When the LA KISS (7-7) travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Sharks (5-9) this week, they will be playing for the chance to host the franchise’s first postseason game. A win would give the team their first ever three-game winning streak. More importantly, it would clinch the second seed of the National Conference for the LA KISS, giving them their first home postseason game in the franchise’s three-year history.
This is the second and final meeting between the LA KISS and the Sharks this season. In the first meeting of the season, back on opening night, the LA KISS defeated the team from Florida by a 64-39 margin at the Honda Center.
Although the Sharks parted ways with their head coach Less Moss on Monday, they will unquestionably rally behind interim head coach Bob Landsee this week. Although he led Jacksonville to the ArenaBowl less than a year ago, Moss was let go after winning just five of the first 14 games this season.
Over the past two weeks, DJ Stephens and Donovan “Captain” Morgan have been phenomenal. They have combined for 397 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, which is, respectively, 79 and 92 percent of all LA KISS yards and touchdowns through the air. The quarterback who has been tossing them the ball, Nathan Stanley, has also performed exceptionally since he returned to the starting lineup. In the two games since Stanley’s return from injury, he has thrown 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions, while completing over 60 percent (42-69) of his passes for 503 yards.
The LA KISS defense will have their hands full this week. Jacksonville’s offense leads the league in total offense, averaging 312 yards per game. Additionally, Sharks wide receiver Joe Hills leads the league in scoring (21.9 points per game), receiving yards per game (132.8) and receptions per game (10.4), while fullback Derrick Ross’s 25 rushing yards per games makes him the AFL’s leading rusher.
LA KISS defensive back Terrance Smith will be one of the main players charged with slowing down Jacksonville’s offense. Prior to joining the LA KISS, Smith was a part of the Sharks organization from 2011-2015, which was his entire AFL career up until joining the LA KISS. He totaled 282.5 total tackles and 31 interceptions during his time in Jacksonville. He also appeared in two ArenaBowls. So for this season, Smith has recorded 19 tackles and one interception in five games.
Next week the LA KISS will end the 2016 regular season in Portland when they will compete against the Steel (2-12) at the Moda Center on Monday, August 1.