Jacksonville Sharks lose home opener on Country Night
JACKSONVILLE- The Jacksonville Sharks (1-1) lost to the Massachusetts Pirates (2-0) in the final seconds of the the 56-63 home opener in Jacksonville. This loss gives Jacksonville their first home opener loss since 2016.
The Sharks got the ball first in this game and almost instantly turned it into points as Quarterback Patrick McCain threw a 25-yard pass to Antonio Vaughan. The Pirates would soon strike back as Quarterback Sean Brackett rushed for a one-yard touchdown, tying the game up at seven. The Sharks and Pirates exchanged empty possessions, but the Sharks took advantage of that, as McCain caught the Pirates defense sleeping and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Vaughan, their second each on the night. Brackett and the Pirates would not give up after allowing two touchdowns in the first quarter. Brackett found Wide Receiver Devonn Brown in the end zone for a 23 yard touchdown, tying the game at 14 with 44 seconds to go in the first quarter.
To start the third quarter, Nick Belcher makes his first deuce of the night, making the score 28-34. Damien Jacobs caught an interception and returned it for a touchdown, his first touchdown of the season. Belcher would then make his second deuce in a row, making the score 37-34 with the Sharks on top. After exchanging touchdowns, the Sharks took control defensively by giving the Jacksonville offense the ball.
The Sharks offense took advantage of that while, Derrick Ross rushed for a one-yard touchdown, making the score 50-41 in Jacksonville’s favor to start the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ryan Walker came into the game in the fourth quarter after the Pirates made it a 50-48 game. His first drive ended in an empty drive. Touchdowns were exchanged and Ali Mourtada gave the Pirates a 3-point field goal advantage over the span of two drives. With 19.9 seconds to go, Ryan Walker threw a 30 yard touchdown to Antonio Vaughan. The next play was a two point conversion, but it came out empty. The Sharks were looking to have a promising victory, leading 56-51. Massachusetts have a veteran quarterback who knows exactly what to do in this situation, and exactly that happened. The Pirates quickly scored a touchdown and failed to pick up a 2-point conversion. The Sharks got the ball back, but the field goal attempt with less than five seconds to go was blocked and returned for a touchdown, ending the game 56-63.
Offensive Player of the Game: Sean Brackett - 15-of-33 for 263 Yards, Five Touchdowns, and One Interception
Defensive Player of the Game: Keith Bowers - Two Tackles, and One Pass Breakup
Special Teams Player of the Game: Nick Belcher - Two Deuces
The next Sharks game is in Columbus, Georgia as they take on the Columbus Lions (1-0) in the Columbus Civic Center at 7:00 pm (ET).
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions and play all home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2018 season are now available. Shark Nation Memberships start as low as $75. 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.