4/16: Rhinos vs Harrisburg Sharks
The defending AFA-Champion Harrisburg Sharks come to Snacktown carrying a 17-game win streak. Will the Rhinos be the team to pilfer the title belt for a week?
WHEN & WHERE: Saturday at 1:00 PM, Manheim Adventure Park, 4565 Camp Woods Rd, Glenville, PA 17329
WEATHER FORECAST: 66 degrees and sunny.
SERIES HISTORY: Harrisburg has won both meetings. The Sharks have outscored the Rhinos 63-7.
LAST MEETING: Harrisburg ran for five touchdowns and 248 yards on the baking turf at Steelton-Highspire Field last June 6th, and eliminated the Rhinos in the first round of the AFA playoffs by the score of 51-7. Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, Chase Scharf stood in against a heavy blitz, and fired a 63-yard touchdown pass to Jay Collins while being knocked to the ground. Harrisburg answered, covering 80 yards in 4 plays, and after Scott Moore’s touchdown on a reverse, the Sharks never looked back.
REDHAWK CONNECTION: Maryland Redhawks’ fall-baller David Long has brought at least one of his friends with him to the Rhinos. RB/LB Bernard Jackson ran 12 times for 23 yards last week against the Cannons, but those numbers are misleading, as he runs hard and is a load to tackle. Jackson also made 4 tackles on defense.
RHINOS’ OUTLOOK: Hanover played ball-control in the first half, running 32 plays to just 16 for Carroll County. However, the Cannons flipped the script in the second half, as they held the edge in plays 27-19. With 35 receiving yards and a touchdown against Carroll County, Alex Isennock surged ahead of Michael Small for sole possession of the team-lead in receiving, with 9 catches for 142 yards on the campaign. Quarterback Jordan Gardner threw for 72 yards last Saturday, his most since accruing 135 yards in week 1.
On defense, Jeremy Renoll posted 10 tackles, moving him into second place in the AFA in 2016. The captain and middle-linebacker has double-digit tackles in all four games this season.
Jordan Banks continues his great work in the punting game, as he blasted a 59-yarder over the weekend in Westminster.
SCOUTING THE SHARKS: The defending champions have dealt with a lot of roster turnover for the 2016 season. In spite of losing backs Yanic Corbin and Kinya White, and receivers Ryan Thompson and Zac Carrick, the Sharks lead the AFA in scoring, with 140 points (35.0 ppg). The team boasts the AFA’s top two rushers, running back Gabe Oliver and quarterback Brandon Derr.
In a battle for first place in the North Division last Saturday, the Sharks topped the York Silver Bullets (2-2) 52-19 in Harrisburg.
A week after completing just 2 passes and rushing for 463 yards against Carroll County, the Sharks showed they are very capable of passing, putting up points in a blaze of forward-pass glory in the first half against York.
Derr threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to get the scoring started early. Harrisburg led 16-0 before York responded with a 62-yard scoring reception by Hannibal Flores late in the first quarter.
Harrisburg led 38-7 at half.
Derr threw 15-of-27 for 234 yards and 3 scores.
Despite the loss of linebackers Doug Ritter and Brock Ward, and dynamic pass-rusher Ashton Burno, the Sharks are still tied for 9th in the league in points allowed.