Jacksonville Returns to Face Defending Champs Next Week

COLUMBUS, GA – The 2022 National Arena League season launched tonight and the birth of Ironman football in the NAL began as the Jacksonville Sharks opened their season on the road against rival the Columbus Lions. 

Entering the Columbus Civic Center the Sharks for the first time as underdogs losing their last two match ups against the Lions in 2021 and now fall to three straight losses to the NAL rival. The Lions played their last game in the 2021 NAL Championship against the Albany Empire. Despite their last season success it seemed to have no effect on the Sharks early as Jacksonville dominated both sides of the field on the first possession as the Sharks forced a turnover on the Lions first drive thanks to Sharks linebacker Markus Smith. Jacksonville’s offenses followed up with a quick score from new quarterback Malik Henry and veteran star receiver Devin Wilson would go on to score two more receiving touchdowns in the 1st half alone including a 30-yard touchdown receptions thrown by quarterback Malik Henry. Defensively the Sharks had a solid first half of play holding the Lions offense to only 22 points with sacks and qb hurries coming from all three defensive lineman.

During the second half the Sharks struggled with self-inflicted plays including a costly red zone interception and a fumble that led to a Lions score. Despite the adversity the Sharks held on to the lead entering the 4th quarter up 42-35 which became a back and forth battle as the Sharks were able to make a major stop on 4th down but a missed field goal ultimately put the Sharks into overtime. Columbus strung together a string of plays that landed them in the end zone leaving Jacksonville in a must score drive that ended the game with a 49-56 loss in Columbus. 

Although the final did not favor the Sharks, Jacksonville had several playmakers on both sides of the ball none shined brighter than All-NAL star receiver Devin Wilson who ended the night leading both teams in receiving with 10 receptions for 117 yards and four touchdowns. All of his touchdowns came through the air by way of new Sharks quarterback Malik Henry who threw 29 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions. Jacksonville proved their ability tonight to score on the ground scoring twice on the run the first coming from fullback/linebacker Anthony Johnson and the second from wide receiver/defensive back Kamrin Solomon who scored late in the second half. 

The (0-1) Sharks will look to bounce back this coming week as they will host their home opener against the (0-1) Albany Empire in Jacksonville at the Vystar Memorial Arena on Saturday, April 30 with kickoff at 7pm. Tickets are available for that game just visit: or call 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 Nation Memberships for the 2022 season are now available. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at and Chum at