06/02/2011 11:16 AM -
The top ranked Jacksonville Sharks (9-1) prepare to take on the New Orleans VooDoo (2-9) Friday, June 3, 2011 at 8pm in a South Division match-up in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game will be featured as the Arena Football League's Game of the Week on the NFL Network. This is the second meeting between the two teams this season.
In the first contest between the two teams held in Jacksonville on Sea Best Field, the Sharks were victorious, winning 64-33. This is the only game in 2011 in which Sharks quarterback Aaron Garcia has thrown for over 300 yards. It was also the first time this season that Garcia threw for eight touchdowns, which he repeated against Georgia. In addition, wide receiver Jeron Harvey notched a franchise best 173 receiving yards in the game and hauled in four touchdown passes.
Fridays game in New Orleans is the NFL Networks Game of the Week and can be seen on the NFL Network with coverage starting at 8 P.M. The game will be heard live on 1010XL, with Terry Norvelle on the call.
The New Orleans VooDoo were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week following a 49-70 loss to the Philadelphia Soul. They will look to play spoiler by knocking off the division-leading Sharks. The VooDoo are led statistically by wideout and return-man PJ Berry. Berry is a dynamic force on both offense and special teams and currently leads the AFL in All-Purpose yards with 2439. Berry accounted for 242 all-purpose yards with one touchdown against the Sharks in the first meeting. The VooDoo have also changed quarterbacks since the last time that they played the Sharks. The team is now led by signal caller D Bryant. Bryant has started the last two games and has 442 passing yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Defensively, New Orleans is led by defensive back Alvin Jackson who has 59.5 tackles and three interceptions on the season.
After coming off a bye week, the Jacksonville Sharks look to focus on the New Orleans VooDoo and increase their winning streak to 10 in a row. Before the bye, the Sharks had their closest game of the year against the Georgia Force, winning by just seven points. During that game, Sharks receiver Jomo Wilson surpassed the Sharks franchise record for receiving touchdowns and also became only the second Shark to pass 1000 receiving yards in a season. Fullback Kirby Griffin may see plenty of action against the VooDoo as New Orleans is tied for last in the AFL in rushing touchdowns allowed. Defensively, the Sharks will have a change up along the defensive front. Lineman Jason Holman will take Ventrell Jenkins spot at Nose Guard while Derrick Summers and Jerry Brown will inhabit the defensive end positions. Two Sharks will make their first start for the Sharks as Aaron Robbins will start at Mac Linebacker and defensive back JaVonte Holmes will start in the place on an injured LaRoche Jackson. This will be JaVonte's first start in his young AFL career.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Can the Sharks overcome the loss of NG Ventrell Jenkins on the defensive line? Jenkins had become an anchor at NG as the season progressed helping the Sharks lead the AFL in sacks and rushing defense. Can new Nose Guard Jason Holman be as disruptive?
Can the Sharks slow down dynamic VooDoo receiver PJ Berry? Berry leads the league in kick return yards and is fifth in the league in receiving yards.
How will the New Orleans rush defense, who have allowed 25 rushing touchdowns on the season, be able to find an answer to Sharks FB Kirby Griffin, who has 12 touchdowns rushing while continuing to set the franchise rushing records?
Will the Sharks passing offense be able to find its groove again vs a New Orleans defense who allowed nine passing touchdowns during the first game on March 26th?