JACKSONVILLE – The (6-0) Jacksonville Sharks defeated the (3-3) Columbus Lions 37-28 as 7,103 fans attended Redneck Night. Jacksonville has now tied their best start in franchise history. (2013) Quarterback Tommy Grady is still recovering from Monday night’s ankle injury against Monterrey, so Damien Flemming took
the helm at QB. Columbus allowed the fewest points from Jacksonville all season during this intense battle of smashmouth football.
Columbus became the first team in the National Arena League to score first against Jacksonville, Darren Daniel finding Michael Reeve in the endzone, putting the Lions ahead on the first drive of the game. The Sharks made a bold move and went for it on fourth down, which paid off in a short touchdown pass from quarterback Damien Flemming to Thyron Lewis. Lindsey Wolfe kicked a 24-yard field goal, putting the Lions ahead once again for a 10-7 lead at the end of the first. The Lions also became the first team to leave Jacksonville trailing at the end of a quarter.
In the second quarter, Jarmon Fortson scored another touchdown for Columbus. The Sharks struck back when Derrick “The Boss” Ross found the endzone for the first time. Jacksonville’s defense was able to stop Columbus, giving the Sharks an opportunity to take the lead. Thyron Lewis scored his second touchdown of the night to put the Sharks ahead for the first time during the game. The game came within one point when Lindsey Wolfe completed his third good field goal of the night for the Lions, the Sharks leading 21-20 at the end of the half.
Darryl Thompson broke into the third quarter with a touchdown to force Columbus to score twice to catch up. The Sharks defense proved to be the toughest in the league as Erick McIntosh caused Columbus to give up yet another fourth down attempt. Damien Flemming kept his cool under center and ran in a touchdown of his own.
With a deuce scored by Nick Belcher, the score became 37-20. Jermiah Price came through with a huge fumble recovery in the fourth. Columbus scored another touchdown and a two-point conversion late in the fourth to make the Sharks sweat, but an onside kick was recovered by David Hyland, giving the Sharks a good spot in the final minutes. Jacksonville’s defense held it down for the rest of the game, giving them a 38-27 win.
Next, the Sharks will square off against the Corpus Christi Rage for Military Appreciation Night at the Shark Tank on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
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.