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GLADIATORS VS SHARKS PREVIEW

04/21/2011 8:33 AM -

This Saturday, April 23, 2001, The Jacksonville Sharks (4-1) will host the Cleveland Gladiators (3-1) on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena for the Sharks first home game since March 26th, when the Sharks blasted the New Orleans VooDoo. The game will kickoff at 7:00PM EDT, and it will be aired live on CW17, hosted by TJ Streit and Jerry Odom. It will also be broadcasted live on 1010XL and will be streamed online through niftytv.com.

Saturday’s game will be the second time the Sharks and the Gladiators have ever faced each other. The last contest between the two franchises was a nail-biter in which the Sharks managed to edge out the Gladiators, 46-44, by stopping a last minute drive.

The Gladiators come into Saturday with a 3-1 record, having lost their first game last week to the struggling New Orleans VooDoo, 33-34. Starting at Quarterback for the Gladiators is Kurt Rocco, who is filling in for the injured John Dutton. In each Cleveland’s first three games, Rocco threw for six or more touchdowns, giving him the leagues sixth highest pass efficiency rating. Also, suiting up for the Gladiators on Saturday will be Dallas Cowboys receiver, Troy Bergeron. Bergeron is returning to the Cleveland roster during the NFL lockout. He currently leads the league in scoring per game (21.0), and he is tied for fourth in the league in receiving touchdowns (14). The Sharks will look to contain the powerful combination of Rocco and Bergeron on Saturday, which will look to come out strong after a weak performance against New Orleans last week,

The Sharks are looking to keep rolling through the 2011 season by continuing the four-game win streak. Jacksonville has a 1-1 record in non-divisional play, and Saturday will be the Sharks third non-divisional game of the season. Jacksonville’s Jomo Wilson looks to continue his streak of 5 consecutive games with at least two touchdowns. Jacksonville Quarterback Aaron Garcia, who is just eight passing touchdowns away from one-thousand in his career, will look to continue giving energy to the intense Sharks offense which ranks second in the AFL in points scored per game. Jacksonville Linebacker Derrick Summers is coming off a dominant performance against Pittsburgh where he earned two sacks.

Jacksonville and Orlando are battling each other for the top spot in the South Division, and the Sharks would like to go into next week’s game against Orlando with the advantage. Cleveland is currently on top of the East Division.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
The Jacksonville Offense, that ranks second in the AFL in points per game with 61.2, is going up against a very tough Cleveland defense which ranks second in the league in points allowed per game (40.8). The Cleveland defense is led by Linebacker Joe Phinisee, who is averaging 7.1 tackles per game. Another match-up to watch for on Saturday is the dual at quarterback. Both teams quarterbacks, Garcia and Rocco are among the leaders I the league in pass efficiency, and each team has plenty of offensive weapons to help. The Sharks will look towards receivers Jomo Wilson and Jeron Harvey, who are tied with each other in both receiving touchdowns (11) and scoring per game (16.5). The Gladiators will look towards their two big receivers, Troy Bergeron and Robert Redd, to make an impact on the Cleveland offensive side of the ball. Both Bergeron and Redd rank in the top ten in the AFL in all-purpose yards per game. Saturday’s game has the potential to be an instant classic as two of the best teams in the league meet for the second time ever on Sea Best Field.