Jacksonville’s Win Streak Continues
JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Jacksonville Sharks entered week 8 tonight against their oldest rival, the Orlando Predators, inside the Shark Tank at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Jacksonville’s defense set the tone first as they stopped the Predators on the opening drive forcing a kick attempt that failed for Orlando. The offense rewarded the effort by putting points on the board with a receiving touchdown by WR/DB Nyqwan Murray who returned to the tank after his best game of the season last weekend.
The Sharks defense continued to tear up the Predators this time with a scoop & score (fumble recovery for a touchdown) by defensive lineman Seyvon Lowry, putting the Sharks up by two scores in the first quarter. Orlando finally struck back as quarterback Rakeem Cato threw a bullet pass to the endzone to WR/DB Clarence Williams to put Orlando on the scoreboard. It didn’t take Jacksonville long to respond as quarterback Arville Nelson threw his second touchdown of the night this time to receiver Devin Wilson to make the score 19-6. The Jacksonville Sharks defense pinned down the Predators for another four and out, forcing a turnover on downs giving Jacksonville the ball with good field position. Coach Burley took advantage as the Sharks drove into the endzone this time from the ground as FB/LB Chei Hill scored the rushing touchdown. Like clockwork, the defense struck again as the Sharks held off Orlando’s Rakeem Cato, forcing a turnover on downs, and in a similar fashion punched in a second rushing touchdown with same Shark FB/LB Chei Hill giving Jacksonville a 32-6 lead at halftime.
Into the second half, the Predators chipped away at the deficit with another touchdown pass thrown by Rakeem Cato to receiver Clarence Williams. Jacksonville fought back with their own second-half score with an impressive receiving touchdown by WR/DB Nyqwan Murray but Orlando bounced back with a fake hand-off quarterback bootleg for the Rakeem Cato touchdown, closing the score gap to 39-19. From there, the Sharks struggled for the remainder of the third quarter as the Sharks threw an interception caught by defensive lineman Dalvon Randall. More adversity faced the Sharks as star receiver Devin Wilson left the game with an injury while the offense failed to score for the remainder of the quarter.
The fourth quarter turned into the rivalry dog fight the fans came to see; the Sharks missed a field goal paving the way for the Predators who received good field position to score a rushing touchdown by quarterback Rakeem Cato. Jacksonville, in need to score, the Sharks offense drove down the field and seemed to have pulled off a crucial touchdown but due to a penalty, the Sharks were denied and fell victim to another turnover on downs. The Predators kept their foot on the pedal launching a 25-yard touchdown pass from Cato to receiver Clarence Williams to bring Orlando within one score away from the Sharks and a deuce by kicker Daniel Justino pinned the score to 49-34 with the Sharks hanging on to a five-point lead with one minute left. The Sharks used the lead and the clock to run the time down to within 10-seconds; instead of a knee, Jacksonville chose to toss a final gift to the fans with an Arvell Nelson pass to receiver Jared Dangerfield to end the game with your final from Jacksonville 45-34.
Standout Sharks tonight included quarterback Arvell Nelson who threw 19 passes for 198 yards, and four touchdowns but struggles with turnovers with several interceptions tonight. WR/DB Nyqwan Murray caught two touchdowns tonight and recorded six receptions. Sharks defensive back Markus Smith led the Sharks defense tonight with an interception and four tackles. DL/FB/LB Chei Hill stood out on both sides of the ball with six tackles, one sack, and two rushing touchdowns for the Sharks. The Sharks defense showcased a near perfect first half shutting out the predators in the 1st quarter and only giving up six in the second. On special teams Cody Barber struggled tonight going three for six on extra points and finished the night 0/1 on field goal attempts. However, kick returner Rob Jones did have a great night on special teams returning five kicks for 89 yards including his longest for a near score.
The Sharks now rise to 4-4 in the NAL standings and will head to Columbus next week to face the Lions Saturday, June 18th at the Columbus Civic Center fans can watch live on the National Arena League YouTube Channel or join Shark Nation at our Dicks Wings watch party, stay tuned to social media as we will post the location of next week’s watch party.
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 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.