Jacksonville, FL – The Sharks returned home on Sunday for an afternoon showdown against the winless Orlando Predators. A sloppy game on offense with three fumbles and three interceptions by Jacksonville helped Orlando cruise to its first win of the season.
Sunday's game started quiet, but Jacksonville took a 6-0 lead with a one-yard rush from quarterback Conor Blount for his 18th touchdown of the season. Orlando scored the second touchdown of the game, but a quick response from Blount with a passing touchdown to Jenson Stoshak put the Sharks back on top. One missed, and one blocked extra point ended with the Sharks up 12-7 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was all Orlando, who picked off Blount in the end zone and then ran a fumble recovery the other way for a touchdown. However, the score was not the biggest worry for the Sharks, as Blount went down with an injury after giving up that fumble. Anthony Johnson took over for Blount and promptly threw another interception in the end zone.
The final minute of the half put some life back in the building. A fumble recovery by Stoshak led to a long touchdown pass by Eddie Brill Jr., who was now in at quarterback, to Jordus Smith, his first reception of the game. A successful two-point conversion pass to Kamrin Solomon created a score of 28-20 in favor of Orlando at the end of the first half.
After another fumble recovery and a touchdown to start the second half for Orlando, Brill Jr. threw his second touchdown for the Sharks, this time to Solomon, who had 127 receiving yards on the day. Sha-ki Holiness recorded a sac in the quarter, but an unsportsmanlike penalty erased any Jacksonville momentum gained on the play. After three-quarters, Orlando led 35-27 over Jacksonville.
Both teams traded touchdowns to start the fourth, including Stoshak's second of the game, but the score was still 42-34 Orlando. Three more points via a field goal for the away team added more to their lead. Jacksonville cut the lead to five thanks to another touchdown from Solomon, but an interception on the two-point try was run back by Orlando, putting the Predators back up by seven. Poor passing became the theme of the game for the Sharks.
As the clock began to wind down, both teams continued to score, including Stoshak's third and fourth of the game. He finished the day with 140 receiving yards.
Like the first home game of the season, a timely stop on fourth down gave Jacksonville the ball on Orlando's 20-yard line with less than a minute left, down by seven. Brill Jr. put the ball into the hands of the hottest player of the game, Stoshak, who brought in the touchdown with just seconds left. His five touchdowns totaled half of the team's points on the day. Jacksonville could not convert on the two-point conversion, ensuring a one-point win for Orlando, 61-60.
Brill Jr., who entered the game as a backup quarterback, totaled 232 passing yards and seven touchdown passes.
The Sharks will return home on May 20 against the Albany Empire. It's Jungle Night, so wear your best safari outfit and join us at the Shark Tank! Purchase tickets at www.jaxsharks.com or by calling 904-621-0700.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL).The 2019 & 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions play all their home games at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks season tickets for the 2023 season are now available. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700 or visit https://www.jaxsharks.com/shark-nation-memberships Follow the Sharks on Facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.om/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.