Derrick Ross, Marvin Ross, and Nick Belcher among standout players
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks (2-0) took down the Georgia Firebirds (0-2) in the Sharks first home game in the National Arena League 55-26. 7,125 fans were in attendance. The teams met for the second time overall, once for a preseason exhibition, where the Sharks came out victorious as well. The Sharks are off to an impeccable record against the Firebirds.
The Sharks first huge play went to their impressive defense, as former Florida Gator Jabari Gorman started the night with an interception. In terms of the score, Sharks struck first at their home opener, quarterback Tommy Grady throwing a short 3-yard pass to wide receiver Moe Williams.The Firebirds attempted to tie the game shortly after with a touchdown by receiver Terrance Ebague, but kicker Evan Selman missed the extra point, allowing for the Sharks to maintain a one-point advantage over the Firebirds. Tommy Grady threw another bomb to Thyron Lewis, landing him in the endzone and widening the score gap to 14-6 at the end of the first. Defensive lineman Jermiah Price was a driving force for the Sharks defense in the first quarter with two sacks on Firebirds Jeff Legree.
The second quarter started off quiet as both teams defenses held each other off until Sharks wide receiver Darryl Thompson caught a fairly short pass that he ran the rest of the way into the endzone the Sharks then leading 21-6. Defensive back Marvin Ross made an interception in the Firebirds endzone towards the end of the half to give the Sharks the ball with two minutes to go, but the Sharks didn’t capitalize on this opportunity. The score remained the same until the end of the half.
The Sharks received the ball in the second half and Marvin Ross took it to the house on the kick return, earning himself Defensive Player of the Game.. Derrick Ross scored his fourth touchdown of the season in the third quarter. In attempt to catch up to the Sharks, Georgia managed to rack up two touchdowns. On their two-point conversion attempt, they fumbled and it was recovered by Sharks defensive lineman Dale Pierson, who ran it all the way back for a touchdown.
Grady looked to receiver Darryl Thompson for a huge pass early on in the fourth quarter, the Sharks leading by 25 points. On the kickoff after the score, Nick Belcher knocked it straight down the middle of the goalposts, earning an extra two for the home team. Defensive player of the week Charlie Hunt proved his title in the fourth with an interception, setting the Sharks up to score again. Derrick Ross showed the home crowd that he’s still the boss, scoring his second touchdown of the night and fifth of the season and earning Offensive Player of the Game.. Belcher earned Special Teams Player of the Game with an additional two pointer on the kickoff.
The Sharks will continue to prepare for their game next week at the Shark Tank against the 2-0 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks for Halloween in April.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions play all home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2017 season are now available. Shark Nation Memberships start as low as $99. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.