Kent Richardson and Scooter Berry are recognized as being two of the best players in Arena Football. Richardson was selected to the First-Team All Arena Defensive Team this week after tying for the league lead in interceptions with 14. Berry was selected to the Defensive Second-Team after setting a rookie sack record with 13 (also one of the top totals in league history).
Last week, both players opened the Arena League Playoffs with hard-fought victories. Now Richardson and the Philadelphia Soul will take on Berry and the Jacksonville Sharks at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network tonight to see who play in the Arena Bowl.
In the opening round, Berry and the Sharks defeated the Georgia Force 58-56 on a last second field goal.
“We came out hitting on all cylinders this past weekend,” Berry told us. “Offensively, defensively, and special teams wise. I felt we got a little too relaxed in the second half and it allowed Georgia to catch us.
“Honestly I wasn’t nervous at all before the field goal. Something inside was telling me that somehow we’d get it done.”
” Well, New Orléans has been a scrappy team all year with all their opponents so you always got to come to play. Defensively, we knew that if we continued to pressure the QB we would force him into a few errors which we did.”
The Sharks are the defending Arena League Champions, and they know a difficult challenge lies ahead versus the Soul. The Soul won both regular season meetings between the two teams in convincing fashion.
We asked Berry what his team would need to overcome the Soul.
“Kent and Philly are playing great ball,” Berry said, “they have been all year. Hands down they’re the toughest competition we’ve gone up against. It’ll be a battle this Friday, and the better team will win. I’m looking forward to the matchup for sure. We will come out with our best foot forward, and if we play all four quarters, we’ll have a pretty good chance to make it to the Arena Bowl.”
Richardson said that for the Soul to win the game, they have to ” just do what we do best. Get turnovers and score TDs, and make sure we contain their QB (Bernard Morris). He can change a game quick!”
Berry and Richardson were a part of the same recruiting class at WVU, and they became close friends.
“Kent and I had a pretty good relationship at WVU,” Berry said. “All of us boys were close honestly. Secretly, Kent and I were the best spades duo on the team. One BBQ we wiped out the entire party and made it look so easy. We could have done some things if we would have stayed spades partners.”
“Me and Scoot was always cool,” Richardson said of Berry. “We were a part of the same recruiting class. He just loved college so much he stayed a year longer than me,” he joked”But yeah, we hung out a lot on and off the field!”
They liked to have fun with their WVU teammates on and off the field. For Berry, he liked to poke fun at Richardson’s head – the size of it, that is.
“We always used to laugh at how Kent had this Ken-like Barbie-built body with a head the size of a basketball,” Berry laughed. “Til this day, he still might have the strongest neck I’ve ever seen holding up that watermelon.”
Richardson for his part got his laughs in on Berry as well. “I think I laughed the hardest at Scooter when I saw him hit a few backflips during practice in college! You’re used to seeing smaller guys like myself flip, but not no one who is close to 300 lbs. should never leave the ground! But that’s why he’s an Athlete!”
When it comes to tonight’s game, it will be the last of the season for one of them. Both players gave some friendly advice to the other. Neither could resist on getting one last dig in on the other.
“My boy [Kent] is playing the best ball at his position in the AFL. I love to see my fellow Mountaineers strive, but I’m going to need him to tone it down a little bit on Friday!” Berry laughed. “I wish him the best of luck. “
Richardson to Berry: “The advice I would I would give Scooter is: go out and leave it all on the field. Next week isn’t promised to neither one of us, so make sure you make every play that comes your way, and good luck. I’ll see you after we win! Go Soul!” Richardson finished our conversation with a laugh of his own.
On Friday night, who will get the last laugh? Berry or Richardson?