Win Thrusts Jacksonville to #1 Seed
JACKSONVILLE- The Jacksonville Sharks (10-5) took on the number one Massachusetts Pirates (10-5) and ended up defeated them with a score of 45-36. This victory brings the Sharks to first place in the NAL for the first time since the 2017 NAL season.
Sharks Quarterback Patrick McCain had a slow night, but still overcame a lot of obstacles to come up with a victory. He was 17-of-37 for 175 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Wide Receiver Tom Gilson racked up 10 receptions for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Cody Saul also picked up 45 yards on five receptions. Chris Gilchrist had one reception for nine yards and one touchdown. Fullback Derrick Ross sealed the game in the end, but rushed nine times for 30 yards and one touchdown. He had one reception for 11 yards as well.
The Sharks had one of the slowest nights of the season, scoring seven points in the first quarter. McCain didn’t complete a pass until the third Sharks drive of the game. By then, the Sharks were down 0-15. After that, the Sharks offense looked to pick up the pace and get in a rhythm as McCain threw to Gilson for a four yard touchdown later that drive. To start the second quarter, Defensive Back Marvin Ross caught his first interception of the night. The Sharks couldn’t do anything on their drive, giving the ball back to the Pirates. Massachusetts would then score a 13-yard rushing touchdown from their quarterback. At this point, the Sharks are down 7-21 with 5:59 to go in the second quarter. Two Sharks touchdowns tied the game up at 21, but the Pirates Quarterback Darron Thomas rushed for a 10 yard touchdown with no time on the clock.
To start the second half, the Sharks are down 21-28, but definitely not out of it. A little trick play from McCain and Saul caught the Pirates defense off-guard as Saul rushed for a touchdown to open up the third quarter. After back-and-forth touchdown drives from both teams, the Pirates finished the third quarter in the lead 36-35 over the Sharks. The Sharks took full control of the fourth quarter as a Gilson touchdown and a successful field goal from Sharks Kicker Brandon Behr from 17 yards out. The Sharks defense did a great job of stopping the Pirates to secure the victory.
This victory doesn’t secure a home playoff game, but it increases the odds a whole lot. With the Mammoths defeating the Lions and the Cobras defeating the Steelhawks, the Lions are now two games behind the Sharks and the Cobras are one game behind the Sharks. With the Sharks winning tonight, the Pirates are now tied with the Sharks for first place, but Jacksonville has the advantage, winning two out of the three meetings.
The next Sharks game will be on Saturday, August 4 at the Cross Insurance Arena as the Sharks travel to Portland, Maine to take on the number five Maine Mammoths (6-8).
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 2019 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.