05/12/2011 9:31 AM -
This Friday, the top ranked Jacksonville Sharks (7-1) will take on the Iowa Barnstormers (2-6) at home on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in a non-conference match-up for Military Appreciation Night, presented by Navy Federal Credit Union. The game will take place Friday, May 13, 2011 with kickoff at 8:00pm EDT. Fridays game can be heard live on 1010xl, hosted by Terry Norvelle. The game will also stream live on the internet on AFL Live.
Friday will be the first ever match-up between the Jacksonville Sharks and the Iowa Barnstormers. Although this is the first ever game between the two, Sharks Quarterback Aaron Garcia played for the Barnstormers from 1998 to 2000.
The Barnstormers come into the game ranked 3rd in both passing and total offense. They are led by Quarterback Brad Banks who leads the league in both passing touchdowns and passing yards, after having multiple 10 touchdown games. Banks will look to expose a weak Jacksonville secondary that ranks 15th in the league in passing defense. Banks will look to get both of his weapons at wide receiver active in the game, Jesse Schmidt (24 TD receptions) and Todd Blythe (23 TD receptions). Schmidt and Blythe are ranked 1 and 2 in the league in touchdown receptions and combine for 47 of Banks 54 touchdowns.
The Barnstormers weak passing defense has been exposed in the past few weeks and currently ranks 14th, just ahead of Jacksonville. Quarterback, Aaron Garcia will look to keep a receiving duo of his own sharp against the Barnstormers. Jomo Wilson (19 TD receptions) and Jeron Harvey (18 TD receptions) have come up big for the Sharks throughout the 2011 season, catching 106 of Garcias 176 completions and helping to guide the Sharks to the longest winning streak in franchise history.
With both offenses clicking on all cylinders, the key factor of the game will be the defensive match-up. Sharks Linebacker Derrick Summers (a sack in 6 consecutive games) and Defensive Back Terrance Smith (3 interceptions in two games) will look to continue their streak of big performances for the Sharks defense that has allowed only 166 points in the second half all season long. The Barnstormers however, rank last in the league in Scoring Defense, allowing 61.1 points per game.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
- Will the Sharks defense be able to contain the biggest receiving duo in the league? Schmidt and Blythe, who rank one and two in the league in touchdown receptions, and have combined for 47 total touchdowns.
- Will the Sharks rushing game continue to roll? Sharks Fullback Kirby Griffin ranks third in the league in rushing touchdowns on the season (10) and he is averaging 20.6 yards per game this season, which is up from his average of 7.9 yards per game in 2010.
- Will Jacksonville be able to turn around its fourth down defense? In the last two games, opponents are averaging almost 40 percent of touchdowns on fourth down against the Sharks.
- Can the Jacksonville offense get past the razor sharp Iowa Defensive Back Cameron McGlenn? McGlenn is tied for second in the league in total interceptions with seven in the 2011 season. But Sharks Quarterback Aaron Garcia has thrown just 6 interceptions on the season, and leads the league in passing efficiency (125.6).