Jacksonville Cannons Reload For New Season
January 20, 2017
Following the 2016 season, in which they went 5-9 and failed to make the playoffs, the Jacksonville Cannons have been aggressively reloading during the offseason. So far the team has signed seven returners from last year's squad—including Mischa Freystaetter and Cole Sullivan, last season's league leaders in goals and assists, respectively—as well as another four talented free agents.
Freystaetter set multiple AUDL single-season records in 2016, including most goals (95), most scores (136; sum of assists plus goals), and highest plus/minus rating (+121), on his way to earning his second consecutive All-AUDL First Team nomination; Beau Kittredge and Freystaetter are the only two players in AUDL history to earn such honors in back-to-back seasons. Despite only playing in two full seasons, Freystaetter is already sixth all-time in goals scored.
A perfect throwing complement to Freystaetter's receiver skills, Sullivan led the league last year with 81 assists, the second highest single-season total in AUDL history. And even though opposing defenses know Sullivan is looking for Freystaetter on any given throw, there has been little that can deter the dynamic duo's successes, as Sullivan found Freystaetter for a score an AUDL-record 34 times in 2016.
Operating slightly below the production level of Sullivan, handlers Stephen Poulos and Brandon Perales have been efficient throwers for the Cannons' offense the past two seasons. Poulos finished second on the team last season with 46 assists, while Perales finished fourth in completions with 268.
Returning veterans Travis Catron and Andrew Carleton will once again provide height and size to the team's offensive line. Catron has excelled cutting in tandem with Freystaetter, averaging 30 goals per season the last two years. Carleton, too, was largely used in lineups featuring Freystaetter and Catron, and took advantage by producing 16 assists and 21 goals during the 2016 season.
A rookie to the team last season, Andrew Roney found his role quickly as a hybrid player on the offensive line. He tallied 10 assists and 11 goals—including the spectacular grab below—in just 153 points played.
Andrew Roney makes a Superman layout grab for the score during 2016.
All members of the Jacksonville team that reached the playoffs in 2015, three different players are returning to the team after a year hiatus. Jeremy Langdon spent the 2016 season with the Dallas Roughnecks, producing 10 blocks in limited playing time on his way to winning the title. Chris LaRocque played as a defensive handler for the Raleigh Flyers last year, generating 12 blocks and nine assists in 151 points played. Michael Hickson did not play pro ultimate last season, but was as crucial a player to the team's only playoff appearance as any, posting 29 assists and 33 goals in 2015.
The only truly new player joining the Cannons in 2017 is Jakeem Polk. A football prospect, and defensive specialist for the Charlotte Express last season, Polk emerged as one of the most electrifying playmakers in the league in 2016. He registered seven assists, 15 goals, and 11 blocks in his rookie year.