Brackins in Arena Bowl

Published 1:07 am Sunday, July 27, 2008

Larry Brackins won a national junior college football championship with Pearl River Community College four years ago.

Today, in a homecoming of sorts, the former PRCC All-American hopes to add more hardware to his trophy case.

Brackins and the Philadelphia Soul meet the defending Arena League champion San Jose Sabercats in the 20th Arena Bowl this afternoon in the New Orleans Arena.

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While, San Jose looks to become first the team to win back-to-back Arena Bowl titles since 1996, Philadelphia, which features Jon Bon Jovi as co-owner and Ron Jaworski as president and general manager, seeks its first ever Arena Bowl Championship.

The Soul notched a league best 13-3 record in the regular season under head coach Brett Munsey.

“We have had a special season here in Philadelphia,” said Munsey. “Our core of lineman up front, protection-wise, has been outstanding all year. Our quarterback play has been great and we feel we have two of the better wide receivers in the League in Chris Jackson and Larry Brackins.”

The 6-foot-4, 212 pound Brackins is in his second season in the AFL and has used his timing and athletic ability to capitalize on his strength and size.

Brackins has caught 107 passes for 1,395 yards and 29 touchdowns and was the perfect complement to Jackson, who delivered 140 catches for 1,719 yards and 49 touchdowns and was named AFL most valuable offensive player.

“Chris is a great player, and it’s tough to defend both of us in this type of league,” Brackins, who along with his teammates arrived in the Big Easy on Wednesday, said. “He does his thing and I do mine.”

And Brackins has really elevated his game in the postseason, and especially over the past two weeks.

In a semifinal win over the New York Dragons, quarterback Matt D’Orazio threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brackins on the final play of the game to give the Soul a 49-48 victory.

“That’s Something you dream about doing since you were a little kid,” Brackins added. “Catching the game winning pass on the last play of the game in such a big game.”

Then last week, in the conference finals win over Cleveland, Brackins led the Soul with seven catches for 92 yards and three touchdowns.

“I’m really excited about coming to New Orleans and playing in front of my friends and family,” Brackins added. “San Jose is a good team and they are the defending champions, but there’s no doubt that we’re the better team.”

Last season, as a rookie, he was hampered by nagging injuries and appeared in just 10 games with 56 catches for 786 yards and 20 scores. Still, he helped the Soul earn a playoff berth but they were beaten in the first round.

Brackins, who wears number one, is hoping to use his stellar play to earn a another shot at making the roster of an NFL team. He has spent part of two seasons with Tampa Bay, who drafted him in 2005 in the fifth round.

“That’s everybody’s goal, to make it to that level,” Brackin concluded.