06/01/2016 11:49 AM
JACKSONVILLE - Following a thrilling victory over the Orlando Predators last Friday night, the Jacksonville Sharks return to Sea Best Field for a matchup with the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday, June 4. Kickoff on “Superhero Night” is set for 7:00 p.m.
Saturday’s home game will be the second and final regular-season meeting between Jacksonville (4-4) and Philadelphia (7-2). Back in April, the Sharks traveled to Philadelphia came away with a commanding 59-41 victory over the Soul.
Last week, the Sharks maintained a high level of play for the full sixty minutes, thwarting a late Predator rally to emerge with a 59-56 victory in Orlando. The Sharks enter this week having won consecutive games for the first time this season, and Jacksonville is back to the .500 mark for the first time since Week 2.
Joe Hills took his outstanding season to new heights a week ago, as he set a new a franchise record with eight touchdown receptions, just one shy of tying the all-time league record held by Kevin Prentiss in 2007. Hills finished the game with 15 receptions for 173 yards and now leads all AFL players with 30 touchdown catches this season. Quarterback Tommy Grady again played mistake-free football, throwing 280 yards and eight scores without a turnover. Grady has now totaled 21 touchdown passes without an interception in the last three games.
Overall, the Shark offense has scored 19 touchdowns in 20 possessions with Grady in the game over the last two weeks. As they match up against a Philadelphia offense that ranks third in the AFL with an average of 58.4 points per game, Jacksonville will need to sustain that level of offensive efficiency this week.
Jacksonville’s defense looks to continue their hot streak after playing opportunistic football over the course of the last two weeks. After going two straight games without an interception, the Sharks have recorded six picks during this two-game winning streak. Safety Greg Reid has elevated his game this season, as after recording two interceptions in back-to-back games he now leads all AFL players with seven picks through eight games.
While the Sharks’ pass rush is still looking to get after opposing quarterbacks more often, the team got a lift last week from the return of Neefy Moffett. Playing in his first AFL game since 2010, Moffett worked in the rotation along the defensive line, recording 1.5 sacks and forcing a fumble. Moffett and his teammates must pressure the Soul’s Dan Raudabaugh early and often this week.
On Saturday, the Sharks will face a Philadelphia Soul team that looks to rebound after 63-49 loss to the Cleveland Gladiators last weekend.
At the helm of the Soul offense, Raudabaugh has fired 53 touchdowns against just eight interceptions this season. To this point in the campaign, Philadelphia’s signal-caller has been able to to spread the ball among his three primary targets, as Darius Reynolds, Shaun Kauleinamoku and Ryan McDaniel enter this week with at least 625 yards and 12 touchdowns apiece.
On the other side of the ball, Philadelphia’s defense has made game-changing plays throughout the season. As a team, the Soul have returned seven of their 14 interceptions for touchdowns - by comparison, the Sharks do not have a single pick-six despite intercepting 13 passes to this point. The Soul are also capable of getting to the quarterback, as Philadelphia’s pass rush is tied for second in the AFL with a total of 11 sacks.
As they take the field on Saturday, the Sharks look to sweep the series against the Soul, maintain the streak they have had through the past two weeks and continue to gain ground in the American Conference standings. Kickoff on Sea Best Field is set for 7:00 p.m.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2016 season are now available, two tickets as low as $99. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.