Arizona, and Portland hosting Jacksonville. American Conference games will feature Orlando vs. Tampa Bay and CBS Sports Network Game of the Week Cleveland vs. Philadelphia. The four latter games will be played on July 11.

Winning Streak Ends with Fireworks and a Thud in Tampa

Winning Streak Ends with Fireworks and a Thud in Tampa

by Erik Watkins

After an undefeated May, the Jacksonville Sharks (6-6) suffered their first setback in a tricky June schedule, losing to the Tampa Bay Storm (5-6) 63-56 on Friday night.

This means that Jacksonville will go into their first bye week with a bit of a sour taste in their mouth, and staying in a fight with Orlando for first place in the South division. However, the Sharks will have plenty of time to lick their wounds and prepare for Cleveland at home on June 27th before the July 4th league-wide bye.

The Sharks had a chance to tie the game and force overtime, with the ball on their own four-yard line, 56 seconds left on the clock, and all three timeouts to work with. QB Tommy Grady moved the team down the field, first with a 14-yard pass to Tiger Jones, followed by another six-yard pass to Jones. Jacksonville looked deep, missing Tiger twice to bring up 4th and 4. Needing to make a play, Grady looked for Joe Hills, but Storm DB Alfred Phillips was there in coverage, forcing a third straight incompletion to seal the end to a five-game winning streak, and throwing the South division into chaos.

That drive was just one example of a second half dominated by defense, despite both teams putting up 98 first half points, the second highest total in AFL history. Both teams scored on every possession, save for time running out on Jacksonville at the end of the first half. Tommy Grady was firing on all cylinders, completing 12 of his first 17 passes for 211 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. Tampa Bay was equally as efficient, bolstered by a Kendrick Ings kickoff return for a touchdown.

Defense then ruled the third quarter, with only three total possessions, and the Sharks took advantage thanks to Chris Smith’s first interception as a Shark, which turned into the first score of the second half as Tommy Grady found Joe Hills in the end zone. After 98 first half points and none whatsoever in the third quarter, Jacksonville cut the deficit to 56-48. Alvin Ray Jackson continued the stout defense, intercepting Jason Boltus on 3rd-and-goal to set up another Grady to Hills touchdown, tying the game after the pair connected again on the two-point conversion.

Julian Rauch attempted the onside kick, but failed, leaving the Storm with a short field. QB Jason Boltus found T.T. Toliver from six-yards out to give Tampa Bay the 63-56 lead, setting up the final minute.

Overall, Tommy Grady had a decent game on offense, completing 26 of 46 passes (only 13 of 29 in the second half) for 351 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions. Joe Hills, who earned

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week honors, caught nine passes for 126 yards, and tied a Sharks franchise record with six touchdown catches. Tiger Jones had game highs with 12 catches for 162 yards, while accounting for the other score.

On defense, Greg Reid and Terrance Smith led Jacksonville with five tackles each, and Jerry Turner registered the lone sack. Both Smiths, Terrance and Chris, also notched a pass breakup.

On the other side, Jason Boltus completed 22 of 34 passes for 243 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. The wealth was spread around a bit, with Julius Gregory (9 catches, 89 yards, 3 TDs), Emery Sammons (7 catches, 69 yards, and a TD), and T.T. Toliver (4 catches, 59 yards, and 2 TDs), all making major contributions on offense; while Al Phillips was the star on defense, with game-highs in tackles (13) and passes defended (6).

Jacksonville will now have two weeks to get back to the drawing board as they prepare for Cleveland, who will be the Sharks’ next host at Sea Best Field on Saturday, June 27. The spotlight will be on both teams, as the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

You Can’t Handle the Truesdell

You Can’t Handle the Truesdell

By Alex Gustafson

It’s good to be back writing for the Spokane Shock. After taking the last month to ensure successful graduation from college, I’m back full throttle in the AFL. But enough about this mere writer. Let’s talk about someone with a great amount of talent on the turf. Going from an unknown player to his coming out party last Sunday, this 6’7” wide out is making his name known amongst the Arena elite of the season. His name is Nick Truesdell.

Last Sunday night, the Shock traveled to Portland to take on the Thunder for the second time this season, both contests taking place in the Moda Center. While the first matchup favored the Oregon faithful, the second contest was quite a different affair. At least in the first half. Warren Smith surrendered the starting spot back to Carson Coffman, with the original starter showing no rust after not seeing the field since Week 6. He went to work finding Truesdell in the endzone twice in three possessions. In between those scores, Arvell Nelson welcomed himself back to Spokane scoring on a keeper of his own, Spokane’s only rushing touchdown of the night. When the second quarter hit, Truesdell kept piling it on. He caught a tight front corner pass for his third score, got control of a tipped and bobbled ball in the endzone for his fourth, and beat double coverage for his fifth. In last week’s interview after the close loss against Las Vegas, Truesdell told reporters “We just have to make plays. That’s it. We have to bounce back. Watch the film, learn from it, and come out next week and beat Portland. Come out strong.” He added on later, “We can’t make excuses, we have to make plays.” After mentioning playmaking twice, Truesdell  did just that one week later after those comments and was named the Playmaker of the Game. The receiver ended his night with seven catches for 124 yards and the five aforementioned touchdowns.

Portland’s starter Alex Carder had a great touchdown pass near the end of the first, but he still seemed to have some jitters against the Shock defense after sacked once and picked off twice. Kyle Rowley substituted in halfway through the second quarter and had no problem laying the hammer down on the team he won his ArenaBowl with. Rowley went in on Spokane for 225 yards and 5 touchdowns, scaring the Shock fans that thought this game was open and shut after halftime. The second half was more of a back and forth affair starting with back to back Portland scores eight game minutes apart. The Thunder had a great team effort with rushes by John Martinez and Jared Perry throwing a touchdown pass after catching the last aerial TD Portland had. The effort came up short however as the clock hit quadruple zeros and the Shock won the contest 69-54.

Truesdell wasn’t the only Shock receiver to get on the board. Braylon Bell and Christian Wise contributed a score each, and Jabin Sambrano had a pair of touchdown grabs. Sambrano finished his night on par with Truesdell reception wise, as he caught eight passes for 125 yards. Carson Coffman was cool throughout the game giving up zero sacks and zero interceptions. His stat line was 20-32 with 328 yards and nine passing touchdowns. He also earned National Offensive Player of the Week honors for Week 13.

There’s always a point in fandom where you look at your team’s victory and go “Man, we needed that one badly.” Not only was that the sigh of relief for the Shock, it’s the hope for every game of theirs from now on until the season ends. Spokane is still scratching and clawing, as it is still possible to grab a wildcard spot. If the season ended after week 13, Spokane would be latching on to the four seed. Ironically, they’d be playing division foe and week 14 opponent San Jose SaberCats. With all teams having a handful of games left, nothing is given for Spokane or Las Vegas, the current National three seed. Nobody is mathematically eliminated in the league as of press time. The only sure thing is San Jose locking up one of the four spots in the National race. Winning out with the schedule the Shock has will be hard, but they will earn that playoff spot if they can manage to run their gauntlet successfully. Don’t count out the Outlaws either, as they are breathing down Spokane’s and Portland’s necks for the other National Wild Card seed. Who knows if L.A. can pull another upset or few out of nowhere, but for now, I don’t see them making the cut. Portland will have a great race against Spokane for second best in the Pacific division, and as far as Las Vegas goes, let the chips fall where they may.

Note that the last time Spokane lead on the scoreboard before Sunday, was when they defeated the Outlaws in Las Vegas. They never surrendered their lead in either game. However, the Shock’s opponents between the Vegas and Portland trips were the same. Perhaps tied at some points, but never gave up an outright lead. The last time Spokane had a lead anytime during a game and still lost was against New Orleans in Week 6. This kind of lightning may strike twice against San Jose as the SaberCats roar back into Spokane for the second time this year on Friday. Though the Shock may get some great plays, San Jose is San Jose. The SaberCats are the National Conference favorite, but still. As we learned in Week 12 when the KISS pulled off arguably the biggest upset in league history against Eric Meyer and company, never say never. Whatever happens during the Pacific Division clash, San Jose will still have their heads high as Division Champions and a guaranteed top two seed in the National Conference Playoffs..

The Shock-SaberCats matchup takes place on Friday, June 26 while Portland plays another Sunday game on June 28 in Las Vegas against the Outlaws. As usual, all AFL games will be available online on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.

State of the Team – LA Kiss – They’re staying!

State of the Team – LA Kiss – They’re staying!

by Sharon Soares

If you wanted to know the answer to the question, “Are the LA Kiss going to be around next year?”; we now have it.  In the State of the Team Address by Joe Windham, Saturday, June 20th, he says “They’re not going anywhere.  This team is here to stay.”  Joe Windham is the Chief Executive Officer for the LA Kiss as of May 27th.  Since he began, many needed changes within the franchise have occurred.  Joe talked about the changes, upcoming changes, and the state of the team throughout the speech.  The Kiss aren’t only going to be back for 2016, but they are planning to do things better.  They have already started and wanted to commemorate the new beginning with fan loyalty rally towels that stated, “We are family.”  Joe said that the owners, Gene, Paul, and Doc, are very passionate about the team and Paul even refers to the team as “his baby.”  So what are the Kiss doing, right and wrong?

First off, what are the Kiss doing right?

Listening to the fans: Joe offered up his direct email address to everyone there.  JWindham@LAKissfootball.com.  Feel free to send him suggestions.  He gets a lot and will reply or act upon them, but give him time.  He has heard the positive and negative.  He reads the message boards and is active in finding out what the fans want.

Fan appreciation: Joe mentioned that the fans will be receiving emails soon regarding season ticket renewals.  Season ticket holders have a lot to look forward to with mentions of additional packages, lower ticket prices, and even some gifts included when the ticket package arrives.  He is also offering each season ticket holder a change to bring a friend, or 2, next game against the Arizona Rattlers.  More information is to be found on the LA Kiss website.

Website Redesign:  Speaking of information on the Kiss website, this will become more prevalent and get a revamp.  It doesn’t include the information he wants the fans to know and is not easily navigated to find the information.

Entertainment: Being at multiple games throughout the years, I’ve seen a lot of different games and watched the entertainment between plays, quarters, and half-time.  The Kiss, even this year, is far better with their entertainment than a lot of teams.  There is a constant flow, a live band, and a true desire to put a good product on the field, the real entertainment.

Taking care of the players: Last year was sub par on what the players received from the places where they were staying to the food that was provided.  Health care, trainers, practicing facility, were all less than what the players deserved and was less than what the team expected.  This year, especially since Joe has been on board with the Kiss, it has changed.  The players are being taken care of and are getting their breakfast and lunches provided for them.

What do the Kiss still need to work on?

Let us know or send an email to Joe.

If you want to listen to the whole question and answer session from the State of the Team, click this link.   Warning: around 50 minutes long.

Sharks Get Revenge, Take First Place from Orlando

Sharks Get Revenge, Take First Place from Orlando

by Erik Watkins

The Jacksonville Sharks (6-5) needed to rebound from their near loss to LA last week, and they did in style, scoring 50 points in the second half against the Orlando Predators (6-5) to notch a 66-51 win and even the season series at a game apiece, snapping a four-game losing streak to their in-state rivals in the process, and sending the largest home crowd of the season (10,127) home happy.

The first half wasn’t too kind to Jacksonville, as Orlando struck early for the first score of the game, and the Sharks turned the ball over on downs to start the night. Tiger Jones finally found the end zone with four minutes left in the first quarter, and the defense started to get on track despite the early hostilities between the teams. Early on, Predators QB Bernard Morris had issues figuring out Jacksonville’s coverage, but he still found Larry Brackins wide open behind the defense to give Orlando the 14-7 lead.

The second quarter was filled with both penalties and big plays. First, a Tiger Jones catch and run to midfield was called back on holding. Then, after Predators DB Rod Issac intercepted Tommy Grady’s throw into double coverage, Brandon Thompkins had a score called back on holding himself. Jacksonville’s defense held at the goal line, and a Mark Lewis field goal pushed the lead to 17-7. Jacksonville marched on despite an early sack, and FB Derrick Ross got on to the scoresheet and cut the lead to 17-13 after Julian Rauch missed the extra point.

The big plays kept coming, as Larry Brackins scored just one play later to again push the lead to ten. The onside kick went out of bounds, but Jacksonville had nothing to show for it due to Orlando DB Rod Issac breaking up a touchdown pass and Julian Rauch missed a 31-yard field goal wide right. Sharks DB LaRoche Jackson gave his team another chance with an interception, but due to a missed call by the referees on a Joe Hills catch over the boards being ruled incomplete, Rauch had a chance for redemption, and cashed in from 18 yards out to make the score 23-16 at halftime.

Jacksonville started the second half on fire, with LaRoche Jackson netting a long kick return and Derrick Ross scoring his second TD of the night to pull the Sharks within a point. After Larry Brackins scored again for Orlando, Jacksonville went on another one of their scoring runs that has defined this win streak. First, Jeron Harvey caught a Tommy Grady pass in the end zone to cut the deficit back to a point at 30-29. Then, Jackson forced a Predators fumble which Greg Reid recovered to set up a Tiger Jones touchdown, giving the Sharks their first lead of the night at 36-30. Finally, DE Joe Sykes added another sack to his league-leading total (11), stripping Bernard Morris of the football. Jerry Turner recovered, and Joe Hills scored on the next play to extend the lead to 43-30 to close out the third quarter.

The Predators didn’t give up the fight, scoring to start the fourth quarter, but the best they could do was trade scores with Jacksonville. Finally, Joe Sykes sealed the deal, stripping Morris again on his 12th sack of the season, and he made the tackle in the end zone for a safety, putting the game away at 59-44. Derrick Ross completed his hat trick in the final minute, but Orlando managed one last touchdown and some extracurricular activities before the game was through.

Tommy Grady had a solid night under center, completing 26 of 36 passes for 275 yards, throwing six touchdowns and two interceptions. On the other side, former Shark Bernard Morris completed 19 of 32 passes for 292 yards, also throwing six touchdowns against one interception. Morris also ran twice for 15 yards.

Tiger Jones, who had game highs in catches (10), yards (136), touchdowns (3), and highlights (falling down while catching a 27-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter), felt great after the game. “We continue to roll, and we’re fighting with our backs against the wall.” He gave credit to the defense, and noted that the team would stick to their process of prep and film review as Tampa looms next week.

Derrick Ross, who rewrites the AFL record books every week, had another stellar performance with 15 carries for 32 yards and three touchdowns. He noted how the team chemistry has evolved through the course of the season. “We feel good, all the selfishness is out the window. We didn’t know each other at the beginning. Everyone was trying to give their own input, and our mentalities had to mesh. It’s amazing from where we started.” He also notes sticking to the process is important, but also mentioned that the two byes in the next four weeks would be good for the team.

The whole defense was the star of the night, with at least two different players registering five tackles (three), a pass breakup (three, two with two), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack. This is the defense that Sharks fans are used to seeing, and will need it against a tough Tampa Bay Storm team next Friday night, and again against Cleveland in three weeks. Jacksonville is finally a team to be reckoned with, and the rest of the American Conference is now on notice.

The Sharks Have Finally Arrived

The Sharks Have Finally Arrived

by Erik Watkins

Just six weeks ago, the 2015 Jacksonville Sharks season seemed lost. They were 0-4, just one of two winless teams in the AFL, and the much talented, much hyped roster became the biggest disappointment. Since then, the Sharks team that fans, staff, and media expected this year has emerged in something of a tour de force. At 5-5, they now sit in second place in the South division with an even more crucial two-game stretch ahead of them before two byes in three weeks.

New Orleans could have been a tricky opponent. The Week 1 win was still somewhat fresh in their minds, and Jacksonville was on the road a week after becoming the only team to beat the Philadelphia Soul in 2015. In front of what was the biggest VooDoo home crowd of the season (a still disappointing 4,021), the Sharks got off to another rocky start, and New Orleans was once again standing toe to toe, trailing 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, and still within a point at 21-20 with just under four minutes left in the first half.

Then, the Sharks began to swarm. First, DB Greg Reid intercepted New Orleans QB Brian Reader, setting up a Tommy Grady touchdown pass to Jeron Harvey, who scored on a 21-yard catch and run in his first action with the team since his replacement, Prechae Rodriguez, was placed on league suspension. This was simply a preview of what was to come.

The following is how Jacksonville won the game in just six plays of the third quarter: Grady to Hills for a touchdown, DE Scooter Berry recovering a fumble, a Moqut Ruffins touchdown catch on a screen pass, a Brian Reader pass, a Joe Sykes trifecta (sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery), and Derrick Ross scoring on a three-yard run. After just 3:28 of the third quarter, a 28-20 dogfight became a 49-20 rout, and it got better for the Sharks from there. After Sykes got his second sack of the night, the VooDoo were forced into another long field goal attempt, and Tommy Grady found Tiger Jones for a 25-yard touchdown and a 56-20 lead to end the third quarter. The fourth quarter was cruise control for Jacksonville, and the Sharks headed west with a 70-41 win.

Jacksonville continued their momentum against the Los Angeles KISS, scoring two touchdowns in less than 15 seconds. First, Tommy Grady found Tiger Jones again, scoring on a 40-yard pass. Just two plays later, JLB Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted the lastest KISS QB, Danny Southwick, and returned it 25 yards for his and the Sharks’ first defensive score of the season. Joe Hills found the end zone after a defensive stop, and Jacksonville had their second 21-0 run in a quarter in as many weeks, this time to give them the early lead in LA.

To their credit, the 0-9 KISS fought back, scoring twice themselves in the second quarter, and after Julian Rauch missed a 30-yard field goal attempt wide right, 8,235 KISS fans were hopeful of finally getting the long-awaited first win of the season, trailing 28-14.

Danny Southwick found his rhythm under center, and Jacksonville’s three-score lead became a tenuous seven points at 28-21. From there, the fight was on, as both teams traded scores and stops, and the Sharks were back to playing at their 0-4 form against a team that has not won in almost an entire calendar year. Derrick Ross earned one more touchdown in his record-setting career, scoring his third of the night from 23-yards out to give Jacksonville a little comfort room with 3:55 left in the game. LA had one more bit of fight left in them, as they struck back thanks to a long kickoff return and a Southwick strike to Donovan Morgan, trimming the lead to 41-35 with 2:30 remaining.

Jacksonville looked to seal the game and had the ball in KISS territory at the one-minute warning. Then, in painfully familiar fashion, the Sharks committed crucial offensive penalties, backing themselves up into 4th and 16 at the LA 21. Julian Rauch had his second wide right of the night, and gave the KISS 37 seconds and a timeout to tie the game. LA got to midfield with 16 seconds left, took their time out, and then looked to the end zone. Danny Southwick missed twice, then found WR Jeffrey Solomon on a quick route to get to Jacksonville’s 20-yard line with three seconds left. Southwick tried for the end zone again, but Greg Reid snagged his second interception of the road trip to seal the Sharks’ fourth straight win.

After these two wins, there’s still an aura of schizophrenia surrounding Jacksonville on the field. When they’re on, they’re world beaters, as they proved to Philadelphia. When they’re off, they could be one of the worst teams in the league, as they proved against LA. However, they’ve been on and dominant more than they’ve been off over the last six weeks, and the improvement is showing itself on a constant basis. Now, the next challenge lies ahead: beating Orlando and Tampa Bay to avenge earlier losses and claim the division lead. Then, they face one lone opponent in the following three weeks, Cleveland.

If the Sharks can extend their winning streak to seven, then they will roll into the July 4th bye at 8-5, and they once again become contenders to win (and possibly host) the ArenaBowl. As it stands, the league is now on notice that the Jacksonville team they expected before the start of the season is now stepping on the field every week, and the run that could propel them to a title is now in play.

Next up: Orlando. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. on June 6th at Sea Best Field at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. It will be Education Appreciation Night and Pirates & Princesses Night at the Arena, with BOGO tickets for school employees, teachers, and administrators (with ID), and free tickets for K-12 students with a paid adult ticket (limit two per adult).
As a writer with a seven-year-old nephew (who will be attending, by the way), the winning streak couldn’t have come at a better time, because he could be seeing his uncle at work and the Jacksonville Sharks at their best.