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Happy Tuesday from the LockedIN Magazine sports Desk. After the wild came in Wheeling West Virginia last night, the time to check in with Arena Football is upon us! Tons going on from the National Arena League, the American Arena League, and finally some things coming in from the Arena Football League.
Where to start? The Blow Out in The American Arena League or the Sharks getting beat down by the NY Streets. What a nice night in football. Lets start where we were and thats the National Arena League.
After a long off season filled with roster moves and new hires, the Massachusetts Pirates opened the 2019 season against the defending National Arena League Champions, the Carolina Cobras. Carolina showed why they are the team to beat as Charles McCullum was 23 of 25 for 248 yards and six touchdowns as in a convincing 54-22 victory over the Pirates.
It was a hard fought, heavily rocked home opener for the Jacksonville Sharks as the New York Streets took control in their first NAL GAME. The Sharks kicked off with an electrifying first drive which debut quarterback Jonathan Bane and wide receiver Jarmon Fortson as both Sharks connected on a 12 yard touchdown pass to open the night. The first half remained a close battle as both teams entered the locker room 30-21 game in favor of New York. In the second half the first-year team sparked a scoring streak against Jacksonville and the Sharks ran out of time to close the gap with a 41-52 loss to New York.
The Orlando Predators started off the 2019, their first season in the NAL, with a pick-six against the Columbus Lions, and Never Looked back. The revamped Predators looked HUNGRY all night, giving the Lions little time to get their bearings and mount a meaningful attack.
It would be back and forth for a while, but the 2nd half is where the game picked up dramatically. The Lions were up 34-29 late in the 4th quarter before Orlando answered back with a touchdown in the corner of the endzone to put the Predators back in the lead 36-34.
With their final chance at tying the game up, Luke Collis found Paris Mack deep to set the Lions up at the Orlando 4-yard line. On 3rd down with 18 seconds left, Collis found Bagaunte for a 9-yard touchdown. With the game on the line, Collis attempted a quarterback sneak for the 2-pt conversion but fumbled, ending a wild final 5 minutes.
Now over in the American Arena League,
We Almost had a 100 point game Friday Night as the Carolina Energy did anything and everything they wanted during the game and the PEACH STATE CATS simply had NO ANSWER. The Energy took the game 90-0 and with that said… we are going to leave the game alone.
AMERICAN ARENA POWER RANKINGS
1. Havoc 2. Roughriders 3. Heroes 4. Energy
The thing that makes this league so hard to judge is the fact that they are doing NON-LEAGUE GAMES. Why the AAL is allowing teams like the Aviators, High Point Wildcats and the Jensen Beach Tigers to play games that will COUNT in league play but are not against LEAGUE Teams? Organized practice games are no way to run a season.
Now finally Over in the Arena Football League….
The time to kick off play is coming…. and here are some moves to get you ready!!
The Baltimore Brigade announced the signing of Mr Arena Football, Joe “Superman” Hills! The 2017 Arena Football League Wide Receiver of the Year and five-time All-Arena player Hills is one of the most accomplished wide receivers in the AFL. In 2016 and 2017, he led the AFL in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards. In 2018, despite missing one game, Hills still led the AFL in points per game (18.2), receptions per game (8) and reception touchdowns (33). Hills has scored a touchdown in the last 92 consecutive games he has played, which is an active streak and an AFL record.
The Brigade also signed linebacker Dexter Jackson and defensive lineman Justin Lawrence, both members of the 2018 First Team All-Arena. Also returning to Baltimore is All-Arena defensive backs Joe Powell and Josh Victorian.
Victorian, a five-year veteran, enters his second season with Baltimore where he racked up 78 tackles (70 solo), 20 pass break-ups, six interceptions and one touchdown over the past two seasons. Victorian was ranked third in tackles in 2018 for the team and was awarded Second Team All-Arena for his performance with the Brigade in 2017. His career totals include 190 tackles (171 solo) 37 pass break-ups, 15 interceptions and 4 touchdowns.
Jackson, a 12-game starter, enters his ninth season with the AFL and his second with Baltimore. The Bethune-Cookman alum has racked up 125 tackles (88 solo), 21 sacks, 8 pass break-ups and one block throughout his AFL career. He was awarded First Team All-Arena with the Brigade in 2018 and Second Team All-Arena with his hometown Jacksonville Sharks in 2016.
Powell, who returns for his second season with the Brigade, led the team in interceptions (4) and was second in tackles with 52 (44 solo) last season. He created a powerful defensive presence during the post season leading the AFL in tackles with an impressive 24 (23 solo). He tallied 10 solo tackles during the ArenaBowl XXXI and 8 solo tackles against Philadelphia in the semifinals. Powell has racked up 93 tackles (74 solo), 13 pass break-ups, 9 interceptions and 4 touchdowns over his two years in the AFL.