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AMERICAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

08/03/2011 10:55 AM -

This Monday, August 8th at 8:00PM, the Jacksonville Sharks (15-4) will host the Georgia Force (12-7) in the American Conference Championship. It is the first time in franchise history that the Sharks have hosted or been involved in the Conference Championship Game, and they are bringing an impressive 9-1 home field record into the game, with their only home loss coming from the Dallas Vigilantes during the teams three game slip at the end of the season.

The Sharks and the Force meet twice during the 2011 regular season, and the Sharks walked away with wins in both occasions. The first meeting between the two teams was the first home game of the season for the Sharks. The Sharks won 71-57, with Aaron Garcia completing 19 of 25 for 177 yards and 6 touchdowns. Sharks receiver Jeron Harvey brought down 7 receptions for 70 yards and 4 touchdowns, while fellow receiver Jomo Wilson added 2 receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Defensive Back Micheaux Robinson led the Sharks Defense with 7 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 pass breakups.

The second game was much different from the first meeting. Jacksonville traveled to Georgia for the first time in franchise history, and they had a rough time dealing with Force at the Gwinnett Center Arena. The Force led the Sharks by one point after Elliot completed a touchdown pass to Larry Shipp with less than two minutes left in the game. The Sharks managed to piece together a 30 second touchdown drive, followed by a successful two point conversion attempt to give the Sharks a 7 point lead. The Jacksonville defense managed to stop the Force on their final drive to hold the lead, and the Sharks came away from Georgia with a win.

The Sharks lead the league in scoring offense, averaging over 64 points per game, thanks to a high powered offense and their razor sharp special teams. Jomo Wilson led all Jacksonville receivers during the regular season with 1737 yards and 44 receiving touchdowns. Receiver and Kick Returner, Jeff Hughley, has returned the opening kickoff in two consecutive games, and has proven to be one of the most dangerous return men in the league, averaging 42.3 yards per return in the so far in the playoffs.

For Georgia the loss of Quarterback Brett Elliot, Darnell Kennedy has stepped up to help the Force make it to the Conference Championship. The return of leading receiver Maurice Purify for the final game of the season has increased the offensive firepower for the Force. Purify led the team with 1653 yards and 46 receiving touchdowns through the regular season, and at one point, he led the league in receiving touchdowns. Returner CJ Johnson has also proven to be a dangerous return man for the Force, averaging 20.4 yards per return and has 5 total return touchdowns on the season. The game set up to be another electric showdown on Sea Best Field. It will also be broadcasted live on the NFL Network at 8:00PM EDT.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
-Which Special Teams game will come out on top? Two of the league’s top return men in Jeff Hughley and CJ Johnson will attempt to add to their breakout seasons.
-How will the return of Maurice Purify affect the game plan for Jacksonville? Purify has blasted the Sharks in the previous two games, totaling 24 receptions for 272 yards and 8 touchdowns.
-Which defense is poised to make the stops? The Sharks defense is headlined by Micheaux Robinson, with 11 regular season INT’s and 1 post season INT, and LaRoche Jackson, who is 2nd in the league in tackles with 199. The Georgia defense is headlined by Defensive Backs Tracy Belton and Ahmad Hawkins who combined for 18 INT’s and 181.5 tackles in the 2011 regular season.