Arena Football League
Jacksonville Sharks Food Drive Tonight
Please remember that for this tonight's game against Iowa, they are holding their annual canned food drive to benefit Second Harvest North Florida. They are asking for YOUR help in fighting to end hunger in our local community, and even a small donation can make a big difference. Last year, their food drive generated more than 10,000 lbs. of donations, and with your generosity, they can make an even greater impact this season!
If you are unsure of what to bring on Friday, Second Harvest has provided them with a "menu" of suggested items:
Canned Fruit: fruit cocktail, sliced peaches
Canned Vegetables: corn, green beans
Canned Meats: tuna, beef, all others
Canned Beans: pork n beans, black beans
Canned Soup: chicken noodle soup, vegetable soup
Grains: pasta, rice
Other Items: canned tomatoes and pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly (non-glass containers), shelf-stable milk
Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. on Friday. They'll see you at the arena!
Did You Know? 1 in 6 American adults experience food insecurity, and 1 in 4 children do not know where his or her next meal is coming from. For every $1 donated to the organization, Second Harvest is able to distribute food for seven meals. For more information about Second Harvest's mission and what you can do to help, please visit wenourishhope.org.
Philly Hosts Cleveland in Home Opener
The Philadelphia Soul are heading into this week's match-up against the Cleveland Gladiators looking for their third consecutive win of the season. For the Gladiators, it's been a rough start to the season as they've lost their first three games by an average of 22 points.
Last week was special for Philadelphia Soul head coach Clint Dolezel, as he was announced as one of the members of the Arena Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Dolezel, in his first season as head coach of the Soul, is 13-8 as head coach (13-9 overall). Steve Thorn is the head coach for the Cleveland Gladiators. He is 49-77 (51-80 overall) throughout his nine-year coaching career. These two teams split their two meetings last season with the road team winning each contest.
"We've been watching film, and Cleveland is definitely not a 0-3 team," explained Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "I think they are as good as we are, we're going to have our hands full in this match-up. The key to winning this game is taking care of the ball. We haven't done a good job so far this season in doing that; luckily our defense has been playing well. Both sides of the ball are going to need to come out this week for us to win this game."
The Soul enter the game 2-1 on the season, having defeated the Iowa Barnstormers 54-43 last week and now hold a two-game lead in the East Division. Cleveland is coming off their bye week after starting the season 0-3. Philadelphia's strength has been their stout defense, which is No. 1 in rush defense (7.0), No. 4 in pass defense (230.7) and No. 2 in total defense at (237.7). The Soul's running game has also been one of their strengths, led by Derrick Ross, who ranks No. 3 in the entire league in rushing yards per game (29.3).
Philadelphia will look to take advantage of the Cleveland's porous defense that ranks No. 12 in pass defense (307.7) and last in rush defense (33.3) and scoring defense (67.3). Since the beginning of last season, Philadelphia has allowed quarterback Dan Raudabaugh to be sacked just six times. This has allowed their offense to average 7.2 yards per play, No. 3 in the league this season. Raudabaugh ranks No. 3 in completion percentage (69.1) and No. 6 in total offensive yards per game (281.0).
Cleveland has an opportunity to win by creating turnovers against Philadelphia. The Soul rank No. 12 in turnover margin (-5) and have turned the ball over nine times in three games. However, the Soul have forced eight stops on downs to make up for the turnover deficit. The Gladiators rank No. 5 in rushing offense (20.3) and are tied for No. 3 with seven rushing touchdowns. Should Philadelphia turn the ball over in the red zone, Cleveland will look to capitalize with their red zone offense that ranks No. 4 in the league (87.5%).
This match-up comes down to Philadelphia's defense shutting down Cleveland's offense. If Philadelphia's defense maintains their high level of play, it will be tough for Cleveland unless the Soul start to turn the ball over.
SaberCats Host Spokane in Key Divisional Game on Friday
The San Jose SaberCats (2-1) will host the Spokane Shock (4-0) for the first time this season on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. PT. The Shock got the better of San Jose last time they were in town, winning 90-63 in a disappointing home loss for the "ÂCats in June of 2012. Spokane narrowly missed the playoffs last year, despite having a 10-8 record; however this season they post a perfect 4-0 record with three of those wins coming on the road. The Shock are led by gun-slinging quarterback Erik Meyer, who has already thrown 32 touchdowns with no interceptions for an offense that is averaging nearly 70 points a game. SaberCats quarterback Aaron Garcia looks to shred the Shock defense with the help of his dominant receiving corps of Jason Willis, Fred Williams, Samora Goodson and Jamarko Simmons and help San Jose earn their second home win in as many tries.
Storm Add Quarterback
The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce the acquisition of quarterback Randy Hippeard.
"After last week's game we felt the need to bring in an additional quarterback," said vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch. "We had seen Randy a few times, and felt he was best suited for joining this team."
Hippeard (6-foot-3, 205, UVA-Wise) spent four seasons with UVA-Wise. The two-time All Mid-South Conference winner played in 41 games for the Cavaliers, completing 756-of-1,273 passes for 11,640 yards, and 111 touchdowns. He also rushed 118 times for 169 yards and eight touchdowns. In his senior season, Hippeard averaged 330.6 passing yards per game and threw for 38 touchdowns, earning Mid-South Conference Player of The Year honors.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to play for the Storm," said Hippeard. "I'm ready to get out there and help this team any way that I can."
Prior to joining the Storm, Hippeard spent time playing in Switzerland and other indoor football leagues.
VooDoo Acquire OL Thaddeus Coleman from Orlando Predators
The New Orleans VooDoo traded defensive lineman Prentice Purnell to the Orlando Predators for offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman, announced the VooDoo front office on Thursday.
Coleman (6-8, 325, Mississippi Valley State) appeared in 12 games with the Predators in 2012, while in 2011, he started 15 games. In 2010, Coleman recorded half a tackle as a rookie with the Chicago Rush.
During his college years, Coleman earned All-SWAC honors after leading the conference in knockdowns with 103 as a senior at Mississippi Valley State.
Tonight's Sharks Game - What You Need to Know
Kickoff is set for 8:00 on Friday. Whether you are a longtime Season Ticket Holder or are about to head to your first Sharks game, please see below for a rundown of what to expect at the Shark Tank tonight!
Please note your typical route to the arena may be altered by the "One Spark" festival downtown.
Additionally, the Mathews Bridge will be closed in both directions from 7:00 p.m. until Saturday morning.
Tonight is Faith and Family Night, and this game will feature a special performance by up-and-coming local artist Austin Adamec. A Jacksonville native, Adamec will sing the National Anthem at tonight's game and play a brief set on the field during halftime. Following the conclusion of the game, Shark fans will have the opportunity to meet Austin as part of our weekly Postgame Autograph Session.
Second Harvest Food Drive
For the third consecutive year, the Sharks have teamed up with Second Harvest North Florida for a canned food drive designed to help end hunger in our local community. Last season, Shark fans contributed a total of over 10,000 lbs. of donations, and with your generosity we can top that figure in 2013!
Second Harvest volunteers will be set up outside the arena to collect donations as fans enter the building. The organization is also able to accept cash donations from those who would prefer to contribute in that manner.
We're ready to kick off the night at SharkFest! Check out our pregame block party just outside the front entrance of the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, where you can ride the giant inflatable Shark Slide (weather-permitting) and enjoy some great Sea Best Seafood.
Also at SharkFest, you have the chance to help save lives by participating in The Blood Alliance's blood drive. The drive will run from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Donate now so you will be eligible to contribute again before the end of the season!
Many of our other corporate partners will be on hand, so be sure to stop by their displays as well. SharkFest is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
Tonight, gates will open at 6:30 p.m. for season ticket holders and 7:00 p.m. for the general public.
Season TIcket Holder Gift PIckup
Season Ticket Holders who qualified for Season Ticket Holder Gifts will be able to pick up those items at this week's game. In order to receive your items, bring your Tailgate Chair and Helmet Keychain vouchers to the merchandise booth located in the main lobby on street level. The redemption booth will be open before, during and after the game, but please note that you MUST present your voucher in order to receive your items.
In addition, Season Ticket Holders who renewed during the Early Bird period (before October 31) but have not yet picked up their Beach Towel gift may do so on Friday. Beach Towel pickup will be available in the same location as pickup for the other Season Ticket Holder gifts.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League
Wild Ready to Battle Beef for First Place
The Wichita Wild (5-1) will host the first place and currently undefeated Omaha Beef (4-0) on April 20th at Hartman Arena; kick-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Despite playing in a new league, Wichita and Omaha are very familiar opponents from their days in the Indoor Football League. The two teams have squared off eight times since 2010 with each team winning four games; the last matchup was not so even however. On May 5th, 2012 led by Tywon Hubbard's six all-purpose touchdowns the Wild butchered the Beef 77-41 at Hartman Arena. Both teams head into Saturday's meeting on the heels of hard fought victories. The Beef narrowly escaped the Lincoln Haymakers 55-49 in Lincoln last Friday, while the Wild beat the Bloomington Edge for the second time this season 49-35 in Bloomington. This game features the number one and two teams in the league, although the Wild have played two more games than the Beef.
In Bloomington, Wichita escaped with a win in an uncharacteristically sloppy game that featured six turnovers between both teams. The Beef and Wild were held scoreless in the first quarter, but Wichita quickly jumped out to a 23-3 lead in the second quarter scoring two touchdowns and two safeties. Edge quarterback David Knighton put together a quick drive, rushing for a touchdown with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the Wild lead to 23-9 going into halftime. Bloomington would climb back, scoring two touchdowns to bring the score to 26-22 with six minutes remaining in the third, but on the ensuing kick-off, Wild running back Tywon Hubbard returned the kick 56 yards to increase the Wild lead to 32-22. The Edge would score again just seconds into the fourth on a three yard touchdown run from Andre Raymond to push Bloomington within three, 32-29. Wild quarterback Rocky Hinds connected with Joe Kassonavoid and Tim Simmons for their second touchdowns of the game later in the fourth, allowing Wichita to pull away from the Edge with a 49-35 victory.
Last Friday in Lincoln, Omaha continued their unbeaten streak with a hot start against the Haymakers. The Beef opened the first half by scoring touchdowns on all five drives to start the game, including three touchdowns from running back RJ Rollins. Lincoln added 21 points of their own and would go into halftime down 34-21 to the Beef. Omaha saw their lead slip away in the third as the Haymakers would outscore the Beef 21-7. Down by one, 42-41, Omaha scored two touchdowns to open the fourth quarter and eventually overcame Lincoln in a final score of 55-49.
Saturday's matchup will feature two of the top three offensive teams and the two top defensive teams in the CPIFL. Both Wichita and Omaha are capable of producing a high number of points as they currently average 51.0 points per game and 44.8 points per game respectively so far this season. That kind of offensive power coupled with the top two scoring defenses in the league has Omaha and Wichita sitting in first and second place mid-way through this inaugural season. This game could determine which team may snag the top seed in league when playoffs arrive.
Player to Watch: Running Back Tywon Hubbard
Tywon Hubbard, this week's CPIFL Co-Special Teams Player of the Week, has been an elite playmaker for the Wild this season. Hubbard ranks near the top of the CPIFL in nearly every category for running backs this season. He leads the league in rushing yards with 352, and rushing touchdowns with 10. His per game rushing average of 70.4 yards is more than 13 yards better than the next closest running back, KingJack Washington from the Oklahoma Defenders. Despite missing one game this season against the Kansas City Renegades in the Wild's only loss, Hubbard is still tied with teammate Joe Kassanavoid for the CPIFL leader in total touchdowns this season at 11. Hubbard torched Omaha for six touchdowns last season and if he nears the same performance Saturday, the Beef could be in for a long night at Hartman Arena.
Indoor Football League
Storm Streak on the Line against IFL's Top Team
The Sioux Falls Storm (4-2) will be putting a lot on the line as they face the 2013 season's toughest test to date. At 4-2, the Storm currently hold the final playoff spot in the United Conference by only one half game over the Cedar Rapids Titans. A loss this Saturday night could seriously hinder the team's efforts in defending their national crown. At this pivotal point in the season, the Storm will be facing the number one ranked team in the Indoor Football League, The Colorado Ice.
The Colorado Ice (5-1) have undoubtedly earned their number one ranking. They are currently riding a 4 game winning streak, including a 37-33 victory over the Storm on March 24th in Fort Collins, CO. Considering this was their first win over the Storm since 2008, it's safe to say that Colorado is enjoying their time at the top.
The Storm will be taking the field carrying a 27-game home winning streak. Describing the Sioux Falls Arena (The Storm Shelter) as home-field advantage is a severe understatement. The Storm has not lost at home since May 5th of 2010.
Since 2006, the Storm has a home-record of 68 wins and 3 losses. Since the inception of the Storm franchise in 2001, their record at the Arena is 95-13.
The Storm also touts the best defense in the league. Holding the number one ranking in most defensive categories, including points allowed per game, yards allowed per game and yards allowed per play.
Team owner Todd Tryon stated, "This will be an exciting atmosphere and we are looking forward to the challenge of competing with the top team in the IFL."
The Orthopedic Institute is the official Sponsor of Saturday Night's game. A 7:05 PM kickoff is scheduled but come early to check out the 2013 Storm apparel line.