Category Archives: Arena Football League

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Joe Hills Achieves 100 Games with a Touchdown Reception

During the battle between the Baltimore Brigade and the Columbus Destroyers, Brigade Wide Receiver Joe Hills achieved the milestone of a lifetime: 100 consecutive active games with at least one touchdown reception. This record has never been close to being broken, as Damian Harrell held the previous record of 78.
Joe Hills Achieves 100 Games with a Touchdown Reception
In the course of this journey, Hills has played with a total of five different teams in a span of eight years. His arena career started with the Tampa Bay Storm, where he started his streak in a Week 17 battle against the Philadelphia Soul on June 29. Since the beginning of his career, he has played for the Spokane Shock (2012), Tampa Bay Storm (2012-2014), Jacksonville Sharks (2015-2016), Tampa Bay Storm (2017), Albany Empire (2018), and currently the Baltimore Brigade (2019).
2012 Spokane Shock
Hills started his arena career with the Spokane Shock in 2012 and played his first official game on April 14 against the Milwaukee Mustangs. With the Shock, Hills played in three games and totaled 14 receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown.
2012-2014 Tampa Bay Storm
Hills started his Storm career with Arena star Quarterback, Adrian McPherson (currently retired).Hills’ first game with the Storm was on June 15 at the Orlando Predators. That game, Hills had five receptions for 50 yards. Two games later, this iconic streak started. With the Storm through the 2014 season, Hills played in 35 games and totaled 279 receptions for 3,856 yards, and 96 touchdowns (average of over seven receptions, 110 yards, and over two touchdowns per game).
2015-2016 Jacksonville Sharks
For the 2015 season, Hills packed his bags and went about three hours East or Tampa Bay to become a member of the Jacksonville Sharks. In his time with the Sharks, he got to play with future Arena Football Hall of Famer Tommy Grady (currently with the Albany Empire). With his time with the Sharks, he has played in 39 games and made 359 grabs for 4,162 yards, and 120 touchdowns (average of nine receptions, over 106 yards, and over three touchdowns per game). With the Sharks, Hills’ efforts helped them go to the playoffs both seasons and Arena Bowl XXIX against the San Jose SaberCats.
2017 Tampa Bay Storm
In 2017, Hills returned to the Storm in their last season of play. In the Storm’s final season, Hills played in 15 games and had 141 receptions for 1,502 yards, and 41 touchdowns (average of over nine receptions, 100 yards per game, and over two touchdowns per game). Hills also helped lead his team to Arena Bowl XXX against the Philadelphia Soul.

Also in 2017, Hills made a one-game return to the Jacksonville Sharks in a National Arena League (NAL) playoff game against the Monterrey Steel. That game, he had seven receptions for 147 yards, and three touchdowns. That game doesn’t count toward his total because it was not in the Arena Football League (AFL).
2018 Albany Empire
In Albany’s return to arena football, they were sure to grab talent from all over the place. They found Grady, Hills, Malachi Jones, Terrance Smith, Joe Sykes, and many more. Hills played in 13 games and had 100 receptions for 1,212 yards, and 36 touchdowns (average of over seven receptions, 93 yards, and over two touchdowns per game).
2019 Baltimore Brigade
Before this milestone game in Columbus, Hills has made 44 receptions for 464 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Hills Milestone For the Ages
This record took seven seasons to accomplish, which is quite some time. While there is a lot of talent in arena football, there may not be a single person who will ever reach 100 consecutive games with a touchdown reception in AFL history. Before the game in Columbus, Hills has made 937 career catches for 11,330 yards, and 307 touchdowns.

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Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators

Rivalries are meant to last forever, or at least a very long time. That is why the Orlando Predators have returned to the arena football business. Them and the Jacksonville Sharks look to hook back up this weekend and continue their great rivalry. Things were started in the Arena Football League (AFL) and are continuing in the National Arena League (NAL).
Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators
The Sharks enter this week with a 3-1 record and are tied with the Carolina Cobras and New York Streets for first place. The Predators are in fifth place with a 1-4 record, but had a very close, but good game against the Streets last week, falling short 53-54 with just seconds on the clock.

Brandon Russell and Connor Ferguson collaborated to remember a pair of Jacksonville-Orlando matchups from their lifetimes to remember what was once and what could be again a great rivalry.
Brandon’s Flashback
One of the most memorable games between these two is, quite ironically, the final meeting between the two. The Sharks made the quick trip to Orlando to take on the Predators in the first playoff game of the year. The Sharks came into this week as underdogs with a 7-9 record and an interim head coach while the Predators were looking strong at 12 wins and only four losses.

In the course of the game, the Sharks never saw the lead until 10:53 to go in the third quarter. From there, it was a back and forth scoring battle. In the fourth quarter, the Sharks were up 61-55 with just seconds to go in regulation. The Predators pulled a quick one and scored right as time ran out. Before the PAT, everything was all tied up at 61. Orlando felt good about their odds, sending out a victory tweet on Twitter. They missed the PAT, which sent this dramatic game into overtime.

Orlando received the ball to start OT and scored in less than five minutes. In arena football, both teams get the chance to score. This gave Jacksonville the chance to score and keep their playoff hopes alive. In a time of three minutes and 18 seconds, the Sharks scored a touchdown on a goal-line run from Fullback Derrick Ross. Interim Head Coach Bob Landsee had a difficult decision to make: Point After Touchdown or 2-Point Conversion Attempt? The city of Jacksonville is known as “The Bold City”, so Landsee decided to go for two. A very gutsy call was made to run the ball, even though Orlando knew what was going to happen. Ross got the ball and gave it his all, bulldozing right through the offensive and defensive lines to convert on the 2-point attempt.
Connor’s Flashback
I remember coming home from a hockey game when I was a young kid to turn on the TV and see an Arena Football League game. I was about 12 years old so the memory of it is a bit blurry, but I remember watching Aaron Garcia and the Predators take on Jacksonville in the 2010 playoffs.

It was the Barnstormers first year back in the league, but Garcia and that Predators team was one of – if not – my favorite to watch.

The pair of teams scored 60 points combined in the fourth quarter including 31 from the Predators as they escaped with a 73-69 win in Jacksonville.

Like I said, I don’t remember a ton from the game, but my family and I watched it in our living room. The only reason my Mom let me keep it on the TV was because of how great of a game it was and because she could tell neither of the teams liked each other all that much.

Hopefully, this Saturday when the teams match up for the first time as NAL franchises, we will get half as good of games as we’ve seen in this series in the past. That game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be live streamed on YouTube. As always, we’ll have updates on twitter at @LWOS_IndoorFB.The post Rebuilding a Rivalry: Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators appeared first on Last Word on Sports.